Constant, worsening shortness of breath

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Paul's Brother
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2016
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 11/2/2017 10:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi. Early last year, I developed the sensation of shortness of breath. I was told it was anxiety by every specialist at the time. I'm a 24-yr old male. The testing I had done is as follows:

ekg (x4)
stress test

1. All results were "normal", aside from "mitral valve regurgitation so minor that it couldnt be causing any symptoms".

Chest xray (x3)

2. Indicated asthma. Not COPD, apparently. No blood clots or fluid. Inhalers did nothing to help, and it still begs the question - why is the shortness of breath every second of every day and night?

Sinus x-ray

3. Results indicated esophagitis and gastritis, and most likely barrett's esophagus according to the pathologist. Chronic sinusitis indicated.

Allergy test
4. Results indicated a dust mite allergy. I would find it hard to believe that an allergy could be causing 24/7 shortness of breath with no other allergic reaction.

I've had bloodwork done on two occasions, each time finding nothing unusual.

My daily symptoms are as follows:

1.Constant (literally) shortness of breath which seems worse in the morning. Greater difficulty breathing through nose but still feel like i can't get a full breath at all so even with my mouth i have to basically gasp for air regularly.
2.Frequent palpitations and anxiety
3. Spitting up clear phlegm, occasionally brown.
4. Lightheadedness, disorientation, dizziness, etc.
5. Pain in both sides of chest, as if in my lungs.
6. Heartburn

I've been smoking for 6 years, and I drink alcohol regularly. I realize how irresponsible this is considering my complaints. Despite that, I suppose my question is:

Obviously, the compilation of inflammatory conditions, cancerous pre-requisites, and looming heart failure are daunting. But before I succumb, I'd at least like to breathe normally again.
Asthma was the only seemingly definitive condition I was diagnosed with that was related to my lungs and breathing.
Could this be asthma? 24/7?

Post Edited (Paul's Brother) : 11/2/2017 10:44:34 AM (GMT-6)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15858
   Posted 11/2/2017 11:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I remember some of your history here. As far as treatment of asthma a pulmonary dr should be addressing this. To treat it, it is finding which medication you respond to the best. Inhalers are only part of it, also it depends on how bad of an asthmatic you are on what medications are needed.

Heartburn, well until you decide to give up the alcohol & smokes it will stay around. These are known triggers. Try some OTC meds for the heartburn to see if one of them help. Elevate the head of your bed with blocks or risers.

Good luck.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Joan M
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2052
   Posted 12/11/2017 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Dust mites are everywhere. How strong is your sensitivity? I use mite covers on bed and no rugs.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/13/2017 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
You didn't motion if you area so wheezing? I have asthma and I usually wheeze if I am feeling sob. But..... I had been having episodes of sob and air hunger w/o wheezing when I was doing simple household tasks or watering my garden .I would sit down ,rest 10-15 min it would get betterI thought it was my asthma but was not wheezing and this made me wonder. I have a pulse ox ( tells oxygen level in blood and pulse) I started using it when experiencing this and noticed that my o2 saturation was low my pulse was high 130-140. Puzzled me why no wheezing. Come to find out it was not my asthma but "Potts syndrome" is your pulse high?

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/14/2017 7:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Paul's Brother, you have shortness of breath, more in the morning because your nose is blocked. You can go to the pharmacist, and get one of those little tea pots, with salt, you pour that in each nose nostril. Ask the pharmacist, he will know what I am talking about. Stop smoking as it is affecting your lungs, as well. Obviously. If your going to drink, drink red wine (not more than two glasses) and alternate this with large glasses of water in between. Stay away from Beer. Eat less, dairy, stay away from milk for awhile, take almond milk instead. Drink chamomile tea at night. Stop watching bad news, on T.V., walk outside and keep a positive mind.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2018
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/29/2018 5:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Paul's brother--I've had a very similar experience on and off the past few years (constant breathlessness and yawning throughout the day + persistent feeling that I can't get a full breath). I was diagnosed with asthma when was 8. I went on allergy shots and used various meds when I was young then 17 years ago, I started taking a daily inhaled steroid/LABA (I have switched between Advair, Symbicort or Breo since). My asthma significantly worsened about 9 years ago--my doctors still aren't sure why--and since then, I have had a hair-trigger response to any and all of my allergens--people with cat or dog hair on their clothes; pollen; dust in my apartment (even though I clean maniacally once a week and don't have rugs, keep all my pillows and mattress in coverings, change the filters regularly etc.)

My igE is crazily high so I'm hoping to start Xolair soon but, in the meantime, I feel like I've tried everything else--daily Zyrtec, Nasacort, Breo, magnesium and vitamin D. Neti pot in the mornings, rolfing, chiropractic treatments and acupuncture. I do diaphragmatic and Buteyko breathing exercises 2-3 times a day. My peak flow is decent and rarely changes and my oxygen is usually 97%+ My spirometry tests always show lung function above 90% and I've had several negative CT scans, normal echos, and my doctor ruled out vocal cord dysfunction. I even spent a week at the Mayo Clinic and they were unable to figure out why I feel so awful so much of the time. They agreed with the diagnosis of severe asthma and allergies; their only suggestion was to add allergy shots but then my allergist back home didn't want to so I was caught between conflicting doctor advice (I don't think doctors realize how often that happens and how hard that is on us-) My allergist at home was convinced the shots would make me feel awful and wouldn't be worth it unless I wanted to own pets.

So--in spite of doing all of the above--my symptoms persist. I often wake up breathless at 4 am, I am constantly yawning and short of breath and dizzy and just feel *off*. I think my diaphragm gets irritated by the constant inflammation because I find I get heartburn and hiccups easily (I do rinse after my inhaler so I don't think it's an ulcer and I was treated for potential GERD but it didn't help).

I think there is so much about the body that doctors don't understand. They can focus on reading signs but have a hard time addressing symptoms and, when lab results are mostly normal, often brush off breathlessness as anxiety.

Sometimes I worry that my inhaler is making my asthma worse--LABAs have been known to worsen inflammation but I feel horrible when I skip a dose.

It's a frustrating and isolating experience and it breaks my heart that medicines such as Nucala and Xolair have helped so many people yet are so insanely expensive that few people can afford them and have to fight hard to sustain the care. You'd think GlaxoSmithKline could take a chunk of their nearly $3 billion in annual profits to help subsidize the cost of those meds. I'd like to see the shareholders breathe through straws for ten minutes at their next meeting to get a sense of what life is like for us...
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