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Can't Take a Deep Breath (Page 11)

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February 4th, 2008
I believe it's anxiety
I keep reading posts about this and I have to believe it is anxiety, even though some of you (including myself) say there's no reason to have the anxiety in the first place. When I am busy and not really thinking about it, I notice later that I don't have that "breathless" feeling. When I sit and worry about how much longer I'm going to be doing this, then I can't stop feeling like I can't take a deep breath. I really think it's all psychological but I don't know how to stop it! I tried anxiety medication for several months but I actually felt better after I stopped taking it than I did when I was on it. This strange feeling didn't get worse or better after stopping the medication. After reading many of the posts about this and the people saying their doctor puts it down as anxiety, I have to agree with them. My doctor said the same thing. Although I didn't have tons of tests done, I did have a stress test and everything was normal. Anyway, if anyone has an answer to how to shake this feeling...I'd love to know!
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replied February 6th, 2008
Does the problem go seem to go away when you sleep for anyone. I always wake up breathing perfectly normal, until I get up. Very weird, I'm going to be tested for lyme disease, I think it may be a factor.
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replied February 10th, 2008
Most nights I sleep perfectly fine without this strange feeling but as soon as I wake up it begins. But like I said in the post before, when I'm really busy and later look back on my day, I realize that it doesn't happen then. That's why I believe it's anxiety. I am a worrier...and sometimes over the littlest, unimportant things. I just worry "what's going to happen next" kind of stuff and I believe not being able to get a satisfying breath comes from this and I dwell on it too much. It's more annoying than anything!!
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replied February 10th, 2008
I think anxiety does play a factor. Not totally though. I think we all have something in common that we don't know about, a heart problem etc. Do your ribs get sore from the effort of trying to breath? Mine do...and I have good days and bad days. With me it went away for 4 years and suddenly it came back with a vengence. I have had times of high anxiety since then, that I would think if it was going to kick in, it should have, but it didn't. Strange
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replied February 10th, 2008
You may be right. No, my ribs don't hurt but I have had some feelings of abnormal heart palpitations and I think that is due to the deep breaths I am always trying to take. I had a stress test done last summer because I was having chest pains, etc and it was fine. Shortly after that was when I started having these breathless sensations. I don't know if I mentioned this before but I belong to a fitness center and I walk 3-4 times a week on the treadmill. I don't get breathless doing that and I walk almost 4 mph and for 45 minutes. It would be great if we all could find out what is making us have this crazy feeling.
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replied February 17th, 2008
Breathing Issues
I find I have these 'episodes' after i sort of forget about how I am breathing. For example, I work in a warehouse and we are always under pressure to unpack the new stock and get it entered into the system. When doing this I get into a sort of frenzy and fully concentrate on the task.....i then have a week or so of breathing difficulties. I get distressed and find i need alot of sleep.

X-Rays are fine. I am 34YO - fit and can run for 7km without stopping. But this breathing issue gets to me.

I remember having a slight problem with this about 25 years ago and they diagnosed me with asthma and i gradually 'grew out of it'. But it came back worse in the past 6 years and I will have an episode every few months. The doc has me on Seratide and ventalin which don't seem to make any difference.

Anyone draw on any similarities??
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replied February 18th, 2008
My shortness of breath experience
This is my first post on this web site, hope you're all doing well.

I too have experienced the problem of feeling breathless or as needing to take a deep breath from time to time. Over the last 4 weeks it has been constant. Of course, I made the mistake of googling my symptoms and ended up believing I had Pulmonary Hypertension! Stupid me. I noted that the symptoms seemed to get worse after exercise, and even more so after a bout of anxiety. So I saw my GP. She sent me off for lung function and heart stress tests as well as thorough blood analysis. I got the results back today - I have borderline hypertension and a slightly thickened left ventricle of my left heart, resulting in mild Heart Arrhythmia. I've now been prescribed beta blockers to lower my hypertension and also to deal with my anxiety. I'm 37 years of age and have been athletic fit since 21.

So to anyone who has a persistent shortness of breath, I urge you - GO TO A DOCTOR. And if your Doc says it's probably anxiety, then demand an excercise ECG. Absolutely insist on it. Good luck to you all, may you all experience good health soon.
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replied February 19th, 2008
Re: My shortness of breath experience
Bodywise wrote:
This is my first post on this web site, hope you're all doing well.

I too have experienced the problem of feeling breathless or as needing to take a deep breath from time to time. Over the last 4 weeks it has been constant. Of course, I made the mistake of googling my symptoms and ended up believing I had Pulmonary Hypertension! Stupid me. I noted that the symptoms seemed to get worse after exercise, and even more so after a bout of anxiety. So I saw my GP. She sent me off for lung function and heart stress tests as well as thorough blood analysis. I got the results back today - I have borderline hypertension and a slightly thickened left ventricle of my left heart, resulting in mild Heart Arrhythmia. I've now been prescribed beta blockers to lower my hypertension and also to deal with my anxiety. I'm 37 years of age and have been athletic fit since 21.

So to anyone who has a persistent shortness of breath, I urge you - GO TO A DOCTOR. And if your Doc says it's probably anxiety, then demand an excercise ECG. Absolutely insist on it. Good luck to you all, may you all experience good health soon.


for longer breathe and better resistance in your lungs!
make your workout like jogging or any activity.
if thirst during your workout. "don't drink cold water or cold energy drink"

cold drinks would give you spasm your throat.
surgery
"drink warm water" it gives you longer breathe and better resistance. yes
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replied March 3rd, 2008
I yawn and unable to breath too ...
lalala16 wrote:

" CT scan, a chest Xray, and an EKG and said everything looked normal and told me I have anxiety.

I know my anxiety comes from these health problems, but I don't have any stressors that would have brought this anxiety on and I don't know what I can do for it.

It seems to get worse after I exercise, and even sometimes when I lay down, but I always sleep well and don't wake up gasping for air. I just feel this constant heaviness in my chest, and can not take a deep breath, even sometimes when I yawn I am unable to.
"

Hi lalala16,
I hope you read this as I have exactly the same symptoms for the last 6 months. I went to see many doctors and none of them helped me so far. I did X-Ray and blood tests and everything shows normal. When I lay down or after excise I start feeling the need for deep breaths. It is very annoying and would love to know if you were able to find a solution to it.

Not sure what to do next. Most probably I have to keep seeing more doctors and stay persistent till I find the root cause for it and hopefully a solution.

thanks
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replied March 6th, 2008
I'm not crazy! Great.
Hi all, and I must say it's a pleasure (and a bit of a relief) to meet you. I have been suffering from exactly the symptoms described here for at least 5 years, pretty much constantly. i'm sure you'll agree, it really is quite annoying. <Yawns>.

>>> About Me:
I am male, 27 and athletic. I don't smoke. I sleep 8-9 hours most nights without too much of a problem. I play rugby, run, surf - I run 10k in a pretty decent time on a regular basis. My girlfriend gets driven up the wall about how laid back I am about everything. I work 4 days a week, 8-4; I'm taking 4 months off to go snowboarding in June. Not much to be stressed about. I lived in the UK (Oxford > Bath > London) until 8 months ago when I moved to Auckland, NZ, mainly for the lifestyle.

>>> When did it start?
As far as I can remember, the first time the yawn/deep breath (im gonna call it YDB so I dont have to keep writing it) issue became a serious problem was when sitting my final exams at Oxford. I don't usually get stressed, but at this time I was. So much to learn, not enough time. Shouldn't have skipped all those lectures. I'd never had any problems with exams before - in fact I (kind of) enjoyed them. Anyway I couldn't sleep. By day 3 I was so tired I was running on pure adrenaline. The main problem in my exams was that I felt I needed to yawn so much it distracted me from my writing my answers. I switched to occasional deep breaths instead - and by the end of my exams I'd tried to take so many yawns / deep breaths for satisfaction, I got a sharp pain every time in my superclavicular nerve, from my clavicle to halfway up my neck (google it).

Anyway, after my exams (I did fine), the YDB subsided, but never went away. The nerve pain did go away (I think it was a secondary symptom caused by the repeated attempted deep breaths). It's now 5 years later, and I'm sitting at my desk yawning, or trying to yawn every 5 minutes.

>>> The condition in detail.
I yawn (or attempt to yawn) what feels like a million times a day. I can only get "satisfaction" from a successful yawn, not one that stops half way. I can get temporary relief from taking a quick deep breath - I find that the best way is to take a normal breath (halfway) in and then breath in quickly and deeply for the rest of the breath. This only grants temporary relief though - not as much as a proper yawn. I have found that body position helps with both yawning and deep breaths being "successful". When yawning, I join my hands together, lock out my arms (as if stretching them) and straighten my back. I find it helps.

It definitely comes on more in times of stress, but for me it's there at some level pretty much all of the time.

>>> So what is it?
I had toyed with the idea for a while now that it might just be a psychological condition (especially as most doctors will just say "umm... stress... deep breathing... must be hyperventilation!"). However, after reading this forum post, the precision with which the symptoms described here match mine is so overwhelming, I'm now sure there must be an underlying physical cause, and I'm not going to stop until I find out what it is. So there.

Can the doctors fix it?
Sure! I bet they could. But I'm also betting they have other, more serious concerns, like say, cancer. That doesn't help us though. Get this: My mum, step dad and girlfriend are all doctors. Awesome huh? Maybe I'll just ask them. Well no, actually. For numerous reasons, the last ever people doctors will take seriously when it comes to medical problems are their close relatives, especially if it's something obscure that they can't instantly diagnose. They just don't like being tested, especially if it's a symptom that they've not heard of (like for example, not being able to yawn). They just shrug it off.

I mention that I can't yawn. The're like "oh, dear". And that's that. But now, thaks to you guys, I have backup.

>>> What causes it?
I haven't read every page on this thread, but as far as I can tell, no one know's what causes it. There are all sorts of theories, from asthma, allergens, dust mites, stress, pure psychological factors, pollution - etc .etc.

>>>We can find out. Together.... Hopefully.
Doctors aren't magic. Trust me, I live with one. Most people, including me, would like to believe that they are: - I go to a doctor, tell them what's wrong, and they give me a pill and I get better. Bingo.

Sadly, that's not always the case. Research doctors, really, are just scientists. They have this incredible machine (the body) which sometimes goes wrong, and they try and figure out how to fix it by doing semi- random things to it. It's a bit like a monkey trying to fix a vcr. Monkey doesn't know how the hell it all works, but through years of random experiments and VCR fixing, he gets an idea about what might help when it breaks. The real problem is that monkey has 6 billion vcrs to fix, and new ones are appearing all the time, and all kinds of stuff horrible goes wrong with VCRs. So when 50 out of 300 million stop being able to yawn, monkey doesn't pay much attention. He tells them it's hyperventilation, gives them prozac and tells them to go on their merry way.

Monkey analogy aside, what I'm saying is this condition is too rare and not serious enough for doctors to really care about. So I guess we'll have to try and figure it out ourselves.

I'm a scientist too. And we all can be. It's a way of thinking. As a scientist, it seems to me the most sensible thing to do is go through this thread and make a table cross referencing all of the data people have on this thing, and see if we can isolate one particular common factor. There should be a few things we can rule out pretty quickly, at least.

I'll do it in spreadsheet form, and I'll upload it onto the web so you guys can have a look at it, and update it with any data you have. it'll be like a global game of cluedo, except if we win then we get to stop having to yawn all day flipping long. <yawns>.

As I'm going to do this, anything you think would be helpful that you could send me via email would be awesome . In fact just sending the details about you, how long you've had it, what triggers / fixes it, and any other relevant stuff would be great.

And if you're still reading now, well done.
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Users who thank adam1128 for this post: Rudiger 

replied March 6th, 2008
I'm not crazy!
adam1128 wrote:


As I'm going to do this, anything you think would be helpful that you could send me via email would be awesome . In fact just sending the details about you, how long you've had it, what triggers / fixes it, and any other relevant stuff would be great.

And if you're still reading now, well done.



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replied March 6th, 2008
Summary of possible causes
I've just finished reading all of the posts. I think 90% of them seem to be people with the can't yawn / take deep breath problem, and the rest seem to be generic asthma / shortness of breath. So here we go - for the yawning/deep breath problem (YDB):

People Affected:

Age: 13 - 60
Sex: M & F
Smoke: Smokers and Non smokers
Pets: Both people with and without
Execise: Common in people who do regular execise, those who don't
Diet: All ranges of diet, from organic veg only to 8 diet pepsi's a day
Stress: Affects both people prone to panic / anxiety and those who are less so. May be more common among more anxious people.

Example of symptoms:
Feel urge to take deep-breath/yawn to get "satisfaction", however often yawn/deep-breath does not "work" - i.e. no satifaction gained. When eventaully breath/yawn does "work", often only a few minutes (or less) passes before the urge to take a deep breath/yawn returns, and the cycle repeats.

Possible triggers / factors affecting the problem

1. Stress - Seems to be a common theme. Extreme stress seems to trigger or heighten the problem, however problem can go on daily for years, which suggests that it stress not the primary cause.

In some cases, yawning problem starts randomly, where the sufferer is under little or no stress; the problem itself then causes stress, which heightens the problem, possibly causing a panic attack, further heightening the problem. This is not always the case. I personally have never had a anything remotely resembling a panic attack, and I have never been concerned about having this yawning problem, I just find it annoying. Stress may be a trigger and may heighten the problem, but it doesn't fit with causing the problem. This is backed up by the consistency of the physiological symptoms.

2. Sleep

People report having the issue while asleep and it waking them up, and also keeping them from going to sleep. However, some (including me) have no problem once asleep, or while going to sleep. Amount of sleep does not seem to be a factor either.

3. Execise

Some report the problem being worse after execise, some that it occurs both during and after execise; mostly people seem to report that it occurs when they are not execising, or that exercise does not affect it much either way.

4. Trapped wind / burping

Some people report that burping (releasing trapped wind from the stomach) seems to help with getting satisfaction from following yawns. Suggestions that release of trapped wind allows lungs to expand properly. This does not seem to be definitive (I know I have not noticed this)

Suggested Causes

I should also note that the Yawning Deep Breath Problem could be a symptom which can be caused by a range of different things, so it may be that what is (the root cause) for you is not the root cause for someone else. However, even in such a case, both separate causes are probably triggering the same physiological mechanism, be it in the lungs themselves, or in the brain respiritoy regulatory system (the bit of the brain that controlls breathing). Anyway, here they are:

- Mitral valve prolapse - (common heart defect, wide ranging symptoms)

- Lymes disease - (tick born infection - can have very wide ranging and diverse symptoms, although failure to take "deep satifying breath" is one. Can be hard to diagnose; chronic symptoms can appear years after infection. Is somewhat controversial, and looks like it may be used as a generic "catch all" for hard to diagnose chronic problems).

- Iron deficiency anemia - (enough hemoglobin cannot be formed due to lack of iron in the diet; 10 times more prevalent in women than men; Up to 20% of US women of child brearing age may have this.) Note: If this were the sole cause of the yawning problem, we would expect to see ~10 times more women on these posts than men.

- Asthma / Allergies: Possibly a mild form of asthma, although most report than inhalers / asthma meds have no effect whatsoever; also not linked with coughing or wheezing. Allergen

- Vocal Chord dysfunction (VCD): (lesser known problem where vocal chords constrict the breathing. Treated by speech therapy, among other things.)

- Misaligned ribs / musculo skeletal problem with the ribcage. Some people report that 5 mins with a chiropractor fixed the problem, as their ribs were misaligned. While I do have a prblem with my ribs (so this is an appealing suggestion), I would imagine that it would show up on a chest xray, which for me (and many others) it apparently doesn't.

So there you go.
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replied March 8th, 2008
Lyme disease
Several posts suggest Lyme disease as a possible cause. I've had both the deep breath problem and a case of Lyme disease, and to me it's obvious that they're not at all related. Though I've had my deep breath problem for many years (see my earlier post), it was actually quite absent during the three months or so that I had Lyme disease. By the way, Lyme disease was a big deal for me. I was about as sick as I've ever been -- shaky, dizzy, tired, aching head and neck and joints, twitching and trembling... it wasn't a subtle thing. I'd be surprised if a breathing issue would be a significant symptom.
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replied March 16th, 2008
A twist on a familiar theme...
I am so grateful to find this forum as I have been feeling very alone with this for six years after inhaling smoke when I was changing a light bulb in a lamp where I worked and it burst into flames. I was taken to the emergency room where they did a couple of tests, said I was fine, and sent me home...

Ever since then I have experienced not being able to peak at the top of a deep breath, the need to yawn, but can't, the panic that sets in when I can't breathe, an attack waking me up during the night, the worsening of the attempt to breathe when I am lying down, etc.

Lately a strange addition is occuring...the need to swallow in order to start breathing again. I have read this whole posting and do not see this mentioned anywhere. Does anyone else have this happen to them?

When I am in the throes of an "attack" I seem to stop breathing entirely now until I stretch my neck a bit forward and force myself to swallow, and then the breathing can start again. It's very scary, and often happens just as I am falling off to sleep, too...which of course bolts me upright and postpones getting to sleep for some time.

I do use Bach Flower Rescue Remedy when I have it with me, and that does help a bit, and I do think a lot of this is stress related...however, I would love to know if certain foods kick it in, and what holistic methods people have tried to alleviate the symptoms.

I long to be able to take deep breaths regularly - the feeling is so euphoric when one reaches the top of a deep breath. These attacks are now happening frequently throughout the day/night and hindering my ability to work at my job, which only creates more stress...

Again, I thank all of you for your wisdom and sharing through your postings here, and look forward to hearing from anyone with some diet/holistic solutions...
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replied March 20th, 2008
Wow, this is amazing!
Finally! People who understand what I am feeling! My husband, friends, and family have no idea what I am experiencing and it is wonderful to find people who do. I have been having this problem for almost 3 weeks and it is absolutely awful! I have been to the doctor and the E.R. with nothing abnormal to be found. Now I am on anxiety medicine, but with no results, I STILL CAN"T breath! I have called the doctor like 4 times in the past week, she probably thinks I am crazy. I have asthma, but I have never felt like this before! Maybe this is some new disorder or sickness that has not been discovered yet. Oh I hope we get help soon, because the effects of not being able to get that deep breath are bad too. Tight neck muscles, headache, fatigue and dizziness. I hope the best for you all and hopefully we will all be cured!
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replied April 3rd, 2008
Problems Taking a Deep Breath
I have had that problem since Oct-07. In January i was diagnosed with Bronchitis and in April I was told by a specialist that it is uncontrolled asthma and have been prescribed an inhaler. Diaphragmatic breathing helps in taking a deep breath. The information that I have read to deal with this situation revolves around doing breathing exercises - certain yoga postures. I have tried it a few times and it surely helps. It may be a good idea to check with 'alternative medicine' as well.
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replied April 6th, 2008
Thank God I'm not a total lunatic.
I apologize in advance, as I really have nothing of value to add to this thread. I'm just so relieved I haven't taken leave of my senses, at least not yet.

I'm 18 years old, and I know I haven't been suffering from this problem my whole life, as I do recall being able to breath normally. I think it started 3-4 years ago, though it feels like a lifetime. I'm not one of the 'yawners,' I guess because that's never occurred to me, or, at least, I've never felt able to get a satisfactory breath from yawning.

In general, I feel as though I'm suffocating, even when I feel air going in and out of my lungs, which is why I figure it must be anxiety. Also, because, really, why do I need a deep breath? People never understand that. I'm all 'I can't take a deep breath,' and they're all, 'you're breathing fine, why do you need to?' This need for a deep breath must be related somehow, at least to my issue.

My problem 'comes and goes,' I guess you could say, because I don't think about it all the time, but, at the same time, I feel like it's always there. Like, in the middle of an 'attack,' I think back about the day, and don't remember getting deep breaths but I just hadn't been bothered by it.

Like many of you, my problem worsens considerably when I start thinking about it. For instance, reading this thread has been a rather 'bittersweet' experience, as I've been so relieved to find that I'm not alone, but the more I think about, the more my head starts to tingle, I start to worry, I start focusing on breathing deeply.

The doctors mostly tilt their heads to the side confusedly, and offer me more asthma medicine. My parents, to quote the poster above (adam 11something?) who helpfully compiled the statistics about this irritating issue, mostly just offer up 'oh dears.'

This post is ridiculously long, so if you've made it this far, thanks. in any case, i'm just SO happy I'm not alone.
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replied April 7th, 2008
read this
I dont know if I have asthma or not.
My parents think its nothing but I feel like im always short of breath and that theres something blockin my lungs.. I dont know what it is because I only get that feeling when im walking alot or running.. it makes me worried because I dont know what it is.
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replied April 9th, 2008
Happy I found someone that understands
I have about every symptom that has been listed above and I can remember bouts of this coming and going, but normally doesn't last more than one "satisfactory" deep breath then I am good and it won't happen for weeks. However, recently I had a bout and it just never went away. I have been feeling that overwhelming need to take a deep breath or worse caught in one of those ridiculous yawns. Things that I have noticed are when I wake up and through out the night I tend to give small "test" breaths to see if the ailment is gone. What if is that though it is never really gone, it does take a much much smaller breath to get that satisfactory tingle in your lungs that signifies you can relax for a couple mins before the next bout.

A little background:

I personally have always felt very laid back and though I have a stressfull job where i work roughly 50 hours a week I still feel as though I can "let go" and enjoy myself at nights and on the weekends. So I personally don't feel as though anxiety is applicable. I recently went to the doctor and didn't have the full breadth of test, but did have a spirometer test, and though it was hard to do, apparently it came out just fine. My oxygen levels were at 98 and 99%, so that is fine. My X-rays showed nothing.

Has anyone ever been to a Chiropractor to get aligned? I wonder if that would be able to help anything. I know for sure that I feel a slight pain in my upper right side of my back everytime I struggle for a breath.....could be a pinched nerve or something and I know that nerve trains can lead to the lungs which could effect breathing. There is also a slim possibility that we could possibly have some sort of blood clot in our lungs which could give a similar out of breath feeling. But then I would have to ask why I can breath just fine in the mornings when I awake?? Does anyone think that this could be an allergy cause by pollens or dust in the air? This could be causing us to have bouts of Asthma caused by allergies, and though I have never had asthma and don't know what it feels like I can't picture something being much worse then what we are feeling. If anyone has had any luck ridding this ridiculous sickness, please make sure you post it to give us other people a chance.
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replied April 10th, 2008
I can cure you all!!!!!!! I promise.......
Please let me know if you would like my address to send me gift baskets.

Everyone get off your antidepresents and xanax cause you have all been misdiagnosed. What you have is a very slight case of Asthma caused by some sort of upper respitory infection. The upper respitory virus may have only given you a slight cold, or cough that you barely noticed. However the end result is something like a "sunburn" on your bronchiles and lungs. There is only one thing that can actually cure this and it is an inhallent called Azmacort! This has a very small amount of steriod in it and will cure the inflamation within days, though you will be using it for ~ 2 weeks. This type of upper respitory sickness will not show up on any, spirometry, oxygen, EKG, or anything else the doctor wants to do. It will only be cured if the Pulmonologist has heard of these symptoms before.....your family doctor will have no idea and will put you on rediculous pills to treat the symptoms (hence antidepresents and xanax), but not the actual cause. I can guarentee you that if you go to a Pulmonologist that is worth his weight and get this perscription that each and everyone of you will be all better within a couple days and you can stop yawning and taking these ridiculous deep breaths. I will be littering this information all over the internet as I know how frustrating this sickness can be. Bet you guys thought that you were becoming over anxious or crazy huh!
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