Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Asthma Forum

Can't Take a Deep Breath (Page 9)


September 21st, 2007
Aerophagy a Major Cause?
what a great thread; heres my thoughts. i've had this for years, it comes and goes seemingly at random, but usually for me after i do exercise after a week or so of not doing any, or increase the intensity of exercise or work i'm used to. it lasts for a few days and stops me sleeping, then goes away for weeks or months until i change my exercise regime again. i believe it is triggered, by a minor external cause and then persists due to a physiological positive feedback loop and eventually dissipates due to us either getting used to it and eventually forgetting it is there or developing a coping mechanism to break the feedback loop.

in me it goes hand in hand with aerophagy which has been hinted at by others here but not explicitly mentioned as a primary cause. conventionally, aerophagy is described as 'air eating, or swallowing, but in me its more like the air is drawn into the stomach (the food bag that holds food after swallowing) by disturbed muscular actions or inactivity in its muscular workings ie gasses are not regulated normally. i assume whatever its cause, it is also stress related and gives me the horrible feeling of internal pressure that goes with the difficulty in breathing and the needing to take a deep breath described by other contributors to this topic.

at night the situation gets so bad i am forced to burp the air out 'manually' as it seems to be drawn in through a one way valve. even a little burp will suddenly allow that satisfying yawn which i have been struggling to take for ages. so i bench and yawn alot! more belching can bring longer relief of discomfort. simeticone (in medicines for trapped wind sometimes works). my stomach invariably 'fills up with air again though and is very uncomfortable, and i cannot stop thinking about it. this can go on all night. often my stomach starts working properly again by early morning, and releases the trapped air, after which i can breathe unconsciously again. i must add that it would be possible for mild aerophagy to happen without really noticing it, and it could be the cause of many peoples breathing issues. some people have said they feel something blocking them from taking a deep breath maybe its their stomach.

part of the problem with me is the 'wanting to take a deep breath syndrome' and the aerophagy are linked but i am not sure which comes first; is it my 'conscious breathing' causing the aerophagy, or is the aerophagy causing the breathing problem. very mixed up and confusing indeed.

although it eventually goes away by itself after a few days, i am sure taking vitamin b and multivitimins helps but maybe placebo. is the exercise lowering something that my body needs and vits replacing? i also think NOT eating crisps and sugary food helps as i also get mild tinnitus and this definitely comes on when i eat crisps or exercise heavily too. are salt or additives a cause? i get either tinnitus or the breathing thing but rarely both, like the body can't do both together or something because they are mainly in the mind.

i can get some relief by clenching my teeth to stop mouth breathing and forcing myself to breathe through the nose so slowing down the breathing and normalizing the co2 and calming the system. my body yawns normally after a while of doing this (ie unconsciously initiated not forced) and the feeling of needing to take a deep breath is reduced alot. aerophagy seems to go away mostly too (do the nostril airways miss the oesopagus intake somehow?). this could be like breathing into a bag method but a more normal way of relearning how to breathe properly. it still takes agreat conscious effort and of course the best way is to stop thinking about it (hard to do i know) as breathing should be subconscious. also my nostrils are often blocked; one or both which has made me think this could be making me mouth breath and hyperventilate. i think much of the problem here is caused by our consciousness as humans, and when we try to do consciously what the body does best by itself we cause a problems with the bodies homeostatic (self regulating) mechanisms. you see, we shouldnt be yawning every 2 minutes. mostly at rest our breathing is very very shallow and slow but we are not conscious of this. when we start thinking about it it speeds right up and could initiate this problem. that of cause doesnt explain why we think about it in the first place.
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replied September 27th, 2007
Member of the Club!
wow! cannot believe it. im not alone. I am 25 y.o. and just recently diagnosed with asthma. I have been hospitalized for having an asthma-like attack. it started with severe cough, wheezing, tightening of chest and air passages just completely block. I am grasping for air and when i was in the hospital, was given oxygen but no air is coming into my lungs. it feels like i was going to die and feels like my head is going to explode without oxygen circulating on my body. i was relived by nebulizer and now i am on asthma inhaler and nebulizer. but my problem is that it occurs everyday and inhalers and nebulizer give me some relief and after experiencing severe cough and everything cycles again. sometime have to wake up at night grasping for air taking my nebulizer for relief. i found it disturbing especially when i am working in the office. i stopped consulting my doctor cause im so frustrated with my case. i dont think it is just psychological cause it can occur any time without thinking about it. it occurs even when you're taking a nap, sleep... is it really asthma? i doubt. what do you think guys. hope you can help me. thank u!
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replied October 5th, 2007
Sick of Not Being Able to Breathe :(
I am 29 years old. About four months ago I woke up feeling like I couldn't get a deep breath. The next day I went to my family doctor. She had a stress test and echocardiogram run...all came back normal. I pushed her to get me in to see a lung specialist. He ordered CT scans, a test where they check for blod clots and a breathing test. All were normal. I went back to her again, completey frustrated. It seems to come and go. It will be bad for like 2 weeks and then it will just disappear...two weeks later it's back. She is convinced it is an anxiety attack....I don't believe that...not for four months...
I have thought about trying a chiropractor. She refuses to send me to a GI doctor because I think at this point she has resigned herself to thinking that I am just crazy. It is so nice to know that I am not alone. I go to sleep every night wondering if tomorrow will be the day i can get a deep breath again!
Any other suggestions you have would be welcome. I don't know how else to convice my doctor to continue to look into this for me.
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replied October 7th, 2007
Miserable
I'm 31 years old. I've had this problem for over 5 months. It started subtly: I noticed I couldn't breathe with my mouth closed. I had other strange symptoms going on: hive-live rashes, a lump in my throat (all anxiety-related symptoms, I know now). The inability to get a full breath then struck full-force and it was so bad all I could do was lay back in a chair and gasp for breath. My doctors have all determined my breathing difficulty to be caused by anxiety. And I believe them. I am an extremely anxious person. Now. But I wasn't *that* anxious when the breathing trouble started. So it was really confusing at first.

I'm in cognitive behavioral therapy for my anxiety disorder, as my psychiatrist truly believes it will help with the breathing difficulty. I suppose I have to learn to move past my fear of it and realize it can't hurt me. I'm also on some different meds, which have only been marginally helpful.

I will say this: having to gulp a big breath or air or yawn every ten breaths or so has become really distressing. I'm trying to stay positive, but it's hard. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
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replied October 8th, 2007
Can't Take Full Breath
Hi I'm 30 y/o. 3 years ago I suddenly could not take a full breath, and went to the emergency room. They sent me home saying I was fine, and I have never breathed the same again. I quit work and school, and moved to Arizona for the Mayo Clinic and climate. All my work-up was normal. But Now, I also have serious arthritis, ulcers and irritable bowels. I'm currently being checked for lupus and Chron's disease. I have a chronic sore throat, and chronic laryngitis from acid reflux. I still have never gone one day able to take a full breath. I'll stay posted with any findings.
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replied October 8th, 2007
What I've Learned
I thought it might help if you know what I've learned in my 3-year process of trying to get medical help for this breathing problem: cardio and pulmonary work-up is normal; I have significant vitamin b-12 deficiency; Food allergies, including Celiac disease-- can cause many symptoms- rashes, asthma, arthritis-- I've been on an extremely restricted diet-- helps some; chronic acid reflux can cause Vocal Cord Disorder and even lung inflamation, which inhibits breathing-- Proton Pump Inhibitors typically clear that up, but they haven't done a thing for me and I have bad ulcers-- A blockage in the small intestines can be hard to find on an endoscopy or colonoscopy or X-ray-- there is a new technology, the camera pill, i get that test this morning. Arthritis can cas lung inflamation or cartilage tightness.
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replied October 28th, 2007
Some Possible Help
I have been browsing these posts because I have had this problem for a few years now (on and off). I seem to recall though, I used to suffer from this about 10 to 12 years ago as well (I am 41 now). Back then I was very fanatical about taking vitamin supplements. I seem to recall, at times whenever I was taking a healthy daily dose of Vitamin A (or Beta Carotene), the breathing problems would cease. Although I haven't tried this recently, I am thinking very seriously of going back to that regimen right now. It may be worth a try.

Does anyone else have any experience with this dietary supplement with respect to helping eleviate the discomfort of not being able to take a deep breath? Anyone have anything they would like to add?
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replied October 29th, 2007
Strange Experience :-s
Hi everybody!! I can totally relate to alot of the posts on this thread.

I am 29 and was diagnosed with asthma almost a year ago. Before that I was coughing so much I could not talk, my heart was racing sometimes and I would gasp for air while struggling to breathe. I had my first attack when I was 27 and a co-worker drove me to the emergency room. They did x-rays but not a stress test and concluded that I was having an anxiety attack. Luckily for me, the attack stopped after an hour and we had to call the doctor back in for him to tell me what the problem was. I was soo embarrassed and ashamed and I felt like I was mental Confused I didn't understand how I could be having an anxiety attack when I could not identify one thing that was bothering me, making me anxious or stressing me out (except the attack itself and the coughing before that). I went to other doctors who did not think it was anxiety related, but possibly allergy related and I was coughing because of irritants. They prescribed cough suppresants and decongestants for my acute rhinitis. Needless to say the coughing would not stop, my heart kept racing, and I kept feeling like I could not breathe. After several EKGs and more doctor visits I was just frustrated. Finally I decided that I would go to see a lung specialist because I felt rattling in my chest sometimes when i would cough...and of course whenever I went to the doctor no rattling could be heard.

When I went to see the pulmonary specialist he asked me what was wrong and listened to my breathing with the stethoscope. He told me he could not hear anything and then engaged me in a conversation. LOL at first I was ok because I did not talk for a while when I was waiting for him...but then I could not get one word out without coughing. He used the stethoscope again then he looked in my throat and was Surprised OMG then he looked in my nose. He sat me down again told me I have sever allergies, acute rhinitis and he thinks I may have asthma induced by my allergies. He prescribed albuterol and corticosteroid inhalers, singulair and flonase and told me to keep taking my allegra. WHAT A RELIEF!!! I started taking them and was able to breathe again!!

Lately I stopped taking everything regularly and I had a very frightening episode two nights ago. I woke up and I could not breathe. I turned to my other side and lifted the covers off of me and I still could not breathe. No air in ...no air out...NONE. Then I felt like something pop in my chest and I coughed air came out...but I still could not breathe. Then I coughed again a little more violent this time and slowly I was able to breathe again. For the past 2 days I started taking my allergy meds again, I'm going to start the steroids today, and I have been using albuterol as needed....but I cannot understand that episode in the night. Has anyone ever experienced anything remotely close to this? Confused (if it was not for the coughing and the feeling in my lungs I would have thought it to be sleep apnea) This morning I am also having difficulty breathing. I also started wheezing mildly lately and I have never had wheezing before; just coughing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath, and gasping for air.
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replied October 29th, 2007
Re: Strange Experience
Hi Ginger,

I also posted the message just right before yours as well. On a note quite different from the one I posted previously, I want to let you know that I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I have also experienced all of those things as well (coughing so hard I could not get air in my lungs, and the coughing would not stop). The first such attack I experienced was back in either 2001 or 2002, it lasted about 20 to 30 minutes, and after it was over I decided to rush myself to the emergency room. They gave me the albuterol inhaler as well (but none of the other remedies that you seem to have spoken of, or at least I don't recall anything else at this time now). I have only had one other really bad attack since then. I was deffinitely in 2002 (possibly a year after the first one). This time, the coughing was even worse than the first time. I was down on the floor, and could not catch my breath (I could not even take in air at all---I was coughing way too hard). However, thankfully this time my daughter was with me (who has asthma), and was able to let me borrow her inhaler. Not long after I took a few puffs from that the coughing completely stopped and I was able to breath freely once again. The attack lasted a total of about 5 to 10 minutes.

On a final note, I just want to say that I do not believe that I have asthma. Otherwise this would be an onging problem for me, and it's not. It only seems to happen usually in or around the month of April for me. Therefore, I deffinetely believe (no, I KNOW) that it's not asthma, but rather an allergy to something that only blooms once a year, and the time frame or window in which I am suseptible to have these attacks therefore is a very narrow window of time (thankfully).

I hope this information helps.
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replied October 29th, 2007
Re: Strange Experience
Hello Louis Smile
Thank you for replying to me and for sharing your story. I really hope that you do not have asthma as well...I would not wish it on anyone. For your own health's sake though, I hope you are not diagnosing yourself. From what you have said about having episodes and attacks I would recommend seeing a lung specialist, if you have not already, and try to go in April when they can see what your symptoms are. Do the breathing stress test at that time too (if they recommend one). Even if you do not have asthma, you are having some type of problem if u need to use an inhaler to breathe at any time. But really, that is my humble opinion and there is no MD behind my name Wink If you are having faith that you do not have asthma, keep believing but get medical attention as well. Sometimes I still cannot believe that I have asthma, and I come off of my meds during my asthma season. I can go for a few days or at most a week and then I start to feel terrible.(hence how I have been feeling for the past three days)

Sometimes asthma is not ongoing. Some people have problems only when they exercise, and some that have asthma related to allergies will only have asthmatic symptoms or attacks when exposed to allergens. For me, I have problems from early to mid July to the ending of January. From February to June I can come completely off of my meds and I am fine for the most part (occasionally I might need the inhaler) but as soon as the early part of July hits Shocked In fact I had my worst attack in July of 06. I have never seen an allergist so I do not know what I am allergic to. I am planning to do that very soon though.

To answer your post, I have never tried any vitamins or anything like that for treatment. I was reading an article which stated that people with allergies should try to build up their immune systems to lessen their symptoms...and of course the foods to do this are foods I detest...broccoli and blueberries Confused Well broccoli is not so bad with cheese I guess.

I really want to thank you again for replying to me. Today I have not been well and it was really nice to hear from someone that has experienced the same thing. Smile
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replied October 30th, 2007
Hi Ginger,

Thank you so much for all of this helpful information. And it is very thoughtful and generous of you to share with me these experiences that you have been through, so that I (and others) might benefit and receive some help thereby.

I wish you all the best with this (or these) issue(s).

Take care.
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replied November 1st, 2007
Thank you so much Louis...hope i was not over empathetic...

I wish you all of the best as well and continued health. Smile
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replied November 6th, 2007
Bleh I Hate This!
32 year old female. I too, am experiencing this "cant take a deep breath" thing. Helps when I burp or move my tummy around some..but this all started after a reaction to the antibiotic avelox. I have been to the ER 2 times, been to a lung specialist and a gastro doc. Took a ton of tests..all back good. Gastro doc did say I have excess gas and bloating..and maybe it is pushing on my diaphgram causing the breathing prob..but I dont know..I can breathe fine norm ally, its just when I wanna get a deep breath..or sometimes I find myself trying to yawn more to get that "relief" It is so annoying. I really hope this goes away soon, been like this for a month now >.< Good luck and God Bless you all
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replied November 13th, 2007
I have this same thing! Even more wierd...one of my 5 sisters has it too. We thought it was jsut in our head... but the fact that we both had the same symptoms made didn't make sense. Please keep posting what it might be. I couldn't find any info on this particular symptom (not being able to get a full fulfilling breath in.) My sister had a Dr. say it was stress and allergy induced asthma.
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replied November 20th, 2007
Trouble Breathing Here Too :(
I am so relieved to know it is not in my head and others also suffer this horrible pattern of breathing.
I had laparoscopic surgery on Oct 11 and I was put under with gas (nitrous oxide) instead of the usual IV. I had trouble for 2 wks after with severe head spins and felt really off planet. That settled down but now I have this horrible feeling of needing to yawn and get in that deep breath but most of the time I can't and it takes several attempts to get that breath in.
The only time I have ever had it before was in the later stages of pregnancy when you can blame it on a pregnant belly pushing on the diaphragm and restricting breathing. Well I am not pg.. if I was it would only be a few days lol.
I have had asthma in the past but that was identified with the cough and wheeze... but I'll try the ventolin when DH gets it and brings it home.
I have tried the deep breathing exercises, stretching and expanding the rib cage...
I feel bad when people are talking to me and I have to keep yawning and then explain I am not tired or bored but have a breathing problem.
It will be so nice to breathe properly again.
Once I get to sleep apparently it is all ok.. getting to sleep though is a different matter.

Judy
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replied November 23rd, 2007
Can't Get a Deep Breath...anxiety
I have had this trouble of not getting a deep breath on and off for a few years now. Sometimes it will last for a few days, sometimes a few weeks. I notice when I"m really busy and not thinking about it I don't get that sensation. When I used to get really stressed out, my chest will feel really heavy and I would think I was on the verge of a heart attack. When I finally realized that it was panic attacks, it actually made me feel a lot better. My doctor put me on Buspar, a medicine for anxiety and worry and did it every put things back into balance for me. That was about five years ago. I was only on it for 6 months. But now I am beginning to feel anxious again, sometimes for no reason that I can pinpoint. But instead of the heavy feeling of stress in my chest or panic attacks, I get this "can't take a deep breath" thing and it really freaks me out sometimes. Then when you do get that full lung breath it feels so good. Anyway, I know it is anxiety but don't know what to do to stop it sometimes!! Some of you have said that you think it may be asthma related, but I really don't think it has anything to do with asthma (at least what I am feeling isn't). It helps to read that others have this same feeling and that's it's nothing life threatening.
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replied November 28th, 2007
Once Again, the Doctor Thinks It's Anxiety Go Figure
Ok, I just got home from urgent care. Why..I can't freakin breath...get enough air...nothing works and when I finally do get in that breath...boy does it feel good...it is not "shortness of breath" but rather not a satisfying deep breath...

Trying to explain to doctors is pointless because they of course say "anxiety" Am I really anxious though...I mean I have stress just like anyone else but most of my anxiety is about the damn breath not "life"
I have had this since 14 years old and some weeks are worse then others. I think I may have had a panic attack about 2 years ago when I called 911 because I woke up with a racing heart. I went to the ER and they drilled me asking if I did drugs or drank caffeine....all tests came back normal and my oxygen level of course were 98%. They said "panic attack" and I just could see why or how I was having one when everything in life was normal...no changes...

I really don't know what to do...I have been dealing with this for countless years. They gave me Ativan which I know is highly addictive and I don't want to take it. My main fear about taking Ativan is that it is a Benzo and slows down the Central nervous system and I run a slow heartrate and don't need anything else slowing it down. That's why this is so confusing. Don't people with "anxiety" have fast pulses and fast heartrates???

I'm perfectly calm, slow heart rate and just can't freakin get a good breath in. Please can someone please help me....I just can't function.
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replied November 29th, 2007
Wow.
Wow it's so great I found this thread. I started having the problem of the unsatisfying deep breaths and yawning/sneezing problems when I was a freshman in HS. Now I am 25 years old just recently having the problem surface again but now it seems worst, naturally. I too suffer from a history of anxiety issues. I'm actually tapered off of Klonopin (benzodiazephine) which I took for a couple years (mistake) and I heard that this is part of the withdrawal syndrome. Nevertheless, stress/anxiety is certainly a factor in this, IMO. All the evidence on this thread points to it.

My problem is basically this (simular to others)

-Constantly doing "Check breathes" to see if I can breath in fully. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The real scary part is when it goes on all day where the satisfying breathes becomes a rarity for the day.

-Problems with yawning and building up a sneeze.

-Broncodialators/Anti-Inflamatory inhalers = a no go on this.

-Normal breathing is fine. Just can't get the deep breath fully a lot of the time.

-Can run 2 miles in 15-20 minutes with little difficulty

-Scared to death of a more serious problem such as COPD/Emphazima

At age 25, COPD is definitely a rarity but it becomes real pretty quick with an issue like this. I was diagnosed with a touch of mild asthma (starting to have second thoughts though after reading this). Especially was frightening when inhalers didn't work as COPD is related to breathing problems that do not react to broncodialators.

Good to see this thread is still going on since 2005!! Amazing! You rarely see this. On even high-profile message boards. I'm glad I'm not alone in this, but hopefully this will subside on it's on because hell, the inhalers don't do squat.

By the way you will find that Benadryl brings great relief to this (especially since most of this is related to anxiety/stress and the anti-inflamatory in Benadryl will open you up too. I wouldn't recommend doing this every night though. Just keep it around as a reassurance tool since most inhalers do not work for this breathing disorder.

I also would highly advise NOT to explore the benzodiazephine option (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium). As good as this stuff is for anxiety/hypochondria, it will NOT help in the long hall and will shoot out triple the pain when it's time to get off if you get dependent on them. And TRUST ME....your odds of forming a dependency for benzos are 10 to 1. There are too many problems with benzo usage surpassing a month and usually does more harm than good.

PS- I do smoke!
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replied November 29th, 2007
Anyone take anything else to find relief with this? How does everyone else here deal with this?
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replied November 29th, 2007
Does this sound like you?

You begin having this deep breathing problem usually like a week ago. The breath feels like you only got about 60%-80% of your breath. You find yourself constantly taking "check deep breaths" and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. You tend to focus on the times you do not get a satisfying breath and panic. You end up focusing your day solely on yawning and sighing until you get relief.

You tend to revert to thinking you have something worst such as COPD or worse yet, the dreaded Empathzima, especially if you smoke. The fact that your broncodialators/anti-inflamatory meds don't work reinforces the fear of something with perminant damage (COPD).

As the days progress it tends to get worse and your panic rate rises. You feel clostaphobic and that you are going to go into chardiac arrest, and that the ER won't beable to do much for you other than to keep you comfortable.


You talk to your family and friends for constant reassurance, but you do not listen to them or your doctor. You are convinced there is something wrong with you. You also have memories of having a simular case as a kid.

Does this sound like anyone here?
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