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Can't take a deep breath (Page 1)

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Hi I'm a 23 year old graduate student in michigan and I've just about come to my wits end with a problem that I've been dealing with for almost three years now!.
I had bad allergies (running nose, watery eyes..you name it) while growing up and at that time I was naive and didn't want to take any medications for them so i'd just wait it out. The one remedy that I did find helpful was running, and for the most part this proved successful until one day three years ago. At that time I just got accepted to grad school and I was elated. My allergies started to act up so I decided to go for a 7 mile run (before every run I would decided how far i would go before I started and no matter how poorly I felt I would finish that distance...im very stubborn). On this day about two miles in my run i began to feel terrible and ache all over but, being the stubborn person I was, I continued to run the remainder five miles at a snail pace. At the completion of that run i felt o.k but the next morning i woke up and had this sensation that I couldn't take a deep breath. I went to the doctors and I had my heart and lungs checked out and everything came back normal. Since that day I've tried to ignore the fact that I couldn't take a deep breath and continue with my life, however it's gotten to the point where I'm so conscious of my breathing that it's very hard to do anything else and I've become very depressed. I constantly feel like my breathing is impaired and I have to work to get a breath in (I was checked for asthma and I don't have it)
Due to the fact that all the medical tests came back as normal everyone says this is all in my head, and to a certain extent I believe them, but I think anxiety and depression have resulted and compounded this problem but they are not the underlying cause. I do agree that anti-anxiety and depression medication may seem appropriate but I don't think they will have a big impact until I come to the root of the problem. The one strange thing about all of this is that since that day my allergies haven't nearly been as bad. If anyone has been in a similar situation or could offer any advice i would greatly appreciate it. Could exercising with bad allergies been the cause of my problem? I'm very desperate for help!
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First Helper acrobay
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replied May 6th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Have you been troubled with all these symptoms (runny nose, tearing, itchy eyes) during a season or all year round?
Did you have an anxiety issue before "that moment"?
Does the sensation of not being able to breath or "air hunger", occur mostly on waking or exertion?
Are you experiencing malaise feeling?
Do you usually get feeling of pain and weakness in your muscles, after very short periods of use?
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replied May 6th, 2008
Hi MandMs, I truly appreciate your quick reply.

1.) I usually had seasonal bouts of the allergies at the time (they weren't year round)

2.) I was always somewhat of an anxious person before that incident but never to the point where it would impact my daily functioning.

3.) The sensation of not being able to breath is practically constant...I don't think there has been a day the past three years where I can say that my breathing has been "normal"...It's been so long that I don't even remember what normal breathing feels like!

4.) Yes, at this time I would say that I've been feeling very down!

5.) That's the strangest of things...(quick note..I used to be a marathon runner and have run 3 boston marathons in the past) I can still run 4 miles under 7 minutes a mile but it just doesn't feel the same and I don't think I could tolerate running long distances anymore. I can climb one flight of stairs and feel totally out of breath but I also can run 4 miles in 26 minutes and be ok (ok in the sense that I can do it...the breathing problem is still there)

thanks again for the response
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replied May 15th, 2008
Maybe running those last few miles with those allergies made you breathe a little harder or more shallow than usual? If that's the case, maybe your intercostal muscles are just a little tight from the unusual exercise of them. Don't hesitate to go back to the doctor, though.
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replied March 6th, 2009
Me Too!
I have been feeling that way too, for five days now. You've been feeling that way for 3 years? I am so scared that this feeling will never go away.
The dr only gave me anti-anxiety drugs for it and insisted that is was in my head. I don't want to take the drugs because I am afraid it is only covering-up the underlying problem.
I am afraid that it could be something serious.
I am 24 and I don't have allergies.
What else do you know about this condition?
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replied April 13th, 2009
i have the same problem i feel like i have to yawn 5 times just to get a deep breath ...and when i actually get the deep breath sometimes i feel something pop in my chest its really odd and scary
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replied May 21st, 2009
I'm sick of this
I am 16. And I have been feeling like I can't breath either with out yawning all the time. I get sick of it and it gets in the way of my daily routines. I have been feeling this way since I was about 11 or 12 and it's better then before. I had it for about a year when I first started feeling that way and then I felt better for about two years. Then last summer toward the end of the school year I started feeling like I couldn't breath. I spent my summer going to the emergency room about 8 times and to the doctors office a couple times.
I have been taking ant-anxiety medication and it seems to be helping. I have my good days and my bad days but I'm so fed up with worrying about my breathing. I even took an allergy test to see if this was due to any allergies because I have also been constently clearing my throut and have found out that I have post nasil drip. Along with the anti-anxiety meds I am also taking an allergy perscription.
Doctors have told me that this is stress related and due to allergies. I am an axious person I will admit and I have a lot of stress in my life so I guess it's not such a surprise. BUT I want to stop having to worry about this, I'm young and should be having a good time with friedns instead of declining invitations to birthday parties because I'm worried I'll have another episode. PLEASE IF ANYONE KNOWS OF ANYTHING THAT COULD HELP THIS, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE RESPOND. I WANT MY LIFE BACK.
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replied June 11th, 2009
To be honest, I'm going to start looking into food allergies. I did quickly scan the symptoms and "shortness of breath" does seem to be a symptom...not at the top of the list but a symptoms, but there in the mix.
I too have been getting these "episodes" every so often for about 5yrs+ now. I saw a doctor about it when it first started happening and she told me it was stress related. At the time I couldnt understand how it could be stress related...I was 18 and totally happy and carefree. I often associate this feeling with eating, which seems really strange to me. Anyway, it would come on a very irregular time frame, BUT the last 3 days I have constantly felt I cant take that deep breath. There is no satifaction in my breathing and I either have to yawn 40 times to get one decent satisfying breath or I have to inhale so hard and forcefully that my whole body moves to get the breath, and its alot worse after eating. I am going to go to the doctors now and try and get some answers. The ONLY thing making me feel better about this knowing other people have the exact same issues. I really hope we find a cause and an answer for this issue...so ALL the world can breath easy. Take care guys Smile
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replied June 19th, 2009
Ok Last year I had all this till I had my very first full blown panic attack. The breathing was during this time of year spring and early of summer. Hard to take a deep/full breath. You began to think more into it. Than the internet finding for answer reading ever bad thing that it could be to which you might have. (your fine)
Muscles would hurt and at times feel tense. Than one day ache down the left arm, tingle in feet, hard beating heart, feeling flushed. Just thinking your falling apart or yup even the thought, your going to die.
Trip to the ER being told you might be having a heart attack or a blood clot in the lung. Which made matter worse for me because I was told just that. With an EKG, chest x ray, Blood test, than a CT scan just to hear, YOUR FINE! You just had a full blown panic attack. Later that week went to see my new DR. Told I have Anxiety Disorder. IMO this is something genetic. Father, grand mother. They would tell me you have anxiety.

This is an issue in your head. Which in this case the feeling of not able to breath correctly from allegries can lead into other thoughts that can trigger anxiety.

sorry if this seems to be all tossed up here but hope it does help and calm your thoughts.
To this day 1 year later I am able to control anxiety however allergies won lol.
Check the mold count in your area. This could be the culprit. When you feel that you can not take in a deep breath stick your head in the freezer and take a deep breath this did work at times for me Smile From what I'm told now is muscles in your lungs can get over worked and swell to cause you to not be able to take in the full breath.
Relax try and collect your thoughts and learn to bring your mind at ease to control your body.
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Users who thank acrobay for this post: jlsellers 

replied June 21st, 2009
I have a mixture of all of these symptoms. I am 23 and have been dealing with this for about 5 yrs. I was tested for heart palpitations and asthma, and nothing came of it, they said I was fine. Clearly I'm not. I run a lot, and feel that it sometimes inhibits the distances I run. I also feel fatigued. After eating, if I eat a lot, it is very difficult to take in a deep breath. I also notice it getting worse when it is humid. Did you get any answers ShavG? I share a lot of your symptoms.
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replied June 22nd, 2009
not being able to catch my breath
I went to the Doctor today, mater of fact. i was diagnosed with Anxiety just as most of you were. I'm thinking "i have to catch my breath every 10-15 seconds. Not just one deep breath but even a yawn or something, shortness in breath is NOT just a side effect, its my main problem". I'm 21 years old and it's been worse than ever before since this past week.
i've had problems for about a year but lately I take in full gasps of air every few seconds. I dont know what the problem is but i do know that i even can't even catch my breath at the beach, when im completely relaxed,no worries at all (no anxiety). I'm on adderall already and I was just perscribed meds for anxiety. I guess i will see if it works but for some reason to me, this answer or diagnosis just isn't right. My mom says she has what i do, and that shes on anxiety meds too. i know she DOES have small bronchular tubes and thats her main reason for not breathing well. she went to a ear nose and throat specialist (not a regular doctor) and had her breathing tested at my age. maybe this test will help you all out. If these meds dont work, thats my next stop.
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replied June 24th, 2009
im trying a homeopath. maybe they have a different opinion.
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replied June 24th, 2009
Asthma, deep breath, Gerd, breathing
Some ideas: (I have it too, and I will not rest until it goes away)
Vitamin deficiency, Gerd/Hiatal hernia, Sleep apnea, Thyroid malfunction, anemia...all of these things are linked.
Mine started 2/8 and it was God awful, Today, it is like 60% better than in Feb.
I lost 87 lbs, stopped caffeine, and desserts. I started taking vitamins, extra magnesium and B-vitamins. I take Xanax .5 once a day....I go to a chiropractor, I am in much better shape now, its still here and Im very scared but I KNOW I will get to the bottom of this.

Check these things out

Good luck,
Geoffrey
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replied December 8th, 2011
gmichael1230,I have Anemia, and found out that this can cause shortness of breath. right now I am scared too and have heaviness on the chest, cannot breath good. I got up, as it woke me up, made the house cooler, and immediately I started to sneeze, 5 times in a row. I blew nose, and washed face and hands, and it helped a bit, i am up on my laptop, could not lie down again. Also do warm wet cloths,it help this,lower the heat in the house, and indigestion can cause it too, either by the food you ate before bedtime, or an upper resporitory cold. I hope you feel better, all of us soon, It is very frightening, and you are not crazy, it is real. going to take my B12 vitamins again, as this helps stop the shortness of breath. Hope this helps some of you, feel better. GIGI1946
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replied July 2nd, 2009
Experienced User
gmicheal1230, you are spot on! be careful with minerals though to learn about how we can up set our health with mineral out of balance go to ithyroid.com it's an educational site & doesn't just apply to people with thyroid disease, it applies to everyone with or without a thyroid. With mineral balancing i have cured my asthma,cured nasal polyps & am now having success with thyroid, adrenal fatigue & cfs. Do be careful with an out of balance of any minerals we can induce another illness which is worse than the one we started with!
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replied August 4th, 2009
Hi, im a 37 year old mother. I've had these symptoms for about three weeks, its actually getting worse. Hard to take a deep breath, have to yawn to feel satisfied. Im doing this so much that im starting to gag. I get very light headed, and start panicing and that makes it worse. The reason i dont think its anxiety, is that it wakes me up from a deep sleep. Been to the dr, thought i was having a heartattack. Had my lungs x rayed. It was good, check for blood clots, was ok. Dr, put me on something for indegestion since its worse sometimes after i eat. Didnt work. If any body has the same problem and nows what it is please let me no
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replied August 10th, 2009
oh man!!! so glad I am not the only one...I googled the symptoms as I am at my wit's end! I do triathlons, am in great shape, but cant catch my breath...did lung x-ray, and blood tests, have been taking inhalers for asthma for several weeks....NO CHange!!! It is not anxiety! I have notices is worse before my period, and when I am allergic, (ragweed, pollen etc, but antihistamines do not work...if anyone comes up with something....let me know...does anyone think it might have to do with low heart rate??? mine is 54 at rest.
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replied August 12th, 2009
I am currently sitting up right now with the same exact problem as you have described. I was checked for asma today and prescribed an inhaler ive used it like 5 times and it hasn't shown any affect good or bad on my situation.. Its always been this way for me when i get stressed but two days ago on a sunday the day before my senior year we were at a party at my friends house everyone was having a good time until we headed to the schoool for are senior prank.. my fried destin didnt even get 50 feet down the road when he got smashed by somone at the party from behind that had passed out behind the wheel.. there was alot of blood and alot of screaming i kinda was outta my mind so i just lost it you know that was my boy layin there in blood and and the guy that smashed him swallowed all his teeth and bit his bottom lip completly off and swallowed it too.. It was to much for the mind state i was in not even five mins after that i felt the deep breath thing coming on it seems like no other breathe counts except that deep one that you get and a couple of small ones in between deep breathes but it takes me so long to get a deep one that i just wanna go insane its realy wearing on me and i dont like it and all I havent slept or ate in 2 goin on three days and im very depressed and looking for an answer please help im in the same boat as you all and all I want it to do is go away.. I was checked for strep along with some other respitory diseases and they came back negative and im on the edge of going insane no lie so talk to me give me advice anything to make me feel better i don't know how much longer I or my body can stand this ive lost 26 pounds over a period of 48 hours and before that I only weighed 140 so any help would be greatly appriciated thanks
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replied September 1st, 2009
Im 26yrs old, and have also been suffering with the same problem for years. When i was in the 8th grade i had bronchitis and shortly after i noticed i couldn't take a deep breath. I feel like i need to yawn and sometimes that doesn't even work. I also run and i love sports..it has hindered it at times. Most times i can play and be fine, but something as simple as a walking a short flight of stairs makes me out of breath.
Yes your right setheljames..it seems like no other breath matters except for that deep one. Everytime i go to the Doctor I have a low heart rate also, infact today got so bad im going to the Doctor tomorrow. I really don't believe it's anxiety, but it sure causes it! Im tired of it and i need to know what's happening. I do find that taking the nebulizer does help to open my airways a little more. So try it..maybe it will help you on those really bad days.
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replied October 15th, 2009
I've been suffering for years also with not being able to get a satisfying deep breath on a consistent basis. I am a nurse and have also been checked out by drs and emergency rooms. I feel it has nothing to do with my lungs. It has to do with my stomach. When my stomach is upset or if I have a lot of gas (sorry) the breathing seems to be worse. What I have found will help most times is drinking carbonated pop that will cause me to burp and then I can get a deep breath. Also, when I wake up in the morning it seems to be ok for a few hours and then it starts. Does anyone have these things happen to them too like the upset stomach, drinking pop, or waking in morning. I'm bound and determined to find out what it is. I do know that when I am not thinking about it if I get busy at work, it seems to not be as bad so maybe it is in our heads and anxiety. Thank you.
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replied June 15th, 2012
This is the most similar to what I am experiencing as well, i feel fine in the morning and after i eat something it gets really bad. I eat really healthy food and take digestive enzymes yet it still hits me really hard for hours after. I definitely think its related to my stomach being that I've had other issues related to GERD. If it is anxiety, then my body has been conditioned to become anxious after I eat. I've also been clearing my throat, increased mucus a lot more than usual - Im positive this is GERD related but i refuse to take over the counter meds that just block the symptoms and don't address the issue.
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replied December 17th, 2009
Runner34, I'm glad somebody finally has almost the exact same symptoms I have! Most of the people here do! I've had it for a year now..and it's constant..it has not gone away once since I've had it. Now, if it truly was asthma..asthma is not a constant feeling, it exacerbates and then goes away! My symptoms are simply it's very hard to take a deep breath! I have to either yawn constantly, like lift my shoulders up and bend forward, sleep on my stomach. Sometimes if I eat a lot, it makes it worse. AND, I can still run, I can run 6 miles..However, it gets very tiring trying to take deep breathes for the whole 6 miles, so lately I just have been stopping after about 2 because I'm just tired of constantly feeling like I need to breathe even though I bet you my o2 saturation would be fine and I have no other signs of needing oxygen. It's just simply hard to take deep breaths! I went to the doctor a year ago and they told me it was probably asthma..gave me steroids, a z-pack, and 2 inhalers..NEITHER of which helped..I still have an albuterol inhaler which I use often, but I honestly feel like it does NOTHING for the problem at hand. It may help the feeling just slightly because my lungs do not have to expand as much to get oxygen in since it's a bronchodilator. I really want to see a pulmonologist and I have a doctors appoitment tomorrow with my regular doctor to hopefully get in to see one. Because this is getting ridiculous, I practically spend my days trying to figure out ways to take my next deep breathe..and it's really annoying. If I talk a lot, I literally have to stop sometimes to take a breath! Also, I noticed you said that you get SOB when walking up stairs..SAME here..I am in great shape, but for some reason, I feel short of breath when I walk up stairs as well. I just hope somebody finds an answer to this, because it seems like we all have the same symptoms with no answer from any doctor! I am a 22 y/o Nursing Student about ready to graduate..and honestly, I do not believe this is asthma or anxiety based..there is something else going on!
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