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Perplexing chronic breathing problem


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Old 08-23-2015, 08:21 AM   #1
sddan
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Perplexing chronic breathing problem

I started having the following symptom when I was 19. It's been going on for over 10 years now, and has gradually become more serious.

There's a tightness in my chest and abdomen. I can't breath properly from my stomach or diaphragm; To get a breath, I must attempt to "get around it" somehow usually posturing my back up, raising my shoulders, yawning, and this isn't always successful. That "feeling" of breathing satisfaction towards the end of your breath -- That feeling of the breath completing, that just isn't attained except sometimes if I posture/yawn. I certainly can't achieve it otherwise, making physical activity really annoying. If I want to go running, I have to frequently stop to yawn.

There is no apparent airway constriction in me, no wheezing, no coughing at any point. Air seems to travel smoothly and quietly in and out, the problem seems structural. Something inside, deeper, is wrong.

There is no pain associated with this, just a constantly feeling like there's somehow not enough room inside me, or I am being squeezed somehow. Something is gripping me. Typically, trying hard to get a deeper breath results in a reaction as I breath out where something squeezes even tighter for a few moments up high/center/center right in my chest.

Doctors have never been able to solve it. When I first started experiencing this, years ago, I went through a gauntlet of tests. Initially doctors gave me inhalers and stuff which did nothing (this was very reactive on their part, they didn't really dig very deep and just kinda said "try this"). I later had a pulmonary function study which showed my lung capacity as excellent. Early on I had a heart stress test -- With the treadmill and echo - which showed my heart as being in good standing. (It should be noted that it's been over 10 years since these tests, and my symptoms have become worse, so I'd be open to revisiting -and heart may be my next avenue of pursuit)

Any routine examination shows nothing. X-rays have shown nothing, a CT scan of my abdomen showed nothing but gallstones (I later had my gallbladder removed on the hope that this was the culprit, and it had no effect). If you check my oxygen levels they're always fine.

I went to an alternative doctor who explored the idea of some kind of hiatal hernia, but that seemed to be a dead end, as all of his massages and pushing and pulling and so on didn't address the issue.

I'm of a healthy weight and generally healthy by any normal standard, but I just know I'm being gripped all of the time, physically, mechanically, something is wrong. Some days it is worse than others, but it is always there. It's like there's a knot inside my abdomen. On a bad day, I can be up all night because the tightness is so bad, and laying down makes it worse. As I type this it's 11am, I was up all night pacing because the symptoms stopped me from sleeping.

I've considered that perhaps it could be gastric related, but it seems unlikely due to the fact that I have no heartburn at any point, no difficulty swallowing, no indigestion of any kind, all of which are things that would almost certainly be associated with something like acid reflux disease.

The physical, mechanical tightness and difficulty achieving a satisfying breath is so real and so pronounced that I can't believe there's no way to diagnose it.

This problem inhibits my lifestyle greatly and I fear I'll live out my days on earth and never know what the thing was that ruined my life. I am hoping someone can toss me some idea, some avenue to consider. I'm willing to consider anything at this point.

Last edited by sddan; 08-23-2015 at 08:24 AM.

 
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Old 08-27-2015, 09:39 AM   #2
Diagoras
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Re: Perplexing chronic breathing problem

It sounds like you've had many medical tests and ruled out heart, lung, and GI problems. Could it be anxiety related? If it happens less often at home and more often in stressful situations, I would consider that as a possibility.

 
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:28 PM   #3
sddan
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Re: Perplexing chronic breathing problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diagoras View Post
It sounds like you've had many medical tests and ruled out heart, lung, and GI problems. Could it be anxiety related? If it happens less often at home and more often in stressful situations, I would consider that as a possibility.

Thank you for replying. Please don't misunderstand me, the problem is always present, it seems to randomly get worse sometimes, often at home. It's harder to breath while sitting or laying down, although after I manage to fall asleep I seem to do better. It's getting there that can be bad, because I keep feeling like I'm suffocating.

To attempt to get a decent breath I need to be standing raise my chest and shoulders and try to lift everything up and breath from my shoulders. It feels like there's not enough room in my abdomen or something.

Driving can be difficult because the sitting position assumed in a car seems to compound the problem. When the symptoms are being particularly troublesome, standing is my best bet to try and manage, which often means pacing all night because if I lie down to try and sleep I'll not be able to get enough of a breath.

I'm seeing a doctor now and soon I think we're going to look into hiatal hernia. It may be a long shot since I don't have typical symptoms of hiatal hernia such as burning, indigestion, etc, but I don't know what else to do.

Last edited by sddan; 12-01-2015 at 12:30 PM.

 
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:25 PM   #4
Sylvia224
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Re: Perplexing chronic breathing problem

Your symptoms describe mine with astonishing accuracy. Mine started to happen periodically when I was about 6-7 years old (40 now). You even described the exact gesture that I use to relieve it. A week ago I got a bad cold and started having frequent episodes (always worse when I am sick or overly tired). They did a chest x-Ray and found pneumonia so I've just started the antibiotics and really hope that helps. Sorry I can't be of more help - you've done that already. So when you have oxygen/pulmonary tests - are you experiencing this at that time that the test is being administered?

 
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:33 PM   #5
sddan
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Re: Perplexing chronic breathing problem

The problem is always present, it just gets worse sometimes than others. Sometimes it seems like consuming things can sometimes affect it (though I haven't proven this in my mind without any doubt yet). Sometimes coffee seems to make it worse.

I had a series of x-rays that showed everything normal. I think next step is to look to a new specialist. I'm still sorta tahinking it could be stomach related, but I'm just not sure. It could be anything.

When it gets really bad I feel a tension that goes all the way up my adbomen to my throat. Something deep down just feels like it's being squeezed.

I decided after the x-rays to start going for runs, as difficult as that can be, just because apparently I'm supposed to be fine. When I'm running, it feels like something is bouncing up and down inside me and each time it jostles down my breathing gets cut off more.

Last edited by sddan; 02-08-2016 at 09:34 PM.

 
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:54 PM   #6
Fed Up 83
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Re: Perplexing chronic breathing problem

I have exactly the same thing except I also feel like my throat is raw and weird. Did you ever work out what was causing this?

 
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Old 03-01-2016, 03:00 PM   #7
sddan
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Re: Perplexing chronic breathing problem

still no idea

when I lay down on my back and breath beyond a certain point this frequently causes heart palpitations. I wonder if this is somehow linked.

 
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