Breathlessness or shortness of breath refers to discomfort or difficulty while breathing. In medical terms, it is known as dyspnea. While it is normal to get short of breath when walking, climbing stairs, running or when you have simply overexerted yourself, but it is often a warning sign of a serious medical condition when breathlessness kicks in suddenly and unexpectedly. Common symptoms of shortness of breath or dyspnea include- feeling uncomfortable while breathing, inability to get enough air, chest pain, cough, a feeling of tightness, suffocation or drowning. One must seek medical attention if shortness of breath is accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling of the feet and ankles, high fever, chills, wheezing, a breathlessness that does not go away even after 30 minutes of rest.