BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPalliative care - shortness of breathDyspnea - end-of-life; Hospice care - shortness of breathSomeone who is very ill may have trouble breathing or feel as if they are not getting enough air. This condition is called shortness of breath. The medical term for this is dyspnea.Palliative CarePalliative care is a holistic approach to care that focuses on treating pain and symptoms and improving quality of life in people with serious illnesses and a limited life span.When You Have Shortness of BreathShortness of breath may just be a problem when walking up stairs. Or, it may be so severe that the person has trouble talking or eating.Shortness of breathBreathing difficulty may involve:Difficult breathing Uncomfortable breathingFeeling like you are not getting enough airRead Article Now Book Mark Article Shortness of breath has many possible causes, including:Anxiety and fear Panic attacks Panic attacksPanic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which you have repeated attacks of intense fear that something bad will happen.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Lung infections, like pneumonia or bronchitis Lung illness, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease. Having COPD makes it hard to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD:Chroni...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Problems with the heart, kidneys, or liver Anemia AnemiaAnemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. Different type...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Constipation With serious illnesses or at the end of life, it is common to feel short of breath. You may or may not experience it. Talk to your health care team so you know what to expect.What You Might Feel When You are Short of BreathWith shortness of breath you might feel:Uncomfortable Like you are not getting enough air Trouble breathing Tired Like you are breathing faster Fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, or helplessness You might notice your skin has a bluish tinge on your fingers, toes, nose, ears, or face.How to Help YourselfIf you feel shortness of breath, even if it is mild, tell someone on your care team. Finding the cause will help the team decide the treatment. The nurse may check how much oxygen is in your blood by connecting your fingertip to a machine called a pulse oximeter. A chest x-ray or an ECG (electrocardiogram) may help your care team find a possible heart or lung problem.To help with shortness of breath, try:Sitting up Sitting or sleeping in a reclining chair Raising the head of the bed or using pillows to sit up Leaning forward Find ways to relax.Listen to calming music. Get a massage. Put a cool cloth on your neck or head. Take slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. It may help to pucker your lips like you were going to whistle. This is called pursed lip breathing. Pursed lip breathingPursed lip breathing helps you use less energy to breathe. It can help you relax. When you are short of breath, it helps you slow the pace of your ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Get reassurance from a calm friend, family member, or hospice team member. Get a breeze from an open window or a fan. To breathe easier, understand how to use:Oxygen Medicines to help with breathing When to Call the DoctorAny time you are unable to control shortness of breath:Call your doctor, nurse, or another member of your health care team for advice. Call 911 or the local emergency number to get help. Discuss with your health care provider whether you need to go to the hospital when shortness of breath becomes severe. Learn more about: Advance care directives Advance care directivesWhen you are very ill or injured, you may not be able to make health care choices for yourself. If you are unable to speak for yourself, your health...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Health care agentsHealth care agentsWhen you are unable to speak for yourself due to an illness, your health care providers may be unclear as to what type of care you would like. A heal...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Open ReferencesReferencesBraithwaite SA, Wessel AL. Dyspnea. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 21.Johnson MJ, Eva GE, Booth S. Palliative medicine and symptom control. In: Kumar P, Clark M, eds. Kumar and Clarke's Clinical Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 3.Kviatkovsky MJ, Ketterer BN, Goodlin SJ. Palliative care in the cardiac intensive care unit. In: Brown DL, ed. Cardiac Intensive Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 52.AllVideoImagesTogA Closer Look Heart failure(In-Depth)Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(Alt. Medicine)Breast cancer(In-Depth)Non-small cell lung cancer(In-Depth)Cervical cancer(In-Depth)Ovarian cancer(In-Depth)Melanoma and other skin cancers(In-Depth)Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma(In-Depth)Related Information Review Date: 1/18/2022 Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.