Shortness of breath, what is it really ?

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One of the most common symptoms of COPD or  other respiratory diseases is shortness of breath on exertion.

However can anyone tell me what is the shortness of breath, that we need to worry about ?

I can lift my child who weights 40 lbs and walk for about 10 minutes and I then need to put him down and I am breathing heavily. Is that shortness of breath ?

Running for 2 minutes and then breathing heavily, is that shortness of breath ?

What is the shortness of breath that you need to be worried about ?

What is exertion, running for 10 minutes ?

Thanks for reading.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    im  no expert   as im  a new diagnosed  patient.    i  couldnt  do  anything  what  youve  described.      im  out  of  breath  getting  a shower.   i  have to  take   a  break.  then  go  and  sit  down  to  get  dressed.  thats  just  an  example.    im  in  very  early  stages.      good  luck  and  take  care  julie   xxxxxxxxxx
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  • Posted

    I think you are doing ok able to lift 40lbs and walk for 10 minutes before needing to stop. 

    For me I am short of breath on exertion which can just be standing up from a chair and walking 6-8 paces, but I still do things even when short of breath.  Being short of breath doesn't stop me doing things it just means I tire more quickly.

    Running for 3-4 paces would have me very short of breath, but have to admit I don't make a point of running smile

    Shortness of breath on exertion for some one without damaged lungs may only occur if they skip, run, play sport etc, every one has shortness of breath to one degree or another.

    There are many causes for shortness of breath as explained here:

    For someone with COPD shortness of breath is usual each and every day with any exertion.


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    • Posted

      the shortness of breath to be worried about is when you can't catch your breathe, when you are turning blue (lack of oxygen) pain in your chest, real pain could suggest cardiac issue, some information as indicated in the link above.

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  • Posted

    HI there! Being a newbie myself a year ago I turned to this forum for clarification. To find out that COPD does create shortness of breath. Some worse than others. It's a good thing for you to keep as active as you can. Excertion could be anything other then just resting. You just can't sit nor do you. I have learned how to know when I am getting short of breath so that to me is excertion. Cleaning, going upstairs, walking. I know have learned that when I get sob then I stop for a few moments. Info what us called pursed lip breathing to at which time I stop what I am doing just until I get my breath back then continue. When I go to bed up one flight of stairs I do 6 steps, stop for a moment and do the pursed lip breathing. Then that last 6 steps I do the same. I practise this with any exertion. Washing my car. A little here and a little there but I get the job done. Just takes a bit longer. 

    Hope this helps you but just my personal experience under my Doctors instructions. Hang in there


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  • Posted

    I would consider taking a test to see how your lungs are operating, early shortness of breath could be the start of a problem depending on your lifestyle, eg smoking. The lung function test will ensure full function of lungs I have copd the first symptom was shortness of breath, easily puffed after exertion and numerous lung infections. If you are concerned check with dr your short of breath can also be just lack of exercise, a lung function test will give the answer
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  • Posted

    No, breathing heavy after running for 2 minutes isn't SOB, it's what healthy people do after running a bit. Start training intelligently and you'll go further.

    No, it isn't SOB to need to let that half-adult walk on its own 2 feet - or get in its wheelchair, etc.

    In short: you don't have SOB so why are you quizzing about it?

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  • Posted

    My nurse give me an inhaler ventolin said try it and come back in 4 weeks. 

    she was not happy when i said i have not used it yet because i don't get SOB and can walk miles without any problems, but she says if your breathing heavily and heart rate changes after walking up a steep hill that is SOB but everyone i know get's the same walking up a steep hill.

    Any way she said it wont hurt to try it, but i told her i am not trying anything until i thnk i need it.

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    • Posted

      hiya   i  can see  where  your  are  coming  from.    now  i take  something  in a  morning  called  Incruse,  then  through the  day  when  in  breathless  well   actually  before  im going to do anything  i  use the salbutamol  inhaler.    does  nothing  i  still  get  breathless  and  chest pain.  trouble is  im in  catch   22   they  can  try  me on anything  else  due to my heart.    im just  in limbo  at  the moment.    good  luck  and  take   care  of your  self    julie  
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