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  • SEVERE Air Hunger / Shortness of Breath

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    Old 05-03-2003, 10:14 PM   #1
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    Post SEVERE Air Hunger / Shortness of Breath

    Hey all, I've got a quick question for you good folks! How many of you suffer "air hunger" (shortness of breath where you feel as if you can't take a deep enough breath)? If you do, how often do you get it and how long do that "attacks" last? Also, does your "air hunger" seem to get worse AFTER you eat?

    The reason I'm asking is lately I've begin to experience this TERRIFYING problem DAY after DAY for literally hours on end. Mine usually gets REAL bad after I eat, and the more I fight to get that fullfilling breath, the worse it seems to get. I get to the point where I'm getting headaches and dizziness/light-headedness from it (which lasts sometimes hours after the air hunger attacks leave). I've been told by many the hiatal hernias can cause this (I assume I have one, since I have SEVERE GERD... especially at night. I usually wake up running to the bathroom puking because I'm choking on what feels like a gallon of the stuff that I just breathed into my lungs).

    Anyhow, it's worrying me... mainly because it seems to be getting worse! I used to have panic/anxiety attacks... but I haven't in years. I know my symptoms of panic attacks, and this isn't it. I've been to the ER during one "air hunger" episode and everything checked out alright. They sent me home saying that it was probably anxiety... but I wasn't feeling anxious at the time! I'm about to give up! I have no weezing or coughing... just an "air hunger" feeling that comes and goes as it pleases... but mostly comes on right after I eat, and they last for hours!

    Any ideas!? I'd love the feedback... thanks guys!
    Eric D. Brown

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    Old 05-03-2003, 10:43 PM   #2
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    Since you have severe GERD you should consult your doc about a hernia. I get short of breath with panic attacks, but mine comes on with the attack. No specific time. Since your's is most commonly after a meal might not be panic attacks.

    Old 05-04-2003, 04:14 PM   #3
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    wow i thought i was the only one who suffered form air hunger!! mine lasts anything from 3 days up to 2 weeks. it totally washes me out. does it do this to you? i feel as if i cant get satisfied unless i keep taking deep breaths. do you constantly yawn as well? i dont find it get worse after eating though, its just always the same day in day out. it also makes me gag as well. i wrote a post a while back asking if anyone suffers from this but didnt get much responce.

    Old 05-04-2003, 06:27 PM   #4
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    You know i get these to sometimes but i have been going to therapy and they told me that the cause to air hunger could be hyperventilation. Some people can have it and not even realize since it so subtle sometimes. Do some reasearch on hyperventilation and you will find helpful information that will help you over come this. now i don't know if that is the problem with you but it is worth a try. Symptoms of chronic hypervetilation are dizziness/lightheadedness/constant gasps for air/ and constant yawning and sighing

    Old 05-05-2003, 01:38 PM   #5
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    asthma is another possibility
    Life is not a dress rehearsal

    Old 05-05-2003, 03:10 PM   #6
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    I have that too! Kind of thought it was all in my head. I've had it since I was about 16(27 now). It used to freak me out. I was worried that I had asthma but I never have any coughing or wheezing. The most annoying part is the yawning. It seems that I yawn but since I didn't get a complete breath I can't finish the yawn and I have to do it again. I don't know what causes it and I have learned to relax and realize that even without that full breath I won't suffocate and eventually I will get my full breath.

    I also suffered from panic attacks for a few months, but haven't had one in about 9 months. But the breathing thing started long before the panic attacks.

    Old 05-06-2003, 10:14 AM   #7
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    I have had that for about 6 years. It is hard to nail down a cause of it but I have noticed that it gets worse after I eat. The worst part about this condition is that it completely inhibits excercise. Mine never really goes away. It is a tortured existence to always feel like you are drowning but after a while you get used to it. Diaphramatic breathing helps a lot. I went to the Dr. for this several years ago and he confimed that I had asthma as well. After a course of prednisone and some inhaled corticosteroids my asthma went away but the breathing problem became much worse. This "air hunger" seems to mirror my anxiety. It also seems to be exacerbated by stress, caffiene, chocolate, strong smells and uncomfortable situations to name a few. And all this time I thought I was the only one. We need to find a cure for this. This just sucks! Yawning all the time is getting old.

    Old 05-07-2003, 07:55 PM   #8
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    [..."especially at night. I usually wake up running to the bathroom puking because I'm choking on what feels like a gallon of the stuff that I just breathed into my lungs."]

    Stuff could be coming up from stomach? Perhaps. Also, people with sleep apnea might feel they are choking too. Lots of possibilities. Those nightime episodes could be causing the anxiety feelings during the day about your breathing and causing you to hyperventilate as someone suggested.

    Anyway, choking at night while sleeping is not something I'd assume is just anxiety.

    Old 05-16-2003, 12:07 PM   #9
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    I have been suffering from "air hunger" since I have been about 8 or 10 years old. I am now 31. I have gone through numerous tests over the years for asthma, heart problems, lung problems etc., nothing has ever been found. All of my symptoms are exactly what "tracey2775" posted above. I feel as if I cannot get a satisfied breath unless I keep taking deep breaths. I too feel like I have to yawn, but can never seem to finish the yawn. I never really told anybody about that symptom because it sounds so funny if it doesn't happen to you. Mine doesn't get worse at any point of the day. It just goes 24/7 anywhere from two days up to 2 weeks. I am just assuming it isn't anxiety or panic disorders because I have had this since I have been 8. This has been going on for 23 years. At one point I went at least a couple of years without anything happening, but now it has been going on every couple of months for at least the past three years. It is very interesting reading everyone's posts and knowing I am not the only one. I would love to learn more about this and get to the bottom of it. Good luck to everyone.


    Old 05-17-2003, 02:24 PM   #10
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    I was really interested in reading your comments - I too started with the very same thing like I was always short of breath and needing to keep taking a deep sighing breath. I felt really scared and it really at one point was all I could think about. I went through teats and found out that it is a form of anxiety/stress. The answer was two fold (i) it is caused by breathing incoreectly form your upper chest area - you need to proactice breathing form your stomach area - put your hand on your tummy and ensure it rises and falls as you breath - breath ion for 4 and out for 5 - practise this as often as possible. (2) you have to distract yourself form it every time it comes into your mind - this is known as diversion - basically when you cecome consious of it - you are effectly giving it full on attention - this creates a vicious circle and then just rememberingit will bring on the symptoms. So you have to delibratley almost change the record - so when you think @ah it is still there - why - is it serious will it ever go away etc etc (all of which are so called negative thoughts) you must instantly replace the thought with something comforting like ' its ok i know this old chesnut I can breath I am safe this will in time disappear' the n go and do something else to take your mind off it. Sometimes I found it very difficlut not to notice it so I would practice times tables or imagine what would spend a million pounds on. The idea and point orf these excersise is to dampen down your fight and flight response which is essentially what is triggering the shallow breathing and in turn the air hunger symptoms. The othert thing that you have to work on is your thoughyt processes - yeh right I hear you say. But again these symptoms are brought on by your thought patters - so if you fear the air hunger symptom and like me in the pasy was like desperate for relief and always seeking reasurance form the doc etc you have to take control.When you feel up-tight and notice the symptoms youmust challenge the scary thoughts and replace them with something more comforting. Another thing is that often when you aree continously shallow breathing you will have very tense upper stomach/diaphram muscles - the cure for this is relaxation. i mean the type were you lay down and practise letting all your muscles relax this takes about 20 mins there are lots of tapes that will guide you through this. At first all of this seems like a nonsense and it will appaer to do nothing. But give it several months of reinforcing the idea that it is harmless (which it is) and that you are in control and relaxing you will notice that the symptoms diminish. A very important thing to remeber is that you have to accept the symptom and pay it the least attention as possible. That means air hunger symptoms oir not you do not sit down and think about it you get up and get going. Believe me I have so been there and done that. I did all this under the advice of a occiupational therpaist (some-one who helps control stress symptoms) guess what I do not suffer with air hunger at all. Even if it does come back occasionally which it did in the beginning I go back to tehj drawing board and hey presto it is off again. I cannot remeber the last time I had it.. Good Luck

    Old 05-22-2003, 09:37 PM   #11
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    OMG you just hit the nail on the head with me when you said,"Symptoms of chronic hypervetilation are dizziness/lightheadedness/constant gasps for air/and constant yawning and sighing."I do all of this constantly,have for 8 years..

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