Breathlessness can be caused by heart conditions such as heart failure or angina. There are of course several other causes such as lung conditions, anaemia and in some people just by being overweight.

Heart failure is an important cardiac cause that can cause breathlessness on exertion or in severe cases at rest. With the latter it can also leads to suddenly waking at night gasping or breath and it may be difficult to lie flat because of breathlessness. With symptoms such as this you should see your GP straight away.

In a few people breathlessness may be a symptom of angina instead of the more usual chest or arm discomfort.

If a cardiac cause of breathlessness is suspected investigations such as a resting ECG, chest x-ray, blood tests (including brain natriuetic peptide or BNP), and echocardiogram are often performed.

Please note:

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information on this website is up-to-date and accurate. However, it is intended to serve as a guide only. Symptoms may vary and if you have any medical concerns you should always consult a healthcare professional.