6. Shortness of Breath. The big worries: Sudden shortness of breath can indicate a pulmonary embolism — when a blood clot forms in the body's deep veins (usually in the legs), travels to the lungs and gets lodged in the lung's blood vessels. Suspect an embolism if you've recently traveled, have undergone surgery or have been immobile, and/or your shortness of breath is accompanied by chest pain and coughing up blood. If difficulty breathing is sudden and severe or accompanied by chest pain, call 911. When to Call Your Doctor If you experience frequent breathlessness, are awakened at night by shortness of breath, or experience wheezing or tightness in the throat, contact your physician for further evaluation. Angina is a common cause of chest discomfort and often occurs during periods of stress or physical activity. Symptoms occur when the blood vessels that supply the heart with blood and oxygen are narrowed or blocked off, resulting in chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations and nausea.

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