Running Out of Air: Could It Be FM?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dhcpolwnk, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    I may have written about this before, but I'm not sure. I thought the problem had gone away, but it seems to be back in the last day or two. I have this strange breathing sensation/problem that started up a couple of years ago. I'll be sitting at my desk or watching television or doing something else *not* involving any physical stress, and I'll suddenly get the sense that I'm running out of air. I take a deep breath or two, and then my breathing returns to normal for a while. But then it can happen all over again.

    Think of dropping or bouncing a ball on the ground, then just letting it continue to bounce on its own, each bounce resulting in a high point for the ball that's a bit lower than the previous one. Eventually, the ball barely gets back off the ground, and you have to drop or bounce it from a higher position to get the process started again. That's kind of what my breathing feels like. I just sense that my breathing is becoming shallower and shallower with each breath, and if I don't consciously take a deep breath (to sort of "set the ball in motion" again), I'll stop breathing completely.

    When I asked my previous neurologist about this a couple of years ago, he asked me what happens if I don't take a breath. I was taken aback, because it never occurred to me *not* to take that breath! He did send me for an MRI to make sure I didn't have brain-stem problems from my MS.

    I went through heart and lung-function tests, just about all of them coming back normal (sound familiar?). One test did show a "minimal lung defect," which I suspect may be the result of aspirated acid associated with my GERD. My internist told me that's like a very mild case of asthma. I saw an ENT doc who said I had bad rhinitis and prescribed Flonase and Atrovent. Since I started on those meds, the breathing seems to have gotten better.

    But as I said, in the last day or two--including now, as I type this message--I'm beginning to feel the same sensations I felt before.

    So I was wondering whether this sounds at all familiar to anybody, and whether it might be associated with systemic problems related to fibromyalgia. I'm especially curious about whether this might be associated with endocrine problems or problems with the autonomic nervous system. I've checked out some web sites on dysautonomia, but I don't think my symptoms match up.

    Right now, this breathing thing is just a bit of a nuisance, but it got fairly pronounced before, and I'd like to have some idea of what I'm dealing with if it's coming back. I don't want to start over from scratch.

    Thanks for whatever information you might have to share.

    --Laura R.M.

  2. kgg

    kgg New Member

    still sounds like asthma. Has anyone tried you on an inhaler? Certainly doesn't sound fun. Keep investigating with a doc.
  3. goingslowlycrazy

    goingslowlycrazy New Member

    Laura - I get this too and it isn't nice is it?
    I notice it most when I lie down to go to sleep at night. It feels like I become aware of my breathing cos I'm not getting enough air or taking deep enough breaths?
    I also suffer badly from rib pain (sometimes all the way round the base of my ribs and back - sometimes just the lower left side) and I believe this is consistent with our DD as I have seen others mention it. Have you tried doing a search on this, here on the site? You are certainly not alone in this.
    I wondered if it is a result of continually breathing shallow. I seem to remember (from the dim past as a Nurse) that if you shallow breath for any length of time, your blood gases fall enough for you body to require extra deep breaths to get those gases back up again...and I wonder if this is the cause?
    Mary x
  4. catnip51

    catnip51 New Member

    Your definetly not alone on this one so don't be scared. Been having alot of breathing problems myself if you check my last post. The breathing thing and feeling like I'm not getting enough air which comes out of nowhere. Also shortness of breath which is occasionally. I think that is the costcondritis or the reflux problem. Went to Lung Dr. yesterday for this. He did a breathing test and mine was not bad normal was 80 mine 73%. Said it could be mild asthma but I do smoke. He said it wouldn't explain the shortness of breath and chest pain. I'm assuming its the reflux cause I've been belching alot. I have had this for years on and off and I try to associate it with certain times of the year or when my stomach might be acting up. I know some of my relatives that have fibro have the breathing thing to and a very good friend of mine I met online has it also. So don't worry too much I think its got to do witht the immune system and this DD.

  5. patchwork

    patchwork New Member

    I wonder if it could be Potassium deficiency?One of the symptoms is ' feeling like you need to take a deep breath'. Maybe it would be worth checking it out......
  6. jules_jd

    jules_jd New Member

    Hey Laura, your sypmtoms sound so similar to mine. I have been suffering from Costo for nearly a year now, and it's only recently that I have had the severe pain that accompanies it. However it started off as me having strange breathing sensations, feeling like I had to take a really deep breath to bypass something that was blocking up my lungs.

    Everyone thought I was suffering from anxiety, and eventually i began to believe it myself as there didn't seem to be any pain accompanying it. After three months I thought I was going mad, and couldn't understand why my inhaler wouldn't ease my breathing difficulties as the docter said it would.

    However I knew i wasn't going crazy as these were real feelings that i kept getting, so i took anti-inflammatory's. Give them a try, i have a feeling they may help you!! They may also make you want to fall asleep, so take a couple of days off work. And just remember it's not your lungs that are actually affected, it's just the inflamed muscle, like an injury. If u think of it like that, you'll find it actually helps and you can learn to relax and breathe normally. Your'e probably getting enough oxygen into your lungs, but it just feels like you aren't. Can I ask, does it feel like there is pressure anywhere on ure ribs that's stoping you from breathing?
  7. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    jules_jd, you asked "does it feel like there is pressure anywhere on ure ribs that's stoping you from breathing?" No, I don't feel any pressure on my ribs. I remember reading about that when breathing has been discussed previously, and I know others do have pain around the rib cage. But that's never happened to me. No wheezing or coughing associated with the breathing problem, either.

    This thing just happens sometimes when I'm sitting around or lying down. It's as if my breathing is the pendulum of an old-fashioned gradfather's clock that keeps running down.

    As for pressure on my chest, if anything, I become aware of the *absence* of pressure in my chest, almost as if my chest cavity is caving in. (It's not that extreme, but I don't know how else to explain it.)

    --Laura R.M.

  8. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Mary, thanks for the info about shallow breathing and blood gases. That's an interesting possibility to explore with my doctor if this gets worse.

    --Laura R.M.
  9. moondncr

    moondncr New Member

    I to have had this happen just all of a sudden I feel like I not getting enough air and have to take deep breaths.
    This even happen on the bus on my way to work and I had to keep from panicing. I began to think maybe it was panic attack but, I like you am just sitting or lying down when it happen. It not a good feeling pretty scary for me I have to just talk myself into relaxing and deep breathing till it goes away. I dont know what causes it.
  10. teach6

    teach6 New Member

    When I first saw your post my immediate thought was, it sounds like me before my Dysautonomia was being treated. My Neurally Mediated Hypotension was so bad before I finally saw a doc who actually knew why I was feeling so short of breath that I was spending most of my time lying on my sofa with my legs up over the back.

    Sitting up for more than a few minutes completely wiped me out. Standing, was awful and I had to rest after I took my showers. So, when I saw you mention that you had looked into Dysautonomia I had to reply to let you know that it CAN be related to that.

  11. srollins

    srollins New Member

    Sometimes I feel like "I forgot to breath" That is so scarey.It's no wonder we can't think.
    I am also having this heart thing going on sometimes at the same time,where my heart is beating so fast and hard I can feel it pounding all through my body.It's wierd.

    I have had enough of this DD.
    My birthday is coming up,my husband ask me what I wanted for it, My reply " What I want more than anything you can't give me".


  12. raven880

    raven880 New Member

    I can't believe I signed on here for the first time ever and found someone with the same concern I've been having. I've had FMS for over 20 yrs and have struggled along, raising children, dogs, birds,digging and building ponds, etc and have not let it interfere with my normal life. But for the past 6 mos that has all been changing. The fatigue has just about stopped me from doing anything but the bare necessities lately and for the past couple of months, I've been aware of "not breathing" sometimes. Of course, I must be breathing or I wouldn't be here. <g> But I often find myself feeling as tho I haven't breathed for a while and am out of breath. Inhaling deeply doesn't usually help either. I have had 3 major upper respiratory infections since last Sept. which have left me with some asthma each time. I do wonder if those of you who suggested asthma as the cause of this "breathless" feeling might not be right. I've also had the racing,thumping heart beat as well and for the last few days severe pain in my chest wall when I breathe. I've been afraid I was developing serious heart problems but I feel much relieved to hear that this is not an unusual symptom. It's nice to find this place in which to unload.
    For the first time in 20 yrs. I told my husband today that I was so tired I just didn't care to go on but knew I had to because I had so many people and pets that counted on me. I also know it is seasonal and this too shall pass........I hope.