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Old 10-14-2009, 01:51 PM   #1
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Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

I have been experiencing these symptoms for years. They are very sporadic and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason why they come on. I may go for 2-3 days with a pretty bad "bout" that consists of a tight chest, sharp pain in my chest on the upper left side and constant yawning because I don't feel like I can get a deep, satisfying breath. I can sit down, stand up, lay down...nothing seems to help. The longer I go without being able to get a deep breath, the more I want to yawn. It can get so bad that my neck and jaw start to hurt because I can't stop trying to yawn. Once I get a deep, satisfying breath, it seems to go away for a few minutes only to start right back over again.

Then there are other times where I may go for weeks without an episode. That doesn't mean that I feel perfect...it just means that when I need to get a deep breath, it seems to come for some reason with little, if any, yawning.

One weird thing I have noticed is that may be totally unrelated. I sneeze pretty frequently...always have. I probably sneeze, on average, about 2 times a day...every day. (When I say "times" I mean sets...I usually sneeze in sets of 3 sometimes 4). Every single time that I sneeze, I always get the deep, satisfying breath that I seem to crave. So, the last time I had one of these shortness of breath incidents, I smelled some pepper to make me sneeze. It worked. I had been trying hard for about 1/2 hour to get a deep breath and just couldn't make it happen. I was yawning like crazy and my neck and jaw were really starting to hurt. I smelled the pepper and about 5 minutes later started sneezing. I sneezed 6 times (total sneezes) in about 2 minutes and the anxiety I was feeling due to the shortness of breath subsides because I got the deep breath I was looking for just before each sneeze. Weird, I know...but it worked.

I typed my symptoms into Google and found this site. My symptoms seem to be consistent with many anxiety symptoms listed on here. My confusion is that I don't feel anxious at all. My bouts seems to come out of nowhere with absolutely no anxiety whatsoever and I never feel anxious.

I have had 24 hour PH tests done, breathing tests, blood oxygen tests, EKG and all are normal.

Any thoughts?

PS - I didn't want to post this in the Anxiety thread because I have not been diagnosed with Anxiety and wanted to see if there might be some other explanation for my symptoms.

Last edited by rustyangel; 10-14-2009 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Added thought

 
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:11 PM   #2
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Bump up the volume

 
Old 10-27-2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Could be asthma or GERD or acid reflux.

 
Old 10-30-2009, 01:51 AM   #4
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

I have exactly the same symptoms/experiences - have you also had palpitations or at least increased awareness of your heartbeat?? Am currently going through a load of tests with cardiologist but all seem to be coming back fine. the shortness of breath is a real pain though.
What i have noticed is that exercise seems to initially alleviate the symptoms, however if i push too hard my chest does feel tight - although that could simply be lack of fitness.

Also, it seems to be the last 20% of lung volume that is difficult to capture, and you start craving and focusing on achieving it. What i have found is that first thing in the morning when i have just woken up, i am able to get that full breath, but it does feel a little sore. not sure if this is because i have been trying so hard all the previous day, or if there is an irritation.

Desperate to try to get some info/understanding of this - any help greatly appreciated.

 
Old 11-02-2009, 08:03 AM   #5
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
Could be asthma or GERD or acid reflux.
I have had all those checked and the tests have all come back negative. I have had a 24 hour PH test done and that came back normal. They also put me on an inhaler for about 2 weeks thinking it might be a slight case of asthma and that had no effect on my symptoms at all...

 
Old 11-02-2009, 08:15 AM   #6
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpgk View Post
I have exactly the same symptoms/experiences - have you also had palpitations or at least increased awareness of your heartbeat?? Am currently going through a load of tests with cardiologist but all seem to be coming back fine. the shortness of breath is a real pain though.
What i have noticed is that exercise seems to initially alleviate the symptoms, however if i push too hard my chest does feel tight - although that could simply be lack of fitness.

Also, it seems to be the last 20% of lung volume that is difficult to capture, and you start craving and focusing on achieving it. What i have found is that first thing in the morning when i have just woken up, i am able to get that full breath, but it does feel a little sore. not sure if this is because i have been trying so hard all the previous day, or if there is an irritation.

Desperate to try to get some info/understanding of this - any help greatly appreciated.
I haven't noticed any palpitations at all. My heart beat is perfectly normal.

The tightness and pain in my chest, however, are exactly where my heart is so I've often wondered if it did have anything to do with my heart. All of the tests I have had on my heart are perfectly normal.

For me, exercise (especially heavy cardio) actually aggravates it a little. I have found myself gasping for air and yawning while on the elliptical or Arc trainer but then after I get off, my ability to get that deep breath comes back.

I really like your description of the "last 20% of air" because this is exactly how mine feels. When I'm struggling, it's like my lungs are only filling up 80% and I start to get anxious at not being able to fill them up completely...it's like something is constricting me. If I am laying in bed and my wife has her head on my chest, I have to move her because I simply can not get that satisfying breath I need if something is laying on my chest.

Also, when I am having a hard time getting that final 20%, my back starts to ache between and around the shoulder blades. The back of my head where it meets the neck also has some pain.

As far as tests, I have had heart tests, breathing tests, asthma tests and gastro-intestinal tests done. All normal. I took Prevacid for about a year and it had little to no effect so I stopped. I became encouraged after I typed my symptoms into Google and found several other people on here with similar, if not identical symptoms. All of us describe the breathing difficulties exactly the same way, but none of us have any real explanation...

 
Old 11-02-2009, 08:59 PM   #7
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

If all your tests continue to come back negative, maybe you should consider seeing a neurologist. There are several neurological reasons why those symptoms occur.

 
Old 11-03-2009, 03:29 AM   #8
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Hi again,

I have been doing some homework on this subject, and from my studies i have diagnosed myself bradycardia, COPD, Asthma etc etc. It certainly isn't easy trying to figure out what is wrong!!!

What I am sure of is that this isn't 'new' to me. Upon reflection there have been numerous episodes of this throughout my life, however for some reason, at the moment the symptoms are heightened. I recently went to a cardiologist who has been unable to find anything wrong with my heart, doesn't believe it is asthma, even though symptoms are similar, and has suggested it is anxiety related. More specifically Hyper-ventilation syndrome.
Having researched this a little, it is actually a condition caused by getting too much oxygen in your system which is what makes you want to breathe more and feel unsatisfied with your breathing as the body is unable to detect a change or improvement in your oxygen levels as they are already so high. Some of the remedies, all centered around breathing really do seem to help, but it feels like it will take a while to change the way you breathe.

<edited>

I hope this helps.... if i discover anymore will post

Last edited by mod-anon; 11-03-2009 at 06:10 AM. Reason: Do not post commercial websites. Please read and follow the posting rules.

 
Old 11-03-2009, 07:08 AM   #9
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpgk View Post
Hi again,

I have been doing some homework on this subject, and from my studies i have diagnosed myself bradycardia, COPD, Asthma etc etc. It certainly isn't easy trying to figure out what is wrong!!!

What I am sure of is that this isn't 'new' to me. Upon reflection there have been numerous episodes of this throughout my life, however for some reason, at the moment the symptoms are heightened. I recently went to a cardiologist who has been unable to find anything wrong with my heart, doesn't believe it is asthma, even though symptoms are similar, and has suggested it is anxiety related. More specifically Hyper-ventilation syndrome.
Having researched this a little, it is actually a condition caused by getting too much oxygen in your system which is what makes you want to breathe more and feel unsatisfied with your breathing as the body is unable to detect a change or improvement in your oxygen levels as they are already so high. Some of the remedies, all centered around breathing really do seem to help, but it feels like it will take a while to change the way you breathe.

<edited>

I hope this helps.... if i discover anymore will post
In reading through the symptoms of both bradycardia and COPD, it is apparent to me that I am neither of these. I don't think mine is a heart issue at all so that rules out bradycardia. As far as the COPD I only have a few of the symptoms (shortness of breath at times) but don't have others (ankle swelling, general feeling of illness, increased fatigue)...

From what I have found so far, it appears that anxiety attacks appear to have the most in common with the symptoms I experience. What baffles me, however, is that I am not an anxious person in the least and can never recall feeling anxious about anything...or at least not when my symptoms are the most severe. In other words, I can't make the connection between anxiety and my symptoms...there is no rhyme or reason to their severity.

 
Old 11-03-2009, 08:51 AM   #10
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Sounds like you may be a "hidden hyperventilater".

Took 10 years for me to be diagnosed with this condition because doctors were not aware of the condition and did not recognize it. There is no physical appearance anything is wrong with a person, not fighting for breath, etc. like a person with regular hyperventilation. I finally ended up with blood pressure spiking to stroke territory, unable to take more than 3 steps and stall out. You don't want to reach that point.

In my case breathing got off track for unknown reasons causing me to blow off too much carbon dioxide (CO2). Had plenty of oxygen. We need a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in order for the red carpusles to release oxygen to the vital organs.

This condition is "not" caused by anxiety, however, because the vital organs are deprived of oxygen, the body panics. The blood will have plenty of oxygen, it does not go where it is needed.

Dr. Kaplan, hypertension specialist at Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas recognized the condition immediately. His prescription was "rebreathe in paper sack 5 minutes every hour during the day". This takes time, but, my breathing improved and after 3 months was able to reduce frequency of using the paper sack (never use plastic bag, will kill you). Takes about 3 years for breathing to return to normal.

Research hidden hyperventilation and learn all you can about it.

 
Old 11-03-2009, 09:36 AM   #11
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

I have literally just returned from the cardiologist with the results from all the tests proving there is nothing wrong with my heart.

My cardiologist is convinced that my symptoms are being caused by stress and the onset of hyperventilation. She is unable to tell me definitively which came first but thinks that is largely irrelevant. The end result is the same, which deep down thing i knew anyway, i have to address my lifestyle, my commitments to certain areas, work time vs downtime, exercise and most importantly get on top of the breathing.

<edited>

I will update you if anything of interest or of help comes up with my next steps.

Thanks

Last edited by mod-anon; 11-03-2009 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Please read the posting rules

 
Old 11-03-2009, 07:39 PM   #12
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Rustyangel, I can - almost certainly - tell you what this is. I had exactly your symptoms for years and years. And there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel for you. Here's why. For years I had exactly the same symptoms. Your yawning is your bodies response to it being confused about your oxygen levels. The reason you feel like you are having something like an asthma attack - with the tight chest and shortness of breath - is because hyperventilation causes exactly the same symptoms as asthma. Tight chest, your body's response to perceived insufficient oxygen and the fact that you feel like you can't get a satisfying breath. All symptoms of both asthma and hyperventilation. I saw doctors about this for years and utterly refused to believe what they were telling me because I was certain I was getting asthma attacks. The mistake I made is to believe that you had to be forwardly stressed about something in order to hyperventilate. Since I got these attacks when relaxed, I thought the G.P.s were speaking rubbish. This is not so. Your hyperventilation is usually triggered by your sub-conscious mind in background stress. Here are some very good tests you can do to prove or disprove what I am saying.
Do you ever fall asleep when having a mild version of one of these attacks? If so, it can't be asthma because you can't fall asleep with low oxygen levels, you can only pass out.
The next time you are having a very bad attack, do something that raises your heart rate considerably and makes you sweat like crazy. If you are short of blood oxygen, you will not get very far. If - as I suspect - you can do a fair amount of exercise, your breathing will HAVE to go back to normal as your body sucks in the required oxygen. If you can do this exercise - like running up and down some steps - you are definitely NOT having an asthma attack, you are simply hyperventilating subconsciously.
Next, go to your doctor and get prescribed for some valium. Not because you have anxiety necessarily. Just for the next test. The next time you have a really bad attack of not being able to get a full breath, take a good sized but safe dose of valium. The dose will be different for each person. But experiment with the quantity until you get a quantity that just leaves you feeling a bit tiddly like when you have had just that one too many drinks. If your breathing goes back to normal as soon as the valium kicks in, and for as long as it effects you, you are hyperventilating.
For many years, I carried around the required dose of vaium in my wallet. But you will find an interesting thing will happen. Because you KNOW the valium will stop the attacks, you don't need to take it. It just ends up like a 'security blanket' that you've always got on you. The valium in my wallet goes past its expiry date frequently and I have to replace it.
Hope I have helped and you feel better soon.

 
Old 11-04-2009, 07:06 AM   #13
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Quote:
Originally Posted by togbabe View Post
Rustyangel, I can - almost certainly - tell you what this is. I had exactly your symptoms for years and years. And there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel for you. Here's why. For years I had exactly the same symptoms. Your yawning is your bodies response to it being confused about your oxygen levels. The reason you feel like you are having something like an asthma attack - with the tight chest and shortness of breath - is because hyperventilation causes exactly the same symptoms as asthma. Tight chest, your body's response to perceived insufficient oxygen and the fact that you feel like you can't get a satisfying breath. All symptoms of both asthma and hyperventilation. I saw doctors about this for years and utterly refused to believe what they were telling me because I was certain I was getting asthma attacks. The mistake I made is to believe that you had to be forwardly stressed about something in order to hyperventilate. Since I got these attacks when relaxed, I thought the G.P.s were speaking rubbish. This is not so. Your hyperventilation is usually triggered by your sub-conscious mind in background stress. Here are some very good tests you can do to prove or disprove what I am saying.
Do you ever fall asleep when having a mild version of one of these attacks? If so, it can't be asthma because you can't fall asleep with low oxygen levels, you can only pass out.
The next time you are having a very bad attack, do something that raises your heart rate considerably and makes you sweat like crazy. If you are short of blood oxygen, you will not get very far. If - as I suspect - you can do a fair amount of exercise, your breathing will HAVE to go back to normal as your body sucks in the required oxygen. If you can do this exercise - like running up and down some steps - you are definitely NOT having an asthma attack, you are simply hyperventilating subconsciously.
Next, go to your doctor and get prescribed for some valium. Not because you have anxiety necessarily. Just for the next test. The next time you have a really bad attack of not being able to get a full breath, take a good sized but safe dose of valium. The dose will be different for each person. But experiment with the quantity until you get a quantity that just leaves you feeling a bit tiddly like when you have had just that one too many drinks. If your breathing goes back to normal as soon as the valium kicks in, and for as long as it effects you, you are hyperventilating.
For many years, I carried around the required dose of vaium in my wallet. But you will find an interesting thing will happen. Because you KNOW the valium will stop the attacks, you don't need to take it. It just ends up like a 'security blanket' that you've always got on you. The valium in my wallet goes past its expiry date frequently and I have to replace it.
Hope I have helped and you feel better soon.
This all sounds very interesting. I know it's not asthma because I can do pretty strenuous exercise even when my symptoms are the most severe and, as you have pointed out, I can fall asleep fairly easily unless the symptoms are extremely severe.

To be more clear on this, this condition I experience is not what I would label as an "attack" in the truest sense of the word. Rather, my symptoms and this "condition" are present with me ALL the time. I have had this for over 15 years now and it's a CONSTANT thing. The difference is that sometimes (most of the time really) when I feel like I need a good breath I get it. The tightness in my chest is pretty mild but it's still there. The "attacks" (if you can call them that) are simply times that I can not get the deep, satisfying breath that I need. I am not sure what causes it. There is no correlation between my diet, exercise, anxiety, stress or fatigue. It's like I just start having a hard time getting a deep breath out of nowhere. Each time I try to get a deep breath and don't, the tightness in my chest gets more and more severe. My back starts to ache between my shoulder blades and yawning is excessive. I can be right in the middle of a business presentation in front of 15 people and start yawning constantly...it's embarrassing. Anyway, once I DO get the deep, satisfying breath, the pain in my chest and back subsides and the yawning stops....for about 2-3 minutes...then the process starts all over again.

About a month ago I went through about a 2 week period where the condition was very severe and I gasped for air morning, noon and night. I twisted, laid flat, stood up, sat down...did everything I could to get a good breath but they were few and far between. Then, all of the sudden, I woke up one morning and, while I could still feel some moderate tightness in my chest, the breathing came easier so the yawning was infrequent and I was back to "normal". I wasn't under any stress...nothing major going on at home or work...my diet was about the same and my exercise level was consistent.

Right now, for example, I have mild tightness in my chest and I have even yawned a few times to get a good breath. I am able to, however, get that deep, satisfying breath I need each and every time. So, it keeps the condition at bay. It's when I can't get that deep, satisfying breath that the condition starts to worsen, the pain starts, yawning becomes more frequent...

 
Old 11-04-2009, 08:30 AM   #14
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

During sleep your breathing returns to normal.

For a security blanket, use and carry a paper sack with you, better for your health than medications. Over time you will learn how to control your breathing. Being aware of the problem and focusing on slow deep breathing you will most likely not need the paper sack. Fast, short breaths cause us to overbreathe.

I am pleased your doctor recognized hyperventilation, so many do not.

Make the necessary lifestyle changes you feel need to be made in order to reduce stress. I had to learn to sit back, relax and take things at a slower pace. When driving, do not get upset at other drivers, relax, flow behind them because you can't go thru them, can't go over them, can't go around them many times. Flow with the traffic and don't fret! Easier said than done, worth working for.

 
Old 11-05-2009, 12:45 PM   #15
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Re: Shortness of breath, constant yawning, tight chest

Quote:
Originally Posted by rustyangel View Post
I have been experiencing these symptoms for years. They are very sporadic and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason why they come on. I may go for 2-3 days with a pretty bad "bout" that consists of a tight chest, sharp pain in my chest on the upper left side and constant yawning because I don't feel like I can get a deep, satisfying breath. I can sit down, stand up, lay down...nothing seems to help. The longer I go without being able to get a deep breath, the more I want to yawn. It can get so bad that my neck and jaw start to hurt because I can't stop trying to yawn. Once I get a deep, satisfying breath, it seems to go away for a few minutes only to start right back over again.

Then there are other times where I may go for weeks without an episode. That doesn't mean that I feel perfect...it just means that when I need to get a deep breath, it seems to come for some reason with little, if any, yawning.

One weird thing I have noticed is that may be totally unrelated. I sneeze pretty frequently...always have. I probably sneeze, on average, about 2 times a day...every day. (When I say "times" I mean sets...I usually sneeze in sets of 3 sometimes 4). Every single time that I sneeze, I always get the deep, satisfying breath that I seem to crave. So, the last time I had one of these shortness of breath incidents, I smelled some pepper to make me sneeze. It worked. I had been trying hard for about 1/2 hour to get a deep breath and just couldn't make it happen. I was yawning like crazy and my neck and jaw were really starting to hurt. I smelled the pepper and about 5 minutes later started sneezing. I sneezed 6 times (total sneezes) in about 2 minutes and the anxiety I was feeling due to the shortness of breath subsides because I got the deep breath I was looking for just before each sneeze. Weird, I know...but it worked.

I typed my symptoms into Google and found this site. My symptoms seem to be consistent with many anxiety symptoms listed on here. My confusion is that I don't feel anxious at all. My bouts seems to come out of nowhere with absolutely no anxiety whatsoever and I never feel anxious.

I have had 24 hour PH tests done, breathing tests, blood oxygen tests, EKG and all are normal.

Any thoughts?

PS - I didn't want to post this in the Anxiety thread because I have not been diagnosed with Anxiety and wanted to see if there might be some other explanation for my symptoms.

 
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