Read below about shortness of breath after a few stairs, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your shortness of breath after a few stairs from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Dyspnea on exertion

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Shortness of Breath After a Few Stairs

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced shortness of breath after a few stairs. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Severe Asthma Attack

    A severe asthma attack makes it incredibly hard to breathe and is a medical emergency. If possible, use a rescue inhaler ASAP.

    Within minutes to hours of treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    being severely ill, shortness of breath at rest, wheezing, irritability, cough with dry or watery sputum
    Symptoms that always occur with severe asthma attack:
    shortness of breath at rest, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  2. 2.Iron Deficiency Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, which deliver oxygen. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have enough iron. Iron helps make red blood cells.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, heavy menstrual flow
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd)

    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic condition of the lungs and the airways in the lungs. Damage has occured due to long-term exposure to substances that irritate and damage the lungs, such as cigarette smoke or air pollution. This damage can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, decreased exercise tolerance and cough. A common cold or other types of infection can cause symptoms to worden acutely, this is called an exacerbation.

    Often a lifelong condition

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough and dyspnea related to smoking, cough, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd):
    cough and dyspnea related to smoking
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd):
    rectal bleeding
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Mitral Valve Prolapse

    Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the valve between the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly because the flaps of the valve are "floppy." Most people who have the condition are born with it.

    Without surgery, this is a lifelong condition.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, rib pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Shortness of Breath After a Few Stairs Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having shortness of breath after a few stairs.

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  5. 5.Aortic Valve Regurgitation

    Aortic valve regurgitation is a condition that occurs when your heart's aortic valve doesn't close tightly. This allows some of the blood that was just pumped out of the lower left chamber (left ventricle) to leak back into it.

    Can be severely acute or chronic.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, racing heart beat, shortness of breath on exertion, shortness of breath when lying down, brief fainting episode
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Myocarditis

    The myocardium is the muscular tissue that makes up the walls of the heart, allowing it to contract and push blood throughout the body. Myocarditis is the condition when this muscular tissue becomes inflamed, often as a result of an infection, causing the heart to struggle to pump blood.

    If myocarditis has not damaged the heart too much, expect a 2-3 week course of medication to treat infection.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches, chest pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  7. 7.Congestive Heart Failure

    Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a form of heart failure that causes fluid to back up into the lungs and other tissue. Symptoms include trouble breathing and edema (swelling of ankles, hands)

    This is a lifelong condition but symptoms can be managed.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough at night, shortness of breath on exertion
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Narrowing of the Aortic Valve

    The aorta is the main artery that carries blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. Blood flows out of the heart and into the aorta through the aortic valve. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve does not open fully, which decreases blood flow from the heart.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, shortness of breath on exertion, decreased exercise tolerance
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Chest Pain From Reduced Cardiac Blood Flow (Angina Pectoris)

    Angina pectoris is chest pain that is felt when heart muscle needs more blood than it is currently getting. This may result from coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls.

    Angina pectoris is reflective of underlying heart disease, which is a chronic condition once it develops.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, chest pain, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, moderate chest pain, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone
    Symptoms that always occur with chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris):
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris):
    productive cough
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Shortness of Breath After a Few Stairs

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you notice your heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly (also called palpitations)?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you have a cough?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our shortness of breath after a few stairs symptom checker to find out more.

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Shortness of Breath After a Few Stairs Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced shortness of breath after a few stairs have also experienced:

    • 7% Fatigue
    • 4% Rib Pain on One Side
    • 4% Tight, Heavy, Squeezing Chest Pain
  • People who have experienced shortness of breath after a few stairs had symptoms persist for:

    • 36% Less Than a Day
    • 25% Over a Month
    • 21% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced shortness of breath after a few stairs were most often matched with:

    • 50% Severe Asthma Attack
    • 25% Iron Deficiency Anemia
    • 25% Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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Take a quiz to find out why you’re having shortness of breath after a few stairs

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