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Old 03-05-2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

I've had undiagnosed breathing problems for about the last 9-10 months - asthma has been ruled out. The breathing trouble remains constant and bearable, but cold air (esecially when a gust of cold wind blows right in my face) really takes my breath away. It catches me right by the lungs, and the colder, the harder it is to breathe. Just today, I had a frigid snowy wind blow right in my face for about ten seconds and I nearly fainted because I could not catch my breath at all. I tried taking a deep breath, but it just didn't work.

And it's not a matter of air in general choking me - having air blown in my face makes me feel a wee little bit short of breath, but nothing unbearable. It's cold air that affects me.

Any reason as to why this happens? Or does it happen to anyone else?

 
Old 03-05-2008, 09:42 PM   #2
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

I have the same problem and it's from asthma and bronchitis. How was asthma ruled out? It just seems a bit strange to me since that is a VERY common sign of asthma, in fact, some people will not have any troubles with their asthma until a cold or brisk windy day.

 
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:30 AM   #3
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

I had a methacholine test and it only showed a tiny drop in my breathing - not enough of one to indicate asthma.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 08:31 AM   #4
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

Have you had them measure your breathing? I had the same test the first few times I was tested for asthma and had the same result but apparently it was enough to be asthma. It remained undiagnosed for a year and it got worse without treatment.

People with asthma have very hard time in cold weather and windy conditions. It really seems to be the only right on thing I could think of.

Another thing to consider is if you are a smoker or are around a lot of second hand smoke. You could also consider having them check you for Bronchitis. I would ask to get a chest X-Ray done.

Wishing you the best,
-Daze

Last edited by Dzesn; 03-06-2008 at 08:33 AM.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

This happens to me too, but it reminds me of when I go swimming in water that's really cold, and when I dunk my head into the cold water, my lungs start to spasm, for lack of a better word, and when I come up from the water, it takes me a few seconds to catch my breath. The same this happens when cold air blows directly at my face. I don't see how that could be related to asthma, as it seem like a reaction to the cold, rather than to the wind itself.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 03:04 PM   #6
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

Daze0san,

I am not a smoker, nor am I in an environment where I am around second-hand smoke. Also, how would my breathing be measured? Isn't that what the methacholine challenge does?

I had a chest x-ray done back when my breathing issues first started and it was normal.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

So could this be a reflex then?

 
Old 03-06-2008, 05:19 PM   #8
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

There are different ways it can be done. I got a take home test and recorded my breathing measurements twice a day for a week. When I still had insurance I did this every 6 months to check the status of my asthma. But it IS what showed my asthma.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 05:23 PM   #9
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SentenceDoing View Post
This happens to me too, but it reminds me of when I go swimming in water that's really cold, and when I dunk my head into the cold water, my lungs start to spasm, for lack of a better word, and when I come up from the water, it takes me a few seconds to catch my breath. The same this happens when cold air blows directly at my face. I don't see how that could be related to asthma, as it seem like a reaction to the cold, rather than to the wind itself.
I've had asthma for years and your lungs react dramatically to BOTH cold weather AND wind.

But, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that it could be a reflex but she made it clear she didn't believe it was that so the only other possibility I can think of is asthma.

 
Old 03-06-2008, 06:02 PM   #10
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

I just looked up this methacoline test and it said that there can be false positives and false negatives and that asthma treatment should not be withheld because of a negative test. Did the doc at least let you try a bronchodilator inhaler by giving you one to try the next time this happens? I have heard of people who cover their nose and mouth with a scarf just to keep the cold air out of their airway when they go out. When I said I wondered if this was a reflex I guess I was also thinking that lung spasms was the reflex. If your lungs are spasming it's asthma.

 
Old 03-08-2008, 12:57 AM   #11
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

Sannah,

Yes, I have been put on a bronchodilator (albuterol), but it never helped me. I figure if it did me no benefit to use albuterol, that I probably do not have asthma and it's some other weird thing.

 
Old 03-08-2008, 08:22 AM   #12
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Re: Why does cold air make me unable to breathe?

If Albuterol did nothing for you then I think it is easy to assume that this is nothing more than a reflex.

Good Luck

 
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