Harvard Heart Letter

Battling breathlessness

Advanced cardiopulmonary testing can often help diagnose less common causes of breathlessness.

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Hidden causes of shortness of breath can make the problem tricky to treat.

Some people say they feel "winded," while others describe it as fatigue. Either way, shortness of breath puts both easy and more strenuous activities out of reach for many people. Also known as dyspnea, shortness of breath is one of the most common problems people bring to their doctors. The most obvious causes, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery disease, are relatively easy to uncover with a battery of standard tests.

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