shortness of breath, air hunger, and light headedness getting very bad

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by AuntTammie, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I have been having a really hard time getting enough oxygen lately. This has been one of my issues for a long time, but the last few weeks have been worse than ever, to the point that it is starting to really scare me. Of course, getting freaked out does not help, so I am trying to remain calm.

    I think that it is worsening bc my MCS is also worsening and bc there are fireplaces in all the upstairs apts in my complex. I live downstairs, but I think the fumes are getting into my apt. I have been looking and looking for a place to move (and have also been considering aussiewoman's plans as a possibility - still checking into some things re that - love that she is doing it, though, whether I wind up benefiting, or not). I do know that I am having this problem when I am not at home, though, so the fireplaces are probably not the only reason....actually almost passed out at the store yesterday, bc this was happening and I got really light headed.

    I do know that the winter weather does not help me, too, so that is probably part of the problem rt now, and I am also looking into getting a humidifier, but the less expensive ones can harbor mold, so I am not sure if I can find one that I can afford and that will be safe.

    And, I also know that air hunger is a symptom of lyme - would not surprise me if I have that, too, but the tests are so inaccurate and unreliable I have not had one done.

    Anyway, I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for dealing with this (the breathing itself and/or the fireplace issue). I already have a very good air purifier in my apt., and I know how to get myself to relax, but like I said, this is getting way worse.....and it is even happening when I am lying down and relaxing. I wound up in the ER from this and related symptoms before, and the oxygen did seem to help a little bit, but I have also read so much about us possibly being oxygen toxic, that i am not sure if that is good to use that often.....and I don't know how to go about getting oxygen anyway, other than the ER. I do have an inhaler for asthma, but this is not asthma so I hesitate to use it for this,and it doesn't help that much anyway, and it does make me feel bad in other ways.
  2. 3gs

    3gs New Member

    Aunt Tammie you need to get to the er. have you ever had them give you a breathing treatment?

    I understand the air hunger and other symptoms,I also have these. But yours is getting severe.

    Have you tried benedryl? going in the bathroom and running a hot shower so steam builds up? My daughter has had to have these. Right now our air quality is the worst in the country(utah). have you changed your furnance filters?

    hope this helps and happy new year
  3. justdifferent

    justdifferent New Member

    After declining for a few months, I probably have iron-deficiency anemia - and it's profound.

    I gave up gluten seven months ago and I must have been getting more iron than I realized from the "enriched" iron, because otherwise my intake has been the same. I haven't been on any iron supplementation.

    There are two ways to make sure you're getting enough oxygen, short of going to the hospital:
    1) use an asthmatic's peak flow meter and graph your progress when you're feeling "good" and "bad"
    2) check your O2 saturation - though I don't know what a home oximeter would cost.

    Anemia causes air hunger as does anything that drops your oxygen carrying capacity, like carbon monoxide. Do you have a CO2 alarm?

    Panic attacks will too - if the air hunger seems worse when you're "idling" and better if you can distract yourself (eg talking to someone, walking around your apartment), then it's almost certain to be a panic attack. Reassuring yourself by checking your peak flow will help.

    What was your diagnosis the last time you went to the ER? I've been twice years ago - both times I was hyperventilating and had too MUCH oxygen in my blood.
  4. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I will try the benedryl and steam rt away....I did just get my filters changed, so that is ok at least....if i get bad enough, i will go to the ER, but hate to do that otherwise, esp new yr's eve (probably super busy)
  5. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I have a peak flow meter somewhere....have to find it....had stopped using it bc I can usually tell w/o it, but you are rt - it might be good to start using it again anyway

    don't know if I am anemic.....wasn't last time blood was checked, although I have read that we can have an unusual form of anemia due to the shape of our blood cells, so I could have that problem

    no CO2 alarm in that you mention it I find that surprising, bc I thought it had become a law that the complex would have to obey

    I don't know anything about a home oximeter - Is that the thing that goes on your finger or is it the blood test that they take from your arteries? ok, duh, I am showing my brain fog - taking blood that way at home would be really tough - I have had that checked in the hosp before and the way that they did it there was EXTREMELY painful (& it really takes a lot for me to find things painful.....I used to run, and I have run on a broken foot, with broken toes, and with all sorts of other injuries - the doc was even surprised at how much pain I was able to tolerate)....actually that is one of the reasons I want to avoid the ER if at all possible - that test was bad!

    I don't remember them actually giving me a diagnosis last time I was there - it was awhile ago.....I do know that this is not a panic attack - if anything it has been happening more when I am really calm, and then the fact that it is happening is making me start to feel a bit panicked

    ETA: oh and sorry to hear that you are dealing with bad anemia
    [This Message was Edited on 12/31/2009]
  6. justdifferent

    justdifferent New Member

    ...and there are some reasonably priced ones out there. The ONLY caveat is that the oximeter cannot differentiate between the oxygen in your blood as CO2 or carbon monoxide, but an imbalance between those is fairly rare. The only way to get a true oxygen level is from an arterial blood gas (ABG) and those hurt like hell, because arteries have nerves whereas veins don't.

    If you are concerned, you can also check your capillary fill response (push down on a fingernail bed to make it turn white - does it turn pink again quickly when it's freed?), the color of your gums, etc. If you are having trouble breathing, or wheezing, etc, then yes, go to the doctor. It's frustrating if you have a condition that makes you hypervigilant about your breathing, like panic disorder. I did have a true asthma attack a couple of months back that sent me to the ER - but I *knew* I was having trouble moving air.
  7. butterflydream

    butterflydream New Member

    Since your doc is good for phone corresponding with you, maybe he/she can call in a script for a Neubulizer . i know a respiratory therapists that swears by these, this may help you breath much better AuntTammie.

    i also have a Holmes Humidifier that i keep on 24/7. I very much need this from Oct thru april.

    Search the neubulizer and see what you think. This may very much help you. I'm thinking medicare should cover the cost.

    Hope this all gives you a bit more info you are needing

    Wish you well
  8. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    sometimes i use the breathe right strips you stick on your nose. it helps a little
  9. ocl53gal

    ocl53gal New Member

    Since the middle of October I have had the same thing that you are describing. I am feeling like I am not getting enough oxygen and am always trying to breath deeper so that I can get the oxygen that I need. I have a constant feeling of air hunger. It always seems to be worse in the morning and lasts until early evening when it starts feeling somewhat better. Often my chest feels very tight and then I feel light headed.

    I have had a chest x-ray and a heart ultra-sound. Both were normal. Also, had blood tests done and am not anemic. I have had CFS for 21 years and during this time I have had this symptom on a number of occasions. It usually doesn't last this long though.

    I have been told that it may be Lyme. My body does not tolerate antibiotics and so even if I have Lyme I'm not sure what I could do about it.

    I have MCS and use an air filter all of the time so I don't think that it is MCS. In checking my health journal the times that I usually get this symptom are fall and spring. I don't know if that means anything.

    If you find out what is causing your breathing problem, please share it. Thank you.,

  10. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator


    Sorry you are having such a hard time with your breathing.

    Air hunger is really a symptom of Babesia, not Lyme, but most people who have Babesia also have Lyme.

    Since it will not just go away, I would urge you to go ahead with testing through Igenex.

    It would be horrible for you to suffer like this forever. There is a good chance that you could recover if you find the cause and get properly treated.

    Just because testing is not perfect doesn't mean that you won't get a clue from it which could change your life.

    Beyond that, finding a Lyme literate Dr who would know how to properly evaluate you for Babesia, lyme and other coinfections is probably the single best thing that you could do for yourself.

    I know that doesn't help you today, but you can't get better until you find the cause.

    Artemesia (also artemisia, atemisinin) is an herb used in addition to Babesia meds to treat babesia.

    Some people really herx on it, others do not.

    Here is the Babesia info in a Lyme expert's paper....on pages 22, 23, 24, 26, 27.....

    I really hope you can get answers and recover from this.

  11. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Acupuncture helped me with this. So did Reiki. Believe me, I don't think alternative medicines are always the answer, but both really did help me a lot.
  12. LadyCarol

    LadyCarol Member

    Have you had a full blood count recently ? If there is a lack of red blood cells and/or low haemoglobin then the resulting aneamia can cause breathlessness. Also angina can be a cause of breathlessness.

    Winter time in particular tends to be the worst time of year for these types of problems. Getting fresh air into the home is vital during this time of year. During the summer air quality tends to be better as a result of the activity of oxygen producing plants and sea originated oxygen.
  13. ocl53gal

    ocl53gal New Member

    How many acupuncture treatments did it take before you found relief from the shortness of breath and air hunger? Also, did you have the Reiki treaatments at the same time. I am not familiar with Reiki and wondered exactly what it is.

    Thank you for your reply.

  14. LindaJones

    LindaJones New Member

    Does your doctor know that you are having this problem?
    I recommend seeing a pulmonologist or lung specialist.
  15. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I just wanted to tell you all that I really appreciate your responses, suggestions, hugs, and encouragement. I usually really try to reply to every individual response, but rt now am not anywhere close to feeling well enough to do that. I do want you to know that your responses mean a lot, though, and that they have given me some more things to try that I have not yet tried. A combination of the inhaler, Benedryl, and steam did help enough that the breathlessness is not as scary and I have not needed to make an ER trips or ER dr ph calls. It is still bad enough, though, that I will definitely bring it up with my Dr.

    Also, as to the the lyme possibility, somethign that I forgot to mention before is that I do not do well on antibiotics at all, but I do regularly take natural antibiotic/antifungal/antiviral things, like turmeric, coconut oil, silver, and olive leaf extract. And speaking of those types of things, aussiewoman, it is good to know that grapefruit seed extract can be used in a humidifier to keep stuff from growing in it. I am definitely going to do that.
  16. zena01

    zena01 New Member

    I'm there with Nanie46. I tested positive for both Lyme and Babesia. Babesia is a tick borne disease also, which cemented the yes you do have lyme disease issue for me. So if you are worried about the accuracy of the lyme test, get the Babesia test along with it....I mean if you test positive for both......????? Anyway, the Air Hunger is a big babs symptom.

    Also, it seemed that even though I only walked down the hall to get to bed, when I laid down, the air hunger seemed to be worse. I also had the shortness of breath issue, and headaches. I didn't get dizzy so much as clumsy -- didn't really feel spinning or dizzy, just off balanced and knocked into things.

    Do you have night sweats? Do you have feelings of hot/cold where you think oh maybe I'm in menopause? Or where you feel like you are running a fever from 96.8/97.0 to 99.8/100 and back down up and down up and down all day? My other main babs symptoms

    I started treatment on the Babesia first and now we've started in on the lyme. The babesia treatment did in fact stop the sweating, temp changes, and air hunger -- those things so far, are gone so it is working. Still have the headaches and most of the rest of the lyme symptoms but it will be a long haul since I have been sick so long.

    I was not able to take antibiotics -- everytime I got bronchitis it was ok, what can you take that won't make you sick. Anyway, when I went into treatment we did the antifungals and stomach stuff and really worked on my stomach issues for a couple months before trying any real antibotics. I have been able to tolorate almost all of them -- some I still can't.

    There have been a few that I tell my regular doctor Oh, I can take that now.

    Short list for Babesia Symptoms:
    Babesia is a protozoan spread by ticks, blood transfusion, and in utero. Despite there being 13 known forms to date, current testing only looks for two of them.

    Air hunger
    Imbalance without true vertigo
    Mild encephalopathy
    Shaking chills

    The site I got that from has a very good lyme symptom list as well --

    hope this helps, good luck

    [This Message was Edited on 01/02/2010]
  17. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Reiki is a type of energy therapy. The practitioner helps bring energy to the afflicted parts of the body. The energy flows from the practioner's hands to the patient. Since everything is or contains energy, it makes sense in the same way that Tai Chi helps move energy.

    No, I did not have the treatments (acupuncture and Reiki) at the same time. A dear friend had studied reiki, and she worked with me once a week. She was very good. I could feel a lot of heat radiating from her hands. I wish she still lived in my town, but she moved a few years ago.

    The first acupuncture treatment helped. The acupuncturist used heat and "cupping" on my back, and I felt myself drawing deep deep breaths for the first time in months. It felt absolutely wonderful. I don't remember how many treatments I had, but not more than six.
    I'll look for a good description of "cupping" and post the info in a few minutes.
  18. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Marlene, the information on "cupping" can be quickly found by typing "cupping" into Google or whatever you use. Since the descriptions are a bit lengthy, I'm not going to try to paraphrase them here, but the first few entries on Google, which I used, have descriptions of the way it is done. Interesting stuff!