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Strange Breathing Problems

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Old 02-18-2009, 08:54 PM   #1
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Strange Breathing Problems

New to the forum, I searched for Respiratory, or breathing topics to post in, and did not find any, so I hope it's ok to post here.

About 6 months ago, I was on a Plane, and I felt, kind of like I was suffocating, my airways were clear, I could take deep breaths, but it didn't feel like I was getting oxygen, and I might pass out.

I focused on my breathing, and the problem went away, and I thought it odd, and maybe just a strange reaction to the pressurization or something.

I've been on hundreds of planes, (Literally) I travel the world often, for a living, this, out of the blue, was the 1st time anything like this had happened.

I began having "Smaller" breathing spells like this, but it would pass.

Recently, (About 3 weeks ago) at the end of the day, I was laying in bed, watching a television show, as I was about to sleep for the night, and although I could take full breaths in, and inflate my lungs to their capacity, I felt like I wasn't getting ANY oxygen.

I actually got out of bed, and went outside in my Pajamas, in the snow, to try to deeply breathe in the cold fresh air, it was really scary, like I was suffocating. I thought I was going to pass out.

But, I paced in circles for about 5 minutes, and focused on breathing deeply, and it went away.

Could I have Asthma ?

Everything I have read, is describing a "Panic Attack" - but really... I'm not stressed, I'm happy, I love my work, and my family - I've actually somehow managed to completely remove all "Drama" and stress from my life in the last 5 years.

But I'll admit, when it feels like I'm suffocating - It "Becomes a "Panic" attack, but I'm just panicking about "That"

I'm 38, 5'7 170 lbs - decent health, good circulation, NEVER had breathing problems, haven't smoked in 10 years - eat fairly decent. I've been "Lucky" with health.

Although I'm now at the age where I need to start going for regular check ups, I've only been to the doctor or hospital 3 or 4 times in my life, (Excluding breaking my hand, and going for surgery, follow up's and physio, which isn't really relevant)

Now, I'm probably psyching myself out, but it always feels a bit like I'm getting less oxygen then normal, and if I think about it, or focus on it, I start having to breathe deeper and deeper and feel like I could "Bring on" one of these breathing attacks.

This "Breathing in and out of a Paper Bag" we see in the movies - is this a valid thought? am I "Hyper ventilating"? if it feels like I'm NOT getting oxygen, and suffocating, I don't really know what breathing my own Carbon Dioxide will do?

I feel like I've somehow developed a Panic disorder, out of no where, for no reason, at the happiest time of my life, or "Just got Asthma" at 38 with NO history or family history of Asthma.

Any thoughts out there?

The scary part is living alone, if I pass out in my yard, in the snow, in the middle of the night, from pacing around in circles, that'll totally suck! I certainly can't "Drive my self to the hospital" in that state, and if I'm just Hyperventilating, or having a Panic attack, or have Asthma, it's absurd to call an ambulance / 911 every time I feel "Weird"

Last edited by SuperReverb; 02-18-2009 at 09:47 PM.

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Old 02-19-2009, 06:01 AM   #2
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Re: Strange Breathing Problems

It does sound more like a panic attack than anything else. But oyu should have regular checkups - a complete physical every year at least.

Old 02-19-2009, 07:09 AM   #3
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Re: Strange Breathing Problems

It is an anxiety thing - called 'air hunger'. It is similar to hyperventilating. The paper bag does work, too. I have used it in a first aid capacity many times and it never fails. Too much oxygen can rev up the panic level pretty quickly, rebreathing your carbon dioxide will calm it down. It is one time when taking deep breaths is counter-productive. Sera.

Old 02-19-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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Re: Strange Breathing Problems

Thats just so strange... what could i be "Panic'd" about, watching TV, or in the middle of work... I'm always completely "Absorbed" in something else, usually "Quite interesting" when this Breathing thing starts up.

I've no money stress, no Love stress, no Career stress, I really look forward to waking up, every day, and getting to do the stuff I get to do.

My breathing "Constantly" feels "Different" or less efficient in providing me oxygen, and occasionally gets bad, to the level of "Attack"

Seriously... if this is a "Panic Attack", who do you go see about that, a therapist? I couldn't even imagine what on earth I'd have to Panic about.

My breathing is labored every day now, and I'm worried about getting on a long plane ride, I need to figure out "Who to go see" about this in the next few days, before I travel again, as it's getting more constant.

Old 02-19-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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Re: Strange Breathing Problems

Air hunger occurs in several different disorders; lung disease, asthma, anxiety, hyperventilation syndrome, thyroid disorders, blood loss (including occult blood loss from a stomach ulcer), cardiovascular disorders, neuromuscular diseases, metabolic illness . . . etc.

It's actually a response to too much carbon dioxide in the blood - not necessarily less oxygen. In anxiety/panic disorders (both are true brain disorders that often have no discernible "emotional" or "psychological" cause), it's the overproduction of adrenaline that starts the urge to breath more deeply on one hand and blocks the feeling of oxygen satiety on the other, a one-two punch.

Last edited by AuntieLeela; 02-19-2009 at 12:31 PM.

Old 02-19-2009, 01:09 PM   #6
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Re: Strange Breathing Problems

You no doubt are a "hidden hyperventilator" due to unknown cause. Search for more information.

Try rebreathing in a paper sack 5 minutes every hour for about 3 months and see if it works for you.

Most doctors are not aware of a person being a hidden hyperventilator. Took me 10 years to find a doctor who recognized the problem immediately. Yeah, after my heart was enlarged, blood pressure up to stroke territory.

What happens is that you blow off too much carbon dioxide. We need a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in order for the red carpusles to release oxygen to the vital organs. When the vital organs do not get sufficient oxygen then they become deprived and causes the body to panic.

Most doctors will try to tell you it is anxiety causing the problem, however, in my case the hypertension specialist told me it was not anxiety causing the problem but it was oxygen deprivation to vital organs that caused my body to panic.

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