Read below about shortness of breath on exertion, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your shortness of breath on exertion 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:
Shortness of breath when doing simple task
Dyspnea on exertion

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Shortness of Breath on Exertion

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

  1. 1.Atrial Fibrillation

    An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. The atria comprise two out of the four chambers of the heart. When their beat is disturbed, symptoms such as a racing heart, chest pain, breathlessness, and dizziness may occur.

    More than 1/2 of people with short term atrial fibrillation get their normal heart rhythm back in less than 2 days without any treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat, lightheadedness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  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.Bronchitis

    Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus, as well as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is typically caused by a virus.

    Symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, productive cough, sore throat, wheezing, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Symptoms that always occur with bronchitis:
    cough
    Symptoms that never occur with bronchitis:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

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  4. 4.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
  5. 5.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
  6. 6.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
  7. 7.Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease in which the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). This happens sometimes as a result of long-term elevated blood pressure, and sometimes without any particular reason. The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a life-long condition, as the heart walls are permanently enlarged.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, racing heart beat, shortness of breath on exertion
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Shortness of Breath on Exertion

  • 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.Do you have a cough?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our shortness of breath on exertion symptom checker to find out more.

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Shortness of Breath on Exertion Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced shortness of breath on exertion have also experienced:

    • 7% Fatigue
    • 6% Rib Pain on One Side
    • 5% Tight, Heavy, Squeezing Chest Pain
  • People who have experienced shortness of breath on exertion 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 on exertion were most often matched with:

    • 63% Atrial Fibrillation
    • 27% Iron Deficiency Anemia
    • 9% Bronchitis
  • 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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