Shortness of breath (dyspnea) is a symptom, something the patient feels. Only you know whether you feel short of breath. Dyspnea comes in varying degrees and kinds.
‘Dyspnea on Exertion’ Everyone feels out of breath when they exercise hard enough, but lung and heart disease causes people to become short of breath at lower levels of exercise, when they walk, do household chores, or sometimes even when they dress themselves. Although your ability to exercise will normally decrease somewhat as you get older, it is important not to ignore the symptoms of advancing heart or lung disease. Your doctor can help you determine whether your shortness of breath is normal for your age. See our page on CAUSES.
‘Dyspnea at Rest’ It is never normal to feel short of breath when you are not exercising, and it can be very troubling. If you feel short of breath when you are sitting, standing, or lying down, you should see your doctor.