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US President Donald Trump experienced mild shortness of breath after walking up the South Portico steps as he arrived at the White House from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he underwent treatment for Covid-19 on Monday, Oct. 5 [see video below].

Patients who are recovering from a respiratory illness will experience air hunger after exertion, such as walking up steps. It is usually not a cause for concern.

AFP via Getty Images

Dyspnea or air hunger is mild to moderate difficulty breathing after exertion, such as climbing steps. It is an uncomfortable feeling that usually lasts less than 2 minutes, but it can last longer.

Dyspnea on exertion, also known as shortness of breath, occurs when the body is craving oxygen after quickly using up oxygen stores doing exercise or another strenuous activity.

People who exhibit air hunger after exertion typically feel anxiety from the sensation of not being able to get enough air in their lungs.

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Anyone can experience mild air hunger or dyspnea after exercising -- even world class athletes and joggers.

Sometimes, air hunger is just a case of being out of shape, and exercise can improve symptoms. But it can be a sign of a serious health issue.

Signs & Symptoms of Air Hunger (Dyspnea)

  • shortness of breath after exertion or due to a medical condition
  • feeling smothered or suffocated as a result of breathing difficulties
  • anxiety or panic attack
  • labored breathing
  • tightness in the chest
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • Air hunger or dyspnea without exertion is a medical emergency. You should be seen by a doctor immediately.

    Care should be taken to avoid over-exerting yourself during the recovery stage of an illness when you are regaining your strength following an illness.

    This has been your Medical Minute.
     

     

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