I am 31 years old male...smoked for 13 years heavily and gave up recently..
Long sory short, I have been having this problem for a while and recently it got really progressive to a point where I can not sleep more than a few hours a day....
I have this constant need to get a deep breath in all the time, I mean every 5 breaths or so sometimes less sometimes much less but usually there...and when I sleep I really struggle and toss around all the time trying to get a lungful while I turn around and try to sleep but cant succeed...I am not really a stressful person...
I went to a doctor a while ago with qan X-ray, and saying that I have hyperinflated lungs (they have to take chest x-rays twice cause my lungs are big or hyperinflated) and my diaphragm being flat he diagnosed me with COPD, emphysema....This was overseas where I worked, later I went back home and I went to a pulmonologist, they did a pulse oximetry which was %98 and spirometry which came out ok. then I saw another pulmonologist not being convinced, they did a full PFT with diffusion and without being detailed here were the results,
FVC %135 predicted
FEV1 %129 predicted
FEV1/FVC% %97 predicted (80 percent of FVC exhaled)
Lung Volumes 0 SVC- %132 percent predicted
IC - %117 percent predicted
ERV - %163 !!! predicted-----------emphysema?
RV(Pleth) - %103 predicted
TLC(Pleth) - %125 predicted------emphysema?
FRC -%134 Predicted -------------------emphysema?
RV/TLC - %81 predicted
now the pulmonologist says all ok accordingly,I asked about hyperinflation and he says I just have big lungs, although I am not a singer or an athlete whatsoever, never been one,., I find ERV above too much, anyway I dont really care about these, I really want to know why everyone thinks I have hyperinflated lungs (2 x-rays needed) and flat diaphragm, and I have this horrible respiratory problem, I am having to yawn or try to force chest breathing all the time to take a full deep breath, air hunger...I dont hyperventilate, I am not anemic(had blood test recently) and no alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency...the only thing I didnt do is MRCT and CPX (Cardiopulmonary Stress Test). Both pulmonologists sent me away without an answer, isnt it a bit irresponsible? Can above spirometry rule everything out?? They keep telling me I am too young to have COPD and I am glad to hear that I am not anxious to have it, but I am the one who lost interest in life due to breathing problems and what else should I go for? Shoudl I go for ABG? Should I go for Cardiac tests? Can someone who knows what they are saying please respond? I will be very happy...I am really suffering 24/7 from this...
I empathize with your situation. Almost a month ago I was diagnosed with a chest infection and given antibiotics... I only slept a couple of hours a day after I was likely so exhausted that I would have passed out... anyway, the second round of antibiotics seemingly worked and I was given an anti-inflammatory steriod inhaler (symbicort), but the same symptoms have persisted (although not as severe - they seemed to have improved somewhat, but the inhaler supposedly takes a long time to take full effect) and I still have what you have described - i.e. constant need to take a deep breath, which I can't always do, air hunger, forced chest breathing. It seems to come and go and is very uncomfortable.
This problem is very concerning, and I too have had several chest x-rays, and the same result - nothing is wrong. I also recently quit smoking cold turkey too (cigarettes and marijuana) after almost 10 years of smoking (I'm 26), which I have heard can compound the problem... and supposedly can last for 6-12 months after the fact. I have read that extra mucus is likely being produced in the lungs which would cause congestion and difficulty breathing. I do find that I get some relief if I drink alot of water - and I must note that I think dairy products likely don't help the situation as they promote the production of mucus. I am also contemplating a "silver" product (inhaler) that is supposed to be the most effective substance at destroying pathogens in the lungs... not sure though if my issue is as a result of a pathogen.
Anyway, I hope this helps somewhat... try seeing if you have asthma of some sort, because you likely have inflammation in your lungs that would be causing this. If you had COPD, the sacks in your lungs would be floppy and weak, which is likely not the cause.
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