An uneasy sensation of feeling short of breath

What is breathlessness?

Breathlessness is an uneasy sensation of feeling short of breath. It is your body’s natural response to deliver more oxygen to your muscles.

However, if you notice sudden or gradual breathlessness or change in your exercise capacity it may be that this is a sign of heart disease and warrants for further evaluation.

What is breathlessness?

In this video, Dr Ahmed Elgahamaz explains what you need to know about breathlessness.

Supplementary information about breathlessness

Here, we’ve summarised the most important points about breathlessness

Breathlessness is an uneasy sensation of feeling short of breath. It can be normal to feel breathless at times, for example, playing sport or running for a bus. This is your body’s natural response to deliver more oxygen to your muscles.

However, breathlessness is an important sign of heart disease and can be due to the heart muscle working inefficiently. It can also be due to a problem with the blood supply to the heart, heart valve problems or heart rhythm disturbances.

Breathlessness can feel different from person to person. It can be described as shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing and can also be associated with:

  • Feeling hot, panicked or anxious
  • Feeling tight in the chest as if the breath cannot get in
  • Feeling like suffocating or not getting enough air
  • Feeling like you want to take deep breaths but are unable to
  • Feeling like you have to use your arms and chest muscles to breathe and it gets exhausting.

Breathlessness can occur with poor fitness or obesity. It is often caused by lung conditions like asthma or COPD. However, breathlessness is an important sign of heart disease. Poor blood supply to the heart muscle from coronary artery disease can lead to breathlessness or chest pain. Abnormalities of the heart muscle, heart valves or heart rhythm can all cause breathlessness.

If you have noticed sudden or gradual breathlessness or change in your exercise capacity it may be that this is a sign of heart disease and warrants for further evaluation.

Breathlessness is a common symptom of heart disease but can also be due to lung conditions or a low blood count. If breathlessness is associated with exertion it can be a sign of angina and coronary artery disease. It can also be caused abnormally narrowed or leaky heart valves, abnormally fast or slow heart rhythms or poor pumping function of the heart muscle.

Breathlessness is a worrying symptom and can cause stress and anxiety. Ruling out heart disease can relieve this stress and anxiety. However, it is important to investigate breathlessness with an expert to evaluate if it represents underlying heart disease.

It can be challenging to know if your breathlessness is due to underlying heart disease. Our expert Cardiologists will take a detailed clinical history and perform a physical examination of your cardiovascular system. They will also perform a number of important tests to ascertain if the breathlessness is serious and formulate a tailored management plan for you.

We advise clients to be sensible when it comes to breathlessness. If you are worried that breathlessness may represent a heart problem we recommend seeking help and assistance from our team.

At Many Beats it is our prerogative to diagnose your symptoms as early as possible and get you reassurance and support so you can live a long and healthy life.

We do this through comprehensive evaluation of you as an individual, risk factor assessment and appropriate investigations to get the correct answer for you.

Please book an appointment for a face to face consultation with one of our Cardiology team experts or book the Many Beats Complete Package to help us guide you on your journey to a healthy heart lifestyle.

Many Beats Complete

The Many Beats ‘Complete’ package offers clients a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation that will assess all aspects of your heart health. This package will be tailored to your individual needs following a face-to-face consultation. Our experts will choose appropriate, state-of-the-art investigations to assess your risk of heart disease and your symptoms, if you have any.

These can include: cholesterol/diabetes blood tests, heart rhythm monitoring, blood pressure assessment, stress tests, scans of your heart and your arteries.


Once you have seen one of our Cardiologists and completed your tests we will arrange a follow-up appointment with you to review your results and their implications. If your symptoms indicate heart disease we will start a personalised treatment plan immediately. Treatment approaches usually involve one or more of:

  • Lifestyle changes – including diet and exercise advice
  • Medication – to treat risk factors for heart disease and specific symptoms
  • Medical procedures or surgery – to understand the exact nature of your heart disease and work towards definitive treatment.

Many Beats gives you a map to turn your life around and avoid developing heart disease


We are happy to be assured by the following private medical insurance providers

It’s the wonderful words of our patients that make this job so worthwhile

Excellent bedside manner / patient care, thoughtful analysis and care. Great cardiologists!

J. T.

Dr Elghamaz was professional and compassionate in equal measure. He made me feel completely at ease and explained in detail exactly my situation answering all questions kindly and in a language I understood – not medical jargon. A complete gentleman under whose care I have every confidence.

R. R.

I called Dr Chahal’s secretary to get advice and an appointment for a stress echocardiogram as quickly as possible. Dr Chahal called me himself, to explain the procedure, and he managed to fit me in quickly, as I requested. On the day, he and his colleague carried out the test quickly, efficiently and kindly, explaining what they were doing and why. I would certainly recommend them as true healthcare professionals.

M. S.

Dr Elghamaz was very efficient, thorough and personable and made me feel at ease through through the process of undergoing several tests and then discussing results with myself and my husband to ensure we understood everything and were comfortable.

L. S.

Highly recommended. Professional, honest, put me at ease. Wonderful experience all around.

L. O.

Dr Elghamaz goes above and beyond for his patients. As well as being kind, he is extremely thorough, and I feel very comfortable knowing he is in charge of my care.

C. W.
Dr Sehmi is a fusion of the best of the old and new schools of medicine. Whilst reassuringly up to date with the latest evidence-based practice and comfortable with all the leading-edge technology of his field, he has always listened to my fears and given informed answers to all my questions.
S. L.

I had a really positive experience when I saw Dr Navin Chandra in his clinic. He took time to really listen to my problems and then explained what was wrong in simple terms. I had all my tests performed swiftly and have started to feel much better!


Having been referred for specialist Cardiology review, I was very fortunate to be assigned Dr Sehmi as my Consultant. From the outset, his level of interest in my personal case has been exceptional. I have had several consultants for a variety of reasons over the years but Dr Sehmi is the first where a consultant has proactively followed up in between appointments to determine progress.

N. T.

I was admitted under Cardiology and Dr Chandra was my Consultant. He quickly got to the heart of the problem and he and his team didn’t miss a step. Later that evening Dr Chandra took the time to see my partner and his patience and knowledge gave us the answers to our many questions.

R. K.

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We are happy to be associated with the following esteemed organisations

Live a longer and healthier life

Book an appointment and we’ll test your heart so we can map out a plan to give you the best chance of maximising your longevity.

How it works

3 easy steps to get on the road to heart health


Booking an appointment is easy with our online scheduler. Simply choose a date and time that suits you and we’ll let you know how to visit.


Typically, we’ll set you up to take specific tests that will give us the information we need to make an accurate assessment of your heart’s health and recommend a plan.


With your cardiologist-vetted plan, we’ll support you in the long term so you can build the habits that will enable you to live a longer and healthier life.

Heart Health Programmes

We offer a selection of packages that can help people at risk of heart disease or those who might already be diagnosed.

Get a video consultation

Discover your heart disease risk

Even more information about breathlessness

We’ve produced many informative videos and blog posts so you can educate yourself about heart disease risk factors, symptoms, tests and treatments.

Read more about heart disease

Educate yourself further about your heart health by reading the links below

To learn more about cardiovascular disease, including the causes and prevention techniques, click here.

The NHS has an informative write-up on cardiovascular diseases, which can be found here.

A great test that tells the myths and facts about your heart health can be found here.

If you would like an excellent overview of the symptoms of heart attacks, please click here.

If you would like to learn more about all the types of heart diseases, please click here for more information.

Take our quick quiz to assess your heart disease risk in 2 minutes

It will provide you with a good indication of your heart health so that you can take steps towards a long, happy and healthy life free from heart disease.

About the cardiologists

The Many Beats team consists of not one, but four highly experienced consultant cardiologists

Dr Navtej Chahal

Consultant Cardiologist


Navtej is a Consultant Cardiologist at Many Beats. He also consults at the London Northwest NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton Hospital, London having qualified from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Medical School in 2001. He is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College London

Dr Navin Chandra

Consultant Cardiologist


Navin is a Consultant Cardiologist at Many Beats. He is also a Consultant Cardiologist at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. He qualified from Guy’s, King’s & St. Thomas’s in 2004...

Dr Ahmed Elghamaz

Consultant Cardiologist


Ahmed is a Consultant Cardiologist at Many Beats. He also consults at Northwick Park Hospital and London North West Healthcare University Hospitals NHS Trust and is an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. He completed his junior…

Dr Joban Sehmi

Consultant Cardiologist


Joban is a Consultant Cardiologist at Many Beats. His NHS practice is at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS trust. He sees patients privately at Spire in Bushey and Bishops Wood Hospital in Northwood. He trained in medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ medical school and qualified in 2003 with numerous academic awards…