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Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

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Old 10-13-2002, 01:03 AM   #1
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wendy36 HB User
Post Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot


I am 36 years old and just had my second child. Two months after having her, I started having trouble taking deep breaths while exercising. It then started happenning even when not exercising. I feel like I have to yawn but its not satisfying. I have seen several doctors and have tried inhalers, treated for anxiety -- neither worked. The doctor thinks now that it could be a symptom of acid reflux, except I don't have heartburn or other symptoms. It does seem to happen when I have an empty stomach and when exercising or when tired. My blood oxygen levels are good, my breathing test (exhale into tube) is fine. Any suggestions?

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Old 10-13-2002, 12:31 PM   #2
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wrin HB User

Have you looked into the possibility of heart problems or a metabolic condition?

Certain conditions can affect the way the body handles oxygen -- just because oxygen concentrations in the blood are okay doesn't mean the heart is getting exactly what it wants or needs; this could be caused by any number of things, from simple anemia to a heart condition.

Certain metabolic things (although more rarely) can still also cause problems with breathing. Because a high breathing rate expels a lot of carbon dioxide, and the presence of carbon dioxide in the blood affects it's pH, sometimes a problem with blood pH can manifest itself with a breathing problem.

Have they talked to you about a possibility it's anxiety? Can you describe the feeling further? If your PFTs are normal then I have a feeling it isn't something physiologically wrong with your breathing, like a diaphragmatic problem or a lung collapse. Talk to a GP about what else could possibly cause a feeling of not getting enough air. There's tons and tons of things that could cause this and I'm only touching on a couple of them.

Old 10-13-2002, 12:55 PM   #3
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abcd12345 HB User

this was my post to the digestive disorders forum:

my name is peter, im 23... i ve been having these breathing issues for a lloonggg. time.. probably over 5 years... i can completely relate to this "trying to yawn feeling"... and fellin like not enough air is going into my lungs... i have seen a few doctors.. have had chest x-rays done, pulmonary funtion tests, and a blood test - all of which came out within norm... a also had an upper GI done.. .this showed some reflux... just a couple of days ago i went on nexium... i ll try it for a couple of weeks, to see if my breathing improves.. if so then this should be an indication that GERD is at least partly to blame... i should mention that initially, this problem would manifest itself after nights in smokey places (clubs, bars etc..) it would last for a couple of days and go away until next time... its only been in the last while where the feeling is almost constant (athough sometimes better then other times)... i can not really establish why it varies, or what has a major influence (beside smoke!) on how bad it gets... i started to keep a notebook with info on what i eat/drink where i am and so on, and a "rating" on how bad it is on the given day.. this might help to see what triggers it.. .
finally.. probably the most important part of my message.. i strongly believe that our problems might have to do with something called VCD...

the problem is that not a lot of doctors (at least here in toronto).. know about it...
i will see if the nexium changes my situation in any way... will keep you updated..


[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 10-14-2002).]

Old 10-13-2002, 01:57 PM   #4
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spiderqueen_noreen HB User

Hi Wendy,

Have you read the topic here called, "uggggg someone please help!!!!!", may help to look it over since it sounds a bit similar. Seeing how you are so young yet, it wouldn't hurt to have your doctor look into testing you for "alpha-1". At least suggest it to them.

Hope you find your answer,

spiderqueen noreen

[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 10-14-2002).]
yellowdaisies, purplepansies, and pinkpetunias,

spiderqueen noreen

Old 10-14-2002, 12:58 PM   #5
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Jseiple HB User

I had two collapsed lungs a number of years ago. When i had them i could breathe deep. There are different severities of collapsed lungs, some need immediate care and surgery while others can go untreated for sometime. It is probably unlikely that you have a collapsed lung but you never know. They just take a chest xray to see if it has collapsed, even partially. it could be a way to rule out possibilities.

Old 10-14-2002, 02:00 PM   #6
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wendy36 HB User

Thanks for the suggestions. Peter I will interested to see if Nexium works for you. Its like pulling teeth getting the doctors to do any tests.....

I have to try the acid reflux medicine before the dr. will look at any other possibility.


Old 05-20-2005, 09:07 AM   #7
Join Date: May 2005
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jevansnc HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

I have experienced similar problems as the ones described by members of this board. I am 24 years old and have always had a problem yawnning. At times I can yawn fine sometimes but more often I end up gagging. I literally can feel my diaphragm cramping up and sometimes end up vomitting somewhat as a result of attempting to yawn. I have to keep going to try and get the breathe but at times cannot even complete that part. I am an avid bodybuilder and get plenty of aerobic exercise. When working out I mainly have this happen when lifting weight and not aerobic exercise. At times I finally can yawn to get a "satisfying" deep breathe but then I will start cramping violently on my side and it will go all the way up and almost cause me to collapse. I often retreat to the locker room to attempt to yawn and relax a little as this can be somewhat embarassing in front of others who do not understand it. Does anyone have any ideas of what could be causing this. A little more into me and my past if it helps pinpoint anything is as follows:
-24 years old
-lived with 2 parents for 18 years that smoked right at 3 packs a day a piece
-had a very up and down life with a sleep schedule due to parental issues
-currently weigh 275 pounds and am 6'1" with mainly all being muscle

Sorry if I have got too wordy, I don't do much in forums in general but this condition has me wanting to know more. The Internet seems to be the only place where I can find some sort of an answer.

Thank You!

Old 05-20-2005, 04:59 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Taimse HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

this suggestion may be way off the wall, but perhaps you have a blood clot somewhere( Womens Health magazine? Deep Vein thrombosis)....are you short of breath or seem like it? I just read an article about a gal that frequently flew a lot. so she had periods of time where she sat a lot. She had problems breathing when exercising...and had the problem over a period of time. I can't remember if it was up to two weeks, but it wasn't a sudden thing. Her roommate happened to be a doctor, who at first told her nothing to worry about....but then called her at work and told her to get to a doctor fast. She had a blood clot in lower leg.

Old 05-21-2005, 06:34 AM   #9
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celtic_mom HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

Here's one more suggestion for you - has anyone checked your sinuses? I constantly had that need to yawn w/o being able to complete it. That's how I started out about 6-8 months ago. Usually right after exercising. My doc said she thought it was just "air hunger" and not to worry. Then I started getting colds and infections.

I also started having asthma like symptoms (wheezing, tightness) at the same time as the colds, but it always resolved itself with an antihistamine. I went to the doc and was dx'd with bronchitis. A couple weeks later, I started having the symptoms again, but this time worse. Another week or two passed with persistent symptoms and my cough got worse again. I finally ended up having an asthma attack (didn't know I had asthma) and in the hospital for two days.

That was in February and it took 3 months of me specialist hopping and 4 or 5 more rounds of antibiotics for lung infections for someone to finally order a CT of my sinuses. That's when I was dx'd with chronic sinusitis. I had no idea I had sinus problems (except when I had a cold or infection). Turns out this has been going on for a while. I never had pain, headaches, pressure, fevers - anything I would associate with sinusitis. My ENT said most of the time you don't know you have it. The infection in my sinuses were constantly draining into my lungs. Unfortunately, no one put me on a long course of antibiotics and steroids early on to nip this in the bud. Now I have chronic sinusitis and may have to have surgery.

Anyway, I think it would be worthwhile to get that checked out. I actually had gone to an ENT/asthma doc during the beginning of all this mess, for the allergic asthma-like symptoms. I didn't mention sinus problems (because I didn't think I had any) and he didn't seem to notice anything upon examination. I think the only way you will know is with a CT scan.

You could always get some saline spray and try irrigating to see if that has any effect.

Good luck! I hope you get some answers soon!

Old 05-22-2005, 09:12 AM   #10
Join Date: Apr 2005
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yandt HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

Hi Wendy,
sorry to hear about your difficulty breathing, it is very scary rignt! Did you ask your Dr. about having a chest X-ray taken, If not when you make an appointment to see yur Dr. again, start a journel on how your body is functioning, ex. caughing, wheezing , tired etc. I realize that you can explain most of these symptoms away, I was sick for over a year before I was finally diagnosed, so you have to be your own best Dr.
Good Luck,

Old 05-27-2005, 11:47 AM   #11
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cold98204 HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot




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Old 07-26-2005, 11:33 PM   #12
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Locket25 HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

I thought I was the only person in the world had to yawn to get the breath as I call it "Up and Over"!!!!!!
I have recently after (telling Doctors for years that my heart was fluttering badly) and it never showing up on ECG's until I was taken to Hospital very sick with a bad infection and they actually picked it up on yet another ECG but this time when it was happening. I have found with now being on a small dose Sotacor for the heart I now breath so very much better.

Old 11-14-2006, 03:20 AM   #13
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Stingray406SB HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

Funny how a google search brought me here.

My name is Mike, I am 21 years old and have practiced fairly good fitness all my life...15 years of martial arts, enlisting in the National Guard at 17...upon graduation from basic training, I was running 4 miles everyday (I can't do that now, but hey, it happens.) I have never had a problem breathing until early 2006...I'm not certain exactly when it came about, just early in this year. I often have a desire to fill my lungs by taking deep breaths, or yawning...sometimes I find myself unable to yawn, but when I CAN yawn, it makes it better. When I force myself to breathe normally, I get a sensation like I'm starving for air, but my blood-oxygen levels are good, and my last breathing test (breathing into the tube) came out good. The doctor said I have very weak reactive airway disease, but no inhaler I've tried seems to make this need to take deep breaths go away. Also, this problem seems worse when my stomach is full, or when lying down (it keeps me from getting to sleep easily, which is why I'm up and typing this right now. I gave up on trying to sleep.) I'm just finishing a nasal spray/methylprednisone steroid combination that the doctor thought would help...they didn't. I'll be interested in keeping tabs on this thread and seeing if anyone can figure out what this is.

also, wendy...are you getting any post nasal drip? I seem to be getting A LOT. I find myself getting out of bed a lot to clear my throat and spit into the sink.

Old 12-12-2006, 10:43 PM   #14
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NY
Posts: 1
hevvymetal HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

I have this problem too. It's ruining my life. Especially when I try to sleep, I can't lie on my back, I am compelled to gulp for air. I try to yawn and I can't. It's infuriating and exhausting. My doctor thought it was from hpertension and put me on meds for high blood pressure, well my blood pressure is down but I still can't draw a full breath. One thing I have to say though is that caffeine definitely made it worse, now that I don't use caffeine it has improved a little. They also thought it may be sleep apnea but I have this problem when I am awake also, so now I have to see a pulmonary specialist. I am a little nervous, given that my dad died from emphysema and I live not that far from Ground Zero. I hope it's something treatable. I am so glad I found this board.

Old 12-31-2006, 09:45 AM   #15
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: redding, california, usa
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jeeplover HB User
Re: Cannot deep breath -- must yawn but cannot

I've had what you describe twice in my life. As suddenly as it appeared-it disappeared. Each episode lasting about 18 months. The first time I was around 20 and a smoker. I never went to a doctor and I just lived with it. The second episode happened when I was in my early thirties and didn't smoke. The breathing was aggravated by exercise. I did not go to a doctor at that time either. Now, 15 years later, I am fine. As middle age approaches I have been through many medical tests for everything and I am healthy. I have no idea what triggered those episodes (though I suspect they were stress related) or what they were. I have no allergies nor asthma. Good luck.

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