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Feels like I can't breathe for a second...heart related?
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Feels like I can't breathe for a second...heart related?

Hi,

I'm not quite sure where to post this. Ever since last June (2010), I will every so often feel like I can't breathe
for a second, and kind of like my heart stops. It usually lasts for 1 second, 5 seconds tops, but it's just a very
strange feeling.

The problem is, it's very hard to explain what happens. It just feels like I can't breathe for a second, and maybe
like my heart has stopped, but whenever I try and feel for my pulse to check, it's already stopped. Plus, whenever
I feel it, I sort of feel it in the middle of my chest, not above or near my heart.

I thought maybe it was some sort of angina, but I'm young (24) and take Omega-3 daily, and try to keep myself
healthy (I am overweight, though). And most of all, there's absolutely no pain. It just feels very weird for a second.
Nothing radiates, and it usually only happens once, and then goes away.

It usually happens every couple of months, but in July, it happened in rapid succession one night, about 6-7 times,
and I got very freaked out. The next day, I went to the Doctor, and they gave me an EKG and a holter monitor to
wear, and a blood test. It all came back totally normal, but when I was wearing the monitor, I didn't feel it happen, so
I'm not sure if they caught anything.

I guess my question is...should I be worried? Do these symptoms sound dangerous? Has anyone else experienced these? Have you talked to a doctor?

ANYTHING would be very helpful! Thank you!
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16 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I have something similar happening to me. I have been diagnosed with having PVCs. That is when your heart misses a beat and (according to the doctors) a benign condition. That being said for the past few months I have felt the need to "force" a breath every so often. That is the best way I can describe it. I could be doing anything....walking, sitting, laying in bed, etc. It just feels like I need to take a "deep cleansing breath" and then I am fine. I mentioned it to the doctor and he just said that sometimes my body requires more oxygen and that is what happens. He said if it happens more frequently then he will order more tests...what tests I have no idea. I hope this helps.
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612551_tn?1247839157
Can you explain further what you mean by you can't breath?  

In my experience I sometimes must be taking shallow breaths, when lying down or just sitting..times when my oxygen needs are minimum. Then I feel in my mind a conscious need for more air - so I consciously force a deep breath.  What I expect is a feeling of a lungs "overfill", that's the word I'll use to mean I have a definite feeling in my chest that my lungs are full but I still get a little more air in.  Strangely sometimes when I do this I don't get the "overfill" feeling and I will take several additional forced deep breaths until I get that feeling.  I guess I could say at times like this I can't breath, but I think that is an overstatement in my case.

You may need to wear an event monitor until you get an episode.  If one has no heart rhythm episodes when wearing a monitor, the test failed due to nothing to monitor.  

But, do think about it, you may be doing subconscious shallow breathing or even holding your breath.  
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Avatar_f_tn
What you described sounds EXACTLY the same as I feel. Did you get any answers?
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Avatar_m_tn
I get PACs and when I have them it's like it momentarily takes my breath away.  It's just a split second though so I wouldn't necessarily describe it as a 'can't breathe' feeling.  It just feels like my breath taken away very quickly.  I had this happen at the ER and it was documented to be PACs.  In any event, if your feeling is similar, it's probably PACs or PVCs which are benign conditions in a structurally normal heart.  If it truly feels like you can't breathe, it could perhaps be anxiety or something else.
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Avatar_f_tn
I literally just went to the ER for the same symptoms because it scared me so much. I was told it is anxiety related and shallow breathing. I had the EKG workup etc and all came back normal. I guess DRs know best, but I feel like it happens randomly and not necessarily when stressed. Just thought I'd share, it is definitely a weird/scary thing to go through.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm having this weird feeling right not to we're it did feel to like I couldn't breathe a second good and like everything would stop happed about 10 times and right now my hearts just racing and I can barley breathe at all my doctor says I have an upper respiratory infection and anxiety so could it be both interfering or what some one help me
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1569985_tn?1328251082
If you feel you are in danger, you should go to the ER or contact your doctor.  It sounds like you've been to the doctor and he's diagnosed you, but if this is new or different, get it checked out. Better safe than sorry.  Let us know how you are.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had the same exact thing, Jamiedanger. I was just wondering about it recently because my heart actually stops beating for a few seconds and yes, feels like breath is taken away, sucked right out for a second. I have checked many times and yep, there's no heartbeat. Very weird feeling. I even wondered-- is this an anxiety attack? But I've never had that problem, and I don't think it would be a few second thing. I just looked up those symptoms now and came across your postings; thanks to everyone for sharing ideas. It's good to know when you're not the only one...
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Avatar_m_tn
It sounds like you're saying: you should worry if you have PVCs and you're over the age of 45.  And...you're going to have a heart attack if you're over 60 and have PVCs.  You may want to re-consult some of the heart surgeons you work with all day long because it seems you may have missed something.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
See my little avitar picture, that was me in my mid-40's with SVT and PVC's about to clinch the national inline championship for my age group.  I'm 62 now, still here and still skate.  Sorry dude,  but I have to call you on that one.
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Avatar_m_tn
wow im so glad i found this post. IVe been having the exact same feeling over the last year or so now. i wont list symptoms bc they have all been covered in previous posts. i am a 26 y/o male very active/ athletic. I have no idea why it happens but it freaks me out to say the least which in turn gives me anxiety and or panic attack. I notice it more when i seem to have gas/ air build up in my stomach. also when it happens( in the moment of the..skipped beat or what have you, i can feel that skipped beat in my throat...very hard to explain. i have also had an EEG i believe it was called, not a EKG and everything came back normal, blood tests to. but i was not having an..episode at the time either, as described before it only lasts seconds...but those seconds maybe you wonder for hours, ehh
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Avatar_m_tn
I know what you mean, it's like your breathing an then for a second you feel it coming... Like a 5 second chest spasm, where you're either afraid to breath or force yourself to breath.  Then a few counted heartbeats, and everything is back to normal.
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4003901_tn?1349015093
I've had this problem for a couple years.  

I had all the usual tests with no results except a few benign PAC's.  I do have Graves disease and MS.  Also IBS, gastritis, degenerative disc disease and on and on.

What I don't get is why these sensations can go away for weeks or months and suddenly come back.  Seems like they start again for no reason.  Just walking around can bring on that weird chest feeling.  

What is it that makes the symptoms start again?
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244602_tn?1215979228
That sounds to me like a PVC sort of thing too.    Those are benign.  You only have to be concerned about them if like six of them occur together (not separated by normal heartbeats), or if they give rise to prolonged rapid or irregular heartbeat.  

I was careful to say "PVC sort of thing" because, while PVCs are evidently most common, there are a number of benign minor temporary electrical abnormalities that feel and act similar to what you describe.  

You can always get it checked out; get a stress test and EKG and that, and maybe a holter monitor; it is very likely that none of these will find it, especially if it only happens once in a while.

Of course the ultimate answer is to ask your doctor.  You might hear some version of it's stress or nerves, which is possible, or lack of sleep, or asthma meds, or caffeine, but they occur occasionally to everyone.  

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244602_tn?1215979228
One other thing; PACs are the 2nd most common PVC sort of thing.
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244602_tn?1215979228
Because hearts, and the neurochemistry that helps drive them, have cycles, I think.  I have PTSD and it has long periods when it acts up a lot and long periods when it is seldom heard from.

If you have alot of health problems it is also possible that something about them or what you do to treat them drives the cyclical behavior.  

The things that set off PVCs and the like in most people are stress, lack of sleep, caffeine, and asthma meds, among other things.   I swear my bipolar catecholamine swings help drive the behavior.    
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