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Old 10-19-2005, 04:05 PM   #1
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brysonav HB User
Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Hello all,

This is my first post (I have been lurking for a few days ...) and I have a question re symptoms that having been troubling me for sometime. My main complaint is that it seems as if I can never get a full and satisfying breath, almost as if my diaphragm is paralyzed. I have had multiple echos, stress test negative, lungs clear, pulse ox was 97 yesterday on my most recent exam. Does anyone else have this symptom/sensation? what do you do to combat this? Is this anxiety? I have no classic short of breath symptoms, mostly just like I cannot fill my lungs all the way.

This problem has now "morphed" into a preoccupation with breathing, almost as if I have to think about it or I will stop. The troubling thing is, I do not feel physically anxious before I notice this problem (which lately has been more often than not). Once I start to concentrate on breathing I become dizzy, weak in knees, feel as if I am going to pass out, etc...

I am 33 yrs old, non-smoker, physically active. My PCP gave me Xanax yesterday but I am apprehensive about taking it. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Hope all is well (or getting better!) for all of you

 
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Old 10-19-2005, 04:51 PM   #2
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crabbyroad HB User
Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Yes common in anxiety, doctors refer to it as "air hunger", it produces a yawning effect to get a full breath. Ive experienced it many times. The Xanax will help.

 
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Old 10-19-2005, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

When I first started experiencing symptoms of anxiety (at around age 15... and that was a good 14 years ago), a doctor diagnosed me with asthma (withough giving me any pulmonary tests) and sent me on my way. When my anxeity issues became debilitating (in my mid-20s) I was finally run through a gammet of tests (blood work, chest x-ray, EKG, echocardiogram).

My main physical manifestation has always been the same... I feel as if I am unable to take a complete breath. I am unable to inhale deeply and this leads to a preoccupation with my breathing. I often feel like I have to think about making myself breath. Anyway, after all of the tests were run above I was finally diagnosed with GAD.

You are definitely not alone and it is definitely possibly that what you are experiencing is a physical symptom of anxiety. Keep up on your medical care... as it can become debilitating and lead to panic attacks. Lately I have been having difficulty driving long distance b/c my breathing gets me so worked up that I am afraid that I'm going to hyperventilate and pass out. Xanax helps me A LOT Don't be afraid to use it if you need it.

Good luck!

Last edited by SpiralingDown; 10-19-2005 at 05:32 PM.

 
Old 10-19-2005, 05:43 PM   #4
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Thanks for the replies.

Spiralingdown - what you describe is exactly what I feel. I guess now I will accept that iit is anxiety that is causing this. I will try the Xanax tonight in an effort to get some relief. Thanks again.

 
Old 10-19-2005, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Brysonav: I experience the same with the added "benefit" that I feel a "weight" in my chest. Like i have a thick pc of the heaviest metal inside my chest. At the worst of times i was unable to sing, something i usually enjoy while in the car and the shower. That alone got me into depression. My therapist prescribed Yoga and i find that after a good yoga workout, i breath much easier. At first, the benefits last for only a couple of hours after the workout. But your chest expands with time if you practice 2-3 times a week at least. Yoga is good for anxiety in general but it is specially good for breathing problems. I can sing again.

 
Old 10-19-2005, 06:32 PM   #6
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Sonika - My PCP mentioned yoga as a potential help. Do you participate in an organized class? I have searched some yoga poses on the internet in the past but have never tried it. I will take your suggestion and give it a try. Glad to see that you found something that works. Thanks.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 10:07 AM   #7
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Yes, I have experienced his exact same thing. You just feel like there is not that little "click" or sensation that tells you you have taken a complete breath. The xanax will help. Try also doing allot of excercising as you breathing will become automatic andd you will not think about it. I know this sounds stupid, but try and ignore your brathing the best you can. Once you "take over" your reflex of breathing you end up throwing off your C02 balance which will make you feel even more anxious. Just take deep breaths thru your nose and release slowly thru your mouth. I can promise you the less you focus on this the quicker it will pass.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Hi,
I am experiencing exactly the same thing - do you guys have this 24/7? My husband says I'm even having this rapid labored short breathing while sleeping - I do have GAD and was just switched from ativan to xanax two weeks ago - but I am still having the breathing problems - do you get breaks from it - or is it all the time like me? I had the echocardiogram yesterday and last week we pretty much ruled out asthma since the inhalers didn't do anything....Thanks for any help you can give me - it's a scary thing - my blood O2 was 98 - doc says it's too high - I recently gained a lot of weight suddenly from changes in medication - did that happen to any of you?
Thanks again for any help you can give me...
Best wishes,
Kathy

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:18 AM   #9
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kalbc311 HB User
Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Kathy, are you at a healthy weight? Also do you have symtoms of acid reflux. Often this can irritate your esophagus and stomach and make it harder tot take longer deper breaths.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Hi,
I was at a healthy weight - until the med change a month ago - since then I've gained 25 lbs! I do have reflux and take aciphex for it - Do you think the combinatio of the weight gain (I know it can make reflux worse) is causing this 24/7? Thanks for your reply - I really appreciate it...
Kathy

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:46 AM   #11
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missy101 HB User
Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Quote:
Originally Posted by wxKathy2
Hi,
I am experiencing exactly the same thing - do you guys have this 24/7? My husband says I'm even having this rapid labored short breathing while sleeping - I do have GAD and was just switched from ativan to xanax two weeks ago - but I am still having the breathing problems - do you get breaks from it - or is it all the time like me? I had the echocardiogram yesterday and last week we pretty much ruled out asthma since the inhalers didn't do anything....Thanks for any help you can give me - it's a scary thing - my blood O2 was 98 - doc says it's too high - I recently gained a lot of weight suddenly from changes in medication - did that happen to any of you?
Thanks again for any help you can give me...
Best wishes,
Kathy
How can 98 be too high?? 100 is optimal. That makes no sense to me. I am always 98-100. But I too have the problem the OP describes. Xanax will really work. Onc eyou start forcusing on breathing (which is why breathing exercises NEVER worked for my anxiety) some ppl start to hyperventalate and it is a vicious cycle. Just try to remember that your body knows what to do. You wont just STOP breathing. Even IF you did pass out, your body would start breathing normally. But, that wont happen.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:51 AM   #12
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Sonika HB User
Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Hi again! I take a class once a week. It is good to have an instructor to look at your poses to prevent injuries. But i know it is expensive. So i bought a couple of videos and i do that the rest of the week. You can take 3-4 classes and then take it on your own. You can also buy a book that explains correct positions and put on a nice calming CD to create the ambiance.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:53 AM   #13
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Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Well, I just know the larger the stomach, the less room the diaphragm has to expand. Acid reflux also causes the stomach to be irritable and doesnt allow for full expansion when breathing. Thus the result would be short quick breaths especially while you were sleaping. The catch is is that taking short breaths makes you more anxious which makes your reflux worse etc. Itg is one big loop. Obviously the anxiety tenses your muscles which also makes it dificult to get a full breath. I would consider allot of excercise and relaxation. Perhaps a massage. Basically something to loose the weight and keep the anxiety levels as low as possible. Much the same as they all contribute to eachother, begining to attack the problem will have benefits for each issue slowly. Do you also suffer from nasal congestion? This often times causes people to become "mouth breathers" and throws off their Co2 balance making them feel more anxious. Also contributes to unhealthy breathing while you sleep. If you do have the nasal problem, maybe taking a spray to clear passages will help with the night breathing and overall relaxation.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 12:56 PM   #14
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brysonav HB User
Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Kathy - I find my breathing problem to be a 24/7 thing unless my mind is preoccupied with something else and I am keeping busy. I have had this problem for about 8 years and sometimes it is worse than others. It used to be that I would "catch" or get that deep satisfying breath and I would be OK. Now it seems that it takes longer and this causes me to panic and focus on the sensation. I have tried inhalers, nexium, prevacid etc... with no relief. I'm now resigned to trying to ignore this and just attibute it to anxiety. The Xanax helped me not panic but the sensation was still present. I keep telling myself that if I am upright I'm breathing but it is extremely frustrating. Hope the switch to the xanax works for you.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 01:03 PM   #15
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missy101 HB User
Re: Breathing issues, anyone else with this problem??

Quote:
Originally Posted by brysonav
Kathy - I find my breathing problem to be a 24/7 thing unless my mind is preoccupied with something else and I am keeping busy. I have had this problem for about 8 years and sometimes it is worse than others. It used to be that I would "catch" or get that deep satisfying breath and I would be OK. Now it seems that it takes longer and this causes me to panic and focus on the sensation. I have tried inhalers, nexium, prevacid etc... with no relief. I'm now resigned to trying to ignore this and just attibute it to anxiety. The Xanax helped me not panic but the sensation was still present. I keep telling myself that if I am upright I'm breathing but it is extremely frustrating. Hope the switch to the xanax works for you.
I think you mentioned something VERY important. Distraction.

Sometimes we, as anxiety sufferers, tend to have such vigilant focus on ourselves and our bodies. We notice things that others would never notice. We react to things that are normal everyday sensations in a way that causes us to fear. We need to distract ourselves FROM ourselves. We need to try to focus on others. Volunteer, help other people with THEIR troubles, find a mind occuping hobby, read a book..there are hundreds of different ways. I think this is very important.

 
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