Hey Deb, my name is Eric Brown... and I'm just 25. Within the last week I have been experiencing the EXACT same problem. It started nearly suddenly... and I called 911. They did an O2 saturation (which was a normal 100%), peak flow test (which was normal), took my vitals (all normal), took bloodwork (all normal), EKG (also normal), chest x-ray (didn't reveal anything worrisome), and they listened to my heart and lungs (clear, and no congestivity). It was a relief learning all of these... but it also scared me! Here I am, gasping for air... feeling like my lungs are deprived. I can't get a good deep fullfilling breath, and every now and then I feel lightheaded and dizzy. Here's what they told me:
First off, do you have acid reflux or heartburn (especially at night)? If so, the cause could very will be a hiatal hernia. The hernia is causing the backflow of acids from your stomach to enter to broncials to your lungs. This WILL cause the shortness of breath, and you'll need to get on some prescription anti-acid medication to help. Plus, elevate your bed at night and DO NOT eat within 3 hours of bed time.
Secondly, it could possibly be ANXIETY. Personally, I don't feel anxious, and the only time I WAS REALLY anxious is when the shortness of breath started! But, your body can experience anxiety without you really FEELING the symptoms of anxiety! Go talk to your doctor again, and see if he can't get you on a seditive like Klonopin or Xanax for a week or two to see if that releaves your shortness of breath.
On other possible cause... yes, ALLERGIES! Since my shortness of breath started... I went to www.weather.com
and checked my local POLLEN report. The pollen in my area this last week HAS BEEN the highest in over 20 years! I also have stuffy and runny nose (I live on nasal spray), and am not experiencing any MAJOR coughing. Just some here and there to "clear" my throat.
Anyhow, I don't know which is my problem... since I DO have acid reflux (especially at night), and allergies. But, the doctors prescribed me a week supply of Xanax (for anxiety), and a month supply of Prevacid (for acid reflux).
This tightness and pain in your chest could be from you OVEREXTENDING your lungs trying to gasp for deep breathes. I know that mine is. Also, I'll every now and then get a tickling/itching sensation between my shoulder-blades on my back that will turn to a dull pain for a few minutes and then disappear.
So, since I kind of bare your symptoms... I wanted to relate what I know. As far as me feeling any better... well, not really. Sometimes I wake from a dead sleep STILL gasping for air and it scares the H.S. out of me. But, sometimes I'll just go relax and keep my mind on the television and it'll get better (leading me to believe anxiety has part to do with it). Whether anxiety is the primary cause or NOT... it WILL make the shortness of breath worse! So, try not to worry to much about the shortness of breath when it comes on (a vicious cycle). Relax, and let's see if it isn't a hernia or allergie problem! Hope this helped...
Eric D. Brown