Dyspnea and emotional states in health and disease

Respir Med. 2013 May;107(5):649-55. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2012.12.018. Epub 2013 Jan 21.


Anxiety and depression can increase the intensity of dyspnea out of proportion to the impairment in cardiorespiratory function and may contribute to the degree of disability associated with dyspnea. The effect of anxiety/depression on the sensory and affective components of reported dyspnea in patients with respiratory disorders might be of particular importance in improving the accuracy of the diagnostic process. However, the exact cause-relationship between dyspnea and anxiety/depression are unclear. A multidimensional model of dyspnea subsuming sensory components (i.e. intensity and quality) and affective components has recently been proposed. Affective responses drive patients to seek treatment which can cause them to alter their lifestyle to avoid dyspnea. Brain imaging techniques help identify distinct cortical structures involved in processing the discrete components of dyspnea.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / complications
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Depression / complications
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Humans