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.

Hi, just in the last few days I have tried AirPhysio device and also some slow breathing exercises. Nothing has helped yet but I’m giving it sometime. Thank you

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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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Hello Tara – I immediately noticed your comment that you have a lot of mucus in your throat in the mornings. That is a perennial problem for me, and I find it can lead to feeling short of breath because I try so hard to "cough it out."

I am wondering if perhaps the problem may be in your sinuses, tonsils or adenoids – maybe the mucus drains and pools while you are lying down.

A couple of things you can try are shown in this video:

Also, with mucus, one way to help thin and clear it is to drink a lot of caffeine-free and sugar free fluid. One thing I use is an herbal tea called "Breathe Easy" by Traditional Medicinals – easily available in larger grocery stores, health food stores and on line.

Also, I see you have tried the Air Physio device – was this prescribed to you by a doctor? Were you given instruction on how to use it effectively in person? Have you seen your doc since this began?

Sue

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@sueinmn

Hello Tara – I immediately noticed your comment that you have a lot of mucus in your throat in the mornings. That is a perennial problem for me, and I find it can lead to feeling short of breath because I try so hard to "cough it out."

I am wondering if perhaps the problem may be in your sinuses, tonsils or adenoids – maybe the mucus drains and pools while you are lying down.

A couple of things you can try are shown in this video:

Also, with mucus, one way to help thin and clear it is to drink a lot of caffeine-free and sugar free fluid. One thing I use is an herbal tea called "Breathe Easy" by Traditional Medicinals – easily available in larger grocery stores, health food stores and on line.

Also, I see you have tried the Air Physio device – was this prescribed to you by a doctor? Were you given instruction on how to use it effectively in person? Have you seen your doc since this began?

Sue

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Hi Sue,

I was not prescribed it but it was recommended to me by a doctor. I am a nurse and I am familiar with how to use it. Thank you for your advice and comment. I will try the tea you recommended. I do have an appointment with a pulmonologist but not for another month.

Tara

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Hi Tara, I have a thought it sounds similar to what I deal with, But I'm not a Dr. I had to see a ENT he diag me.
I have Vocal Cord fold Dysfunction, I'm actually dealing with the mucus in my throat now, and at certain times it feels like I have acid reflex, I take a antacid ( tums) when it acts up, I also make certain my bed is lifted at my head. They will do a barium test to check for the VCD, they did on me, in Omaha, ne. Good luck!

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Hello Tera My husband has COPD and I squees lemons and freeze them in ice cube trays. When the phlem is bad I warm up some water one lemon ice cube and a bit of honey. He drinks it and it helps get rid of the Phelm. Just something to try.

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Hi, I have had shortness of breath for over 10 years. It started when i was around 14 (comes and goes but when i do have it stays for a good 2 months at a time). I've tried to tie so many things together to see what the cause is and honestly have no clue! I had lung scans with a dye put in me (all clear), heart scan (all clear), an ecg for 1 week (all clear), ENT (said i have allergies so i am keeping on top of them i,e, cleaning my bedroom/bed linen regularly). However, i am still experiencing the shortness of breath. The Doctors said i have mild hyperventilation and recommended i see a physio. I have seen a physio over the last year and it's helped me to manage it better but it is still very irritating. I do the diaphragm and back exercises to loosen my trunk. I am very distressed by this. I don't like talking as much when i am experiencing this so called 'SOB'. I exercise regularly 3 to 5x a week and i am fine. This has affected my mood significantly. I am 27 and can't even enjoy life because of this. Sometimes i am talking to people and i feel like i can't get enough air i.e. SOB. I've never taken anything for acid reflux and never thought i even had it, so i am going to try this for a few days. This has caused me tremendous agony and distress over the years, so i am optimistic and hopeful that acid reflux (over the counter) medication can help. I will be so ecstatic if it does.

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@shak11

Hi, I have had shortness of breath for over 10 years. It started when i was around 14 (comes and goes but when i do have it stays for a good 2 months at a time). I've tried to tie so many things together to see what the cause is and honestly have no clue! I had lung scans with a dye put in me (all clear), heart scan (all clear), an ecg for 1 week (all clear), ENT (said i have allergies so i am keeping on top of them i,e, cleaning my bedroom/bed linen regularly). However, i am still experiencing the shortness of breath. The Doctors said i have mild hyperventilation and recommended i see a physio. I have seen a physio over the last year and it's helped me to manage it better but it is still very irritating. I do the diaphragm and back exercises to loosen my trunk. I am very distressed by this. I don't like talking as much when i am experiencing this so called 'SOB'. I exercise regularly 3 to 5x a week and i am fine. This has affected my mood significantly. I am 27 and can't even enjoy life because of this. Sometimes i am talking to people and i feel like i can't get enough air i.e. SOB. I've never taken anything for acid reflux and never thought i even had it, so i am going to try this for a few days. This has caused me tremendous agony and distress over the years, so i am optimistic and hopeful that acid reflux (over the counter) medication can help. I will be so ecstatic if it does.

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Hi @shak11
As you search for answers, I also encourage you to read and join in this related discussion:
– Mysterious shortness of breath: What has helped you? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mysterious-shortness-of-breath/

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@shak11

Hi, I have had shortness of breath for over 10 years. It started when i was around 14 (comes and goes but when i do have it stays for a good 2 months at a time). I've tried to tie so many things together to see what the cause is and honestly have no clue! I had lung scans with a dye put in me (all clear), heart scan (all clear), an ecg for 1 week (all clear), ENT (said i have allergies so i am keeping on top of them i,e, cleaning my bedroom/bed linen regularly). However, i am still experiencing the shortness of breath. The Doctors said i have mild hyperventilation and recommended i see a physio. I have seen a physio over the last year and it's helped me to manage it better but it is still very irritating. I do the diaphragm and back exercises to loosen my trunk. I am very distressed by this. I don't like talking as much when i am experiencing this so called 'SOB'. I exercise regularly 3 to 5x a week and i am fine. This has affected my mood significantly. I am 27 and can't even enjoy life because of this. Sometimes i am talking to people and i feel like i can't get enough air i.e. SOB. I've never taken anything for acid reflux and never thought i even had it, so i am going to try this for a few days. This has caused me tremendous agony and distress over the years, so i am optimistic and hopeful that acid reflux (over the counter) medication can help. I will be so ecstatic if it does.

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Hi@shak11, sounds like you have something similar to what I do. I characterize mine as more of a “air hunger” or dyspnea than a shortness of breathe that would be more along the lines of labored breathing. Would you say you have more labored breathing, or the sensation of empty lungs with the inability to satisfy that need for air?

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@gabrielm

Hi@shak11, sounds like you have something similar to what I do. I characterize mine as more of a “air hunger” or dyspnea than a shortness of breathe that would be more along the lines of labored breathing. Would you say you have more labored breathing, or the sensation of empty lungs with the inability to satisfy that need for air?

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Hi Gabe,

Do you mind elaborating on what you mean by labored breathing?

It's unfortunate you suffer and at the same time reassuring that I'm not the only one battling this. I'm clutching at straws as I do not know what the cause is. I feel like I just have to live with it 🙁

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@shak11

Hi Gabe,

Do you mind elaborating on what you mean by labored breathing?

It's unfortunate you suffer and at the same time reassuring that I'm not the only one battling this. I'm clutching at straws as I do not know what the cause is. I feel like I just have to live with it 🙁

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Yes of course. I think of shortness of breath like when you exercise intensely and you create a shortness of breath that you try to catch when resting. It’s not extremely unpleasant, it’s just labored from exercise. Or if someone had a condition like COPD or other lung conditions that can cause breathing to be labored and more difficult. Dyspnea would be more of a sensation of a need to take a deep breath; but that deep breath may not satisfy the air hunger and so you’re left with a feeling of empty lungs. This happens at rest and when the breathing rate is normal but the sensation of needing air is still there. Hope that makes sense

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@benjvandenheuvel

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 – I too have been dealing with this for the bulk of my life. I'm very interested in your background – I'm almost forty and have been dealing with this stuff since the middle of college (so, a long time). I've been on anxiety medication pretty much ever since then with if I'm being honest very little in terms of results. I'm sure since it's nothing physical – I've had plenty of those tests and I'm very active (run, lift weights always played sports) and I'm not overweight. How did you come to try omeprazole? I wonder if this could be my issue as well. I took my first Prilosec this morning hoping that maybe I've been missing the mark in terms of what has been causing this for the better part of my life. Thanks for listening.

Travis

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@shak11

Hi, I have had shortness of breath for over 10 years. It started when i was around 14 (comes and goes but when i do have it stays for a good 2 months at a time). I've tried to tie so many things together to see what the cause is and honestly have no clue! I had lung scans with a dye put in me (all clear), heart scan (all clear), an ecg for 1 week (all clear), ENT (said i have allergies so i am keeping on top of them i,e, cleaning my bedroom/bed linen regularly). However, i am still experiencing the shortness of breath. The Doctors said i have mild hyperventilation and recommended i see a physio. I have seen a physio over the last year and it's helped me to manage it better but it is still very irritating. I do the diaphragm and back exercises to loosen my trunk. I am very distressed by this. I don't like talking as much when i am experiencing this so called 'SOB'. I exercise regularly 3 to 5x a week and i am fine. This has affected my mood significantly. I am 27 and can't even enjoy life because of this. Sometimes i am talking to people and i feel like i can't get enough air i.e. SOB. I've never taken anything for acid reflux and never thought i even had it, so i am going to try this for a few days. This has caused me tremendous agony and distress over the years, so i am optimistic and hopeful that acid reflux (over the counter) medication can help. I will be so ecstatic if it does.

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Hi @shak11 – you're not alone in this. I too have been dealing with this for the better, (or should I say worse) part of my life. Although I'm almost forty you sound very much like me. I was always an athlete growing and still lift heavy weights and have no problems running at least 5 or 6 miles at a time. I too, starting today am trying Prilosec starting today to see if this is what I've been looking for. Please let me know how it goes for you. Hang in there.

Travis

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