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Persistent shortness of breath with normal blood oxygen (Page 1)

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For the past 4 months or so I've had these episodes of persistent shortness of breath that last for days/weeks at a time. I'm a 23 year old male.

I've had 4 EKGs and a chest X-Ray recently, all came back normal. Thyroid and blood work came back normal as well. The doc said my heart and lungs sounded good. Three years ago I had an echocardiogram done, which came back normal.

I went to an asthma doctor who did a pulmonary function test which came back normal. Whenever I go to the doctors and I have to put my finger on that blood oxygen meter I normally score 98-100%. Even when I'm short of breath I typically hit 600-650 in my peak flow readings.

So that's my problem, I have mild persistent shortness of breath throughout the day and as far as I can tell it's not my heart or lungs. Blood work suggests it's not my Iron or red blood cell count either. I'm at my wits end trying to get to the bottom of this...
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First Helper carolet66
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replied February 27th, 2008
Hi, I have the same problem with you. I've been SOB for almost 5 months. But the difference is in peakflow rate. My peakflow rate is around 500. Have you seen pulmonologist? My blood oxygen level is also good (98-100%). I more concern on my lung recently.

Cheers,

Heribertus
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replied April 14th, 2008
I too have these episodes. However mine include pain around my lungs too. Dr. keep telling me not to woory since my oxygen leven is fine, but I want to yell out "But I still can't breathe!"
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replied February 24th, 2009
shortnesss of breath
I have the same problem, 100% blood oxygen level but i still feel very short of breath. did you ever find out what it could be?
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replied March 30th, 2009
Same issue
I have the same issue here, have ended up in the ER twice because I couldn't breathe deep enough and felt my body shutting down slowly as my legs gave out, chills and sweating at night (not anymore), and constant fatigue. While at the ER, they did an EKG, which came out normal, chest x-ray normal, blood count normal, heart and lungs sound normal. It has been over a month since my first episode and I continue to have breathing difficulty everyday, with some days worse than others (weekends when I'm on feet a lot). I am a 24 yr old female and up until a month ago I have been healthy, upbeat, and active. Now, I feel like I might not live to see tomorrow. I have also recently noticed that the airway is slightly blocked in my left nostril even though I have had no cold/flu symptoms and no mucus, no sniffles just swollen airway and bump on nose. The doc gave me some cortisteroidal nose spray and antihestimines but it's been a week and no improvement...On top of this mess I have 4 swollen lymph nodes in the groin that cause me no pain and only remind me that there's something that's just not right with how I've been feeling...Can anyone shed some light on this?
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replied November 18th, 2012
How has the stress level been in your life, you are at the age one can expect anxiety, or mental issues to develop. I am 30, and male, which is somewhat past the age you would expect to see these things develop and yet I have shortness of breath regularly, with 100 percent O2 on the monitor. It seems from looking around, the most common cause for this is anxiety. Sometimes we have anxiety even when we don't realize it, it can strike anytime, without being provoked. The good news, anxiety is controllable, and curable. Meds may help I am told, but the cure is Cognative Behavior Therapy. Feeling as if you're going to die, shear terror, etc are common with anxiety, this is not a sign of weakness, but a simple imbalance in brain chemicals and adrenoline. The main thing, is this is not life threatening and you are ok. Once the doc checks you out for other causes, this is something to consider. You are a healthy 24 year old women as you say, so of course check with the doc, but if anxiety is what is thought of as the cause, and your symptoms certainly seem anxiety related, then seek therapy. Oh, also, cognative behavior therapy is not years and years of therapy, it is quick.
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replied April 5th, 2009
Same Problems-shortness of Breathe
I am a 42 year old female and I have every one of these symptoms and my ostat level is always 98-100%. The doctor diagnoised me with COPD (CHRONIC OBSTRUCTION PLUMANARY DISEASE)and ASTHMA. It is very strange that my chest X-rays have always been normal and every doctor has always told me my lungs sound clear. I hurt in my ribs a lot durning the day while I am working but when I lye down it eases off. I feel like I have to keep yawning in order to get enough air into my lungs. I lost my job due to this because of being around chemicals and being shortnrss. I could not get a doctor to release me back to work due to shortness of breathe. Even, breathing treatments never helped me get enough of air. None of the inhalers work, either. I also have a huge swollen lymph nodes in the groin area. I really do not beleive that I have COPD because I never cough and never have a cold. I am in denial of this disorder; I feel like something else is wrong. I have been going to the doctor about this ever since 2005. Can any one help, please!!!
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replied September 27th, 2011
You can still have COPD and asthma even if you haven't had a cold or cough. Have you been exposed to smoke, chemicals, asbestos, fumes and other things that might harm your lungs?
Here is something that might help you with your SOB! It is called pursed lip breathing, breathe 3sec through your nose(close mouth, works better) and breath out 6secs out pursed lip..(like your whistling). You can look it up on the net as well, lots of info. on this. This improves you breathing pattern if you have an ^work of breathing, SOB, improves your oxygen level, and helps you calm down as well.Another thing is not to do is panic...b/c that can cause more ^SOB/WOB. Emotions, stress, environment, extreme hot/cold weather, so...DO NOT panic control your breathing!! YOU can do it! Hope this info can help.
I am a Registered Respiratory therapist, and have helped a lot of pt's that experience what you are experiencing. Good luck! Look up info about COPD/asthma on the net...a lot of info that may be helpful!
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replied July 4th, 2012
how come a person can be SOB and have a Sa02 of 100% after smoke inhalation from a burning house?
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replied December 15th, 2012
The carbon monoxide is not picked up by the pulse oximeter. Carbon monoxide binds at a much greater rate than oxygen to the hemoglobin, and is very difficult for the bind to break. The body starves for oxygen as carbon monoxide is not usable by the cells causing shortness of breath.
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replied February 12th, 2014
I am in my 70's, a retired RN, and have a paralyzed vocal cord, advanced COPS, and huge nasal polyps. Who, pray tell, can live this way? It is a life of suffering 24/7. Sometimes it is best to just ask God to take me, the struggle has become too great.
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replied April 9th, 2009
SOB
It could very well be GERD/Acid reflux. Is it worse after you eat a big meal? are you burping more than usual? Anxiety/stress can also cause this reflux.
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replied April 11th, 2009
shortness of breath
I too have been experiencing shortness of breath for the last month. I had gastric bypass surgery a month ago and that is when my problem started. I have had ct scan of lungs. echochardiogram and catherization of heart, ultrasound of legs and everything is negative. I do have mild asthma but taking inhalers does not help. Any ideas what this might be and the treatment of it?
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replied April 18th, 2009
sob
try not to pay too much attention to oxygen saturation, because even if u had no blood in your body you could have 100% oxygen saturation on 1 hemoglobin and the reading could still be 100% on your finger. but you should pay closer attention to your Pa02 on blood work. and your hemoglobin level. maybe you are anemic or lack proper nutrition such as calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, all are important in blood oxygen transport,
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replied June 15th, 2009
Hello, I had a respiratory infection two months ago it was just awful I got over that now I am having breathing problems, I have had a chest xray and I was told that it look fine I could barely keep him in the room to tell me that. My breathing get so bad that I don't want go to bed because I think I won't wakeup the doctor put me on a inhaler it works a little very little. He asked me if I smoked I said no never my parents did when I was little he looked at me like...shurrrr, I can't seem to get any kind of relief I'am scared. PANICED
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replied July 11th, 2009
I started having the same symptoms about a month ago, went to a doctor and the xrays came out normal. This shortness of breath came out of nowhere. The first 2-3 days were really scary, I constantly having to take 3-4 deep breaths to fill my lungs. Although its still there its gotten a bit better since it first hit me and I'm not afraid this thing could kill me(phew!). Figured I'd give it another month and hope it gets better before going to a specialist.


Have any of you gotten better?
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replied August 24th, 2009
Hi
Try Buteyko breathing technique.You can find Buteyko Trainer if you are living Britain,Ireland,Canad,Australia ,USA ------ .Try a google search for Buteyko.
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replied November 30th, 2009
Same symptoms for me, but the whole wind pipe feels irritated in addition. I have extrememly good lung capacity, x-rays fine. But the last few years I have gradually got worse. At first symptoms only occured under extreme exertion - steep mountain walking. Now I feel I'm going to faint walking up the stairs. Cortison inhalents etc don't help. Gets worse when in damp air, such as shower etc. Tenderness in lower abdomen, and both sides over kidneys, but kidney function and ultra sound fine. Going mad trying to get rid of the constant irritation, cough and feeling the I'm not getting enough oxygen. Doc sits there with big question mark. I'm not going to make up symptoms so he can make a diagnosis, but feeling as bad as I do, fatigue etc and a mild fever that comes and goes. weird, to say the least. I don't lie awake worrying about serious conditions, but I nned an answer and hopefully a cure! I have never smoked or worked in a polluted environment, either
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replied December 18th, 2009
I live in Australia and last year went to China to visit my brother who's working there. Whilst there i visited the great wall and it was -28 degrees and it stung your lungs it was so cold. When i returned to Oz, it was 35 degrees (summer) and i started feeling short of breath - i've had bad SOB for about a year now and have been to 2 pulmonologists and even to the hospital - where this horrible indian doctor told me that my lungs were in pristine condition and that she thought it might be in my mind - i really wish it was - i just want to be able to breathe again!
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replied June 19th, 2010
I've gone through this same thing for over two years now. I've been to numerous dr's- and have had a few that have said it was in my mind or that I was depressed- so on and so forth. I have since also developed an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue as well. No dr. has been able to give me any good answer for what I and apparently many others out here are going through. I was iron deficiency anemic at one point,I've also been potassium deficient as well, but both of these things were resolved and the symptoms of breathlessness and tightness in the throat off and on still persists. I've also noticed that it appears just before or during menstruation without fail. It happens other times during a month as well sometimes for just a day or two or sometimes for a week or more. I have done much research on my own and have found several interesting things- I don't know at this point if any of them are the cause but it's worth looking into. I also suffer from headaches and sinus troubles off and on and have read that pollutants in our air can cause infections that irritate our respiratory system. We can also pick up fungal infections without even knowing it which can cause asthma and allergy like symptoms. Many of these pollutants can even cause autoimmune diseases and cancers. These pollutants strip our bodies of oxygen at the cellular level. Most viruses and other toxins that cause illness cannot live in an oxygen rich environment, so thay invade our cells and strip them of oxygen. Your oxygen sats would still be normal on an O2 monitor even if your cells are being depleated of oxygen. I found a really interesting website that discussed all of this in great detail, I wasn't actually looking for it when I found it I more or less ran into it and couldn't stop reading.
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replied July 2nd, 2010
breathing difficulty / bloated diaphragm
tiredofbeingsickandtired - do you have any links you can pass on? I have had your exact same symptoms including the weird link to my menstrual cycle. My CT scans, oxygen monitor and chest x-rays have all been normal and I do not suffer from anxiety. I was given an inhaler which does nothing. I do have a thickness in my throat however and I feel bloated around my diaphragm. I also sometimes hear a tiny wheeze when I take a deep breath in. I am sick of not being able to breath as well!!!
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replied July 8th, 2010
shortness of breath and 100% oxygen
I have all these 100% oxygen and short breath.Mine is asthma exacerbation from wood smoke from chimaneas and firepits,but on a recent prolonged episode-and a jont to the ER-there was also bronchial infection and fluid in my lungs but no fever.I got high dose steroids and a zpack-My o2 was still 100% and my peak flow was 500- So I think it the o2 is bull.In the past the shortness in breath for months I think was an anxiety thing try controlled breathing and some xanax!
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replied August 31st, 2010
Same issue here! You are not alone...and not nuts!
pass on website!
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replied August 31st, 2010
Check this out...I think this is what 'tiredofbeingsickandtired' was talking about. Not suggesting buying it...could be crap...but interesting theorys around oxegen at the celluar level.

Synergy O2® Liquid Oxygen
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replied September 9th, 2010
Just want to be up and running
I'm suffering from the same thing everyone else here has been describing. I'm a 19yr female and I'm usual very active. 3 weeks ago I went to hospital with really bad abdominal pain (I suffer from PCOS so I thought it was that) the doctors however completely dismissed me and gave me antibiotics for infections and tablet for IBS even though I didn't have symptoms of either thing. The day after I went to the hospital I started experiencing chest pains. It is a constant feeling as if someone is trying to crush me and I can't get enough breath, and a worse a servere stabbing pain. I went to the hospital again today and the done an ECG which came out normal, my heart rate was normal, and my blood oxygen levels was around 99%. They also said that my lungs sound fine. I was then asked if I felt anxious, stressed etc and when answered no the doctor clearly didn't believe me and told me if there was anything that I though of at later date to speak to my GP and to get some blood work done. I've been in bed now for 3 weeks+ with no energy, and I'm tired of being made to feel like it is all in my head!
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