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.

@travislibby

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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Hi Travis, welcome. I'm sorry to hear that you've been dealing with this for so long. You may also be interested in this related discussion (very long) that @gabrielm started a while back:
– Mysterious shortness of breath: What has helped you? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mysterious-shortness-of-breath/

Travis, I don't know if it's too soon to tell, but is the Prilosec helping? Have you ever tried some of the breathing techniques suggested in this discussion?

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@travislibby

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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@travislibby– Good morning and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. When you say, for the better part of your life, do you mean from infancy or childhood? You say that you have had a ton of tests, has one of them been a Spirometry?
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/in-depth/asthma/art-20045198
Above is a checklist, just in case you missed something. I know, it is all very frustrating. It took doctors 5 years to discover that what I had been feeling were migraines, 5 years!

It might take a week or so for Prilosec to start working if GERD is the problem. Have you tried any of the breathing exercises?

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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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I give myself weekly gamma globulin infusions for a suppressed immune system and have struggled all my life with infections. A client of my jewelry shop and I were talking about our lives and I described how sick I was from infections even with medications to support my immune function. 'She told me she uses colloidal silver. as soon as an infection or anything strange occurs. This is happening for 20 years, and the CS wipes it out, and she has been very healthy.. I looked CS up in the medical literature and talked to my infectious disease specialist, who had little insight into the merits of CS, although he used it for wound care. He otherwise. condemned it despite my story. Before I bought and used the CS, I joined a facebook CS group and watched posts for 3 months and pain. I think the CS may have saved my life. I was unable to stand up straight becausse of abdominal and kidney infections, had blood in my urine for 4 years, and was running a low grade temperature that never went away until I went on the antibiotics and CS. The antibiotics alone had stopped working and I was getting sicker and sicker even with my infusions. But with the CS added, I had a good response that helped heal an infected ear, both kidneys, chronic sinusitis, and bronchial problems. The CS helped to pass many parasites, and urinary tract stuff that the docs called interstitial cystitis improved. Another doc increased the gamma globulin Rx which made coming off the antibiotics and CS several months later possible without recurrences. There are still infections because I was vaccine injured from Modena 1, but I don't feel as if I am dying. My experience with CS has been positive with no downside. I turned two friends onto CS and they were grateful. Not all CS is ionic or reliable. I buy Sovereign Silver CS.10 ppm. Maybe this is too far fetched for anyone in a Mayo group, but nebuliznig CS, gargling, or drinking it is not going to hurt anyone, even young children or animals. I wonder if CS would help you?

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According to Dr. Brent Bauer from Mayo Clinic says "Colloidal silver isn't considered safe or effective for any of the health claims manufacturers make. Silver has no known purpose in the body. Nor is it an essential mineral, as some sellers of silver products claim."
You can read more in this article:
– Colloidal silver: is it safe? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/colloidal-silver/faq-20058061

When it comes to supplements and complementary medicine, I always refer to NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine to better understand the proven evidence. See this information:
– Colloidal Silver https://nccih.nih.gov/health/silver

The first section of the page states: What’s the Bottom Line?
How much do we know about colloidal silver?
There are no high quality studies on the health effects of taking colloidal silver, but we do have good evidence of its dangers.

What do we know about the effectiveness of colloidal silver?
Claims made about the health benefits of taking colloidal silver aren’t backed up by studies.

What do we know about the safety of colloidal silver?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.

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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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I have arrived to the same place as you after discussing this with Doctors for last 9 months. So many specialists and so many tests later, the conclusion is the same. Not diagnosed or treated yet.

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@petepete

I have arrived to the same place as you after discussing this with Doctors for last 9 months. So many specialists and so many tests later, the conclusion is the same. Not diagnosed or treated yet.

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I see that you have been trying to find answers for 9 months with testing and examinations. Being unable to take a deep satisfying breath is really scary, since the ability to do so is supposed to be automatic. Even without a diagnosis, sometimes there are things to do to make yourself feel better. Let's see if we can find something to help you. Aside from no affirmative diagnosis, what recommendations as far as lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc have you been given so far?

I have chronic SOB from long term asthma and another lung disorder. I uses "belly breathing", yoga breathing and other techniques several times a day to help with it. If I skip even one day, I find I am miserable. If you scroll to the top of this discussion, you will see that there are breathing techniques that are often helpful for shortness of breath (SOB) issues.

May I ask if you are spending your time in a recliner? My (very direct) pulmonologist would tell you "get out of there" and sit upright, with good posture or stand up so your lungs can expand properly.

Have you seen a therapist for help to learn breathing techniques, or watched a video and tried them? When I was first using the exercises, it took at least 2 weeks of 4 times a day to get relief, so it is not an instant result.

Let's see if there are others who want to offer suggestions here too.
Sue

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Thanks for this. I watched it several times, taking good notes. I couldn’t catch the website at the very end, though. Can someone tell me the website at the end?

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@mpeters

Thanks for this. I watched it several times, taking good notes. I couldn’t catch the website at the very end, though. Can someone tell me the website at the end?

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@mpeters, the website mentioned at the end of the video is
Children's Healthcare of Atlantia
https://www.choa.org/asthma

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@colleenyoung

@mpeters, the website mentioned at the end of the video is
Children's Healthcare of Atlantia
https://www.choa.org/asthma

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Thanks so much. I listened to it several times and what I finally wrote down was nowhere close.

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Hi I'm in my mid 30s and have had what I believe is FSOB on and off for a little over a decade. I have what I would describe as health anxiety, clinical anxiety and OCD. I thought that the inability to catch a full satisfying breath was related to my OCD because I also pull hair out (trichotillomania) and have some other odd ticks. Just recently for the last 2 months, I'd been obsessively popping my ears. It gets really frustrating that I can't stop some of these behaviors. Id do weird things with my mouth and nose as a kid.

I haven't had FSOB for about 3 years and it just popped right up after I got back from a trip to see my dad in the hospital. He's not doing well and I'm sure that has my anxiety spiked. I've noticed that since I started yawning and not getting a full breath again, I haven't been popping my ears. I think it's definitely a hyper obsession on one thing. I'm an infosec professional and work from home. I'm overweight and don't exercise as much as I should. I do get acid reflux a good bit. I'm going to try some Omeprazole again. Id tried it once for abdominal pain that couldn't be explained otherwise. They did an endoscopy and CT scan. Scan showed start of a fatty liver but nothing too extreme. the pursed lip breathing helps a little. Yogi Breathe Easy tea helps some. Mullein extract as well. I also tend to get back pain with this issue as well. Tried a chiro but it didn't really do much. Getting massages seems to help sometimes.

I've read through many suggestions here and tried a lot so I don't think I'm looking for more at this point, but just want to share what I've experienced and how it sometimes help me. I really just want to write for someone else that is maybe just experiencing this and is super worried.

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@sysdefendr

Hi I'm in my mid 30s and have had what I believe is FSOB on and off for a little over a decade. I have what I would describe as health anxiety, clinical anxiety and OCD. I thought that the inability to catch a full satisfying breath was related to my OCD because I also pull hair out (trichotillomania) and have some other odd ticks. Just recently for the last 2 months, I'd been obsessively popping my ears. It gets really frustrating that I can't stop some of these behaviors. Id do weird things with my mouth and nose as a kid.

I haven't had FSOB for about 3 years and it just popped right up after I got back from a trip to see my dad in the hospital. He's not doing well and I'm sure that has my anxiety spiked. I've noticed that since I started yawning and not getting a full breath again, I haven't been popping my ears. I think it's definitely a hyper obsession on one thing. I'm an infosec professional and work from home. I'm overweight and don't exercise as much as I should. I do get acid reflux a good bit. I'm going to try some Omeprazole again. Id tried it once for abdominal pain that couldn't be explained otherwise. They did an endoscopy and CT scan. Scan showed start of a fatty liver but nothing too extreme. the pursed lip breathing helps a little. Yogi Breathe Easy tea helps some. Mullein extract as well. I also tend to get back pain with this issue as well. Tried a chiro but it didn't really do much. Getting massages seems to help sometimes.

I've read through many suggestions here and tried a lot so I don't think I'm looking for more at this point, but just want to share what I've experienced and how it sometimes help me. I really just want to write for someone else that is maybe just experiencing this and is super worried.

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@sysdefendr – Good morning and welcome to Mayo Connect. It has to be very tough watching your father in the hospital. I'm sorry that you are both going through this at this time.

And it looks as if your anxiety regarding your dad's health has triggered an old nemesis. Or, perhaps it's a combination of all the factors you mentioned, including not exercising and being overweight at a very young age. If I were you, and especially to gain control over your fear (which is completely natural) I would get back to eating healthier and exercising. If you don't in a few years your health will deteriorate even more. I know from personal experience that letting things go is easy and getting back to a healthier lifestyle is difficult but it will be well worth it for you.

The tests that you mentioned- were they three years ago or more recently?

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@colleenyoung

Hi Travis, welcome. I'm sorry to hear that you've been dealing with this for so long. You may also be interested in this related discussion (very long) that @gabrielm started a while back:
– Mysterious shortness of breath: What has helped you? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mysterious-shortness-of-breath/

Travis, I don't know if it's too soon to tell, but is the Prilosec helping? Have you ever tried some of the breathing techniques suggested in this discussion?

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Does pseudo dyspnea also cause increased heart rate when going through an episode?

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