Duration Health

Shortness of breath


In people with pre-existing medical problems like heart disease or asthma, shortness of breath or wheezing often means worsening of their disease, and you should seek medical care immediately and take medications as your doctor prescribed them. In people who are otherwise healthy, shortness of breath or wheezing is often a marker of a severe condition may be a medical emergency, please seek help immediately.

When To Worry

Seek immediate medical care if you have the symptoms of shortness of breath or wheezing – these could indicate a medical emergency.


Pulse oximeter is used to measure the level of oxygen in the blood and the heart rate. This inexpensive and ingenious tool can detect low oxygen in the blood and identify heart rates that are too fast or too slow. Put the pulse oximeter on your finger to check your heart rate and oxygen level. A heart rate above 100 in an adult at rest is generally abnormal. An oxygen level below 95% is generally abnormal. Seek emergency medical attention if you are experiencing an abnormal heart rate or oxygen level, particularly if you are also having fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or other symptoms.


The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.