Shortness of Breath when flying

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Muffy430, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. Muffy430

    Muffy430 New Member

    Hi, I am new to this board so I hope this is okay - I have suffered from what I believe is ME for years - though I started in 1980's and noone believed me here in New Zealand then. One result of it is rather strange. When flying and we have reached the cruising level and they pressurise the cabin and then cut down on the oxygen circulating, I pass out. I can be revived by breathing in more oxygen. For example I have found I will pass out if driving over a high mountain pass (as a passenger!) - 4 to 5 1/2 thousand feet is my limit now. Fying is now out for me unless I have my own oxygen, though travelling by boat is great!

    One doctor once said to me that maybe I am not absorbing enough oxygen from my blood. (?)

    Has anyone suffered from this? Any ideas?
    Thank you.
  2. spacee

    spacee Member

    I can't say that I have ever heard of anyone passing out in airplanes...not that it hasn't happened. (I've been sick since 1986.) However, Dr. Cheney, in particular, does a lot of study about the heart function of CFS/ME and it shows that a lot of us have a distolic pumping problem. (I think I have that right but maybe not spelling correctly). He doesn't recommend us living in high altitudes (or traveling to those type places).

    I think on one of his DVD's he did say that airplane travel for long periods should be avoided by some with the serious heart defect.

    Also, the family that is funding the new Reno clinic's daughter is 31 and on oxygen, at least at time. There was a pic of her in the NYTIMES newpaper today.

    You are the first person I have heard/read that they pass out. I have heard of a man passing out eating at a fast food restaurant definitely not altitude related but possibly the low oxygen problem.

    Dr. Bell told my friend who was his patient until he retired that he believes we have low volume of blood and that, of course, doesn't help keep the oxygen in our brains.

    Dr. Cheney at one point, recommended sipping Gookinaid which is similar to Gatoraid but possibly more salty to help keep up the blood volumn. I don't think he recommends it any more because he doesn't think we should have any form of sugar or fructose. I tried drinking the gatorade before he knew about the sugar/fructose problem. Two times I thought I would need to call for help cause my heart seemed to be having some type of I didn't drink it again.

    So sorry that you are having this serious problem. Wish I could be of more help.

  3. Muffy430

    Muffy430 New Member

    Thank you, very interesting. Dr Bell's comment about low volume of blood - I cannot give blood, as soon as a quantity is taken I pass out - rather embarassing! - may be lack of oxygen again. Dr Cheney's comments too are interesting - it was suggested once by another Doc that I increase my intake of salt - not too sure about that.
  4. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board. I have not heard of this problem before.

    I once read that the reason the air in planes seems strange is because it has
    less oxygen than we normally breathe. The article also said if you tell
    the airline/flight attendant, they will increase the percentage of oxygen
    for you.

    I don't believe it, however. The people who work at the airport and on
    planes have gotten so rude that flying is no longer fun or comfortable.
    And the security measures are daunting. Last time I flew it took two hours
    to go through 3 security checks at LAX.

    And if you so much as say, "But...", they threaten to call a Federal

    I don't even know if you could get on a plane when you are hooked up to an
    oxygen tank. Might look too much like a bomb. Well, maybe things
    are different in New Zealand.

    Which reminds me of an old joke. Or maybe an anecdote.

    During WWII when servicemen had their letters to home censored, one
    soldier wrote, "Can't tell you where I am, but since we arrived I've
    been filled with lots of new zeal and energy.


  5. Muffy430

    Muffy430 New Member

    Yes, we can carry our own oxygen cylinder for internal travel, not sure about international these days.

    Like the anecdote!
  6. slowdreamer

    slowdreamer New Member

    I feel very uncomfortable in Low O2 environments and we had a star AFL footballer here in OZ who struggled with CFS..He travelled across the country with his team but they found he played better with an O2 cylinder. (Anything for a star goalkicker)

    Eventually he did not play on away trips because his performance and subsequent recovery time was so affected.
  7. Muffy430

    Muffy430 New Member

    Interesting you mention the salt thing - a doc years ago suggested I try increasing my salt intake a couple of days before I flew. Must admit I never tried it. Yes my blood pressure is also on the low side.