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What causes muscle pain and shortness of breath? 22 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Cold and Flu Overview

Common colds and influenza are contagious infections that affect the respiratory system. Both are airborne illnesses, spread through coughing and sneezing. Shared symptoms include headache, cough, sore throat, and more.

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Swine Flu

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a highly contagious virus with symptoms similar to common influenza types. It spreads quickly from person to person, and can linger on tables and surface areas.

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Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. General symptoms include chest pain, fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

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Dermatomyositis is a rare inflammatory disease. It's an inflammatory myopathy, which is a condition that occurs when your muscles become inflamed.

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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that causes pain and stiffness in various parts of the body, including the shoulders, neck, arms, thighs, and hips. The cause of this disorder is unknown.

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Learn about sarcoidosis and its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and potential complications.

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The Atypical Facts About Atypical Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the lungs. Atypical pneumonia is a kind that isn't caused by the bacteria that causes typical pneumonia.

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Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, or "mono," is a group of symptoms caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. One potential symptom is a pink rash that looks like the measles.

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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition that causes lung scarring and stiffness. This keeps the body from getting enough oxygen.

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication that stems from diabetes. If you don't have enough insulin to help your body process sugars (glucose), your body will start burning fat to fuel itself. As a result...

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Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus that attacks the body's nervous system. It is most likely to be contracted by children under five years old.

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Histoplasmosis is a noncommunicable disease caused by certain fungal spores. Red bumps on the lower legs are one sign of this condition.

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Parrot Fever (Psittacosis)

Parrot fever is an infection caused by a specific type of bacteria called Chlamydia psittaci. In most cases, humans catch parrot fever from birds, including parrots, chickens, turkeys, pigeons, cockatiels, parakeets...

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The Plague

The plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly. It's caused by poor sanitation, overcrowding, and large rodent populations.

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Bird Flu

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can also infect humans and other animals. However, most forms of the virus are restricted to birds. H5N1 is also the most common form of bird flu. No...

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SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a particularly serious form of viral pneumonia. In addition to fever, dry cough, breathing problems, and several other symptoms, one symptom of SARS is a rash.

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Trichinosis is a roundworm that can infect humans when they eat certain undercooked meats. Rashes are a possible symptom of trichinosis after the larvae enter the muscle tissue.

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Legionnaires' Disease

Legionnaires' disease is a serious type of lung infection, or pneumonia, caused by bacteria. Fever, chills, cough, and head and muscle aches are common symptoms.

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Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as valley fever, is a fungal infection that starts in the lungs and can potentially spread to the rest of the body. Fever, chills and sweating are common.

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Snake Bites

A venomous snake bite can be deadly and is a medical emergency. Even a bite from a harmless snake can cause infection or an allergic reaction, producing symptoms like pain and swelling, convulsions, nausea, or paralysis.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.