I have been having this problem for probably three years now. Sometimes I feel like I cannot get enough air. I really wouldn't describe it as a shortness of breath, I think of this like the way you feel after a strenuous workout. I really feel like my lungs will not take in enough air. When this happens it usually last for three or four days & then just goes away. I will often go months at a time without it happening at all. The only other symptom I have when this happens is my throat feels very dry. It does not hurt, it just feels dry & scratchy. I have never been bothered while sleeping with this. I get so scared when this happens. It is a very uncomfortable feeling. I often get scared of lung cancer & other fatal diseases when this happens. I have no other lung symptoms when I am not going through one of these "spells". I am a 25 year old female & the only other health problems that I have is autoimmune thyroid disease. I have often wondered if these two things are related. Like maybe if my thyroid levels are off for some maybe this could be a symptom? I don't know, just looking for an explanation. I have never had any testing done for this. Honestly, I am almost scared to go. I am so scared that they will find something really bad. In the back of my mind I try to tell myself that if this was something really bad, I would have the symptoms all the time. I wouldn't go months without them. The only other thing that I have frequently is acid reflux. I have also suspected that I may have LPR, because when my acid reflux is bad, I will also have very bad burning in the lower part of my throat. I have read that acid reflux or GERD can cause breathing problems, but sometimes I will have this breathing sensation even when my reflux hasn't been bothering me. I really have not been able to establish a correlation between the two. Thanks in advance for any input anyone can give. This really is an awesome site!
Your description suggests that you have laryngeal-pharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD). This it may be causing asthma and be the reason for your periodic bouts of shortness of breath. It is conceivable that your lung problem could be related to auto-immune thyroiditis, which is an auto-immune lung disease, but that would be much less likely.
You should "bite the bullet" and find out what exactly is going on in your lungs. Whatever it proves to be, it is very unlikely to be as bad as your imaginings, especially at your young age. And, especially since you are right to assume that most serious lung disease, with the exception of asthma and one or two others, do not fluctuate in intensity or severity over time.
Go get examined by your doctor, best at a time when you are experiencing shortness of breath, and get a chest x-ray.
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