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Cannot take deep breath
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Cannot take deep breath

Hey everyone, I am a 19 yr old student thats been having some breathing difficulties for over 3 months now. My problem is that I am unable to take in a full deep breath, if I try it seems like I just stop inhaling at some point and I get a tightness feeling in my chest. I first noticed it in September when I started college. I thought it was because of that, new environment, stress? Now its hardly noticeable during the day but at night its gets bad, It's been keeping me up at night and really starting to worry me. I have seen a doctor about this a couple of times, so far I have taken 2 Pulmonary Function Tests, and scored excellent results on both of them, but they where during the day when I am usually fine. I had a chest X-ray today and I haven't had any news on them yet. My doctor also recommended blood work, which I will be getting shortly. While at school I was exercising at the gym 4 times a week plus eating pretty healthy, along with taking vitamins (One-A-Days mens health and 500mg Vitamin-C). My parents think its all in my head because I was a little bit of a hypochondriac when I was younger. They think it was because of me going to school for the first time but I have been home on break for 3 weeks now and there is no signs of improvement. Could it be COPD? I have never smoked. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_f_tn
BillZ – Hi!  Just out researching the same problem myself, as it flared up again today for the first time in years, and the internet has so much more info than the last time I researched this.  It’s a difficult problem to research, as I’m sure you’ve found.  If it’s hard to describe to a doctor, then it isn’t going to be easy to get the right search terms in google!

You noted that you just feel like you can’t get a good, deep breath.  That you just “stop inhaling at some point.”  I’ve had that same problem.  It isn’t clear if it’s exactly the same:  I’ll have it for a few minutes, finally get a good lungful of air, then have a good few minutes where I don’t notice my breathing.  Then …. It’s back again and I’m straining for that good lungful of air and just can’t seem to get it.  Sometimes it feels as if I need to yawn, but can’t.  If this is what you’re going through …. There’s at least some good news: I had my first attack at age 18, and I’m now 52 and still kicking around.  I still cannot say with certainty what brings on the symptoms, but in my case it has never been disabling.  The attacks usually come in a wave for a few weeks, then disappear for months or even years. I’ve never managed to have an attack when in the presence of a physician, so have never really had it clearly diagnosed. But I've seen this symptom linked to a few different conditions (more below).

MAIN TIP (IF we’re going through the same thing): It definitely get’s worse if you stress over it and/or when you focus on the breath.  If possible, try not to actually think about the breath you are trying to get.  LET GO … it will suddenly come in a few seconds or a minute or so.  Other tips: change your position / posture, etc.; no tight clothes (at least you don’t have to contend with a bra!)

Doing internet research, I’ve seen this problem related to a number of conditions, none immediately life-threatening, but all worthy of attention and management: GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease); MVP (mitral valve prolapse syndrome; and something I just found today VCD (Vocal Chord Dysfuntion). With me it’s probably GERD, but I seem to have a lot of the symptoms of VCD as well (and MVP for that matter, but I’ve had heart workups and they never found MVP)  I just found an interesting post over at the Medhelp heart forum, with a woman posting complaints very similar to yours under the issue of MVP.  Like you, her symptoms are worse at night.  You should read her post and response.  It can be found over at : http://www.medhelp.org/forums/cardio/archive/9301.html

Good luck, Bill!  I know how incredibly maddening it is to simply have everyone tell you it’s stress.  OH … and by the way, I don’t think it sounds like COPD.  You’ll see lots of references to other breathing problems for COPD or asthma as, “shortness of breath,” “wheezing,”  “gasping,” etc.  Most of us are familiar with shortness of breath from and gasping from extreme exertion.  I find this problem to be distinctly different, which is why I wish it would just ONCE come on in front of a doctor.

Good luck! - valasel
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Valase
This is simply unbelievable. You described *exactly* what I am going through right now, and it scares the **** out of me every time !  
I had these type of breathing difficulties in the past, longing for good, full breath, straggling to get one but can't. This would go for several weeks and than disappears for months or even years (last time I had it was over 5 years ago...thought it was gone for good -:(((... ).
I also have GERD and it seems to be connected since I notice an increase in the burps and globus (lump-in-throat sensation) but anti-acid do not seem to help (I read somewhere that maybe it is an inflammation of my esophagus that needs to heal). The physical examination as well as chest x-ray are persistently normal so the doctor  keep saying they don't see anything wrong with me. If so - why does it take so much effort to get a good, sweet breath ?
BTW - even after it is over I keep tryihttp://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/406376#
Post Commentng to get a good, deep breath terrified that it might come back...
Thanks so much for your post. It really helps to know you're not alone. If you're research brings anything - could you please share it with me at ***@**** ?
Al.
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Avatar_f_tn
http://www.breathing.com/articles/breathinglessons.htm

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