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Old 12-10-2011, 10:38 PM   #1
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Anneelise HB User
Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Hi everyone. I wanted to post a message for any of you who have, or who are, suffering from air hunger (inability to take a deep breath), and resulting anxiety/depression. This summer, during the awful heat wave, I had a really tough time taking a deep breath. I had chest tightness, cough, and panic (since I couldn't breath and thought my life was in danger). I work in a hospital, and I know too much . I was worried that I might be having heart trouble, a lung blood clot, who knows. I ended up in the ER twice this summer (in the middle of the night, alone, UGH). After many tests, all to make sure my heart and lungs were ok (and they were), and also after a pulmonary function test (to see if I had asthma (I didn't), the doctor told me that I had anxiety.

Well, I'm a fairly normal person, so I didn't connect with the "anxiety" diagnosis. Sure, when I couldn't take a deep breath, anxiety really kicked in. So did waves of depression sometime, which wasn't like me. I was dissatisfied with the doctor's diagnosis. Was I going to begin a life of taking xanax, seeing a psychiatrist, etc? I wasn't sure I wanted to go that route.

So, I started reading, googling, asking questions. I found that the inability to take a deep breath is sometimes caused by physical reasons other than the heart and lungs. Sometimes a person with this problem is stressed, sure--but sometimes they are hypothyroid. Sometimes they are low on magnesium, or there's a hormone inbalance. Sometimes their adrenal glands are exhausted.

I asked my doctor to check me out. I got a thyroid panel of blood tests and lo and behold, I was hypothyroid. Meds for that seem to have helped tremendously with my breathing. I also started taking good supplements, including a good daily vitamin, B-complex, magnesium, omega 3-6-9, and cutting way back on my beloved coffee.

The result, praise God, has been good. My breathing is fine, and situations that would have made me panicky months ago are normal for me now (like driving a long distance, sitting in a crowded auditorium).

So, I want you, if you're having these problems, to have hope. Maybe you can get your thyroid, adrenals, and other issues tested. Ask your doc for that. By all means, get your lungs and heart checked out, too. Have your doc rule out anything life threatening. And then, do some work on your own: take good supplements, maybe check out products on Amazon (I like that site because you can use their search engine to find products on, say, "supplements for anxiety" and then read customers' reviews.

Anyway, I want to encourage you that you may not have to live with air hunger, anxiety, or depression. Also, one last thing: I had to do the work on my own to find out that I was hypothyroid. My doctors never connected the difficulty breathing/anxiety with my thyroid levels. Nor did my doctors suggest that I might be low on magnesium or need extra B vitamins. So, don't expect your doctor to go that route, but you can do it! I did, and feel much better. I know that I can go on. There's hope!

 
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:03 PM   #2
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Thanks for posting this information Anneelise. These sound like the exact symptoms I've been having for over 6 months. I will definitely contact my physician to have my thyroid levels checked. You have given me hope that it's not (a) all my imagination or (b) strictly anxiety, for which I really don't want to have to take medicine.

 
Old 12-29-2011, 05:04 PM   #3
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thoss1 View Post
Thanks for posting this information Anneelise. These sound like the exact symptoms I've been having for over 6 months. I will definitely contact my physician to have my thyroid levels checked. You have given me hope that it's not (a) all my imagination or (b) strictly anxiety, for which I really don't want to have to take medicine.
I'm so glad that you found encouragement in my post! How is it going for you now? Any results from your TSH tests? Don't despair if you're not actually diagnosed with thyroid. Air hunger (and resultant anxiety) seems to have many other physical causes. Don't give up! Check out magnesium supplements, omegas 3-6-9, exercise, breathing exercises, among others. Keep digging. I know that psychotropic meds can be a blessing to some people, and mind you, I've no medical training, but in my own experience, and in my own preference, I'd rather go the natural route. Also, ask God to help you. He created you, and so He knows why you've gotten this odd malady. He is the great physician and guide, and he can help you. My prayers--and my great hope--for you!

 
Old 01-06-2012, 09:38 AM   #4
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Unfortunately, nothing from the TSH tests. My level at my last test a couple of months ago was 2.75, which is within the normal range. As a result, my doctor refuses to do further thyroid testing. I have since visited with a gastro dr., who ordered an ultrasound of my liver/gallbladder/ kidneys/pancreas/spleen (all was OK there) and an upper GI later this month to see if it's GERD. I have also seen a pulmo dr. - he has ordered an ECHO and lung function testing/blood gas tests ... all of that next week.

I'm very frustrated with my PMP becuase I know that your thyroid can be out of whack even with normal TSH levels. I will continue to push him for testing and will go elsewhere if he still refuses.

I actually have asked God for healing on this, and have done meditation, which, sadly, has gone by the wayside, and I need to pick up again. I tried a magnesium supplement, which I will try again. Thank you for your concern and prayers. I will keep you posted as things progress.

Regards -
T.

 
Old 01-06-2012, 11:38 AM   #5
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Anneelise HB User
Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Hi T!
Thanks for your update. Don't be discouraged because of the Thyroid testing outcome. There's a lot of good info out there that suggests that even if your thyroid levels fall into so-called "normal" range, you may still need help. There's also the idea of taking iodine (but check with your doc about this), which can boost your thyroid function. Then again, it may not be your thyroid at all. It might be hormonal, dietary, stage of life, etc. Keep in mind that I've no medical training at all, only my own experimenting and reading of experts. But I've found solid help in taking B-complex (Twinlabs), C, Udo's 3-6-9 fish oil, exercising, doing the whole self-care route. I've found that my problem has largely waned, yet sometimes during my period, it comes back (that's why I suggest hormonal levels as a possible factor).
Here's a good idea: why not search out a physician who can offer holistic help--one who treats not only with prescribed meds but also who incorporates nutrition and other factors into healing? Try to google for holistic docs in your area. It's worth a try! And trust me, there is hope! I'll leave you with a prayer.

Keep me posted, friend!

 
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

I've actually gotten a referral from a co-worker about a doctor that she goes to that is a holistic-approach doctor. She's been very happy with the doctor, and I'm considering going to see her.

A friend of mine works for a medical-related professional association (like the AMA, but not the AMA), and has access to a LOT of medical reference websites. She sent me one that has a very good breakdown of blood chemistry and what the normal levels should be and why. Also, our doctor's office/network now has the ability to view our records online, so I went to their site, pulled up my records, and compared them to the blood chemistry site. Everything is perfect, thankfully. I almost wish just one count had been a bit awry, so I could say "Aha - that's it!". But I'm not going to wish away my overall health just to treat this one thing.

I did excercise for 45 minutes on Saturday morning and my breathing was better for most of the day. I also drank a lot of water (and only one Diet Coke, my coffee), and it was good for most of the evening. I've also found that if I drink alcohol it tends to be worse the next day.

The more I analyze each day, the more I'm starting to think it is gastric-related. Last night we had a larger supper than usual, and I had labored breathing most of the evening. I'm going to track what I eat and drink and then also keep tabs on how my breathing has been that day.

Thank you so much for your support and kindness - it means a lot, especially since this is so frustrating. It's comforting to know that there's someone who has had my exact symptoms and that it's not all my imagination. I will also take your supplement suggestions ... I already take a B-complex several times a week, and will try a magnesium supplement. I'm glad that yours is under control, and will pray that it stays that way for you!

Have a good night!
T.

 
Old 01-09-2012, 09:12 PM   #7
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

So far it's interesting with my food diary. Gets worse after eating a morning snack with cherry tomatoes and better after having a couple of pretzels.

I think I may be on to something here ...

Last edited by thoss1; 01-10-2012 at 09:30 AM.

 
Old 01-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #8
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

ECHO went well yesterday - doesn't seem to be anything alarming. Had lung function and blood gas tests today ... hopefully, I'll know those results soon.

I'm beginning to see some correlations between food and my breathing problems, so I think it may be GERD plus a new sensitivity to wheat (not an allergy, though). I'm going wheat-free and on the GERD diet (no tomatoes, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, or citrus, among other things) and I'm curious to see how that works. I had a little ice cream at lunchtime with some chocolate syrup and now my breathing is a bit worse. So we'll see.

 
Old 01-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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Anneelise HB User
Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thoss1 View Post
ECHO went well yesterday - doesn't seem to be anything alarming. Had lung function and blood gas tests today ... hopefully, I'll know those results soon.

I'm beginning to see some correlations between food and my breathing problems, so I think it may be GERD plus a new sensitivity to wheat (not an allergy, though). I'm going wheat-free and on the GERD diet (no tomatoes, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, or citrus, among other things) and I'm curious to see how that works. I had a little ice cream at lunchtime with some chocolate syrup and now my breathing is a bit worse. So we'll see.
T, so relieved that the ECHO went well! I'll be interesting to see what the new, holistic doctor has to say. Keep on keepin' on!

 
Old 01-15-2012, 09:14 PM   #10
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Next step is the upper GI on Friday. Still seeing correlation between types of foods and breathing difficulty.

 
Old 01-18-2012, 09:11 AM   #11
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

It's official ... breathing problems are NOT related to heart or lungs. Jumping for joy!

Now it's on the the upper GI on Friday ... and I'm hoping, a diagnosis of GERD or hernia, both of which can be easily fixed.

 
Old 01-20-2012, 07:57 PM   #12
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Well, I had my GI today ... official diagnosis - hiatal hernia and possibly Barrett's esophagus (irritation of the esophagus that makes that tissue look like stomach tissue, which is not good).

Plan of action - double-strength Zegerid (antacid) and a modified diet. No chocolate, alcohol, tomatoes, spicy food, greasy food, or peppermint. Which is sad, because I do chew a lot of gum at work - peppermint so I don't have bad breath. Follow up with the doctor in 2 weeks.

So thank you, Anneelise, for starting this discussion board. It helped me discover that I'm not alone and not losing my mind.

Regards -
Terri

 
Old 01-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #13
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

Biopsy came back ... no Barrett's. Just irritation and the hernia.

 
Old 02-04-2012, 01:37 PM   #14
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

I actually AM noticing improvement ... between the new meds, sleeping elevated, and watching my food intake, I'm definitely seeing improvement.

After last night, if I wasn't convinced that it was my stomach, I definitely am now. Last night we had a fundraiser at the school - I mixed up lemonade for the attendees, and decided to taste some to make sure of how strong it was. I drank a tiny bit (about the size of a shot glass) and within about 10 minutes, I started having breathing problems. I know it's not allergy-related because I have drunk that brand of lemonade for years without issue. It was the acidity of the lemonade that did me in.

I'll continue to keep you updated - and wishing you a year of health and happiness as well!

 
Old 02-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #15
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Re: Hope for Air Hunger, Anxiety, Depression!

I am new to this and I have been having a LOT of anxiety when it comes to my asthma, ive been researching my breathing and it sounds like it may be "air hunger" I can not get a doctor to look into anything, they just want to give me medicine and be on my merry way. I believe I am going to get my thyroid tested. How do they test for that?

 
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