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Breathing Difficulty Due To Tightness in throat/trachea area during exercise, feeling of insuficient air to lungs

Before I explain everything, I want to share a little background on this. I have experienced this problem throughout my life, always due to exercise and only during exercise. I can only compare it to being at high altitude for the first time in your life (like 13,000 feet).

At times, and completely at random, I get the feeling that my trachea/throat is closing/constricting, and causing me to have trouble inhaling and catching my breath. This only happens duing exercise. I was in Breckenridge two years ago, and while my throat did not feel that way, I had the same sensation of a lack of oxygen. After 2 days in Breck, though, I got used to it and was fine skiing.

I am now 35, 6'1", 185 lbs. No personal major history of health issues, other than ADHD, for which I now take adderall (adderrall), and I didn't as a kid. I also have sleep apnea, so I use a C-PAP. In my teens and 20's I was very athletic, track teams, soccer, skiing, etc. My high school was at high altitude, but I felt the problem when I was at sea level, as well, so I can't only attribute it to the altitude.

Family (dad's side) does have a long history of heart problems, and my grandfather on my mom's side died of cystic fibrosis if I am not mistaken. I smoked for roughly 15 years until I was 31.

Anyway, today I was out running around throwing a softball with two friends. The sprints weren't long, but I was fielding grounders, and some fly balls for roughly about 90 mins. About 60-70 mins in, I started feeling the sensation of my throat getting tight and constricting my airway, making it hard for me to breathe. I had to mentally slow myself down, and try to take in a few deep breaths.

After a few deep breaths, and some water, I felt better. I don't recall if I felt like my chest was heavy, but I did not get the feeling it was. I don't think I was particularly lightheaded. From the running around, though, I was breathing heavy. I have not been physically active for a while, and I am admittedly out of shape. But having had this problem as a teen and in my 20's, I wonder if there might be something to it.
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3 Comments Post a Comment
746512 tn?1388811180
It could be mild exercise induced asthma or vocal chord dysfunction.  Both have similar symptoms and can be hard to distinguish sometimes.  The best course of action is to get your doctor to send you for pulmonary lung function tests with an exercise challenge to see if it is exercise induced asthma.  If it is, then all you would need to do is take ventolin about 20 minutes before you start exercising to keep your lungs open.  

Vocal chord dysfuction isn't something I know that much about, so probably the best is to google it and find some more info about testing and treatment.
180749 tn?1443598832
The Yog Pranayam (breathing exercises) will  help you relax and also help with the breathing difficulties.You will notice benefits in days.
Initially do kapalbhati  and then when your breathing improves, do all the pranayams in order, as described. Come back to report your progress, so others can benefit.
Build up your timing gradually. If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after 1 minute.

Bhastrika - Take a long deep breath into the lungs(chest not tummy) via the nose and then completely breathe out through the nose. Duration upto 5 minutes.

Kapalbhati -(Do it before eating) Push air forcefully out through the nose about once per second. Stomach will itself go in(contract in). The breathing in(through the nose) will happen automatically. Establish a rhythm and hold your head steady. Not for pregnant women. Seriously ill people do it gently.
Age over 15 years -do this for 20 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Age under 15 years -do this for 5 to 10  minutes twice a day.

Anulom Vilom –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Age over 15 years -Repeat this cycle for 20 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Age under 15 years -Repeat this cycle for 5 to 10  minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.

Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close ears with thumb, index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Duration : 5 to 12  times

Once you are better, continue the pranayam once a day.
144586 tn?1284669764
You have to make sure you get a prescription and keep an emergency albuterol inhaler around.

Most of the fatalities with asthma take place amongst those who only rarely have attacks.

The chronic asthmatic always has his/her medications handy.

In an emergency coca-cola or coffee will help. Caffeine is a mild bronchodilator.

The breathing exercises are helpful, but you never know which direction an attack is going to go in. If you feel an attack coming on stop what you are doing.


Hopefully, have a friend nearby that can transport you to a hospital or call an ambulance.
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