Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman


  • Valerie SabolEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_103-2



Dyspnea, or breathing discomfort, is a frequently reported symptom, often the manifestation of cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular diseases, myocardial ischemia, anemia, obesity, or deconditioning. According to the American Thoracic Society, dyspnea is a term used to “characterize a subjective experience of breathing discomfort that comprises qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity. The experience derives from interactions among multiple physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, and may induce secondary physiological and behavioral responses.” There are variations in the clinical reporting of dyspnea; words used by individuals to describe their breathing discomfort may provide insight into the underlying pathophysiology of their disease. For example, words used to describe difficulty inspiring is associated with upper airway obstruction (e.g., aspiration), and words used to describe...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Parshall, M. B., Schwartzstein, R. M., Adams, L., Banzett, R. B., Manning, H. L., Bourbeau, J., Calverley, P. M., Gift, A. G., Harver, A., Lareau, S. C., Mahler, D. A., Meek, P. M., & O’Donnell, D. E. (2012). American Thoracic Society Committee on Dyspnea. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 185(4), 435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Walls, R., Hockberger, R., & Gausche-Hill, M. (2017). Rosen’s emergency medicine: Concepts and clinical practice (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Barbara Resnick
    • 1
  • Marie Boltz
    • 2
  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.College of NursingPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA