Shortness of Breath (SOB)
Shortness of breath is a feeling of not getting enough air and difficulty breathing. Many times this will be associated with functional limitations (inability to walk long distances or go up stairs). It will affect different people in different ways and it's severity is often underestimated by the patient.
Common causes include underlying respiratory disease, disease of the cardiovascular system, or a problem that affects the entire body (systemic diseases like anemia or hormone imbalance). A medical evaluation is necessary for the diagnosis and management of breathlessness.
A respiratory emergency is defined as a dramatic change in breathing or breathlessness. These may be associated with chest or stomach discomfort, changes in levels of alertness, or a decrement in the ability to follow one’s daily routine. There are several potential causes, such as worsening of a previously established pulmonary/cardiovascular disease. The development of a new medical problem is also a possibility and of grave concern. A respiratory emergency requires urgent evaluation by a physician or emergency room.