Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

air hunger?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 16 Replies
  • Posted By: lily0208
  • September 20, 2008
  • 03:03 PM

Hi. I'm 19 years old and have recently (past 3 days) been experiencing difficulty breathing. I feel like I can't get a big enough breath in, and I have to breathe through my mouth and constantly struggle to get enough air. I went to see my GP yesterday who gave me an inhaler but was unconvinced that it was asthma, and last night it got really bad and I went to A+E where they did chest x-rays and blood tests but found nothing abnormal. it's definitely not asthma or an allergy, but no doctor can offer any other diagnosis than 'anxiety' However, I am not an anxious person, although this problem is making me so. I am physically fit and have never had breathing difficulties before, so this is all quite scary and frustrating! I don't know where the next port of call is, since no doctor's can offer any explanation.

Does anyone have any ideas? thank you for your help.

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16 Replies:

  • It might be GERD. See thishttp://forums.wrongdiagnosis.com/showthread.php?t=9449
    Felsen 510 Replies
    • September 20, 2008
    • 08:17 PM
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  • There are almost 2000 things that cause breathing difficulty, do you have anything else wrong, is your chest tight, do you have a fever, is it worse with exercise, what more can you tell us?
    qwertyuiop123 453 Replies
    • September 20, 2008
    • 10:27 PM
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  • Hi, thanks for your replies. The problem is there are no other real symptoms, which is what is puzzling the doctors. Other than slight pain in the chest which seem to be from me straining to get a deep breath, I feel completely normal. I just can't get enough air in and feel constantly breathless. I have been getting bad headrush when I stand up. The doctor ruled out blood clots and lung collapse, allergies, asthma and my white blood cell count is normal, as are my oxygen levels. they sent me away with no explanation, understandably, but the problem is still there and i haven't taken an easy breath for over two days. I'm starting to feel really upset about it, I just wish they'd found something and it was getting better. has anyone experienced anything like this/ got any advice? right now i feel like i'm gasping for breath. the only way to describe it is as if i am breathing to a balloon that's slightly stuck together so i can't fill it up enough. i hope this gives you more information, although i understand it's not very much. thanks for your help and your time. :o
    lily0208 2 Replies
    • September 20, 2008
    • 11:51 PM
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  • Hello, The most common cause of air hunger in the absence of the more characteristic underlying causes is due to shallow breathing and diaphragmatic tension. Patients begin to feel that they can't get enough air and intentionally try to obtain a deep, inspirational breath or force themselves to yawn in order to gain full tidal respiration volume. The sensation of not getting enough air can establish the type of anxiety you are experiencing, which only serves to cause further artificial restriction. It's important to realize that the lungs fill with air due to the diaphragm contracting downward and creating less pressure inside the lungs than outside, consequently air rushes in. The point in telling you that is when the diaphragm is tense, it feels difficult for the lungs to expand and subsequently, the person senses that they can't get a sufficient expansion of the lungs. The tension is most always due to stress factors or acute anxiety. One important fact to always remember is that people are both socially trained to associate physical symptoms with physical causes, as well as respond innately to changes in what a person senses to be normal for them. Indeed, physical symptoms can be present without an underlying disorder, illness or disease being present. Respiration is also associated with the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. When you become frightened or stressed that something is wrong with your breathing, it alters the response by the nervous system and respiration can sort of feel out of sync with what you know to be normal. Think of it as an occasion where you might have been suddenly startled or frightened. Many people under such conditions will exclaim that it made them suddenly gasp or feel that they couldn't get their breath or that they were breathing hard and fast. All of these descriptions relate to the nervous system responding to fear. Does that make sense? In the absence of any tests which would otherwise explain the reason for your dyspnea, or air hunger, then the most likely cause here is stress-related. I also note that you stated you don't feel anxious. It's important not to confuse the symptoms of situational anxiety with what is alternatively occurring with you relating to stress capable of invoking the fight or flight response. Incidentally, the "headrush" you are experiencing is something known as orthostatic hypotension and is highly consistent with symptoms of shallow breathing. You're going to be just fine. Try to relax and realize that your symptoms are not due to an actual deficiency in oxygen or related to any type of disease. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies
    • September 21, 2008
    • 02:15 AM
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  • Would this be continuous as hers is, or would it happen only when she exercises or gets stressed out?
    qwertyuiop123 453 Replies
    • September 21, 2008
    • 03:42 AM
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  • Try EFT for it: http://www.emofree.com/ http://www.gloriaarenson.com/learn_eft_emotional_freedom_technique.html
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • September 21, 2008
    • 04:51 PM
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  • Has anyone looked at anemia? Have you had an ear/nose/throat doctor look to see if there is any swelling in your throat?
    aquila 1263 Replies
    • September 22, 2008
    • 05:04 PM
    • 0
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  • Hi everyone. thank you so much for your responses and your care. I'm still suffering from the breath shortness and I am going back to the GP today just to beg them for some more help. I have developed chest pain in the center of my chest and slight phlegm but I'm not sure if that's a connected symptom because I guess anyone could say they have phlegm at this time of year. I keep getting dizzy and I really don't think it's caused by anxiety since it's been constant for a whole week now. I've even been going out to take my mind off it but it's always there and gets worse when I'm lying down in the evenings and mornings. My aunt and uncle are both GPs and are worried but puzzled by lack of severe symptoms so no diagnosis. I've been trying to think of illnesses that might cause this sort of thing...does anyone think lyme's disease might? because I saw that that is present in ticks in the woods where I live. I'm going to the doctor's today because I've been told that there will still be tests to do and they recommended I went back if it continued. thanks again for all your help.
    lily0208 2 Replies
    • September 24, 2008
    • 09:56 AM
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  • hi.i really hope it is okay to resurrect this thread.i have recently, about 4 weeks ago started feeling the need to breath deeply ie air hunger.i had it about 6-7 years ago and it went on its own but i cant remember how long it took or if i didnt anything different.even if i am getting that satisfying deep breath feeling which most of the time i do, i always feel that it needs to be a deep breath rather than a normal one.so far i am doing 30 minutes each night of deep but slow diaghragm breathing through my nose. i am constantly trying not to use my mouth to breath only my nose but it is uncomfortable at present because i really want to keep doing that deep breath. also in the morning my nose is a little blocked.i believe this time it started after getting a bad chest and throat which i have been on anti biotics for the last few days. i know anyone reading this will say it could just be the upper respiratory tract infection causing it which i agree may have started it off but i am confident the breathing issue will still be there even when that has cleared up.any advice please?
    marc.knuckle 4 Replies
    • January 20, 2013
    • 10:19 AM
    • 0
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  • hello. sorry to resurrect and hijack this thread.i currently have air hunger. i had it about 6-7 years ago and cant remember how long i had it and if i did anything to get it to go away.i have an upper respiratory track infection and i believe this made it come on just before xmas. i am on anti biotics to help with that but i only have a couple more days of them and i cant feel the air hunger getting better so i think it is either in my mind or something else i cant think of.i am doing 30 minutes breathing exercises each night, 4 second in 4 seconds out all through my nose and during the day i am trying to just breath through my nose and hardly at all my mouth to see if that helps. i have been doing both for about a week and so far no better.any suggestions guys?
    marc.knuckle 4 Replies
    • January 20, 2013
    • 08:43 PM
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  • All throughout my childhood I experienced the "I'm taking as deep a breath as my body possibly can, but it still feels like I can't get enough air" feeling. I didn't know why it would happen, and all my parents or the school nurse or doctors said was to breathe in a paper sack (didn't do anything to mitigate it, btw). It wasn't until I was an adult and experienced it that I finally connected it to anxiety. When I was young, that was my only symptom. As an adult, I was under significant stress and started having other symptoms. I finally figured out that I was having an anxiety attack. When the air hunger occurred in conjunction with the other symptoms, I finally started to learn about it...I had a name for it...and was able to learn some ways to deal with the anxiety and calm myself. If I ever start having a really serious bout, Xanax will help me (this has only happened twice in the past year). Good luck with your situation. It was like a huge lightbulb moment for me to connect those dots. I wasn't happy to figure out I struggle with anxiety, but knowing is better than not knowing. At least I can deal with the root causes now. Best wishes.
    ShrinkyDinks 1 Replies
    • January 23, 2013
    • 00:42 AM
    • 0
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  • hello. sorry to resurrect and hijack this thread.i currently have air hunger. i had it about 6-7 years ago and cant remember how long i had it and if i did anything to get it to go away.i have an upper respiratory track infection and i believe this made it come on just before xmas. i am on anti biotics to help with that but i only have a couple more days of them and i cant feel the air hunger getting better so i think it is either in my mind or something else i cant think of.i am doing 30 minutes breathing exercises each night, 4 second in 4 seconds out all through my nose and during the day i am trying to just breath through my nose and hardly at all my mouth to see if that helps. i have been doing both for about a week and so far no better.any suggestions guys?Breathing exercises are a good way. The inability to take a deep breath is sometimes caused by physical reasons other than the heart and lungs. Sometimes a person with this problem is stressed, sure--but sometimes they are hypothyroid. Sometimes they are low on magnesium, or there's a hormone in balance. Sometimes their adrenal glands are exhausted.Maybe you can get your thyroid, adrenals, and other issues tested. Ask your doc for that. By all means, get your lungs and heart checked out, too. Have your doc rule out anything life-threatening. And, do some work on your own: take good supplements which your doctor prescribes,
    marinajason 3 Replies
    • January 25, 2013
    • 09:40 AM
    • 0
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  • Anytime you have SOB, your heart should also be checked. An echo with stress is good to see if the heart is pumping well. Phlegm is often present as is a cough. Check BP.
    RA2012 2 Replies
    • January 26, 2013
    • 06:00 AM
    • 0
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  • any help appreciated???
    marc.knuckle 4 Replies
    • January 27, 2013
    • 09:12 PM
    • 0
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  • hi guys and thanks for the advice.i am into the 3rd of 4 weeks on mirtazapine for anxiety. i believe it is slightly better while taking this but it isnt sorted. i am also taking magnezium, b-complex, multi vitamin, omega 3-6-9 and arganine. i am seeing the doc next week and will ask to be referred to a respiratory physiotherapist to look at breathing retraining.
    marc.knuckle 4 Replies
    • February 9, 2013
    • 07:39 PM
    • 0
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  • Hello I was wondering if you ever received a proper diagnosis or treatment for this air hunger I just recently came down with this and it's taking a toll and would like some help thanks.
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • September 17, 2016
    • 10:16 PM
    • 0
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