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Old 08-03-2004, 11:34 AM   #1
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Diana R. HB User
Shortness of Breath

I am 24 and have had bouts of shortness of breath for about 4 years now. It first started back when i was in undergrad. i saw my doctor, he gave me generic xanax (.25 dosage) it never made a significant change in my breathing, perhaps just made me more relaxed about it. The breathing stopped (i can't remember when because i thought it would never come back, I had always attributed it to allergies). It then resurfaced on a few occasions, mounting to a period of time when I was doing an internship in Denver (where as you know allergies don't exist, at least not for me anyways). Therefore, the thought of allergies was ruled out. Now about 6 months after the last episode, the breathing is back again, but with a vengance. My body is sore from trying to catch my breath, yawning becomes a nervous tick to try to give my brain the needed air that it lacks. This shortness of breath lasts all day long (I don't know if it continues while I sleep). And it lasts for weeks at a time, I believe months in the past. There is no perceptive pattern to this problem. Again, my doctor has attributed it to stress/anxiety, and while these problems arise during relatively stressful times in my life, I have had other stressful times in my life that I could breath perfectly fine. I don't dwell on things, I don't have shaking, i only get lightheaded when I can't get the air I need, and I'm becoming emotional over it because it is very obvious to those who I see and interact with daily. It's almost as if I have turrets.

I think I'm just reaching out in the hopes that someone else has perhaps experienced something like this, or could advice me. I am seeing my doctor again today, but he doesn't always seem to have all the answers.

 
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Old 08-03-2004, 12:22 PM   #2
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Sunlover HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

I am experiencing it as we speak!! I too get bouts, but none that go on all day long for days like this! I was just reading my anxiety book and I am a textbook case! Do you feel like you have to keep taking deep breaths? Walk around "sighing" to fill your lungs? Feel like you are suffocating? I was bad on Saturday and took a Xanax and was totally normal the rest of the day, Sunday it was on and off, yesterday I wasn't too bad, and today I'm a mess! I don't want to take a Xanax again, I want to deal with it myself, but it's really disturbing. Then I feel like I can't concentrate on anything!

Last edited by Sunlover; 08-03-2004 at 12:23 PM.

 
Old 08-03-2004, 03:49 PM   #3
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crabbyroad HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

It sounds as if you are experiencing what doctors term "air hunger", usually indicated by yawning to catch that extra fullness of air in the lungs feeling. I have panic attacks and experienced these episodes very often. Learning diaphragmatic breathing and applying it as relaxation techinques will help you notice the subtle hyperventilation syndrome that we normally arent aware its occuring, unless you have your hand placed on your abdomen constantly.

 
Old 08-04-2004, 05:29 AM   #4
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Re: Shortness of Breath

Please be careful with Xanax -- it's extremely addictive.

 
Old 08-04-2004, 05:57 AM   #5
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Diana R. HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

Well I did see my doctor, and he has given me a HIGHER dosage of xanax which i'm not happy with. (I am aware of the addictive nature of the medicine). I really don't like taking it, I have noticed that I'm more relaxed about not being able to breath, but the breathing matter its-self has not been fixed. My doc said that xanax is like a band-aid. It temporarily fixes the problem but does not proactively solve it.

He said that if in 3 weeks i'm still having the breathing issue he is going to prescribe me something that is more proactive in nature. Which to me spells (you-are-crazy-and-need-prozac) or something to that effect. I'm not really interested in taking any kind of anti-anxiety medicine, frankly because I don't believe it is healthy and my body will expect it when i have anxious problems (which I still can't find the cause of.

Sounds like i'm anxious about being anxious!

 
Old 08-04-2004, 06:50 AM   #6
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orpheus HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

Hey folks - orpheus here from london - hope all is as well as can be. Someone V. Close to me was suffering shortness of breath constantly for quite some time and was told it was anxiety disorder, hyperventilation disorder and many other things, including nothing. One fine day my friend was tested for thyroid disease, this was positive and Carbimazol as well as propanolol were prescribed to 1. bring the Thyroid into line and sort the heart rate out, now although the doc said the breathing was unrelated - it miraculously disappeared shortly after the drugs were taken!!! and life took on a much rosier outlook for this person AND ME!! now I ain't a doctor but this is my experience and if it helps anyone - thats good i'll knock it on the 'ed now - cheers Orpheus

 
Old 08-04-2004, 12:15 PM   #7
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Sunlover HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

You don't need a REASON for anxiety, that is where so many people are mistaken. Many times it's just a malfunction of the adrenal gland. Other glands malfucntion, so why can't that one?

 
Old 05-26-2006, 06:11 AM   #8
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Nono2002 HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

I have a 4 years old son who has been experiencing lately short of breath, sighing and yawning a lot. When he walks outside, he always stops and bends and take a deep breath every minute when he does walking. The problem also heppens when he eats, and when he does any physical activities. I went to doctor and the physical examination was normal and chest x-ray was normal. The problem is upsetting me.
Any recommendation or suggestion on what to do
Thank you

 
Old 05-26-2006, 08:26 AM   #9
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Re: Shortness of Breath

Diana,

How frequently do you take Xanax now? Are you able to be off of it for a few days in a row? If you don't take it, what happens, and how quickly?

My own experience with Xanax wasn't good. The drug worked wonderfully in reducing symptoms, but I developed "feedback". They original symptoms would return even worse when I stopped taking the xanax. Withing 3 months, I became physically addited to it, and being completely self-aware of the problem and terrified of detoxing on my own, I checked myself into a clinic for medically supervised detox. I was terrified that the original symptoms would come back, but as it turned out, the "feedback" was playing tricks on me. After 2 days of a relatively easy depakote-assisted detox, the panicky symptoms were gone.

There's more to it - but I'm just wondering if you feel that you have developed a physical dependence on Xanax (not at the level of a full-blown mental addiction).

 
Old 05-26-2006, 09:18 AM   #10
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Re: Shortness of Breath

I believe I can be of help to you. For 10 years I had shortness of breath and finally reached the point I could only take 3 steps and stall out (I literally lost out on life for that period of time). Internists and cardiologists were unable to properly diagnose me. They acted like it was all in my head, was making myself uptight, etc. My bloodpressure finally went close to stroke territory.

Finally in desperation I asked my dermatologist (a medical school professor) where I could go for help. He referred me to a hypertension specialist at the medical school.

The hypertension specialist checked me, and determined I was a "hidden hyperventilater", that is, I was hyperventilating for unknown reasons and unaware of it and others around me were unaware. I was surprised when he pulled out a lunch size paper sack and asked if I had ever rebreathed in a sack before. His suggestion was to rebreathe in the sack 5 minutes every hour and then fax him my BP numbers monthly, he would then call me at home and discuss my progress. In 3 months was able to reduce number of times rebreathing in the sack. Over time I used the sack off and on for 6 years and now only use it when I walk the treadmill. I finally began to recognize when I needed to rebreathe in the sack. I TOOK NO MEDS FOR MY BREATHING, just the paper sack. We still have no clue what caused the shallow breathing and blowing off too much carbon dioxide.

I read that breathing can get back on track, might take 2 or 3 years, but, it took longer for me. I never gave up using the sack, now I am doing great. I still carry a sack in my purse. My body had been deprived of oxygen for so long, this may be why it took longer for my body to recover.

I taped a sack to a 4" length plastic tube with opening about 3/4" across. Pinch nose closed and rebreathe in the sack.

There needs to be a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in order for the red blood cells to release oxygen to the vital organs. When we hyperventilate, we blow off too much carbon dioxide. Without a balance the vital organs were deprived of oxygen (heart, lungs, brain). Taking deep breaths and very slow exhales helps too.

There is now a lot of information out about hidden hyperventilation, look for it as well as hyperventilation, info is at your fingertips. Most doctors still are not aware of this condition. The hypertension specialist I went to was a Nobel Prize winner in hypertension at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas.

Last edited by Misty800; 05-26-2006 at 09:20 AM.

 
Old 05-26-2006, 04:52 PM   #11
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Seniorlady HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

Hello Misty800,
I have been having shortness of breath constantly for about a year.
I had a stent placed in my heart last fall and it gave me no help in my breathing problem.
I would like to try your paper bag method.
Where did you find the plastic tube to insert in the bag?
Also, do you breath into the tube, and for how long a time?
Would appreciate some specific instructions on your method.
Sincerely,
Patricia

 
Old 05-26-2006, 06:47 PM   #12
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Re: Shortness of Breath

Hi Patricia,

First, be sure and use a lunch size paper bag. Tape bottom closed (Scotch tape or masking tape). These days the bottom is not completely sealed and will leak air out. I kept a sack in every room of the house, in purse, in car.

Whether it was time to use sack or not, if I was going into a store I rebreathed just before getting out of the car and again when I returned. Did not take much walking around to end up depleted of oxygen. Regardless of where I was and the timer went off to rebreathe, I did.

I bought candy tubes with decorative toy on top, such as M&Ms, or other. I just measured across the opening of the tube and measures 1-inch. If too small you will not get enough air, too large and it is not right either. I wrapped masking tape around the area I wanted to cut the tube. This helps keep the tube from shattering and allows for a saw to stay put and saw thru. I used my husbands jig saw. A razor blade or exacto knife will work too, but, the cut may not be very straight due to tube being flexible while applying pressure cutting. Believe I found the candy tubes at Target. I cut the tube about 4" long, used emory board and smoothed the cut edges making sure all plastic particles were removed and no sharp edges. Using a plastic tube was my idea, could not hold sack close enough to face to just use a sack.

Sorta gather up the bag around your finger then insert tube, tape on with masking tape.

To use, place tube in mouth holding with both hands, then use fore-fingers to press nostrils closed and rebreathe in and out of the sack. Keeping nostrils closed keeps air from escaping thru the nose. Keep mouth closed around the tube all the time to prevent air from escaping the sack. Take normal breaths into and out of the sack for 5 minutes every hour when you are awake. I used a timer in pocket to make sure I used the sack every hour and how long to rebreathe. Time gets buy too easy when busy doing other things. You are breathing back in the breath you just exhaled which contains carbon dioxide and this is how the body is replenished.

When you first start you will feel like you are not getting enough air. It is o.k. to stop and breathe normal outside the sack and then go back to breathing in and out of the sack. It does not take too long to adjust to doing this. When you are really short on oxygen is when this feeling will happen.

I hope this will be of help to you.

Remember, I am not a medical professional, the above is from personal experience.

Last edited by Misty800; 05-26-2006 at 06:54 PM.

 
Old 05-28-2006, 01:01 PM   #13
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Re: Shortness of Breath

Hello Again Misty800,
Thank you for taking time to answer my request about your paper bag breathing .
Your instructions were easy for me to understand and I hope to find the correct tube size
and soon give it a try.
I will soon be 78 years old and have always been a shallow breather.
Something I have tried recently is breathing in steam from my teapot while heating water for
a cup of tea.
I am able to take deep breaths while carefully leaning over the steaming pot.
This could be dangerous if you are not paying attention to the boiling water.
Yes, I do know that the advice you are giving me is from your own experience.
I have heard of the paper bag treatment for hypervenilation but have never tried it.
Patricia

 
Old 05-28-2006, 01:41 PM   #14
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Re: Shortness of Breath

Hi Patricia,

I too have always been a shallow breather. Mentioned it to doctors for years, but, they never seemed to be interested. I am 71. I like to share my experience in hopes of saving others from a long journey of misery.

Misty

 
Old 06-12-2006, 08:34 AM   #15
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Misswings HB User
Re: Shortness of Breath

Hi Diana

I have had this breathing problem too, I feel like a fish out of water, well I have been dx'd with GERD, I take meds for GERD and the breathing problem seems to have gotten so much better.


For about 20 years I have suffered with this and just about popped my jaw out every time just to yawn so I could get a good breath. I had been on so many meds for anxiety and depression none of them did any good then I started taking meds for GERD, and my breathing has went to normal for months now, but I'm noticing it starting again but I think I need my meds either changed or up the dosage, and it also took time to find the right meds, I had to take two different meds before the one I'm taking now.

They say that GERD can mimic Asthma attacks, cause the acid can irritate the
bronchial tubes.
I hope this helps you

 
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