What makes you breathless?

10) How is breathlessness measured by your GP?

Your GP will use the following scale to measure your breathlessness, this is called the Medical Research Council breathlessness scale or MRC scale.

Medical Research Council breathlessness scale
1 2 3 4 5
Person with hiking boots and rucksack climbing hill Lady walking up steep hill with shopping bag getting breathless Man out of breath walk on flat road, road sign with 1 mile Person out of breath, leaning on a wall, 60 metres Person housebound, in their armchair
You are not troubled by breathlessness except on strenuous exercise You are short of breath when hurrying on the level or walking up a slight hill You walk slower than most people on the level, stop after a mile or so, or stop after 15 minutes walking at own pace You stop for breath after walking about 100 yards (60 metres) or after a few minutes on level ground You are too breathless to leave the house, or breathless when dressing or undressing

Where do you fit into this chart today? If you notice that you have gone from a 2 to a 3 or from a 3 to a 4 this would be the time to make an appointment with your GP or healthcare professional for advice and review. If your GP measures you as 3 or above you should be referred to pulmonary rehabilitation.

For more information please see our section on Pulmonary Rehab.

You have reached the end of this topic on What makes you breathless?. What do you want to do next?


    Q1. Has the My Lungs my Life site helped you self manage your condition?

    Q2. Would you use the My Lungs My life site again?

    Q3. Would you recommend the My Lungs My Life site to others?

    Q4. Do you have COPD?

    Q5. Are you a healthcare professional?

    Q6. How would you rate this section? (1 = poor, 5 = excellent)