Hi,im a 22 year old male and i've been dealing with this constant shortness of breath for over 5 years now , and doctors have no idea what's wrong with me. The only thing they say is that its anxiety, but i truly dont believe it. It just started spontaneously out of nowhere. I tried to take a deep breath one day and couldn't. After that for about 2 years i was constantly taking deep breaths and not able to get a satisfied breath. I was yawning and sighing all day. I had reached the point when i was staying home in my bed just hoping i would die so it would stop. After 2 years or so it went away. It then came back after i smoked a cigarette . Ever since then its been an ongoing struggle. I feel as if i have no control of my life, and im constantly thinking of my breathing. I feel hopeless and feel as if no one understands what im going through or that i have this disease hat doctors cant detect. My doctor has put me on xanax and it seemed to cut the edge off a lil but its still there. Its not bad and when i first got it but it still disrupts my life. I dont work i don't go to school and i don't have much of a social life .I've gone to cardiologist, ent's, gi's, pulmonary doctors. I've gone through xrays, PFT, EKG, stress tests, endoscopy . Only thing i have is GERD and a very small irregular heart beat .My lung specialist says its just all in my head and that i have this because ive become aware of my breathing pattern. i've used advair, singular and breathing pumps with no results. when im sitting or laying down its seems to be fine but when i stand up or more it kicks in more. I'm losing hope on what's going on with me. Does anyone have this?If so can anyone recommend anything else i should look for? the only thing i really want to do is a MRI or CT scan. Has anyone heard of chronic hyperventilation syndrome? or phrenic nerve damage? if anyone can be of help please post a message?
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The following user gives a hug of support to zambrotta19: TexasnConfused (10-23-2011)
Shortness of breath is actually a very common symptom of GERD. The acid from your stomach irritates the esophagus and the bronchi and causes inflammation that mimics asthma symptoms (shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing) but doesn't respond well to traditional asthma medication.
With as many doctors as you've seen I'm surprised nobody has discussed the connection between GERD and ashtma-like symptoms (typically a pulmonologist or gastroenterologist would be well-versed in this situation).
Typically, treating these symptoms requires getting your GERD under control so that it no longer irritates the esophagus or bronchi. You may need to see another gastroenterologist and specifically talk to the doctor about the possible connection between GERD and the shortness of breath you're experiencing.
It may be a hiatal hernia issue. They can be sliding or rolling, causing pressure on your diaphram and taking up lung space for breathing. This can cause the inability to take a full breath. Some things you can try are a chiropractor who knows how to pull your stomach back down. A simple method you can use is to drink a lot of water to weigh your stomach, and jump from stairs causing the momemtum and gravity to push your stomach downward. It is diagnosed with an Upper GI and sometimes a barium cat scan. And of course as you have been told, anxiety can certainly cause it.
I've actually done a barium swallowing and had an endoscopy and ultrasound of my stomach area and doctors say i dont have a hernia. All they say is that i have gastritis and Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. I understand that it can cause breathing problems, but my breathlessness is constant and thats why its so hard for me to believe its the lPR.My doctor sent me for a CT scan and Mri but my issurance wont cover, and a few of my doctors say 99 percent of the time nothing will show. I also heard of phrenic nerve plasy and phrenic nerve damage can can cuase breathing problems. has anyone heard of this?
I'm curious to know if you're doing anything to treat the LPR. Typically that's the best option if you think your issues might be at all tied to your acid reflux (it is very unlikely that an MRI or CT scan will show anything because they're not sensitive enough to show that much detail).
I think your best bet would be to try treating the LPR to see if you can get it under control and to see if your breathing improves as the LPR improves.
first thing you should do is get a spirometry test to see how healthy our lungs are. If your lungs are diseased it will take your breath and cause you to gulp air---I know--cause thats what it does to me!
Has any dr. looked at your vocal cords? GERD can cause inflammation of the folds, and, if they are inflamed, the air can not go up and down (in and out) as efficiently. This can cause shortness of breath. Children with very large vocal nodules often report this symptom and that is how they know that the nodules are really big! Examination often confirms this....it is a possibility!!!
I'd recommend getting a second opinion. The link between the two is very well established and all three of my doctors - my allergist, pulmonologist and gastroenterologist have mentioned it to me multiple times, and worked with me to help manage it.
Altho I like a couple Manhattans each nite
I hate to say this but getting reflux - and the shortness of breath that comes with it - under control may require some significant changes to your eating and drinking habits. It takes time, a lot of work, and some sacrifices but if GERD is contributing to your shortness of breath it's probably worth it.
I never had SOB before and when diagnosed with GERD/LPR was told that was a symptom. I've this crap for 10 yrs or more and it seems only in the last few recent years that more Dr's (gastro) are learning that GERD is much more than acid reflux. I found the ENT spec to be more up to date than a lot of Dr's on these "uncommon" symptoms. Never had allergies or asthma in my whole life until all the stomach issues and I do believe now that they all tie together in some way. I would find a more knowledgable Dr. as someone else suggested. I don't think all the test are 100% accurate either but would advise to take them. You may be one of the lucky ones that gets relief with meds. I certainly hope so. Good Luck.
I agree with gcsmith. You should be treating your LPR.
I had similar breathing problems that were aggrevated by the reflux. It took being agressive about the reflux to get things back under some control. I worked closely with my GI doc, Pulmonologist and PCP to address these issues.
I addressed the reflux through lifestyle changes, diet changes and medication. There isn't a cure, but through persistance you can often get it under some control.
My spirometry was normal and my PFT was normal so really bugged me out.
My vocal cords were a little inflamed from the LPR but my doctor said, yes, someone can experience some minor breathing and voice problems but it just seems to be constant with me. i truley believe that the gerd/lpr does place some role in the breathing problem but i also think theres something else behind it. i think some of it is physical and some may just be mental in the sence that ive just become aware of my breathing pattern. My next step would to visit with a neurologist and check to see if my phrenic nerve or my C3 C4 C5 vertebrea are damaged or in a palsy state, because this can also cuase breathing problems. My shortness of breath is not in the sense, for example someone running up a flight of stairs and huffing and puffing. For me its not being able to complete a breath; actually experiencing the sensation of suffocation if you will, or that my lungs wont expand enough to get that last bit of hair to satisfy the breath.
I fugured out what was causing my shortness of breath with LPR. It's when I eat salt (like pretzels etc.). Must be causing more inflammation in throat and giving that shortness of breath feeling. It also makes me wake up at night unable to breath. I stay away from obvious salty foods.
I've have what zambrotta19 has described. It started 27 years ago as a lot of yawning and a little shortness of breath. But it soon got worse. I felt like there was pressure on my chest. It felt like when you over eat and you feel a little short of breath and you try to take a deep breath but it's not satisfying because your stomach is too full with food (and maybe your pants are too tight) and you cannot get that satisfying breath. Back then my heart & lungs were tested but nothing was found. A lung Dr. called it "French Soldiers Disease". I've never hear that term since that initial discussion. The DR basically said it was an anxiety type disorder. After 27 years I think he was wrong. My only repreve when it bothered me a lot was sleep. I almost never awoke with any symptms in the middle of the night and when I awoke in the morning I had a few minuits before it world "come on". THat lasted two years. Toward the end of the 2 years it slowly subsided until it was gone. THroughout the following 20 years it bothered me only mildly and rarely. Then about 4 years ago it came back. I did the heart & lung dr's again because now I'm a lot older (now 52). But it all came back fine. I've seen a GI dr for other stomach problems and I was referred to him after the other Drs found nothing. He's not sure what is causing it. I don't have GERD, but I know drinking coffee over time makes it worse. SOMETIMES WHEN IT BOTHERS ME MOST I FEEL THAT MY NOSE ALSO GETS STUFFYER. I'm not sure if it is truely suffyer or if it just feels that way. When it bother me the most I concentrate on the feelings. And I think of them as an upset stomach rather than a sensation of short breath. A while ago I had a long term prostate infection so I felt like I had to pee all of the time. Over the 2 years I learned to differentiate the sensations from the prostate infection vs the sensations of having a full bladder. I'm trying to do the same with this. It takes the edge off a little. A stomach discomfort is less stressful than feeling like you cannot get enough air. Eating sometimes makes it better and rarely makes it worse. Small amounts, slowly are best.I have not really pushed my Dr on this condition because sometimes its not too bad and sometimes I think its getting better, only to have it come back full force again. I've found that burping a lot seems o take the edge off for a few seconds. This made me think I was extra gassy. But now I think it has something to do with the effect burping has on my lower esophagus. I'm wondering if the burping is interupting some sort of esophagal spasm or mobility problem. Boards like this are getting me a little more excited about at least finding the cause for my problem.
I will be asking my Dr about it.
I will be checking this board frequently now that I know about it.
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Wow, Zambrotta, so sorry you are going through this! I can identify with the out of breath feeling. When my allerigies are really bad I get this, especially if out side or God forbid, exercising- makes it impossible for me to do any sort of cardio because where I live its HOT alll the time! But, I don't have this constantly- now its bad because I'm 6 mths preggo and the baby is starting to push on my diaphragm and stomach area and I also was Dx with a hiatal hernia last year. But the docs didn't fix it, said just leave it be and try to exercise (ha ha) and loose weight and eat small meals. I never had the GERD symptoms till about a year and a half ago. Was on nexium for awhile- then when I got off of it my symptoms got WAY worse!!! Apparently my body was addicted to the nexium. joy!
While my breathlessness isn't constant I know how scary that feels because now when I cough (just got over a nasty nasty flu virus which caused my cough to linger on and on and flare up my borderlined asthma), I will cough till I can't get air and my chest will get sore and then tighten up. Before the pregnancy only time I experienced this was when allergies got out of control.
I wonder why no tests showed anything? but then again the way they run tests is a joke sometimes- no one's even looked down my throat w/ all this- just did the endoscopy and that's it. I've had IBS issues my entire life and I wanted a colonoscopy too but dr dismissed me because of me being under 30, I really think. Ah well!
In a town of chimpanzees I was a Monkey....