Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Asthma Forum

I Can't Take a Deep Breath

Hi everyone

i came across this old message thread from this forum, here:
http://ehealthforum.Com/health/topic2753.H tml

and I wondered if anyone knew what the source of this problem was? I am experiencing almost exactly the same symptoms:
-shortness of breath, especially when physically active
-problems taking a satisfying deep breath
-no noticeable chest pain
-no wheezing, no coughing except when after my run I couldn't get my breath
-doctor reports that bp, heart rate, temp, chest/lung sounds are all normal.
-went for a chest x-ray and haven't heard of any major findings from this.

The doctor prescribed a ventolin inhaler for me for eia but so far it doesn't seem to be changing anything. Yesterday I went for a run and by the end of it I absolutely couldn't catch my breath. It took several minutes before I felt like my breathing and heart rate were returning to normal.

I don't understand this! Is this asthma? If it is asthma, why am I feeling like this throughout the day? It's worse during running, but during the day I still feel like I can't take a proper deep breath.

I couldn't get a doctor's appointment until next week, so right now i'm just very stressed out about this. If there is anyone who has experienced this or knows what could cause these symptoms, I would be most grateful.
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First Helper Jennsw

replied July 13th, 2004
Experienced User
There is a condition known as "exercise induced asthma".. It sounds like it could be that. I have a mild version of it. If I run or exercise real hard I have trouble breathing.. With no wheezing or congestion, just trouble getting a deep breathe. They gave me an inhaler, but I just try to know my limits of what I can do. Walking and biking don't effect me unless it's cold, and those are the things I enjoy (i was never much for running and my knees don't like it any more than my lungs do). It may be they need to try you on a different inhaler. Albuterol worked ok for me.. I also like advair.
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replied July 16th, 2004
Experienced User
Re: I Cant Take a Deep Breath
If the lung capacity is less there is every likelihood of shortness of breath on slightest exertion. A pulmonary function test should be done which would reveal more about it.
Homeopatic medicine has good remedies to improve the lung capacity when the cause is identified.
Dr.Venugopal gouri.
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replied March 30th, 2008
I cant take a deep breath
For 4 days now I barely been able to take a satisfying breath. 95% are normal short breaths, but very rare deep ones. This for some reason makes me yawn constantly, my lungs trying to get one, but rarely able. If I burp it seems to allow me to take one or two, but in a few minutes it's back to the same short breath. I am not anything more than sitting in my chair, so it's not like I have excersized & am trying to catch my breath after running.
Should I be concerned? Could this be some sympton of that flu that's going around. I have had chronic broncitus all my life & this is nothing in relation to that.
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replied June 30th, 2008
Can't get a deep breath.
I have had this problem since I was a teenager, roughly 13 or 14. I could be lying down reading a book and suddenly feel like I need air. I breath deep as possible but feel like I'm not getting in the oxygen by body needs. I have the feeling of needing to yawn but it's like when my lungs get full of air, my body is telling me it needs more, but I can't take in anymore air. I take several deep breaths to try to get that feeling of a successful yawn or deep breath. I also sigh a lot, my husband will ask what is wrong? I tell him nothing, I just do that (sighs). I have allergies that have gotten progressively worse over the years and lately my heart palpitates and I get that feeling of needing air. I sometimes feel like I am hyperventilating and or about to cause myself to hyperventilate because I'm trying to get the air I need, then I get dizzy and start feeling like I am going to pass out. Sometimes I feel a little sick and have to sit down. I don't think it is caused by stress although I don't rule it out as a contributing factor. I have noticed that I think sometimes I do not breath normally and I feel like I may go for long periods of shallow breathing, but as soon as I notice it my body automatically starts breathing normally which makes it difficult to say weather or not my breathing is actually shallow. But I think that I get preoccupied with things and my body automatically starts breathing shallow and once this has gone on for a period of time (length of time is unknown) the body will start telling my mind, OKAY I need air! Which takes a while and lots of deep breaths to actually get the oxygen in the body that has been depleted while breathing so shallow and takes some time for the body to recover. This may happen for some people during stress because we get so preoccupied with the stressful things in our lives that we breath shallow more often. I say we but I'm really talking from my own experiences. I know there is nothing wrong with me physically because I have good insurance and regular check-up's. But I think there is a difference in how my body works, such as periods of conservation such as shallow breathing, then the catch-up period where suddenly by body needs large amounts of oxygen to replenish the depletion that has occurred.
However, I also worry that it may have something to do with allergies, heart disease that runs in my family, diabetes, lack of exercise, (I have pretty good eating habits), clogged arteries/high cholesterol, and/or being overweight, or asthma. I have no sighs of most of these except allergies, overweight and lack of exercise. So I am inclined to believe that I wont' die from it.

Reading everyone's experiences has helped me a lot and I appreciate everything everyone has posted on here, I thought this was something I was going through alone and It helps to know I'm not. Not that im glad anyone is experiencing the same things. I hope my view on my experiences helps someone understand their breathing issues and maybe some of you will pay a little closer attention and see the same signs i have described about, If so, I would like to read anything anyone posts in response to my post.
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replied August 12th, 2009
I have the same symptoms. I might be fine for a coupe of days or even weeks, then wham I start this weird breathing thing. I have an albuterol inhaler, pretty ineffective. I have had blood tests, thought lung clot in lungs, not. Pulmonary function test-said chronic bronchitis. Don't have any bronchitis, no cough or mucus or anything of the such. Then sent to have a heart stress test. Flunked, they convinced me I had possible heart blockage so submitted to an angiogram because this would be the all knowing test. Found small arteries but no blockage. Dr. didn't even tell me these results. He wanted to do a heart ct scan. Insurance said no.

I know nothing after all this and still can't breathe.

Any ideas. Some times I get soo tired and my back aches from trying so hard to breathe.

Please help.
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replied August 23rd, 2009
I could copy and paste the symptoms that you all have for my own. It seems that when I'm sitting down I start to have to work really hard at breathing. When I'm busy it seems goes away. Inhalers do not work and caffeine seems to make it worse which makes me think that it is a heart or lung problem. At first I thought I was allergic to sulfites but that doesn't seem to be the case now. I have no pain or weasing. I exercise just fine. I have an identical twin brother who has none of the problems that I do. The differences in our diets were that I drank red bulls usually during work and took caffeine when I worked out. I remember getting sick with a cough right before this all started to happen. I actually went to the doctor because I thought I had "Walking Pneumonia". The Doctor heard no weasing, but notice when I did the "blow test" that it was a little lower than usual. He prescribed me an inhaler which did nothing. I can't believe that no one has found a cause for this. Thanks you guys.

Keep your heads up.
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replied October 5th, 2009
i am really Sick i cant walk or ill cough cause i get nerves my mom really wants me to go to school! but i am coughing badly D: so i did not go to school today.So she got mad. so now i am checking this out.please help....
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replied November 4th, 2009
Some suggestions if you have trouble breathing but don't think you have asthma or asthma treatment isn't working. You might have Vocal Cord Dysfunction, see an ENT. You could have Hyperventilation Syndrome. Both are curable by breathing exercises. Also, reducing or dealing with stress/anxiety will go a long ways with all three of these medical conditions!
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replied December 24th, 2009
Unable to catch a deep, satisfying breath/ yawning for breath
I have had this problem for decades, since I was a young man. It is more serious in hot and damp weather, but it can happen any time. If I am fatigued it is much worse. It can get so bad that it can keep me awake at night, yawning for a full breath.

No diagnostic test will reveal anything wrong. However, a brilliant hematologist, Professor KC Das, told me back in the sixties that keeping my system alkalized would solve the problem, and it did. I used alkali mixture at one time, but found out last year that plain, simple baking soda works equally well for me without inducing stomach upsets. All I need to do is add a SMALL pinch (the size of two peas) of baking soda to every glass of water I drink-i.e. about eight or ten a day. Many times it solves the problem 100% for several days, but even when it does not, it helps enormously. In really serious episodes I may have to take the baking soda for three or four days to see an improvement.

I hope this helps.
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User Profile
replied April 14th, 2010
Unable to take deep breath
Wow. I had no idea so many people experienced this! A couple months ago, I ended a normal exercise routine with shortness of breath (that is, I couldn''t get a deep, satisfying breath). The right side of my neck was tight, and I kept yawning. This went on for days and began to worsen as I bent over or ran up stairs. A family doctor ran all the tests: EKG, chest x-ray, MRI, CTs, blood tests, echo, stress echo, and pulmonary function tests. All were normal (even good!). Still waiting on the lung function results. Symptoms have diminished, but come back every once in a while. No chest pain, wheezing, or cough. Just tightness in my neck and unable to take a deep breath and an albuterol inhaler is ineffective... Dental x-ray revealed calcification of the styloid ligament. Could this possibly be related?
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replied June 28th, 2010
There is something called the Butekyo method that I learned because I was having all of the above problems. Couldn't take a deep enough breath. It seemed to happen randomly although I do know that the smell of bleach can bring it on, or if my nose gets too stuffy, I can also have this problem. Changes in weather. Dr says it's not ashtma, not COPD, and probably not allergies-though I suspect the latter.The Doctor says it's stress. It could be, I know when I'm stressed I may not face it sometimes and I hold some things in. I've been mourning the loss of my Mom who got suddenly ill, then worse, then passed. The past year has been stressful indeed.
The bottom line was I wanted to know what to do when I start to have this problem. So I did some research on the Buteyko method. I do know that you are never supposed to breath through your mouth. And I don't. (But I can't know what I'm doing in my sleep-they have recommendations about this in books and DVDs about the method..) And a few exercises that I do a lot are as follows: I'll breath regularly and on a fourth exhale I will hold my breath just until it gets uncomfortable. Then I'll breath in normally-Don't take a big gulp of air. That's a daily exercise that you can do all through out the day. For me the one thing that seems to work really well is I will exhale through my nose as much as I can and try to hold it for a few seconds. It is not easy, but for some reason this seems to straighten out my breathing. I am able to finally take a deep breath. I then continue to hold my fourth exhale breath (usually to a count of 20 for me) and I'm back on track. Sitting up straight is the best way to do this too. I also do something called Square breathing that I heard Dr Joy Brown on the radio talk about. You inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four and hold the exhale for a count of four. You do this four times. I think it is supposed to regulate your breathing back to normal. It does decrease anxiety.
Google the Buteyko method, you will probably get a lot of help from it!
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replied March 13th, 2012
fainting when taking my inhaler
I have taken albuteral my whole life since childhood. I am 42. All of the sudden when I take it I faint. Passed out 4 times yesterday but wife was there to save me and to day passed and got concussion from tile floor, told wife, when she told me I passed out 4 times yesterday, I had no memory of it. Scary gonna have to puff sitting down. cdesr
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replied March 25th, 2012
I know this is a thread that has been ongoing for a while and this information may be too late for some, but I have a friend that could not get a deep breath. This went on for some time, she went to the Dr. and found that she was hypothyroid. She has been on Synthroid medication and done fine, with no breathing issues since. I hope this may help others.
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replied October 29th, 2012
I've been struggeling with this the past year as well. I make a chest rub with essential oils and rub it on three times a day to help it. Here is what I use:

6 drops lavender
4 drops geranium
1 drop marjorum
1 drop peppermint
1 ounce carrier oil

I put it in a small glass bottle and shake it till blended. I rub some on my chest, throat, and back of my throat three times a day. I also put eucaplyptus oil in my vaporizer and leave it going in my bedroom at night, and I drink a cup of herbal tea from yogi called Breath Deep twice a day and it has kept it under control for me. Hope this helps!

P.S. All the exercising I do is gentle... mostly walks or yoga. Don't let yourself get so out of breath. Its bad for you!
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