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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...

I am currently taking singulair, which should work for allergies...

ANY ideas as to what they could be would be greatly appreciated, thanks...
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First Helper nuper17
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replied February 14th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Do you have some other symptoms along with shortness of breath?
Are you experiencing wheezing and/or coughing, too?
What kind of allergies you have?
Did the episodes of shortness of breath get worse over time?
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replied March 6th, 2008
Sorry for a belated response. Occasionally I'll have what feels like tightness in my abdomen/chest along with shortness of breath. I have started doing weight lifting recently after a prolonged period of only doing cardio/stretches. Sometimes I'll get anxious about it if I focus on it which tends to elevate my heart rate, which was what prompted me to get looked at by a doctor in the first place. All signs point away from my heart and lungs, which is why I'm looking into alternative things.

I don't wheeze or cough.

When I went to an asthma doctor a decade ago I passed the allergy test without anything standing out. If I do have allergies it is probably an indoor trigger? I'd hate to think it's my cats as I've had them for years with little to no problem.

Sometimes my shortness of breath will leave me alone for a few weeks, then come back for a few days. During those days that I get short of breath, the shortness of breath usually lasts for an hour or so, then it goes away for a while, then comes back. It comes and goes throughout the day. Sometimes it's worse than other times, but even when it's bad I have a normal peak flow.
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replied July 20th, 2012
i think if your body specially the heart and lungs are normal it is your brain and mind. maybe your brain has shortage of serotonin and gaba and about your mind you have a negative mental attitude which can cause reaction to your body like shortness of breath. in other words its anxiety. it is normal and not dangerous.
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replied July 27th, 2012
It's not in your head.
Schoulayer,

This is so strange. My mom is having the exact same symptoms. Nothing is more annoying than having someone tell you that "its in you head". Ignore that. Thats just what people say when they don't have the answers. You're not crazy. Don't give up. One more thing you can check out is reflux. I know it sounds strange, but some people with GERD Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease can feel like they cant catch their breath, but have normal O2 sats. The tightness in your stomach and chest also sound like they could be reflux related. My mom found out that she had severe reflux. The jury is still out however, as to whether this is the cause of her shortness of breath, but at least its something to look into.

I can see that this is a very old thread, and you may not see this. I hope that you've found answers. If not, look into the reflux.
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replied March 17th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Do you suffer from allergies?
Are you experiencing heartburn or acid reflux,especially at night?
Are you an anxious person?
Do you know if you have chronic lung inflammation, like bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis or tuberculosis?
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replied May 1st, 2008
Shortness of breath
I've suffered from shortness of breath for the past 7 years, which just came and went. However, it has been getting worse in the last 5 months or so and I suffer from a persistent shortness of breath, sometimes with slight palpitations. My lung function test, chest x ray, abdominal scan, echocardiogram and full blood countcame back normal. I also did a tuberculin test which showed a result of 12mm but which my doctor said we could ignore as I had been diagnosed with tuberculosis 20 years ago, took the necessary medication and was cleared of the disease. During my periods of shortness of breath, my stomach seems bloated a bit and I need to belch out air. I've seen a physician who said I probably have a hiatus hernia, however the medication did not help. I then saw a gastro enterologist who put me on a high fibre diet since he said my large intestine seemed to be having a lot of air in it. I've been on the diet a week, but no marked improvement. I used to sneeze a lot prior to developing this shortness of breath and probably had hay fever. However, none of the hay fever symptoms appear now, except when I smell strong perfumes or vehicle fumes, which make me slightly shot of breath. I'm 32 years. Could you please help?
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replied May 28th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
When do you usually find yourself short of breath?
Is this every day issue?
Are you experiencing chronic belching?
Do you get short of breath after having heavy meal?
Do you have heartburns?
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replied September 4th, 2008
I have had exactly the same problems for a few years now - I am 26. This last year has been particularly bad as my shortness of breath sometimes wakes me up from sleep. I have had all sorts of tests done. ECG, echo, thyroid tests, xrays, complete blood count, mri, lung function, event monitors...
I have had heart palpitations picked up by two diagnosticians who then sent me to cardiologists, but the cardiologists never picked them up. They also told me that I was young and that the heart palpitations are nothing to worry about. Academically-speaking I've always found this a bit odd - how can you comment on something you've never picked up. However as these guys have studied and operated on hearts, and I never will, I guess I have to take their word for it...
The shortness of breath occurs
1. randomly during the day. (often when sitting eg. in a car journey)
2. sometimes after lifting particularly heavy weights - if I continue doing more sets it gets worse until its intolerable and I feel a rush in my chest.
3. For a couple of hours after a strenuous game of football.

The feeling is one of breathing at a normal pace and yet feeling out of breath. If it gets particularly bad I get a rush/tightening (???) in my chest - its an odd feeling to describe.

I am NOT an anxious person and I really do not believe this to be anxiety-related. A few doctors have suggested this due to the lack of any diagnoses and due to my young age. I've had it for quite a few years now and though it has most definitely been worse this last year I have learnt to ride it out.

The fact that it has got worse though has now made me decide to get some kind of diagnosis no matter what. I do not relish the idea of doing nothing and it being worse still a couple of years down the line.

I've noticed that people who post about the problems never seem to come up with an eventual diagnosis. I guess either their problem ends up subsiding, they never find an answer or they are diagnosed and don't bother posting what happened on a help forum because of course they don't need help anymore.

So, if anyone has any ideas PLEASE post them!!!
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replied May 16th, 2015
Hi, did you ever find out what this was? I HAVE THE EXACT SYMPTOMS AS YOU, and I am only in my 20s as well. Thanks
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replied February 14th, 2009
I have had these symptoms and problems also it all started back in 2007 when I got mono, then the doc said I had asthma. I was put on advair,inhaler, and a breathing treatment machine twice a day! I went to a specialist who ran tests on me and came to the conclusions I didn't have asthma I had bad lungs. That was my diagnosis I think it just might be where not all of us are blessed completely healthy.
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replied June 13th, 2009
Shortness of breath, asthma
I have asthma (allergic asthma) I get short of breath at night usually and it too wakes me up. Sometimes too, when I exercise. After all the drugs (to make this story much shorter than it really is) I went to a Naturopathic Doctor. Medical Doctors always need a label to define illnesses in individuls and use the name protocol for like individuals with the same symptoms. We are all different. I don't believe in labels as that can be worse than none. I am not a Doctor but I quit all dairy products (I am already a vegetarian so that was easy). I gave up sugars (in all things) and began eating healthy organic vegetables and quinoa and rices without preservatives. I got better almost miraculously. However I started to get short of breath again and asthma symptoms after we moved. I finally found an asthma medication that is natural, it is called Intal (cromolyn sodium). It was created by a Doctor who had allergic asthma from an herb called Khellen from Egypt. It is a Mast Cell Stabilizer and prevents the reaction to the allergens that one might have a problem with. It takes a few days to kick in but they also carry and over the counter nasal spray called Nasalcrom which I started to take and I got better almost immediately. Look up Cromolyn Sodium on the internet. The good news is it gives me no side effects. I do not want to take steroid anything. So far this is working for me.
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replied May 6th, 2010
Shortness of Breath
When I read some of these posts, I feel like I am reading about myself. My shortness of breath started out of no where as well. I got all the tests- PFTs, echo, stress testing, GI doc, EKG, and more, and I believe because the docs don''t know, they say I have anxiety. I don''t. I know I don''t. Recently, I am starting to believe it is an allergy to something because I have the most difficulty in the spring around Feb-April and the fall in Nov. Otherwise, I am great. I run 18-24 miles a week, eat healthy, and I am generally a happy person. I haven''t seen an allergist yet, but next time the symptoms return that is on my list.
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replied July 8th, 2010
Schoulayer wrote:
Sorry for a belated response. Occasionally I'll have what feels like tightness in my abdomen/chest along with shortness of breath. I have started doing weight lifting recently after a prolonged period of only doing cardio/stretches. Sometimes I'll get anxious about it if I focus on it which tends to elevate my heart rate, which was what prompted me to get looked at by a doctor in the first place. All signs point away from my heart and lungs, which is why I'm looking into alternative things.

I don't wheeze or cough.

When I went to an asthma doctor a decade ago I passed the allergy test without anything standing out. If I do have allergies it is probably an indoor trigger? I'd hate to think it's my cats as I've had them for years with little to no problem.

Sometimes my shortness of breath will leave me alone for a few weeks, then come back for a few days. During those days that I get short of breath, the shortness of breath usually lasts for an hour or so, then it goes away for a while, then comes back. It comes and goes throughout the day. Sometimes it's worse than other times, but even when it's bad I have a normal peak flow.
I had cats for years too and am so allergic now-they bring on my asthma and end up in pneumonia!Try some xanax for the shortness of breath-its probably a panic attack-I thought it was my asthma-and turns out it was stress I didn't even recognize this!
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replied August 31st, 2010
Not in my head!
Did anyone get any resolution on the above posts??? I am in the EXACT same situation. My lung function tests came back normal as well as blood work. The lung guy says 'I'm nuts'...in clinical terms of course. He thinks I'm stressed and hyperventalting. I am the most unanxious person you will ever meet. the feelings come on out of blue...when I'm not thinking about anythign in particular. I work out A LOT....but this has come on before large workouts. I have no 'real' allergies....nothing that 1 a day zrytec doesn't fix.
The feeling is that I just can't get enough air.I feel a bit of tightness in my...throat...and upper chest... I know it's not in my head! Help!
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replied August 18th, 2011
Dry cough and throat (chronic)
Yep, I hear ya. I just went to a pulmologist. He asked me if I was "depressed". I have been having the same symptoms for years. I have coughing spells. Dry throat. Generally feeling run down. Oh low bp and rbc. Anyhoo, I am worried bc my symptoms seemed to have started around the time I was dx'd with mono too. They just never really went away. I also pulled some hospital records to bring to my appt. today and on one page it said "patient assymptamatic for tb" dr. laughed and said they should not have put that. I don't know what to think anymore. I could have been exposed to Tb... I've worked in the medical field. Oh and ppd negative, chest x-ray normal, and breathing test and EKG normal. Any thoughts?
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replied November 11th, 2010
SOB (shortness of Breathe) AND NOT FEELING ANXIOUS!!! NOT PANICK
oh boy theres no luck for me then!!! I am 24 weeks pregnant and have been suffering from shortness of breathe for a long time. but its gotten worse as the time has gotten on! i am currently in hospital have had that special scan where they pump ur lungs full of radiation...that came back normal. (great put my baby at risk for nothin, as they thought this breathin problem was down to a blood clot) now they are thinking i am faking it!!! right yeah! i really wanna sob my heart out and feel broken hearted because my kids are crying cos they have to leave me..and the whole ward think am a faker or having some major anxiety issues...the doctor today did some sort of blood tests and said i had high levels of oxygen in my body...well it bloody didnt feel that way...anyway he now reckons its anxiety...ok so can i feel anxious 24 hours a day???? can i be that ambidextrous that i can be having a panick attack whilst laughing and relaxing with my husband and kids.
I have started to notice before i become out of breathe i feel my heart rate go up slightly and i can feel it pumping in my chest and neck!
I am due my baby in 16 weeks and i am terrified about whats going to happen when i go into labour (no this is not the reason i am having probs breathing) so please anyone out there if u find a cause please let me know all these lot in here think i am bonkers!!! i think they are going to do some heart monitoring here soon i dont know..that or boot me out..please let me know!!!
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replied April 10th, 2012
what hospital are you in? that my be your problem.... because they just about killed me, said they had to take 2 inches of my bowels out and done emergey surgey on me.. and nothing was wrong and they could'nt get me to come too, i was in icu for 2 days, and they gave me a 50 50 chance to live... so now they tell me it was because i had copd which nothing was wrong with my lungs until they done surgey... so you might want to go to a different hospital... i don't trust any of them... they don't care about us,, just saying....
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replied April 10th, 2012
what hospital are you in? that my be your problem.... because they just about killed me, said they had to take 2 inches of my bowels out and done emergey surgey on me.. and nothing was wrong and they could'nt get me to come too, i was in icu for 2 days, and they gave me a 50 50 chance to live... so now they tell me it was because i had copd which nothing was wrong with my lungs until they done surgey... so you might want to go to a different hospital... i don't trust any of them... they don't care about us,, just saying....
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replied February 15th, 2011
This is so weird. I've been having the exact same problems that you're all describing, and the doctors I've seen have gone through the exact same process of tests, suggested diagnoses, etc. The ER doc was sure it was a pulmonary embolism but there was no clot in my chest or my legs. My general practitioner first thought it was asthma, but Albuterol and similar meds did nothing, so then she decided it was anxiety, but taking Atavan (anxiety med) did nothing to alleviate my symptoms. My bloodwork hasn't come back yet but my chest CT showed a 'slightly heterogeneous' thyroid (not sure what that actually means) so my doctor is zooming in on that, but based on what you guys are saying I expect that that won't be the source of the problem. This is too weird. I am surprised that not one of us has been able to find either a diagnosis or treatment.
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replied February 27th, 2011
I have all same issues and can not understand whats wrong, so far a Anxiety treatment seems to be helping, taking some Clonazepam, it helps a little bit, but I do not think is the cure for it, I do not like the fackt that they look at me, like some kind of crazy dude, that is making things up, am so glad that there is this forum. thanks to all
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replied April 22nd, 2011
Lung pain, shortness of breath, all vitals excellent....???
I want to thank all of you for posting your concerns here. I was in the ER last night with all of the same issues. After getting my vitals taken (and they all coming out picture perfect)I was feeling rather dumb. This had happened before a year or so ago with the same result. So, I googled it on my phone and found this forum, and was instantly relieved I wasn't the only one.

I have decided to call it Phantom Asthma (because in my case I think it's due to me being asthmatic), and I plan to get to the bottom of it. I'm going to see an allergist and a pulmonologist and show them these posts. If so many people are suffering with the same issue there has to be something the common techniques are not picking up.

If I find anything out I'll be sure to let you know, and then perhaps you can see if it's the same for you.

It's like we're all apart of a House episode Smile
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replied May 14th, 2011
Shortness of breath
Hey guys, I am also suffering from shortness of breath. I am glad that I found this forum. First off, this symptoms are on/off thing with me. Recently, I am doing some weight lifting and I now experiencing shortness of breath again along with coughing and cold(I believe came from my wife and daughter who had cough). This time however takes days now. I don't know if its because of cough and my weight lifting. I am now taking medical treatment for my cough and hoping that my shortness of breath will go away once my cough is gone. I am planning to see a doctor as soon as possible for possible medical examinations. I also believe that it's somewhat psychological as I am thinking too much about it. Every time I feel something not normal in my body, it really bothers me a lot and the result is too much thinking. Based on the people who gave their opinions here, stress and anxiety plays a big role in having shortness of breath. I also think that stress is a big factor why this condition occurs. Thanks for all the inputs. I'll be back here to see some replies from other people and experts. Thank you...
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replied July 28th, 2011
Breathless
I too suffer with these symptoms of breathlessness, I think it is anxiety with me because I lost my mum in 2010 at the age of 92 and I haven't been able to cry properly because of the shock of her dying on exactly the same date that my husband died 4 years previously.I am fine when I am busy with my 2 young grand children, I don't have time to think about my breathing so that is why I think it is anxiety, this site has helped me a lot, thank you
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replied November 29th, 2011
shortness of breath
How about sarcoidosis?
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replied December 27th, 2011
Symptoms
I know there is some reason for all of these people to be having the same symptoms, to no avail. We all are not "extra stressed" or overweight, or out running marathons to get winded. For me, this often happens when I'm sitting down, supposedly relaxing. I need answers! I had a chest x-ray and the one thing abnormal was that one of my bronchiole tubes was a little larger than the other. Shouldn't that give me MORE air? Not less? They could not explain this, as I have no cough, and I'm not asthmatic. Had bloodwork, upper GI thinking hernia, CT to rule out pulmonary embolism. It's frustrating... but in a weird way, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one.. and that none of us are crazy as some doctors seem to think
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replied January 24th, 2012
Shortness of Breath (also)
There is definitely something going on here with everyone, and I very much doubt it's "anxiety" for most. I was a healthy 28 year old male, only been to a hospital once in my life, and 1 year ago had a sudden episode of palpitations, nausea, shortness of breath, faintness, accompanied by tremors. Unfortunately it wasn't the last incident. These episodes increased in both intensity and frequency over the next 5 months and landed me in 7 ER's and 2 overnight hospital stays and an eight day stay in Barnes/Jewish in St. Louis. I lost 20 pounds in 4 months (and I was lean to begin with). The shaking became worse, I started having night sweats and weird heart rhythms. I barely had enough energy to speak, let alone sing (I'm a public speaker/singer). In April of 2011 I came pretty close to deaths door, reaching a scary 124 pounds (and I'm 5'11). I came out of it enough to come home and slowly recover, gain weight, etc. I'm now resting at 140 and have some muscle back, but I'm still not completely well.

I saw over 20 doctors during this period, they ran probably 50 blood tests, CTs, MRI's, X-rays, etc. The only thing they found was during an endoscopy where they said I had inflammation in my esophagus and thought it might be related to an allergy. Turns out I was becoming progressively intolerant to soy and a few other things. But, it wasn't the root. Something went haywire in my body and no one has ever been able to solve the mystery.

By the way, several doctors passed off my first few ER visits as "anxiety" and "dehydrated" because they didn't have a clue. These are bull crap, catch-alls doctors will send you home with if you don't match their 2-3 predetermined theories. Don't listen to that garbage. If you've never been seriously sick, haven't had a tragic life event, and suddenly become chronically ill, it's not anxiety!

Anyway, I'm waiting on a Lyme Disease panel to come back right now. Went to a lab called Igenex in CA and had 6 different Lyme tests done because it's hard to catch and fits many of these chronic symptoms. The person who said Sarcoidosis - thank you for doing some research because that's a bit rare and matches many of the lung problems many are having. It's worth checking out.

I'm a spirit-filled Christian and have seen and heard God heal hundreds of times in my circles (documented). So, I'm resting in God's Word and promises, knowing I'll be fine. I really feel for all of you guys out there suffering. It's been 1 year for me now, and I've gotten considerably better, but still have shortness of breath symptoms from time to time. They're somewhat alleviated if I get up and walk around. Anyone else experience that?

If anyone finds out anything, please comment here! Smile Christ be with you all.

JA
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