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LeahHG 02-21-2016 12:25 PM

Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
I'm 16 years old, used to be healthy and basically stress free but I seem to have developed a breathing problem that has become constant

It started a few years ago, where I would only experience it occasionally either when I was anxious or doing anything strenuous, but for the past 6 months to a year I have been getting it every single day and basically all day. It used to be that I would constantly be taking in deep breaths and yawning and most of the time I would get some relief after doing this. Recently, I have rarely managed to take a deep breath or yawn and it always feels like I am not getting enough oxygen. Even when I do manage to take a deep breath, the shortness of breath is only relieved for a few seconds, before the urge comes back again. This has caused me to have countless panic attacks, which I feel wouldn't occur at all if I didn't have this breathing problem, as I feel it's the only big thing that's stressing me out at the moment - worrying I'm going to suffocate and die! I also get very dizzy when standing and walking, heart races when I stand and I get soooo tired, breathing worsens when I get all these symptoms but I rarely get symptoms other than the breathlessness (which isn't as bad) when I'm laid down and the breathing gets so bad whenever I get a little bit drunk or if I'm hangover. I also end up having pains when breathing as I am gasping for air so much, and I also don't exercise or really go out anymore because I find it too difficult and the breathing gets worse

I've been to a cardiologist, had ECGs, echocardiogram, chest x-ray, blood tests for PE and anaemia, spirometer, 24 hr halter monitor - all normal. I was given a ventolin inhaler which does little other than making me tachycardic and shaky, and I'm on propranolol which helps with the heart rate but my blood pressure is low as it is so they're not ideal. I struggle on days when I don't take the propranolol.

Does anyone else have any idea what this is? I'm honestly at a loss, I've been told so many times its all anxiety but I'm really not convinced. I miss so much school over this, which is making my grades suffer considerably. I need to get to the bottom of this as its ruining my life and making me really depressed and sad. I've been to the doctors so many times that they literally just think I'm mad and a hypochondriac, so its unlikely I'm going to get any help from them and they're all set on sending me to psychology classes for my anxiety as treatment, which I know will not help as its the breathing that's making me anxious, so if the breathing is sorted, then I won't be anxious, but they can't seem to understand that.

Ive been reading up on it a lot and lots of people have been suffering with similar things, later to discover its something as simple as acid reflux or allergies. I haven't been tested for either of these things, however I get a lot of indigestion which makes me think it could be acid related.

I need help/advice/reassurance or anything, as I really don't know what to do about it anymore. Surely if it was 'just anxiety' id get at least some occasional relief?

JohnR41 02-21-2016 01:37 PM

Re: Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
I have some information about the possible psychological aspect. If it's psychosomatic you most likely won't have any awareness of it on a conscious level because it's brought about by the subconscious mind.

I had asthma attacks starting when I was 9 and the attacks persisted until I was about 13 or 14. Why did they suddenly stop? Well, my brother was in his first year of college and I was looking through some of his textbooks while he was out. I found a book titled "An Introduction To Psychology". I thought it was interesting, especially when I found a chapter on Psychosomatic Illness. And, of all things, it gave an example of someone with asthma. A traumatic event triggered the asthma and the person was not aware of the connection. The cure was to think back to when the attacks first started and to bring the event into consciousness, so as to deal with it and put it to rest.

Then I wondered if that could be the cause of my asthma. So I thought back to when I was 9 years old, which was very easy to do. And, sure enough, there was a traumatic event, an accidental death in my family. It almost seemed too easy. I couldn't believe it would work but I never had another asthma attack after that.

Was it just a coincidence? Was it asthma that I was due to outgrow anyway? I guess I'll never know for sure. But what did I have to lose by giving it a try? If it was a coincidence it was a very strange coincidence, in my opinion.

Why don't you at least give it a try. Perhaps you could think back to when you first had difficulty with shortness of breath. It doesn't have to be exact to the day or month. It may have been a situation that evolved slowly and then, at some point, became repressed and relegated to the subconscious.

If that's not it, then what have you lost but a few moments of your time. We can then move on to look for another cause.

Fed Up 83 02-21-2016 02:24 PM

Re: Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
I have the exact same thing. I keep getting told anxiety and panic attacks too but like you if my breathing was ok I wouldn't have anxiety. It really effects my quality of life. I do have a little reflux also and tried nexium which did close to nothing for me. I'm sorry I'm not much help but just thought you should know you are not alone. let me know if you ever do work it out.

LeahHG 02-21-2016 03:02 PM

Re: Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
[QUOTE=JohnR41;5405077]I have some information about the possible psychological aspect. If it's psychosomatic you most likely won't have any awareness of it on a conscious level because it's brought about by the subconscious mind.

I had asthma attacks starting when I was 9 and the attacks persisted until I was about 13 or 14. Why did they suddenly stop? Well, my brother was in his first year of college and I was looking through some of his textbooks while he was out. I found a book titled "An Introduction To Psychology". I thought it was interesting, especially when I found a chapter on Psychosomatic Illness. And, of all things, it gave an example of someone with asthma. A traumatic event triggered the asthma and the person was not aware of the connection. The cure was to think back to when the attacks first started and to bring the event into consciousness, so as to deal with it and put it to rest.

Then I wondered if that could be the cause of my asthma. So I thought back to when I was 9 years old, which was very easy to do. And, sure enough, there was a traumatic event, an accidental death in my family. It almost seemed too easy. I couldn't believe it would work but I never had another asthma attack after that.

Was it just a coincidence? Was it asthma that I was due to outgrow anyway? I guess I'll never know for sure. But what did I have to lose by giving it a try? If it was a coincidence it was a very strange coincidence, in my opinion.

Why don't you at least give it a try. Perhaps you could think back to when you first had difficulty with shortness of breath. It doesn't have to be exact to the day or month. It may have been a situation that evolved slowly and then, at some point, became repressed and relegated to the subconscious.

If that's not it, then what have you lost but a few moments of your time. We can then move on to look for another cause.[/QUOTE]
Thank you for the reply! The shortness of breath started when I had my very first anxiety attack, which makes me think it is psychological as it also is worse when I'm stressed, however is still there even when I'm not. Were they definitely asthma attacks that you were having, and not panic attacks? Were you actually diagnosed with asthma? Because my Dr has told me I definitely don't have asthma but I'm not sure if I agree! However, the reliever inhaler doesn't supply me with much relief like it should if it was asthma.

JohnR41 02-22-2016 02:19 PM

Re: Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
[QUOTE=LeahHG;5405090]Thank you for the reply! The shortness of breath started when I had my very first anxiety attack, which makes me think it is psychological as it also is worse when I'm stressed, however is still there even when I'm not. Were they definitely asthma attacks that you were having, and not panic attacks? Were you actually diagnosed with asthma? Because my Dr has told me I definitely don't have asthma but I'm not sure if I agree! However, the reliever inhaler doesn't supply me with much relief like it should if it was asthma.[/QUOTE]


Yes, I was definitely having asthma attacks. The first one was so bad I thought I was dying. No one in my family knew what it was so they took me to a doctor and he said it was definitely asthma. Then there was another doctor who gave the same diagnosis. Both times it was so bad they gave me a shot of something that relieved it almost immediately. I never thought to ask what the shot consisted of. My guess now is that it must have been an anti-inflammatory medication.

Can you think of anything that might have caused your first anxiety attack? Was it proceeded by a stressful situation?

There are so many things that can cause stress that you might not be aware of it, like lack of quality sleep. Do you feel well rested when you wake up in the morning? Diet is another area that could cause stress, like being on a strict diet and perhaps lacking in some nutrient. Is your breathing better before eating a meal or after eating a meal? Maybe the pressure of school? Do you like school or dread going?

LeahHG 02-22-2016 03:21 PM

Re: Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
[QUOTE=JohnR41;5405207]Yes, I was definitely having asthma attacks. The first one was so bad I thought I was dying. No one in my family knew what it was so they took me to a doctor and he said it was definitely asthma. Then there was another doctor who gave the same diagnosis. Both times it was so bad they gave me a shot of something that relieved it almost immediately. I never thought to ask what the shot consisted of. My guess now is that it must have been an anti-inflammatory medication.

Can you think of anything that might have caused your first anxiety attack? Was it proceeded by a stressful situation?

There are so many things that can cause stress that you might not be aware of it, like lack of quality sleep. Do you feel well rested when you wake up in the morning? Diet is another area that could cause stress, like being on a strict diet and perhaps lacking in some nutrient. Is your breathing better before eating a meal or after eating a meal? Maybe the pressure of school? Do you like school or dread going?[/QUOTE]
That's awful! A lot of the time I feel I'm close to death because of all these symptoms! Do you think, as I have been told I don't have asthma, that its definitely not asthma related at all?
My first anxiety attack happened in an assembly in school. It was on remembrance day 3 years ago, I started seeing flashing lights, I had to keep my head on my knee to stop myself passing out for a whole 40 mins. As soon as the assembly had finished, I was instantly ok. I then had anther episode where I nearly fainted soon after, due to pain from someone throwing a rock at my ribs. Ever since then, I developed a fear of fainting, and I had my first panic attack in a science class where I was really convinced I was going to faint. Ever since then I have not been into a single assembly, and it took me ages to be able to stay in a class for a full lesson without freaking out. The thing is, about a year ago these anxiety attacks stopped happening and I felt rather relaxed at school, then this shortness of breath became chronic and I started getting a very fast heart rate which then caused me to panic over what these symptoms might be and whether they were dangerous. And yes, now I really dislike school. I find I feel ill all day, am exhausted and it makes my symptoms appear a lot worse. I am also very stressed over exams, and were having mocks basically every week. Also, I don't get enough sleep on school nights, however I never feel like I've had enough sleep - even if Ive slept for 13hours (which I feel like I could probably manage every night if I had the time to) I eat pretty well though, but I have lost a bit of weight recently which I'm guessing is down to being depressed but I'm not sure

JohnR41 02-23-2016 10:08 AM

Re: Constant shortness of breath really getting me down
 
I could be wrong but don't think you have asthma. The usual symptoms include wheezing, tightening of the chest or airway, shortness of breath and mucus production.

Here's the way it went for me: When I wasn't having an attack, I was perfectly fine. Asthma usually comes in episodes and something has to act as a trigger to set it off. After an allergy test, my doctor said I was allergic to house-dust. But I think that was incorrect because I usually only had one really bad attack per year, in springtime, and it would often last from one day into the next. I think my mother got it right when she called it "seasonal".
Anyway, for me it was totally incapacitating; I couldn't do anything except sit up and concentrate on trying to breathe. Until it was over, I couldn't even eat or sleep.

Your condition just doesn't sound like asthma to me, although there may be some overlapping symptoms, like shortness of breath. There may be some similarities but that doesn't necessarily make it the same.

There are lots of things you can do that may be helpful. Some may be good for a variety of reasons, like relaxation and/or anti-inflammatory. For panic attacks: moderate exercise and meditation. Don't force the exercise, just do whatever you can.

Assuming that inflammation could have something to do with your breathing difficulty, I would [B]try an anti-inflammation diet.[/B] I believe sugar is the biggest contributor to inflammation, along with any baked goods made with white flour. In other words, a healthy whole foods diet. No stimulants like caffeine.
Just fresh fruits, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables, a limited amount of whole grains, legumes and raw nuts, including walnuts for omega 3. (Note: peanuts should not be eaten raw.) Small amounts of lean unprocessed protein (3 ounce serving). Avoid large amounts of animal fat and dairy products, and avoid fried foods too.

What do you think, can you give this a try? It certainly can't do any harm, and it may prove to be very helpful. [B]This diet is recommended for those who have asthma but I think it may be helpful to you as well, even though I doubt you have asthma.[/B]

If you have any questions about details of implementing
this diet, let me know.


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