Things that help False Shortness of Breath (SOB) or pseudo-dyspnea

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, Apr 17, 2020

Experiencing (false) SOB can be initially scary and frustrating. A lot of people in this group have never gotten a clear explanation of why they have Shortness of Breath/ Dyspnea. It could very well be False Shortness of Breath or pseudo-dyspnea. This does not mean that you do not have a shortness of breath, rather you have what is called a "feeling that you are short of breath" that leads to hyperventilation. So your feelings that you are going crazy are not true!

One method of controlling this is through Pursed-Lip Breathing. It works and worth the patience it needs to naturally breathe this way.

I practiced this walking, climbing stairs, walking down the stairs for a while so that it was the way my body automatically breathed – I retrained it! And I have slowed it down even more if I feel panicky or anxious, however. This information needs to be confirmed by a doctor. Taking excessive amounts of medicines to help cut down your acids can cause more harm and cause more problems.

Have you tried this or some other way to breathe that helps?

https://www.hannasaadah.com/blog/medical/false-shortness-of-breaht-pseudo-dyspnea-december-12/

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Lung Health group.

I have this from esophagitis like mentioned in your link 24/7. I need help. It won't stop and I don't know how to fix it. It is not anxiety related.

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@lstabe Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. We are a group of patients helping others. Before I can guide you on this I need to ask a couple of questions. How do you know that you have esophagitis? If a doctor prescribed this what kind of doctor?

I forgot to put this link so you can learn more about this
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/esophagitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20361224
Have you seen any other doctor other than your PCP?

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I as well have had this my entire life. I started taking omeprazole (20 mg once daily) when I was 25 and I'm now 30 and still on it. The quality of my life is tenfold. Without the omeprazole I have labored breathing and feel as though my body is in constant fight or flight mode. I know I have a false shortness of breath because it only bothers me when I'm at rest. I can go for a run and it is effortless breathing. There are some negative side effects to taking omeprazole and I would like to get off of the medication. I wish there was an alternative, but when I do go a day without it, I realize how grateful I am to have it.

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@benjvandenheuvel– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. MY GI doctor suggested that I try FDgard (caraway oil, I menthol) to help stop that awful pain and burning. I find that it works beautifully. I take one Omeprazole a day. I have no idea if you could ever use this alone in place of your medication.

Have you had any lung testing or seen a pulmonologist? Have you tried any exercises?

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@merpreb

@benjvandenheuvel– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. MY GI doctor suggested that I try FDgard (caraway oil, I menthol) to help stop that awful pain and burning. I find that it works beautifully. I take one Omeprazole a day. I have no idea if you could ever use this alone in place of your medication.

Have you had any lung testing or seen a pulmonologist? Have you tried any exercises?

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I don't have any burning, just the false shortness of breath and indigestion without omeprazole.

I have had lung testing and was diagnosed with asthma. I have tried many different inhalers, but none seem to improve breathing. Actually makes it worse. I workout 5 days a week. Exercise neither improves, nor worsens symptoms.

I also have been to the Mayo Clinic and had extensive testing with a Neurologist who said there was no neurological damage causing this. A different local neurologist felt it was gastrointestinal. I've had an upper scope, colonoscopy, tested for chron's and ulcerative colitis. Everything came back negative. I've basically seen every doctor from here to the Mayo Clinic and everyone seems to give me the same answer. "Yes, this doesn't seem quite right, but I don't know what is causing it."

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@benjvandenheuvel

I don't have any burning, just the false shortness of breath and indigestion without omeprazole.

I have had lung testing and was diagnosed with asthma. I have tried many different inhalers, but none seem to improve breathing. Actually makes it worse. I workout 5 days a week. Exercise neither improves, nor worsens symptoms.

I also have been to the Mayo Clinic and had extensive testing with a Neurologist who said there was no neurological damage causing this. A different local neurologist felt it was gastrointestinal. I've had an upper scope, colonoscopy, tested for chron's and ulcerative colitis. Everything came back negative. I've basically seen every doctor from here to the Mayo Clinic and everyone seems to give me the same answer. "Yes, this doesn't seem quite right, but I don't know what is causing it."

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@benjvandenheuvel– Good morning. There are several possibilities here that could be causing this. Sometimes people get what is called Exercise-induced Asthma (EIB). This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/exercise-induced-asthma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372300
https://acaai.org/asthma/types-asthma/exercise-induced-bronchoconstriction-eib
EIB associated with more generalized asthma is prevented with controller medications taken regularly (such as mast cell stabilizers, inhaled steroids, and leukotriene modifiers) or by using medicines before you exercise (short-acting beta-agonists such as albuterol). When EIB symptoms occur, they can be treated with short-acting beta-agonists.

In addition to medications, warm-ups, cool-downs, and wearing a mask or scarf over your mouth may prevent or lessen EIB symptoms. You may want to limit exercise when you have a viral infection, temperatures are low, or pollen and air pollution levels are high.

I have no damage from acid reflux or GERD. My tests were negative too. Might you have this and need to take something for the acid in your system?

Have you heard of EIB?

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I have been diagnosed with pseudo-dyspnea, caused by GERD – stomach acid. I take omeprazole 40 DR twice a day. Exercise helps reduce it, lying down after food or bending provoked shortness of breath. My relatives have a rescue asthma inhaler. Is it safe to try it when I have shortness of breath? Can inhaler make the problem worse?

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@gregoryps

I have been diagnosed with pseudo-dyspnea, caused by GERD – stomach acid. I take omeprazole 40 DR twice a day. Exercise helps reduce it, lying down after food or bending provoked shortness of breath. My relatives have a rescue asthma inhaler. Is it safe to try it when I have shortness of breath? Can inhaler make the problem worse?

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Welcome to Mayo Connect, a community of people living with a wide variety of diseases and conditions, who support each other along the way. We try to be informed medical consumers, and our own best advocates in our care. We are not medical professionals, so not able to provide medical advice. We can tell you what has worked for us (or not) and provide you with information and conversation about your questions.

So, you need advice on the use of an asthma inhaler from your doctor. Every person's situation is different, so not only do you need to ask about whether to use an inhaler, but also which one is right for you.
Sue

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@sueinmn

Welcome to Mayo Connect, a community of people living with a wide variety of diseases and conditions, who support each other along the way. We try to be informed medical consumers, and our own best advocates in our care. We are not medical professionals, so not able to provide medical advice. We can tell you what has worked for us (or not) and provide you with information and conversation about your questions.

So, you need advice on the use of an asthma inhaler from your doctor. Every person's situation is different, so not only do you need to ask about whether to use an inhaler, but also which one is right for you.
Sue

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my PCP said that it is OK to try asthma inhaler, but since I do not have asthma it is unlikely to help.
My shortness is definitely related to GERD / stomach acid, since it goes away with exercise and is provoked by lying down and bending

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@gregoryps

my PCP said that it is OK to try asthma inhaler, but since I do not have asthma it is unlikely to help.
My shortness is definitely related to GERD / stomach acid, since it goes away with exercise and is provoked by lying down and bending

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Could you do yourself a huge favor and visit a chiropractor? Just go and explain your situation, you might get mindblown.

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I have had what I thought was SOB, started about 8 weeks ago when I thought I had just the start of a chest cold. My symptoms are strange in that I can take a deep breath through my nose but when I try to deep breathe through my mouth it feels like the air stops and is not satisfying. My 02 says are 100 percent, respiration rate is normal. I wake up on the morning with a lot of mucous in my throat. Interesting that I can breathe perfectly fine when I’m laying down when I first wake up bit as the day goes on it gets worse. I had a chest X-ray and EKG that were normal, I had a routine endoscopy/colonoscopy 8 months ago that were normal. I don’t have heart burn but started on OTC Prilosec 20mg a day without relief. Any ideas?

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@tarared03

I have had what I thought was SOB, started about 8 weeks ago when I thought I had just the start of a chest cold. My symptoms are strange in that I can take a deep breath through my nose but when I try to deep breathe through my mouth it feels like the air stops and is not satisfying. My 02 says are 100 percent, respiration rate is normal. I wake up on the morning with a lot of mucous in my throat. Interesting that I can breathe perfectly fine when I’m laying down when I first wake up bit as the day goes on it gets worse. I had a chest X-ray and EKG that were normal, I had a routine endoscopy/colonoscopy 8 months ago that were normal. I don’t have heart burn but started on OTC Prilosec 20mg a day without relief. Any ideas?

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Welcome, Tara. I'm sure @merpreb, @sueinmn, @gabrielm and others will have suggestions for you.
Have you tried breathing exercises?

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