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How does multiple sclerosis (MS) cause shortness of breath?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) sometimes causes something called restrictive ventilatory defect, where tightness in the muscles between the ribs limits how much the ribcage can move when you take a breath. While your actual blood oxygen levels are usually not affected, the defect does give a very distinct feeling of shortness of breath or chest tightness, and sometimes both.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.