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Old 12-17-2008, 10:57 PM   #1
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Shortness of breath with exertion = anxiety?

I can't seem to find much information on this particular aspect of anxiety, so I wanted to bring it here to ask some folks who have maybe dealt with it.

Can anxiety-related shortness of breath be worsened with physical exertion?

Perhaps I am a bit ignorant, but I always thought that anxiety-induced dyspnea didn't worsen as the result of exertion, and that breathing issues caused by heart or lung problems do get worse with exertion.

No, I haven't yet had the chance to see a professional. Yes, I'm still trying to reassure myself I'm not dying. I find myself often losing my breath quickly after walking up a couple of floors and I'm really trying to figure out if my breathing problems are related to anxiety or to a physical cause (heart, lungs).

 
Old 12-18-2008, 04:26 AM   #2
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Re: Shortness of breath with exertion = anxiety?

Yes it definitely can be. It is a common problem for sufferers of anxiety. I know when I was first put in the anxiety boat, any type of walking up and down the stairs or walking from one end of the room to the other would make my heart race and Id be out of breath. It still happens on occasion. Its normal. A lot of anxiety sufferers get it. Its strange. At first I thought it may have been my asthma because I do have it, although I have not used an inhaler or anything for it in about 3 years because I have not had any breathing issues associated with it. So you may want to see if that is something you developed?

 
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:55 PM   #3
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Re: Shortness of breath with exertion = anxiety?

So you may want to see if that is something you developed?

For me, I've had a lot of causes, both serious and not so serious ruled out. With all the tests I've had in the last year and a half, I've found out that my breathing problems are not caused by allergies, asthma, embolism, collapsed lung, hypothyroidism or heart issues (I'm going by my primary care doctor saying my heart sounds fine and no one expressing concern in the ER after my EKG results came in).

Loss of breath during exertion has always happened to me, even when I was at a healthy weight. I was just never the kind of person who could handle running a few laps around the gym. All my breathing problems developed out of nowhere last summer and they haven't gotten better or worse.

I just really wish I knew for sure what was going on - the fact that I don't know if what I have is serious or not adds to my anxiety even more. If it's only psychological, I will feel a lot better...but I don't know if I'll ever find out until after I get out of college and have my own insurance. I'm still on my mother's plan and she is often reluctant to take me to a doctor.

Thanks for the advice though. I'm happy to know that what I'm feeling doesn't necessarily guarantee heart issues (not saying it can't be, but I'm glad to know the anxiety door is still open).

 
Old 12-21-2008, 05:54 AM   #4
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Re: Shortness of breath with exertion = anxiety?

I definitely have this symptom!! I have even had an echo stress test, and my heart function is fine.

I realize that it is a consequence of having extreme sensitivity to any anxiety/adrenaline in my system, plus being physically deconditioned. About 6 months ago I was walking regularly at the gym (nothing strenuous, just regular 30 min walks) and I noticed that I was much more comfortable at home then.

It is good to know I am not the only one with this feeling.

 
Old 01-02-2009, 04:26 PM   #5
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Re: Shortness of breath with exertion = anxiety?

Bumping this up in case anyone else experiences it.

 
Old 01-02-2009, 04:56 PM   #6
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Re: Shortness of breath with exertion = anxiety?

About all I can add to this is that I have situational anxiety, low grade asthma, allergies, sciatica (low back, hip and leg pain), and osteoarthritis of the neck and shoulders. Because of the allergies, I have to wear a dust mask to clean house.

Because of the physical problems, I get fatigued easily from doing heavy or repetitive motion. I often find that I start to get scared that I am going to collapse from the exertion and will end up stopping and lifting the mask, trying to catch my breath.

I have never gotten a decent answer from a doctor as to why this happens. I hope you can get an answer soon but this has been going on for me for nearly five years and I am now 52. Mine may be related to the fact that I recently became post-menopausal?

Hang in there!

Lindaru

 
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