Mysterious shortness of breath

Posted by gabrielm @gabrielm, May 31, 2018

I will try to make this as short as possible, but this has been going on for over 5 years, so it might be farily long. 

Beginning in summer of 2012, I began having shortness of breath (SOB) with no other symptoms. I felt a constant need to yawn, and every few breaths wouldn't satisfy the SOB. I would take a deep breath, and felt like it would get "stuck" before satisfying the air hunger feeling. About every 3-5 deep breaths would satisfy it, only for it to return a minute later. 

I got an endoscopy and other tests done, which revealed that I had some esophageal erosion due to acid reflux and a slight hiatal hernia and was diagnosed with GERD. I had always have bad heartburn, so I was prescribed with Prilosec, which I have been taking daily since them. I've tried stopping it a few times but the reflux always comes back a lot worse. 

Lung tests and x-rays were normal. Heart tests normal. Blood test revealed a slight anemia but otherwise pretty normal. 

I did some research reading forums where someone suggested taking vitamin B-12. Strangely, I took it and the SOB disappeared almost instantly. However, it only lasted a few days for it to return just as bad. I then started taking an iron supplement, which again made the SOB disappear quickly- same thing; symptom returned days later. 

After further research, I came across a breathing exercise method called the Buteyko method. Essentially you do a lot of breath holding to build up CO2 and reduce breathing as the theory is that I had chronic hyperventilation causing too much CO2 to exit my body. After applying the method and reducing my breathing, the SOB disappeared after only 2 days and I felt completely normal. I continued the method a few more days then no longer felt the need to pursue the exercises. I was normal for a whole year when the SOB once again returned with some chest tightness. I applied the method again and the symptom went away, this time with a little more effort; after about 3 weeks. I included physical exercise which also helped with my breathing. 

After that, I was normal for about 2 years. I mistakenly stopped or at least slowed down exercise and the SOB returned once again. I applied the method and began running for exercise but the SOB kept getting worse. It got so bad, I had multiple panic attacks and the feeling of completely empty lungs with the inability to satisfy it with deep breaths. I had to stop exercise altogether, apply the Buteyko method and do breathing exercises very carefully with very light and slow exercise. This helped, but it took many weeks for the SOB to improve. Then, it was almost normal when over a year ago as I was running, I couldn't get a deep breath to satisfy exercise-induced SOB. I have had SOB continuously since then (a year and a half). 

I once again started doing breathing exercises and slowly building up physical exercise, but I can't do any prolonged cardio activity because the SOB gets to a point where deep breathing will not satisfy it. While the breathing exercises have helped, they have had very little effect compared to previous efforts. It seems that every time the symptom returned, greater effort yields few results.

I suspect there is something, some underlying cause that is causing the SOB that has alluded me this entire time. 

So for the past few months to a year, the SOB is worse on some days, better on others, but never gone. There's no rhyme or reason or pattern for it. It's just there, sometimes affecting my sleep. I sometimes can't get a deep breath to satisfy it every now and then, but for the most part, a big gulp of air will satisfy it. But it returns seconds to minutes later. It's as though every breath doesn't deliver what it's supposed to, the SOB builds up, and then I have to take a big gulp of air to get rid of the feeling, pattern repeats. My breathing pattern is normal, however. I don't feel like anything physical is happening, but sometimes it feels like my airways and nostrils are slightly inflamed due to allergies, but when I don't feel inflammation the SOB is still there. 

Recent lung function tests show normal- I don't have asthma, or any other problems with my lungs. Heart tests are normal though I did have about a two week bout of heart palpitations which came and went. Haven't had any for a while- it just mysteriously started happening then stopped. Blood tests are normal, though tests always show a slight elevation of biliruben which my doc thinks is Gilbert's disease. 

I don't have sleep apnea (normal test), bloody oxygenation is normal, heart rate normal. 

I recently saw local naturopath (since mainstream docs aren't able to help) who immediately suspected a liver problem when I described my SOB, possibly liver inflammation. He used an electrodermal testing machine to test his theory which did seem to show a problem with my liver and gallbladder. He gave me digestive enzymes and a gallbladder formula to help clear a bile duct clog, thus reducing liver inflammation. He also determined with the machine that I have an egg sensitivity so I've been avoiding eggs. 

Been taking this and avoiding eggs for a couple of months, but there has been no noticeable improvement. Everything else is normal. Emotionally I'm normal- no anxiety, depression, etc. The SOB seems to be the only symptom of something, but always comes back worse, until a year and half ago when it came back and has remained since. I feel like I shouldn't have to do breath holding exercises every day just to maintain my breathing well enough to do every day things. 

Does anyone have any idea of a possible underlying cause?

@ssgaurav2000. These are great looking test results. But they don't include any blood work. Many people think that since their tests are within normal range that that's the end of testing. It isn't. Keep pushing for blood work to rule out any diseases. This, in my opinion, the direction that you should now go. Can you ask for these?

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@ssgaurav2000

Thanks Merry. I got my vita D and immunoglobulin test done both came normal no allergy or vita D deficiency. Im wondering should i see another Cardio because i just got my chest ct scan and echocardiogram done last week. All the GPs i visited put it down to anxiety but then i should not get woken up or feel heaviness and shortness when trying to seelp.

I would like to mention that i am at home full time there is not much outgoing activity for me except im trying to work out 3/4 times a week

Hope it goes away on its own just like last time .

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@ssgaurav2000– If you can stand the heat I'd get outside more. It will also help your overall health, and maybe your breathing. It would indeed be wonderful if it goes away by itself. Other suggestions.

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@merpreb

@ssgaurav2000. These are great looking test results. But they don't include any blood work. Many people think that since their tests are within normal range that that's the end of testing. It isn't. Keep pushing for blood work to rule out any diseases. This, in my opinion, the direction that you should now go. Can you ask for these?

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Thanks Merry thats quite reassuring will share blood work . Shortly. I have options to take beta blocker but since i dont have palpitations im avoiding them because they make heart rate so slow although they are effective. Another option is to take xanax which i am also avoiding because it literally makes me sleepy . Its been two weeks of SOB for me so im trying to avoid meds to see if it goes or i will have to come back to anti anxiety meds . Hope everyone on this forum feeling great !!

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Another point , i was a smoker for 10 years quit it for past 8 years again started ( i know its funny 2 to 3 cigarettes daily since nov 2018) could it be the cause ? Hope some one could relate . Thanks

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@ssgaurav2000– I should have advised you not to put your reports on here. It is open to the public and we can not protect you. I am not a doctor and although I can read some blood test results I can't give you might impressions. Sorry

Liked by ssgaurav2000

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@ssgaurav2000

Another point , i was a smoker for 10 years quit it for past 8 years again started ( i know its funny 2 to 3 cigarettes daily since nov 2018) could it be the cause ? Hope some one could relate . Thanks

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@ssgaurav2000 Did you see a Pulmonologist and have breathing tests for Emphysema and COPD? I smoked for 35 years and definitely have SOB, but I have also had 4 lung cancers over a period of 22 years.

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Ok thanks can i delete them ? Yes i saw pulmonologist fec and fev more than 100% lung effusion was less than 80% doc said its erroneous data so he suggested CT scan to check abnormalities in lung which came fine

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Hi gabrielm@gabrielm
I read the whole lines and I have two questions that may help you to ask your doctor. it may help but is not a prescription or you should do it. My two questions are: the first one is that in what position you getting your body into it so you have S.O.B. and the other one what daily activities you observed that could be a reason in leading you to this situation (SOB)? sometimes our way of life or positions affect us indirectly, and the anatomy of our bodies may result in complications which are different from person to person and we are not aware of it.Good luck and hope you getting well.

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@ssgaurav2000

Ok thanks can i delete them ? Yes i saw pulmonologist fec and fev more than 100% lung effusion was less than 80% doc said its erroneous data so he suggested CT scan to check abnormalities in lung which came fine

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Hi @ssgaurav2000 since you wanted to delete your posts containing your medical reports, I deleted them for you. That's good that your CT scan came back fine. When do you see the pulmonologist or another doctor again? Have they given you any idea about what next steps could be?

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Thanks no he said all is fine. Hope to get some relief

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Just a question my x ray always shows prominent bronchovascular markings on lungs but doctor said its all fine . this happened several times is it to do with my SOB ? although CT scan and echo were normal.. Just wondering

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@1000016352

Hi gabrielm@gabrielm
I read the whole lines and I have two questions that may help you to ask your doctor. it may help but is not a prescription or you should do it. My two questions are: the first one is that in what position you getting your body into it so you have S.O.B. and the other one what daily activities you observed that could be a reason in leading you to this situation (SOB)? sometimes our way of life or positions affect us indirectly, and the anatomy of our bodies may result in complications which are different from person to person and we are not aware of it.Good luck and hope you getting well.

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@1000016352– What an excellent post and questions! I need to think about this too. Thank you

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@ssgaurav2000

Just a question my x ray always shows prominent bronchovascular markings on lungs but doctor said its all fine . this happened several times is it to do with my SOB ? although CT scan and echo were normal.. Just wondering

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@ssgaurav200- Good morning- great question. I turned your question into another one by googling your question: https://www.quora.com/What-causes-prominent-bronchovascular-markings-in-the-lungs. You may want to check out what other doctors have to say on this subject which are under the article. Does this help any?

Liked by ssgaurav2000

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Just another point i have stomach issue on and off and sometimes food comes back to throat after heavy meal . No heart burn though. Lot of burping sometimes during the day ..Always ignored further testing as belived it could be either heart or lung but since both are normal as per test results . Is it worth looking into stomach ? I see most people separate stomach with SOB . I beleive stomach is a generator to create all the necessary nutrients required by other organs to function well . Any has any sucess with this experience or comments?

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@ssgaurav2000 Good morning. It most definitely is worth seeing a GI guy. There are several people on here who have SOB due to stomach problems. Do you know of a good GI doctor near you?

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