Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Involuntary Gasping for Air
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Involuntary Gasping for Air

I am a nineteen year old Caucasian female.  I am of normal height (5'6") and normal weight (122).  I am not at all athletic, but I like to think of myself as, basically, in shape.  I am a nonsmoker.  Aside from my seemingly normal physical condition, a couple days ago I started randomly gasping for air.  This has continued and is still continuing to happen.  I have not been partaking in any more physical activity than normal, and I really have no idea what could have triggered this.  It happens, arbitrarily, about every 2-5 minutes.  It is a sudden, deep breath and feels the same as if I was gasping out of shock or while laughing or prior to going under water.  Could anybody, perhaps tell me why this could be happening?  I'm not immensely concerned, I would just like to be informed.
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I cannot provide a diagnosis but I suggest that you see your doctor for physical examination of your lungs, a breathing test (simple Spirometry) and a chest X-ray.  What you describe could be a reflection of anxiety.  Other considerations might include 1) Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) with recurrent micro-aspiration but that would usually be accompanied by a cough or that you have aspirated what we refer to as a “foreign body”, most commonly an aspiration of food or 2) blood clots to the lungs.  What you are experiencing, however, is not particularly suggestive of either of these diagnoses.

The key thing here is the sudden onset of a respiratory problem and the need for further testing for one or more of the preceding possibilities.  While what you are experiencing is probably reflective of a benign condition, it definitely warrants further medical investigation, on the slight chance that it could be an indicator of something more serious, so please don’t opt to ignore your symptoms.

Good l
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