Breathing difficulties--anyone with tips

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kooky, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. kooky

    kooky New Member

    Hi Everyone: would anyone with symptoms like these plse advise.
    Lately, more breathless than usual. Do not suffer from asthma as far as I know. Breathless, as if there is no oxygen, plus labored breathing + constriction. Scary....
    This happens at rest or minimal effort such as taking a shower or bath!
    Yesterday, acute attack. Went to the Hospital at A&E. Doc asked me to take a few steps whilst checking the oxygen level. It dropped within seconds of taking a few step. It dropped to <93%. If this happens after a few steps, then what happens when I try and move about a little such as perhaps making my bed? The duty doc suggested a pulmonary scan to see whether there is sufficient venous sufficiency.
    Has anyone had breathing difficulties with oxygen level dropping evidently. If so, what was the diagnosis? How did you cope?
    It is very disabling. I am at a loss.......
    Many thanks for replies. Best wishes. Kooky.
  2. stillafreemind

    stillafreemind New Member

    I have gone through this at different times..kinda scary huh?

    I can only tell you what works for me. I put ice on my upper back..why? I think our muscles in the back get tight..we do not even realize it maybe..and then they pull on the chest muscles. When you are fighting for air..this does not help.

    I also think we all have a real tendancy to breath shallow..just from the chest. Try to breath from the abdomin. Puts your hands on your belly and breath slowly and deeply and make sure you are not just breathing from your chest.

    Sometimes I have to lay down and do these two things and relax. If you have a muscle relaxer..maybe take a wee bit.

    So far..Praise to God .. this has always worked for me. BUT .. if you think one of your meds are interfering with your breathing..well thats a whole other ballgame and I do not know what to tell you there.

    Hope you are feeling better soon..this too shall pass..for a while! ..Sherry
  3. nacl4y

    nacl4y New Member

    I go through this periodically. Last year I wound up in hospital for 3 days worth of tests because of it. Looking for blood clots, as those were the symptoms I guess. Nothing showed up as per usual.

    Thankfully I have an oxygen tank that I use frequently that does help. But only in combination with something to loosen up the chest, and some strong relaxation techniques. I haven't tried the ice on the back - but I do use a heating pad. And I lie down and talk to myself - calming myself down and concentrating on breathing. Sometimes warm peppermint or lemon tea will help - perhaps just psychologically.

    Definitely work on the deeper breathing. I wouldn't necessarily advise it during an "attack"... I am a shallow breather. And during these attacks it's almost like I just don't have the strength to breath deeply or something. But it is a scary feeling.

    Shannon L.
  4. babyblues68

    babyblues68 New Member

    I get what you described. Ido have asthma, but this is different from an asthma attack. My doctor said I was having panic attacks, but of course I have big doubts in my doctor lately so who knows. Let us know the out come of your pulmonary scan.

    Tammy
  5. teach6

    teach6 New Member

    This may be completely off base, but I want to share with you my experience, in case it may be what is bothering you.

    I have CFIDS, FM, and Neurally Mediated Hypotension. NMH is basically caused by a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system. Whenever I am upright my blood pressure drops. This is normal, but with NMH your body does not respond to it correctly and the blood pools in your extremities and your BP, instead of returning to normal, continues to go down until you are able to change your position again.

    Before I was being treated for NMH I had gotten to the point that even sitting up could cause me problems. I would become light headed, and short of breath, even from doing nothing more than answering a phone, opening the window shades, or other such minor activities.

    My PCP tried to tell me it was all anxiety, but I had done enough reading to know that it wasn't. Besides, I've had anxiety attacks and they were nothing like the feeling I had when I couldn't get enough air. I was never tested for the amount of oxygen I had, but it certainly felt like it had been lowered.

    There are treatments for this and although they won't make it go away completely, they can greatly improve your quality of life. Some examples of things that cause mine to flare are standing in one place for more than a few minutes, taking a long shower, grocery shopping without using an electic cart where I can sit. I have rocked back and forth, shifting my weight from one foot to the other for years. Now I know why.

    Like I said above, this may not have anything to do with what is wrong with you, but on the chance that it does I wanted to share this with you. It is very common in people with CFIDS and/or FM.

    Barbara
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Dr. Paul Cheney Has Written An Article on this. I don't know if it's in our library or on his website. If you do a search here, you can bring up my post where I describe his breathing exercise technique. It really does help.

    Love, Mikie
  7. mamafurr

    mamafurr New Member


    you didn't say if you were on any meds that would contribute to this prob. just went thru hell the past 7 days w/probs breathing due to increase in methadone. my posts tell all. altho the docs immediately knew what was causing my inability to get a breath, no need for all those tests...wish i could help as it is a very scary thing. i was freaking out. crying, (which certainly makes it worse) i thought i was gonna die. had to try to stay calm. altho easier said than done. feel for you.
    wishing you the best.
    alice
    [This Message was Edited on 06/17/2003]
  8. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    Did the doctor suggest this was anxiety related or medically related. I have a friend that had a problem with oxygen/carbon dioxide levels in his system, and they put him on a med for it and he's fine now. If it's anxiety-related, then you need to pay attention to how you are breathing. It's very possible that when you were at the hospital, you were anxious, thus you were hyperventilating and messing up the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your system, causing you to feel short on wind. I know how frightning this is. That saying "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters"...sure applies doesn't it? Pay attention to your body and be sure you are ALWAYS breathing with your abdomen, and not your chest. If you breathe with your chest, which is what happens when you hyperventilate, you will feel short of breath. If you breathe deeply with your abdomen/stomach, (fill your lungs completely!) you will nourish your body/brain with the proper amounts of oxygen that it needs, and that feeling of breathlessness will go away. I hope this is just anxiety-related, because if it is, you can lick it all by yourself!

    Marilyn :)
    [This Message was Edited on 06/17/2003]
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The entire article is here in our library. I cut and pasted and posted it in its own post.

    Love, Mikie
  10. kooky

    kooky New Member

    Thanks again for advice. Mikki, thanks for tip about checking out the archive. I did type in breathing difficulties and breathlessness but came up with nothing. Will try again and definitely try the breathing exercises.

    The symptoms that were described are exactly like those described by Barbara. I also appear to have problems (feeling dizzy etc..) when standing up from sitting down, unable to stand on both feet for more than a few mins etc....

    I do not suffer from panick attacks or hyperventilation. The breathlessness was not audible or obvious. It was just a feeling of lack of oxygen and slightly labored breathing, but not visible or audible. Oh, well, just another horrid symptom to contend with.

    I am not taking any medication because of allergies and reactions. Have to contend with helping myself as naturally as possible.

    Hope you are all feeling as well as can be and taking good care. Best wishes. Kooky.
  11. joyce1107

    joyce1107 New Member

    I have difficulty with the feeling that I may have stopped breathing or skipped a breathe. This can be while falling asleep or when I'm doing a breathing meditation. Does any of this make sense.

    Also can you tell me how I can search for this article?

    Thanks
    Joyce
  12. teach6

    teach6 New Member

    Even if you are unable to tolerate meds there are some changes in your diet and activity that can help in this situation. Adding salt to your diet may help you. I found I was craving salt when my symptoms were developing/worsening.

    Here are some other tips. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down. Many people use recliners for sitting. If you are able to keep your knees above your hips it will do wonders for you.

    I have a footstool at my computer and sit a bit sideways so I can use it to elevate my feet. I also have a collapsible footrest that I keep in my purse and use whenever I am out.

    When I shop I use my own electric three wheel scooter if the store I'm in doesn't have an electric cart available.
    If you have someone to push you a wheelchair would also work. I'm single, so that isn't an option.

    Heat may also bother you if you have NMH, so you need to avaoid being in places that are too hot for too long. Take brief showers and don't get overheated in the bathtub. I just stay inside when it is really hot outside.

    The meds that are used in this situation are a combo of things, usually including a vasoconstrictor, a Beta Blocker, and often Florinef. I started all on very tiny doses.

    I would suggest that you tell your doc that you think this sounds like what you have and if he/she doesn't know how to treat it, you will be sent to someone who does. It is not really a pulmonary probem at all, but more related to the cardiovascular system, and definitely caused by a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system.

    Good luck!

    Barbara