Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Asthma Forum

Can't Take a Deep Breath (Page 20)

August 5th, 2009
I meant to mention one other thing. I went on a little vacation Monday and Tuesday. It was challenging going, but I have come back noticeably better. It was really therapeutic getting out of my house/environment. I could even see things more clearly becuase I was out of my usual environment, and that helped me put the problem in perspective, that I am in charge of it and getting myself better. Diversion is the key for me. Then today I had a stresful appointment, and the problem started to reappear, but not nearly as bad as it was a week ago. Geesh, it's relentless!
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replied August 11th, 2009
where is everyone? How are you all?
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replied August 22nd, 2009
hey everyone, sorry its been so long. it looks like everyone else has been just as busy as me. lol. well anyways i went to the pulmonologist last week, it went okay. i have been feeling much better the past 3 or so weeks so he chalked it up to my medicine, even though i told him i didnt really agree. he took blood to check my liver and thyroid but i havent heard anything back yet. i tried to talk to him about my concerns but he said i needed to see my regular doctor about the joint pain and such. like i have been breathing better so hes doing his job anything else its not his problem. but thats just how i felt. i have a question, do anyone on here have a deviated septum? i always felt i have... always had a sort of stuffyish nose and migrains, i have told the dr yet no one has ever looked up my nose. huh. another theory here, i can always be wrong tho. lol. but if there is a deviated septum we become mouth breathers and therefore have a hard time breathing because it is not the proper way. what do you guys think? i am making an appt to see an ENT soon. i need to get a referal from my doc and then im on top of it. anyways... how is everyone doing? i have been okay start my junior year of college on monday, my oldest daughter just started first grade.. i am trying to make life go on without thinking of not breathing all the time. i am doing a lil better too. i hope everyone is good and writes soon. we need to keep up our little support group. lol. i am sorry for making anyone uncomfortable i am adult enough to know not everyone has the same opinions, so i am over it and i hope that grapes is too. anyways talk to everyone later.
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replied August 24th, 2009
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replied August 24th, 2009
Hello Megan & all,
I too thought perhaps that everyone had got a bit fedup with all our comments. Anyway, i am fine and very happy to hear from You. Gomogo and i have been keeping in touch. I wonder how Geoffrey is? i am a bit worried about him, he hasn't written in a while. It would be good to hear how he was doing. I'll write to you later or tomorrow, i have to dash of now!!

love grapes
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replied August 24th, 2009
Me again,
We do need to all keep in touch because it is moral support for all of us. Not many other people would understand what we are going through, only those with this problem.

I do have rhinitis this time round and am taking steroids for it. I have a constant blocked up nose and sometimes it is runny. It doesn't help the breathing at all because it means sometimes having to breath through my mouth, which i'm sure creates overbreathing. I havenn't taken the spray long enough, but it definately helps already. i am allergic to my work (i work with pollen all the time). I also have tinitis. Infact i have always had trouble with my ENT ever since i was young. I had my tonsils out when i was 8. This is why i think the breathing problems can be triggered by anything, which then stops us from breathing properly. I even think that the rhinitis could have caused me to breath incorrectly again because i have had it for 5 months, same time as breathing problem. However, i had rhinitis last year and i was alright then! For me the bad breathing occurs when i feel really tired(which seems to be a lot lately, hormones are a bit dodgy) or a bit stressed and when i want to sit down and relax. It only takes me to yawn once which then makes me gulp and then i think about it and the nasty cycle begins. I am distressed about having them back (i was only about your age, Megan, when i first got them)i should know better. Anyway, i'v been testing myself: as soon as the symtoms start i quickly try and divert myself. The other day i was sitting down and i started yawning like crazy; i got up and went to clean the bathroom out: the breathing went back to normal. It's a crazy thing, it had gone from being there one mintue, to not the next. I can't seem to control it unless i divert myself in some way. i can do the breathing excersises, but only when i am relaxed and not when i have the breathing problems.
Does that ever happen with anyone else. Please let me know what everyone finds is there best help. When i excersise i also feel very good and when i am very busy at work or doing something i like. My big problem is relaxing!!! At the moment i haven't done anything long enough to find the best benefit. Rather then do the breathing excersises, i end up falling sleep. I only know how to divert from it while it's happening but i wish it to be gone forever like it did before. Maybe it will when i finally feel mentally relaxed again, which at the moment it won't be for a few months. (work, money and hormone worries)

Hope to hear from everyone and anyone else who wants tojoin in with our bizzarre and frustrating problem
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replied August 24th, 2009
hello, i wonder how Geoffrey is too. it seems odd he hasnt been on here. wish we knew another way to reach him.
i too wonder if hormones play a factor in all this. i tend to feel worse around my menstrual. not always the case but around that time seems like i notice it more. i am in the process of figuring out a good ENT in my area. i am thinking i am going to call the dr and see if he knows of a good one. i was asking family but the only one they knew of didnt accept my insurance.
i have been okay the last few days, really really tired though. my back has been killing me and i am feeling the need to deep breathe more often yet i have been able to get a deep breath for the most part. i just have been having the urge and man its hard to fight off.
anyways the kids have school tomorrow so i need to get them in the bath, but i will write some more later.
Talk to you soon.
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replied August 25th, 2009
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replied August 31st, 2009
Cant take a deep breathe
Ive had the same problem for about two or three years. Ill be fine and dont even notice it, then the next moment it happens and goes on for days or even weeks. It just seems that everytime i take a breathe, i dont feel like im getting a full breathe, like the one where you yawn. It is almost like the feeling of someone sitting on my chest and i cant completely expand my chest. However, i know i am getting air and my lungs are filling up but i am just not satisfied with it. People seriously think i am crazy but it truly is the worst feeling. I dont even know how to describe it to people. Obviously, i am not the only person who feels this way....i think doctors are missing something!
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replied September 2nd, 2009
I expect you have read all the posts!! there is a really good book 'Hyperventilation Syndrome' by Dinah Bradely. Buy from Amazon (£6.99) If you have had a medical check up and have been told you are OK physically, then this book explains in a simple way what we have wrong with us and how to help ourselves. Good luck.
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replied September 4th, 2009
Can't take a deep breath.
I'm a 58 year old guy (how did I get to be 58?) and began experiencing this suddenly several years ago. I never notice it when I exercise and I swim and bike and play soccer. Recently I discovered I had sleep apnea and I'm awaiting a CPAP machine to help me breathe at night. HOWEVER, I discovered something interesting. I was trying to make a different kind of breathing mouthpiece and tried the mouthpiece from a snorkel. To my amazement I found it easier to breathe with this in my mouth even when it wasn't attached to the machine. I think it causes my jaw to move out slightly and this subtley changes the whole opening in my throat and pharynx. Recently, a dentist has been advertising something to do a similar thing as a way to address mild sleep apnea. As an experiment, try jutting your jaw forward slightly and breathe in through your mouth. I'm trying to work up the courage to use the mouthpiece in public but that might take more than I have. Shelly
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replied September 8th, 2009
Breathing troubles
My god!Ptuttle, i have the same problem! Its been like a year, ever since i went to down south at punta cana trip it started there.... I had this really bad fever and it progressed, i had really breathing problems and my chest felt congested and inflammed, it was crazy, I just wanted to get out of there. And now today i have these symptoms of breathing problems, not getting enough of a breath to satisfy me. Although i WARN ANYONE to be careful when trying hard to get a deep breath.. It can actually be dangerous as one night i was trying to fall asleep and i was laying on my stomach trying to get a full breath. As my diaphram was expanding to its max, there was this sudden sharp pain across my chest (lung areas) and that literally freaked the living hell out of me. And ever since that i think i may have caused 1 more symptom because of that wich is pain to the chest at times... It really sucks because i cant seem to function and lead a normal life like everyone else... Anyways these days my symptoms seem to get worse like theres something progressing... Now its just a matter of time...
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replied September 23rd, 2009
I'm 33, ex smoker.
I quit 2 years ago and have been hitting the gym / running/ swimming 5 times a week.
i'm 5'10 and 172 pounds, low body fat, but high cholesterol (Medicated, is a family condition pretty much)
I feel great physically, have a very healthy diet and no major source of stress in my life except for a few arguments here and there with the wife and work stress which i easily put behind me.

I have been suffering with those symptoms for 2 years now.
This is what prompted me to quit smoking, little did i know it wasn't what was causing it apparently (hey at least it got me out of a bad habit)

How i would describe my symptoms the best would be:

-I am conscious of EVERY SINGLE BREATH I TAKE, from the moment i wake up to the moment i go to bed.
It is extremly annoying.

-I rarely experience any problem when going to bed / reading in bed/ relaxing in bed, but the problem is right there after a couple breaths when i wake up, and with me during the day.

-If i run my usual 4+ miles i notice it does not impaact my running most of the time, unless i've had a real bad day where i needed more deep breaths / yawns than usual.

-If i do something that takes ALL of my attention (it happens but it's rare), i usually 'forget' about my breaths and then later realize i haven't had any urge for a yawn or a deep breath during that time (Which makes me strongly believe this is a physchological issue)

-Deep breathing / yoga positions/ stretching after working out helps a lot, but not on the long run.

I have not yet talked to my doctor about this but i will, just to get the peace of mind that i don't have any major (or may be i do, only one way to find out).
It gets so bad that some days i have a hard time focusing on anything else, and i'm physically exhausted from having such a bad day, however usually after a work out session the same day i feel much more relaxed.

It takes such a big place in my life that i hardly remember a time where i wasn't feeling this way, even when i try to remenber 5/6 years back it seems i also remenber feeling this way at the time, while it wasn't the case.
It's just been so long without it totally going away that i guess it's become part of my life totally, which sucks.

It doesn't physically handicap me as i am not really out of breath of lacking oxygen or having any symptom of asthma or anything else (No wheezing, coughing or anything like that), it's just that no matter what i do or what i focus on, a part of my brain is attentive to the way i breath, and it gets old real fast.
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replied September 29th, 2009
I had the same problem (yawning and not getting a deep breath)
stress was def a factor but also a vertabra between my shoulder blades.
1 Chiro session and some holiday sorted that out immediately.
Now, a few years later (today) I have the same problem.
Def worth trying out my previous "cure".
Good luck!
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replied October 12th, 2009
hello all,
I have this exact same problem. Guys I have found a solution that works. I doubt its very good for you tho. I was trippin out one night in full blown panic attack and i explained to my wife that it was like my lungs wouldent inflate all the way. she calls me over to her, holds my nose, puts her mouth over mine and after I breath in deep as i can she inflates my lungs the rest of the way. I was amazed at how much farther my lungs inflated and I was cured at that moment. The condition comes back every 2nd day and she re inflates me and bam cured again. hope this helps someone. its saved my life
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replied October 20th, 2009
When I an almost asleep I feel like smothing is pressing on my chest and I cant move my body to the point that it scares me does anyone else every feel this way? I have asthma but really dont think it is related at all...I have been asthmatic my whole life 26 years... I would think I have experienced all the "episiodes" possible this one is new just been going on for about 3 weeks now. PLEASE help need sleep.
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replied October 23rd, 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deanne Repich is the Founder of the National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc., an anxiety educator, teacher, and former anxiety sufferer. Deanne created the Conquer Your Anxiety Success Program, a simple, action-oriented "how-to" course that has helped thousands across the globe conquer their anxiety. She also conducts seminars, writes articles, and publishes the free "Anxiety Tips" newsletter. Like this article?
Then you'll love our Conquer Anxiety Success Program. Click Here to Learn More...

Do you feel short of breath? Do you often worry that you're
not taking in enough air? Do you fear that you're going to
stop breathing and faint, or even die from feelings of

You're not alone. Concerns about breathing are common
among anxiety sufferers. When you're feeling anxious, it's
easy to believe that your shortness of breath means that
you're in grave physical danger, when in reality you're not.

There are several things you can do to overcome concerns
about breathing. First, consult your doctor to determine if
asthma, allergies, emphysema, obesity, or another illness
may be causing the symptom and seek appropriate
medical treatment as needed.

Once you've completed a medical examination and have
confirmed that no other ailment is involved, educate
yourself. Finding out the reasons for your feelings can
help alleviate your breathing concerns and reduce your

Here are some breathing myths and realities that will
help you breathe easier (no pun intended).

"If I feel like I'm short of breath, that means I'll die from

Feeling short of breath and suffocating are two
completely different things. When the fight or flight
response is triggered, the neck and chest muscles tighten,
which can make it feel difficult to breathe. This has
nothing to do with suffocation. No matter how difficult
it feels to breathe, it's impossible for your chest
muscles to be so tight that you suffocate. Even though
feeling this way is unpleasant, it's not dangerous.

"If I feel like it's difficult to breathe, that means I'm not
getting enough oxygen."

If you feel like it's difficult to breathe, it's likely that you
are overbreathing, also known as hyperventilation
syndrome. Your symptoms are caused by breathing
too frequently, not from a lack of oxygen.

Overbreathing is an excessive rate of breathing that
causes a loss of carbon dioxide. This loss of carbon
dioxide results in intense physical symptoms such as
feelings of choking, gasping, being smothered, panic,
trembling, and feeling like you're dying. This pattern
of breathing feeds on itself because the more you
overbreathe, the lower your carbon dioxide levels get,
and the more intense the symptoms become. It's a
vicious cycle.

Hyperventilation syndrome is a common problem that
is estimated to affect about 10% of the population.
It is not dangerous, and is easily alleviated by
deep breathing. Deep breathing involves deliberately
learning to slow your breathing rate and breathe from
the diaphragm (a muscle in the lower abdomen).

"If I was hyperventilating, I'd know it."

You may take shallow, frequent breaths and not even realize
it. Hyperventilation does not necessarily mean that you are
breathing loudly or visibly gasping for air. Some people
tend to overbreathe when they are in an anxiety-
producing situation only. Others overbreathe all of the

Take a breath and observe yourself. If your chest or
shoulders move when you breathe, you're probably
breathing from your chest, which can lead to

If you take more than 15-17 breaths per minute
while resting, this can also signal overbreathing.

"Feeling short of breath (like I'm suffocating, choking,
etc.) is dangerous."

These feelings can be scary and may feel uncomfortable,
but they are NOT dangerous (assuming you've had a
clear medical exam). What's important to realize is that
if you feel short of breath or tend to overbreathe, you
can learn to change it. YOU are in control. Train your
body to react more calmly using deep breathing and
relaxation techniques.

"If I faint or stop breathing for a few moments, I'll die."

Our bodies are hard-wired to breathe. If you stop
breathing your body's built-in reflex mechanism will
naturally kick in. You'll gasp for air and automatically
start breathing again. When you faint, your autonomic
responses kick in and you start breathing automatically
too! So you see, although feeling short of breath is
uncomfortable, it is NOT dangerous or life-

"If I feel short of breath, I need to breathe faster to get
more air."

Some people think that when they feel short of breath they
need to breathe more often. The opposite is true. The more
you overbreathe, the lower your carbon dioxide level
becomes and the more intense your symptoms get.

"To get a deep breath, I should breathe from my chest."

Chest breathing creates shallow breaths, not deep ones. To
get a deep, restorative breath, learn how to breathe from
the diaphragm.

"I need to constantly worry about and monitor myself to
make sure I keep breathing."

As we discussed earlier, the body is hard-wired to breathe.
Stop watching yourself to make sure you continue breathing.
You will! After all, your body can't help but breathe. It's a
process that even babies do naturally, without thinking or
worrying about it.

Concerns about breathing fuel anxiety and make it MORE
difficult to breathe. Instead of worrying and constantly
monitoring yourself, channel your thoughts and energy into
a productive solution. Learn deep breathing techniques.
Practice them daily until they become second-nature to you.

When you think about your breathing, think thoughts that
reflect the type of breathing you want to create. Instead
of worrying that you're choking, for example, say to
yourself: "My breathing is slow, deep, and restful. My
throat feels open and it' easy to breathe."

"I'm the only one that feels this way. I should keep my
concerns about my breathing secret."

Millions of people feel the way you do. You are not alone.
Whenever you are confronted with a fear about breathing
or feel short of breath, remind yourself of the reality -
you are NOT in danger. By naming your fears about
breathing and bringing them out into the open, they lose
their power over you.

It's important to realize that most causes of breathing
difficulty can be easily corrected. In addition to learning
deep breathing techniques, challenging your fears with
reality can help you breathe more easily.

© Copyright June 5, 2002 by Deanne Repich and the National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc.
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replied November 12th, 2009
Struggling to get a full breath
Is anyone on any medication that is suffering from this? I have had the same, inhaling and not being able to get a full breath, problem for almost 3 months. It is starting to worry me. I am 25 and on sertraline a SSRI (antidepressant). I thought it might have been that.
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replied November 17th, 2009
Can't take a deep breath.
I just found this website and am surprised to find so many other people with the same problem as I.
I am a 48 yr old female. I first had problems taking a deep breath around 3 years ago. It seemed like I could only get that deep breath about every 4th or 5th try. I went to the dr. and she thought I maybe had developed allergies so she prescribed an inhaler (did not work), as well as a drug to help me relax (thought I might be having anxiety attacks.
That episode lasted around 4 days. Then everything went back to normal other than a few small episodes every once in a blue moon.
One week ago, it started again, and I am today having a bad day. It was pretty bad last Wednesday, and then got better (not completely gone but for the most part just a few issues during the day) until today.
Up until about 5 yrs ago, I was very active (riding 4 to 5 days a week). After that, I quit riding and most of my activity revolves around golfing in the summer.
Also, 4 yrs ago I was diagnosed with GERD (a reflux disorder). I have been on Nexium pretty much ever since.
I am just curious if anyone has ever had a diagnosis as to what this condition is.
Is this really related to anxiety and/or stress? Or is it something else.
This disorder may not be considered serious by dr.'s, but it is very very frustrating not getting that deep breath when you want it. I know when I first developed this condition and was trying to explain it to my mom, she asked, "why are you trying to take a deep breath?" I couldn't really answer her. It was just that I felt I needed it.
Hope someday someone comes up with an answer to this.
Until then, I am relieved that I am not the only person suffering with this, but saddened that any of us have to experience it at all.
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replied November 26th, 2009

This happened to me after a front-end car accident. I had the same air hunger and yawning problem. I had all of the tests, and the doctors found nothing wrong. But, I did get a resolution to the problem.

I would get to the epiphany point of yawning, and I couldn't complete the act. All of the medical tests were negative.
I went to a chiropractor who knew exactly what the problem was. She told me that my ribcage was locked up, and it was not moving properly when I took a breath. After many sessions of manipulation, I could breathe normally again.

This problem started in 1984. Occasionally, it returns. I get manipulated again and it goes away.

I hope this gives you the answer you need to feel better.

The reason no MD knows what is going on is that they don't pay attention to how ribcage function affects the mechanics of breathing. This is not a lung problem.
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