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?

@joangma– Joan, please be weary of "cures" or "miracles". There is no cure for cancer but there are plenty of people who will sell you bridges. These people give false hope to those who are the most vulnerable.

Liked by jo54

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@merpreb

@joangma– Joan, please be weary of "cures" or "miracles". There is no cure for cancer but there are plenty of people who will sell you bridges. These people give false hope to those who are the most vulnerable.

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OK- I HAVE HAD CANCER TWICE–PROSTRATE CANCER AND LUNG CANCER. I AM CANCER FREE, MY DOCTORS SHOWED ME MY RESULTS, AND THE LUNG CANCER HAS DRIED UP AFTER MY 5 SESSIONS OF LAZER TREATMENTS. I CAN SEE IT FOR MYSELF.

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@joangma

OK- I HAVE HAD CANCER TWICE–PROSTRATE CANCER AND LUNG CANCER. I AM CANCER FREE, MY DOCTORS SHOWED ME MY RESULTS, AND THE LUNG CANCER HAS DRIED UP AFTER MY 5 SESSIONS OF LAZER TREATMENTS. I CAN SEE IT FOR MYSELF.

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MY PROSTRATE CANCER WAS WITH THE SEEDS FROM A PLACE IN SARASOTA FL. WHERE THE DOCTOR INVENTED THE SYSTEM. THEY HAVE HAD OVER 6,000 CASES OF PROSTATE CANCER AND HAVE NEVER HAD 1 CASE RETURN.CALL THEM TO VERIFY IT IS DATOLLI CANCER CENTER SARASOTA FL.

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@alanp

Hi @tonyagregg — so happy I found your post. Back in January, I started to experience shortness of breath in the exact manner you're describing. Not all the time, but most days there's generally this feeling that I'm not breathing enough, and every few breaths I'm taking a big deep breath, where I'm not getting the last 5-10% of it. I'm yawning a lot too, even on days when I feel rested. I've seen my primary care physician, a cardiologist, and had a lot of other tests done to ensure it's not heart and/or lung related. I first started to experience symptoms when doing the squat exercise, and I'm inclined to think that it's some kind of myofascial pain syndrome (search "pain science trigger point" in Google) and have booked an appointment with an acupuncturist to see if that helps. It's weird though — I stopped exercising for about a month, but the breathing was still an issue. I tried a deep tissue massage, but that only aggravated my shortness of breath unfortunately. I'm also very healthy — I get into the sauna almost every day, do yoga regularly, and running / lifting as well. It's not life-changing at this point, but it's quite annoying and I'd love to get it figured out. Wishing you and the others who have chimed in this thread the best of luck. Will keep you all updated if I figure things out over here. Thanks for posting!

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Hi, I just saw your post. How are you doing? I am doing ok. I still have good days and bad days. November has been a year with this. I still run and all test have come back fine. I just dont understand this at all. To be so healthy and I try to take care of myself. I still have the urge to take a deep breath or have to yawn to feel satisfied.

Liked by alureon

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@bgoff87

@tonyagregg did you ever get any answers?? I feel like you just told my entire story…even down to the fact that I have Gilbert’s (Diagnosed in 2007)…I feel less crazy knowing I’m not the only person who’s experienced this. My SOB started in 2016 and is intermittent and exactly like you described. I can’t find answers. I, too, have taken Prilosec. I can’t find much of a pattern. It’s just uncomfortable and strange to be so vague and mysterious. When I read your post I felt like you were describing exactly what I’ve gone through. Any other help that you’ve received since your post? Thanks!

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Hi, unfortunately I am still having this need to take a deep breath. November was a year ago for me. I have good and bad days. I have tried everything from diet, anti anxiety and nothing has made it completely go away. I still run 3 times a week. I took some time away from this thread because I felt it was geared more to dyspnea that COPD pts deal with and its not the same. I am not short of breath, I just feel the urge to take a deep breath throughout the day. I am 44 and very healthy.

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@tonyagregg

Hi, unfortunately I am still having this need to take a deep breath. November was a year ago for me. I have good and bad days. I have tried everything from diet, anti anxiety and nothing has made it completely go away. I still run 3 times a week. I took some time away from this thread because I felt it was geared more to dyspnea that COPD pts deal with and its not the same. I am not short of breath, I just feel the urge to take a deep breath throughout the day. I am 44 and very healthy.

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If your diet is good and you're getting sufficient amounts of minerals as well as drinking plenty of water with bicarbonates and maintaining the proper alkalinity…have you had your iron levels checked? It seems as though your body, brain…something…might not be getting the level of oxygen it wants. Just a 'stab' at it. It sure is a tricky beast. Mine is 99+% gone. Only comes back when i stray from my routine and only for a few moments. By the time I realize it's happening and start getting upset about it, it's gone.

Just keep trying different things. You deserve to have a good quality of life. Keep trying until you find acceptable relief.Have you tried any supplements?

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@helpnywhereucan

If your diet is good and you're getting sufficient amounts of minerals as well as drinking plenty of water with bicarbonates and maintaining the proper alkalinity…have you had your iron levels checked? It seems as though your body, brain…something…might not be getting the level of oxygen it wants. Just a 'stab' at it. It sure is a tricky beast. Mine is 99+% gone. Only comes back when i stray from my routine and only for a few moments. By the time I realize it's happening and start getting upset about it, it's gone.

Just keep trying different things. You deserve to have a good quality of life. Keep trying until you find acceptable relief.Have you tried any supplements?

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Hi. Yes all my blood work was normal except my vitamin d was low and I take supplements for that. I drink nothing but water and I have OJ in the morning. I have tried the Alkaline diet and it never is completely gone. I can't pin point it to anything at this point.

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@helpnywhereucan

If your diet is good and you're getting sufficient amounts of minerals as well as drinking plenty of water with bicarbonates and maintaining the proper alkalinity…have you had your iron levels checked? It seems as though your body, brain…something…might not be getting the level of oxygen it wants. Just a 'stab' at it. It sure is a tricky beast. Mine is 99+% gone. Only comes back when i stray from my routine and only for a few moments. By the time I realize it's happening and start getting upset about it, it's gone.

Just keep trying different things. You deserve to have a good quality of life. Keep trying until you find acceptable relief.Have you tried any supplements?

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ask your doctor about the new thing is putting wires in your lungs to help you breath and no breathing problems.

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@tonyagregg

Hi. Yes all my blood work was normal except my vitamin d was low and I take supplements for that. I drink nothing but water and I have OJ in the morning. I have tried the Alkaline diet and it never is completely gone. I can't pin point it to anything at this point.

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Don't give up. I came across articles during my SOB research that stated Vitamin D Deficiency could show up as breathing difficulties….asthma, COPD, MAC etc. Perhaps once your levels are optimized you'll see some improvement. Are you getting sufficient levels of minerals? Often we drink bottled water that has zero minerals. The body needs minerals to function properly. Drinking water without minerals leads to dehydration. I just ordered a water pitcher that takes out the bad stuff but leaves the minerals in.

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@tonyagregg

Hi. Yes all my blood work was normal except my vitamin d was low and I take supplements for that. I drink nothing but water and I have OJ in the morning. I have tried the Alkaline diet and it never is completely gone. I can't pin point it to anything at this point.

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Oh…one more thing to consider or research. Magnesium is required for the body to metabolize Vitamin D. Vit D can also deplete your magnesium levels. Might want to make sure they're balanced sufficiently. If magnesium levels get low it triggers an avalanche of problems.

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@helpnywhereucan

Oh…one more thing to consider or research. Magnesium is required for the body to metabolize Vitamin D. Vit D can also deplete your magnesium levels. Might want to make sure they're balanced sufficiently. If magnesium levels get low it triggers an avalanche of problems.

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Thank you! Maybe I will try the electrolyte drinks

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@tonyagregg

Thank you! Maybe I will try the electrolyte drinks

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Some of the store bought ones are acidic which can negate their purpose. Try them and see if you get better or worse. Some people make their own. There are recipes on the net. I take a mineral supplement that contains alkaline forms of minerals. There's so much out there. You really do have to research and find what works for YOUR body. No two of us are alike. There are several forms of minerals available. I tend to stay away from acidic forms, ie chloride, amino acid chelates etc. Alkaline forms are citrates, carbonates, and bicarbonates. I respond better to those. I've attached a video of a recipe. I've never tried this. If it resonates, try a small quantity and see if it helps. Best of luck to you!

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@joangma

ask your doctor about the new thing is putting wires in your lungs to help you breath and no breathing problems.

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What?

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I have the same problem….driving home one day and out of the blue I couldn't take a deep breath. Went to the emergency room and was told I was probably having an asthma attack. Gave me a breathing treatment and I did feel better until driving on the way home and it returned that quick. That was 7 months ago and still happening except I've learned some breathing "tricks' to help. Also I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and gerd as well. However the doctors said the hiatal hernia was not big enough to affect the lungs by pushing into it, but the acid could be affecting my breathing by entering my lungs. Anyone have a diagnosis yet?

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@metonya

I have the same problem….driving home one day and out of the blue I couldn't take a deep breath. Went to the emergency room and was told I was probably having an asthma attack. Gave me a breathing treatment and I did feel better until driving on the way home and it returned that quick. That was 7 months ago and still happening except I've learned some breathing "tricks' to help. Also I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and gerd as well. However the doctors said the hiatal hernia was not big enough to affect the lungs by pushing into it, but the acid could be affecting my breathing by entering my lungs. Anyone have a diagnosis yet?

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Hey @metonya, interesting that you too have GERD and a hiatal hernia. It may not be the hernia pushing against the lungs but could be acid. There are quite a few people who have the same gastro issues so there has to be some correlation or cause that isn’t quite apparent.

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