Shortness of breath is a violation of the frequency and depth of breathing, which causes a person to feel a lack of air. If shortness of breath occurs after heavy physical exertion, a long climb up the stairs or playing sports – this is normal. But when attacks of shortness of breath begin to bother a person more often and for no apparent reason, this symptom clearly indicates existing health problems, which can be very serious. So what diseases can this symptom speak of and what doctors should be consulted?


Pneumonia, or pneumonia, is a disease that is often accompanied by shortness of breath. The disease is accompanied by swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs. Blood is not fully oxygenated and shortness of breath appears in a person. At the same time, a person may not even suspect that he has pneumonia, since this disease does not always have an acute manifestation. The patient continues to engage in daily affairs, although he is weakening every day more and more. Shortness of breath is worse when walking. Body temperature is most often subfebrile. Slight chest pains are possible. In this case, it is necessary to visit a pulmonologist, conduct an x-ray of the lungs and donate blood for analysis.

Heart failure

With heart failure, the heart is unable to cope with the entire load, so there is a slowdown in blood flow in the vessels of the lungs, and the blood is poorly saturated with oxygen, resulting in shortness of breath. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, lack of oxygen, especially after eating or exercising. Behind the sternum, the person feels pain, hoarse breathing, frequent swelling of the legs. Hands and feet are constantly cold. If such symptoms are detected, it is recommended to urgently visit a cardiologist and have an ECG.

Angina pectoris

A disease characterized by a lack of oxygen in the heart to normally pump blood. The blood flow slows down, and the blood is not saturated enough with oxygen. A person has shortness of breath, which intensifies during walking, after eating, and even when talking. With increased load, shortness of breath is accompanied by pain in the sternum, a feeling of tightness in the throat. Attacks of angina pectoris are very dangerous for human life, so you need to immediately go to a cardiologist. The doctor will refer the patient to an ECG, chest x-ray, blood test, and only based on the results obtained can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Bronchial asthma

In bronchial asthma, the lumen between the bronchi narrows, resulting in respiratory failure and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include heavy wheezing and short breathing. When a person tries to take a deep breath, he involuntarily uses the muscles of the shoulder girdle, abdomen and back in this process. Often, cough and viscous sputum are added to this. A pulmonologist, together with an allergist-immunologist, determines the presence of bronchial asthma. A pulmonologist checks the function of breathing, and an allergist identifies or eliminates the patient’s sensitivity to allergens, cold air and physical activity.  


Pleurisy is called inflammation of the mucous membrane of the lungs. Similar changes occur as with pneumonia. Symptoms are shortness of breath, sharp chest pain when inhaling, exhaling, and also a painful dry cough. The patient’s breathing is shallow, a feeling of lack of air. With pleurisy, as a rule, intoxication occurs, body temperature rises. The patient needs an internal consultation with a pulmonologist. To determine the cause of pleurisy, a general examination, a blood test and a chest x-ray are performed. Most often, the disease is a complication after ARVI.


If shortness of breath occurs against a background of neurosis, then it is called psychogenic – this happens if a person begins to wind up himself that he is sick with something. Due to internal stress, vasospasm increases, oxygen starvation and shortness of breath occur. Most often, psychogenic shortness of breath appears in a person after experiencing stress, after suffering a traumatic brain injury or with intercostal neuralgia. If you suspect a psychogenic shortness of breath, it is recommended to consult a neuropsychiatrist.