Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, is a common symptom and often occurs during exercise or exertion. Chronic dyspnea can greatly affect quality of life and limit participation in activities that many people enjoy. Because dyspnea can be attributed to many conditions, it can be difficult to accurately diagnose. Occasional shortness of breath can be common with overexertion or with a temporary respiratory infection. Chronic dyspnea, including dyspnea that occurs regularly with exercise, dyspnea that persists after initial treatment, or dyspnea that remains unexplained after diagnostic testing should be evaluated by a physician with expertise in dyspnea and its underlying causes.