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Can lack of sleep (anxiety?) cause shortness of breath?

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Old 10-31-2005, 10:55 AM   #1
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Can lack of sleep (anxiety?) cause shortness of breath?

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has experienced shortness of breath. It started in July and is pretty much chronic now. I'm 43 and have a 17 mo old and a 32 mo old so I'm very familiar with stress. I went through hell to have my first child and dealt with lots of stress with IF treament and miscarriage but, as my internist said, that was then and this is now. The Dr. first thought it might be reflux so he put me on meds for that. It didn't clear up after 6 wks so now we're thinking stress. I had an EKG in the office as well as a spirometry test to check my breathing and they were both normal. My bloodwork came back fine too (autoimmune, anemia, thyroid, etc).

My breathing gets better later in the day (when my husband is due home and the kids are soon to go to bed). What a surprise! It's worse when I wake after a lousy night of sleep, have my coffee and get ready to start my day. I've had physical anxiety symptoms before but nothing that chronically affects my breathing. It's like someone is sitting on my chest. I don't seem to be hyperventilating either. I don't get it.

I have a "stress" EKG on a treadmill in a couple of weeks but the Dr. doesn't think it will show anything because I look fine clinically. My sleep is horrible. Not refreshing at all and I'm troubled by insomnia. I've never been a great sleeper but I need my rest to keep up with two toddlers! The Dr. gave me Ambien which didn't help and last night I tried Lunesta (1 mg) and it did nothing. I can fall asleep but staying asleep is the problem. Also, I can't sleep on an empty stomach but all the pills say to take them on an empty stomach and not after a high fat meal. If I wait 2 hrs after eating, is that OK?

I am basically an anxious worrier. That I know, but is that enough to cause these symptoms because I'm so tired? TIA!

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Old 11-01-2005, 06:09 PM   #2
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Re: Can lack of sleep (anxiety?) cause shortness of breath?

I am short of breath during the day. Mine seems to get worse in the early afternoon. Sometimes, I feel like I have to think to breathe. If I don;t I will stop breathing during the day. In addition, I am on medication for anxiety. The MD said that I need to lose weight. Then, he said that I probably would not be able to lose weight with untreated sleep apnea. He said he feels pretty sure that I have sleep apnea. My sleep study is scheduled for December. Apparently, lack of sleep can be the root of a whole host of medical issues. Lack of sleep would indeed lead to more difficulty in coping with stress. I know that in the past few weeks I have become more irritable that usual-which I do not like at all.

Hope that helps!

Old 11-04-2005, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: Can lack of sleep (anxiety?) cause shortness of breath?

I too have shortness of breath and trouble staying asleep. The doc put me on Wellbutrin 150mg 2x a day and 3mg of lunesta. I do know that the 3mg is suppose to keep you asleep through the night. it works for me, you might see if he will increase the dose.

Old 11-04-2005, 07:08 PM   #4
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Re: Can lack of sleep (anxiety?) cause shortness of breath?

I too have shortness of breath - it started rather suddenly, but I have it all the time...I also have trouble falling alseep and staying asleep - I am taking ambien CR with clonazepam and a bendryl.....only sort of works....lunesta didn't work for me either....
If anyone finds a solution for this breathing I would be grateful to hear it - I am hyperventilating - I have anxiety and take anxiety meds - but who knows....
Thanks and best wishes,

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