We have all experienced breathlessness at one time or another - perhaps as a result of heavy physical exertion or simply walking up a flight of stairs - but sometimes it can be a sign of an underlying medical problem. This year the British Lung Foundation's Breathe Easy Week is all about raising awareness of the potential causes of breathlessness and encouraging those who experience it to go and see their GP.
Breathlessness is categorised as either acute - it comes and goes or it occurs suddenly - or long-term. It can be frightening to experience breathlessness that is unexpected or difficult to control. However, by acting quickly and getting appropriate treatment you can live your life more comfortably.
To find out more, visit the British Lung Foundation site, where you'll find invaluable advice and information on the causes of breathlessness, what your doctor might do to diagnose the problem and a list of questions you should ask them.
At National Accident Helpline we have helped hundreds of people who now experience breathing difficulties, and other related symptoms, as a result of exposure to asbestos at work.
Asbestosis, a disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles, causes aggravation and inflammation, with symptoms including the slow onset of breathlessness, as well as tightness and pain in the chest.
Mesothelioma, a form of cancer that develops in the covering that surrounds the lungs (the pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen, is also caused as a result of exposure to asbestos. It can be very difficult to treat as it is hard to diagnose early on, which it is why it is so important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing breathlessness.
Click here to find out more about Breathe Easy Week events in your local area and how you can get involved.