Cardiopulmonary exercise testing can help reveal unusual reasons for these common symptoms — and also shed light on long COVID.
One of the vexing things about certain common health complaints is the range of possible underlying causes. For example, feeling short of breath is perfectly normal after a burst of vigorous exercise. But for some people, even mild exertion can trigger a sensation of breathlessness, or what doctors call dyspnea. It’s often accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue and lightheadedness.
Most of the time, heart or lung issues are to blame. In many cases, routine tests — including a chest x-ray, echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), lung function tests, and blood tests — can uncover the underlying reason for a person’s breathlessness.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content.
Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date,
should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.