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Chronic shortness of breath


calypso
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Do any of you have a chronic inability to breathe normally all the time? I can't figure out if my chest muscles are super-tight, if I'm also developing asthma, if this is POTS or what, but I am going crazy trying to breathe. It just seems like I can't take a deep breath, and at the same time like I've forgotten how to breathe.

Neurologist thinks it's not a common POTS symptom because it doesn't resolve with sitting. And it's weird because I have it when my heart is behaving normally.

Are pulmonary function tests helpful? I have already had my breathing muscles tested for weakness and they're fine. I've had all the logical heart tests (echocardiogram, EKG, event monitor, chest x-ray, even a CT scan of chest). All clear.

Help!

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I had a full pulmonary work-up and all was negative. But it was the pulmonologist that discovered I had orthostatic hypotension and recommended the TTT. But yes, sometimes I can be just sitting reading or watching TV and for no reason suddenly find myself gasping for air. I will get short of breath for no reason, but it is not all the time. My original dx was "allergy induced asthma". But now we know that was not right.

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I haven't been checked for asthma b/c all of my docs feel it is related to my POTS symptoms. But I'm starting to wonder. I've never had good exercise tolerance (get short of breath easily). Can asthma get worse or show up following pregnancy?

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I AM NEW TO THIS WEBSITE AND FORUM. MY HUSBAND GAVE ME THE INFO AND TOLD ME I SHOULD CHECK IT OUT.

I TOO HAVE SHORTNESS OF BREATH AND HAVE HAD IT FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS WHICH IS ABOUT THE SAME LENGTH OF TIME I HAVE HAD POTS. IT FEELS LIKE I AM TRYING TO BREATH THROUGH THE TIP OF A PEN...LIKE I JUST CAN'T GET A REAL GOOD BREATH. I HAVE HAD SOME BREATHING TESTS DONE AND THEY ALL CAME BACK NORMAL. MY BREATHING PROBLEMS COME AND GO AND I CAN'T SEEM TO ASSOCIATE THEM WITH ANYTHING. I THINK THEY ARE PART OF POTS.

IT'S VERY FRUSTERATING ISN'T IT?!

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Asthma can show up at any time. I had it as a teenager, and then nothing until BAM! it hit me even worse when I was 37. You really should be tested. Some of the medications that are used to treat POTS can interfere or worsen asthma.

I have trouble breathing like you describe, but it usually happens when I'm in bed asleep. I wake up gasping. I also have trouble swallowing, and it only happens now when I'm in bed. It's just like you describe, as if my body forgot how to do it. Both of these things have lessened greatly since I was diagnosed with POTS and started medication for it.

I also occasionally have to take several deep breaths during the day because it feels like I can't get the air in. It was checked, but no one found any cause for it. My lungs were always completely clear. I have wondered, though, if the breathing need isn't somehow related to my body needing more oxygen.

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I've had all the pulmonary function tests. At this point, my doc tells me I definitely have asthma, but it's atypical. I did feel like the pulmonary function tests gave me peace of mind that my lungs could still do the work, even if my breathing was tough at times.

Nina

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I hate this symptom. I can't even climb a flight of stairs without GASPING for air. I used to be very physcially fit. I love to hike but am afraid to go because I can't breathe. I can't even shoot a game of horse anymore and we know that's not strenous.

Sometimes when I'm sitting I will also find myself breathing more rapidly. Two different symptoms.

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I get shortness of breath all the time. Even though I have asthma I am not wheezy when I feel out of breath. If I check my peak flow meter or my pulse-oximeter they both always come out normal. I have also had 3 PFT's 4 CT scans and 8? chest xrays in a year and all were normal.

Somedays I just seem to be very short of breath and minor things like talking and laughing can make me feel out of breath. The other day I went for a mile walk in the desert and I didn't have any problems other then tachycardia, then, yesterday I was having trouble breathing just from sitting at my computer all day.

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I sometimes get this strange sensation like my lungs/chest are filled with glue. It feels like I have to work a bit at breathing. I get it if I have been in one position for awhile, especially. It must have to do with pooling of blood, somehow?

I also get ridiculously short of breath from mild exercise. It's better than it was, but my exercise tolerance is low and always has been, even though I have always exercised regularly (except for when I was very sick with POTS).

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That's a good description about it feeling like glue in your lungs. I've had it very bad recently. I think someone said it was like breathing through the end of a pen. For me it's like trying to fill up a balloon inside your lungs. There is a lot of resistence but if I keep breathing in, I can get my lungs to fill. It's very uncomfortable.

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Yes, Calypso, I--like pretty much everyone else who responded--have the same symptom/s you describe. Sometimes the difficulty hits hardest when I'm eating a meal--even a light meal--but I also have it sometimes while walking, standing around, or even just watching TV! I believe it is a POTS symptom, and yes, you can have it while sitting as people have reported. It's like you can't get a full breath... All my life I've had asthma as an allergic reaction to cats (and I grew up with cats and so I grew up with asthma) and so I know what asthma feels like. This symtom we're all describing is definitely NOT asthma.

Mostly I try not to think about it very much when it's going on--paying attention to it and worrying about it just seems to make it worse for me! It can be very stressful--and stress just makes all kinds of pots symptoms flare. I find the controlled breathing you're supposed to do during meditation and yoga to be scary. Focusing on the breath just makes me feel like something's wrong with my breathing! So instead I let my body do what it needs to do (breathe) at the tempo it needs to do it--and I try to relax and let my mind take me someplace I want to be. On a beach, driving a mountain road, cuddling my parrot... OR I'll just read a book or watch TV or make a phone call or scour the kitchen sink. Something that will distract me from myself!

Be well,

Merrill

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i had pft's done and it actually showed me above 100% :o so then i wonder why i get so short of breath and just feel air starved so often. it's a comfort to know i'm not alone here with this weird thing. :P that's my why can't i breathe look. sometimes my rib muscles get sore from trying to get that one breath in that will make me feel better, then 2 minutes later there it is again. the crummiest sensation. :) morgan

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