Feeling that you cannot inhale enough air and draw your breath completely may be distressing and frustrating. Shortness of breath is a very common symptom associated with various medical conditions affecting heart, lungs and other organs in your body. Breathlessness symptoms are chest tightness, inability to make a deep and complete breath. Breathlessness treatment depends on the underlying condition and before it is prescribed a proper diagnosing is needed. Read more information about this condition below.

It’s common for everyone to feel out of breath at some point of time. For example, after heavy physical activity or exertion such as briskly walking up a steep hill or cycling fast. This is the type of breathlessness is expected and within your control.

There is another type of breathlessness that you can’t control. Whether it occurs spontaneously or is experienced every day, it can be a very frightening experience. Some people may even feel embarrassed and as a result, they may alter their behaviour and reduce activity.

The truth is that it actually makes the problem worse. People may sometimes avoid telling their doctor or nurse about feeling out of breath as they feel responsible and are not aware that there is help available. If you experience breathlessness while doing everyday activities, taking longer to do things or even avoiding doing things because you get out of breath, then it’s time to go to see your doctor.

While treating the underlying causes of breathlessness, there are also various ways to help you take control over it so that you can get the most out of your life. Acute or short-term breathlessness may occur suddenly. It normally requires immediate testing or treatment. When there is a flare-up of an underlying condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure, starting treatment yourself following an action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse may be helpful.


  • An unpleasant sensation of uncomfortable, rapid or difficult breathing
  • Chest tightness and stiffness
  • Short or winded breath


Treatment options depend on the results of diagnostic tests and investigations, as they are believed to discover the underlying condition, which causes breathlessness.


  • History taking and Physical examination: Your general health and what symptoms you’ve been experiencing will be asked by your doctor.
  • Spirometry: Spirometry is a simple test used to help diagnose and monitor certain lung conditions by measuring how much air you can breathe out in one forced breath. It’s carried out using a device called a spirometer, which is a small machine attached by a cable to a mouthpiece. Spirometry can be used to help diagnose a lung condition if you have symptoms of a problem, or your doctor feels you’re at an increased risk of developing a particular lung condition. For example, it may be recommended if you have a persistent cough or breathlessness, or if you’re over 35 and smoke.