A to Z: Dyspnea

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A to Z: Dyspnea

May also be called: Shortness of Breath; Breathing Difficulty; Breathlessness

Dyspnea (say: disp-NEE-uh) is difficult or labored breathing.

More to Know

Many things can trigger an episode of dyspnea, including respiratory tract infections, asthma, exercise, stress, allergic reactions, higher altitudes, obesity, and certain medications.

A small amount of breathing difficulty can be expected from time to time and usually is not a cause for concern.

Keep in Mind

Dyspnea is a common condition and most episodes of breathing difficulty are brief. If breathing difficulty is severe, persists, or flares up regularly, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition and should be checked out by a doctor.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.



Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
(212) 315-8700
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.


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Asthma Center Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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