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Old 01-25-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
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Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

After hearing from my mum that my diet at college consists mainly of pasta, rice, water, cocoa, Pop Tarts and maybe 1-2 servings of meat a week when I get a sub sandwich, one of Mom's co-workers suggested I take a multivitamin since none of what I eat is sufficient in any essential vitamin besides carbs.

I've had breathing problems for about a year and a half with no other symptoms besides shortness of breath. I've had numerous tests done, such as EKG, CT scan and X-ray of my chest, blood testing and an asthma test, all of which came back normal.

I have not been eating like this for too long...I used to eat meat a little more often, but that's about it. And that was usually when my friend wanted to order out and we'd get a pizza with chicken and a couple other meats. Now that my friend has moved away, I don't eat out as much.

College kids are not known to eat the healthiest foods in the world...I tend to stay away from the typical ramen and other salty or frozen foods due to the salt content. Thus I limit my diet a lot. I would not even be surprised if I was deficient in every vitamin considering how seldom I eat meat, fruits, vegetables, or dairy. I like all those things, but I just don't eat them a whole lot.

I am now wondering if a potential vitamin deficiency could be making me unable to breathe. I really only have a couple symptoms of a deficiency, including shortness of breath, pale skin (but I've always been pale, so this may not count) and some GI distress at least once a week for no reason. I don't know if having one or possibly two symptoms a vitamin deficiency makes.

I will likely begin taking a multivitamin anyway and just see if my condition improves. The cause of my breathing issues has eluded medical experts thus far, so I've got nothing to lose. And for the record, I have never been diagnosed with any sort of deficiency.

Has anyone else ever felt this way?

 
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:21 AM   #2
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

Pale and short of breath could be anemia. Meat, beans, raisins and green veggies are some of the best sources of iron, sounds like you aren't eating any of them.

Did that blood test check your iron levels?

In any case, eating a greater variety of foods sounds like a good plan.

 
Old 01-26-2009, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

Nope, that blood test was to rule out blood clots.

I try my best to eat green vegetables, but I find they often go bad before I get a chance to eat most of them. I also don't eat beef or pork (but I do eat chicken) because of the fat content.

There's usually a blood drive at my dorm every semester...don't they test blood for anemia? It's just I have no doctor in my college town (since the local hospitals are incredibly expensive) and getting a blood test during a blood drive would be free. I've heard of quite a few kids in high school and in college being turned away from blood drives for being even "mildly" anemic, so if I am anemic, I think it would show up in any tests they give me. If not, I can assume I'm not anemic and they will have another donation.

 
Old 01-26-2009, 06:09 PM   #4
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

Yup, they test you for anemia before they accept the donation.

If you get rejected, ask them for the number. If it's 12 or 13, you probably have enough iron to feel reasonably well, just not enough to donate. If it's much below 12, you could be suffering symptoms of anemia.

Most vitamin deficiencies are rare in the western world, but iron deficiency is still seen among young women fairly often.

Meanwhile, you could try eating some raisins and some kidney beans, and maybe even taking a vitamin supplement with iron. Follow the package directions, don't take more supplement than recommended.

 
Old 01-27-2009, 11:22 AM   #5
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

Thanks for the info.

I think I'll probably try a multivitamin with iron in it and see if I improve. If not, anemia will be another possible cause I can cross off my list of 'things that can screw up my breathing'.

 
Old 01-27-2009, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

Is it possible that you're allergic to something...whether it be food or otherwise? Shortness of breath is also known to be an allergy symptom. When do you get this shortness of breath? Is it present all the time, 24/7? Is it only when you are exerting yourself, like climbing stairs or exercising? Does air temperature/humidity trigger it? There are lots of things to consider here. Are you wheezing at all, during these "out of breath" episodes? Does it feel like you are hyperventilating? I'm actually surprised that your doctor has sort of "blown off" your symptoms like that. I think I would demand some further testing. What kind of testing did they do to rule out asthma?

 
Old 01-28-2009, 03:25 PM   #7
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

nscrbug,

To answer your questions...yes, yes, and yes. I'm short of breath all the time, and it gets worse with physical exertion and temperature changes (worse when cold). I don't make wheezing sounds, but I often need to yawn or take several deep breaths in order to feel like I'm no longer 'hungry' for air.

The asthma test was a methacholine test. And albuterol doesn't help me at all. My doctor thinks that shortness of breath with no other symptoms is either the result of asthma or anxiety, thus me needing to get further testing in the ER.

 
Old 01-28-2009, 04:51 PM   #8
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Re: Could vitamin deficiency make me short of breath?

Well...based on your answers to my questions...it sure sounds like asthma to me. But, I'm not a doctor (just an asthmatic for the last 28 years) so further testing does seem like the appropriate thing to do. You really don't want to let this condition get out of control, because things can turn ugly really quick, with uncontrolled asthma. Although, the fact that albuterol doesn't help, does puzzle me a bit. But there are many other medications out there, so be sure to ask about them.

Last edited by mod-anon; 01-29-2009 at 01:41 AM. Reason: removed quote

 
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