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Suddenly not inhaling automatically anymore.
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Suddenly not inhaling automatically anymore.

Hello. My name is Aaron, I'm 26, and I've had a serious problem for the past three weeks. Around December 16th, over the course of 3 days, I developed an issue where my body is showing no natural impulse to inhale after I exhale. It started out as a sleep disturbance (waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night taking in a huge gulp of air, having my heart racing, and having a tingling in my chest and arms, like I had stopped breathing in my sleep), and during the daytime as a shortness-of-breath. By day 3 I was completely inhaling manually, and I couldn't get to sleep for 2 days without immediately being woken up due to not breathing. I currently have to focus on my breathing in order to force myself to inhale for each breath I take. I went to the emergency room and they gave me a sleep aid and an anti-anxiety med, thinking I was experiencing panic attacks at night (because I mentioned waking up with an increased heart rate, they assumed it was a nocturnal panic attack). I didn't take either drug, because one was a CNS depressant, and I didn't want my respiration to get depressed even more, fearing that I might stop breathing for TOO long when I sleep. The other one was known to interact poorly with St. John's wort, another drug I'm taking.

I went to the chest doctor in the hospital a week later, and him and the head of the clinic said that they've never heard of this happening to someone who hasn't had a stroke or a brain tumor, or who wasn't obese. One of them just said "I think it will probably just go away." I also had my blood drawn friday and had every test run on it, and had an chest X-ray done, and neither of these things showed any abnormalities. The chest doctors supported my decision to not take those two drugs, as well, saying that this was a problem STAYING asleep, not a problem falling asleep, as well as a respiratory problem at it's core, and they discontinued my prescription to them.

I have gotten about 21 hours of sleep in the past seven days. I can only get to sleep if I'm DEAD tired, and even then I only sleep for 2.5 - 3 hours. I find myself just lying down with my eyes closed and focusing on my breathing just to get some kind of rest. If I begin to fall asleep when I do this, my body will jerk me awake, or I'll just get woken up due to not breathing. Recently I have been able to fall asleep for about 20 minutes after about 1.5 hours of lying down. I often had headaches all day after a night of this, but these have reduced in intensity in the past few days.

In addition to this, now my heart rate seems to increase when I eat certain foods. Regular V8, bananas, avocados, and burritos so far make my heart jump up to 90 BPM. I also am experiencing muscular weakness (I can't clench my fist hard anymore, my legs start to shake if I bend them). I've also been experiencing a kind of dizziness (like you would if you were drunk: limbs running into doorways, dropping things, limbs sort of flailing farther than you intended them to). I've also been getting really forgetful, forgetting where I put things that I just set down a few seconds ago, searching all over for them to find them again.

So, as for what I did immediately preceding the onset of these symtoms (symptoms) on December 16th:
-I had chinese food 3 times in the week and a half preceding. All were from local vendors here in San Francisco (mom-and-pop shops). This was the first time I had chinese food here.
-I drank a bottle of liquor one night, then two bottles of wine the next day. This was the weekend where symptoms began to show up. I have not consumed any alcohol since then.
-I had been microwaving hotdogs and meatballs on a plastic plate that had increasingly begun to flake off parts of it's surface and probably melted into my food sometimes, and I likely consumed some of this plastic. I ceased doing this during the weekend when these symptoms started manifesting.

The hospital is pretty much done with me. The advice nurse over the phone and the ER seem to just want me to stop coming in, as they apparently cannot determine a cause. At this point I'm just googling my symptoms and trying to find a cause and a treatment, eating as healthy as I can, running and exercising daily, drinking bottled water instead of tap water (incase our water is toxic somehow), and trying to stay optimistic.

Any help, suggestions, or theories anyone can give will be appreciated, because this is probably the last place I'll find that can help me.

Tags: respiration, respiratory depression, not breathing automatically, heart rate increase, dizziness, forgetfulness, sleep disturbances, sleep disorder, Allergy
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5 Comments Post a Comment
Your body is not absorbing all the nutrients from food.
1. Eat a pomegranate daily(discarding the hard seeds), to calm the colon. Eat fruit and raw vegetables. Drink warm water(at least 6 glasses a day) and avoid cold drinks/alcohol.
2 Daily routine.
a) Expel air from your nose, (as if you are blowing your nose gently), once a second, for 5 minutes.The breathing in will happen automatically.
followed by:
b) Do anulom vilom pranayam for 20 to 30 minutes,twice a day.

Follow this daily and let me know your progress after 4 weeks, or whenever you can.

Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.
January 10 ,2012
Thank you for the strategies, hava. I will use all of them and give an update on my progress either here or to you, to let you know what effect they're having.

Last night, after a 2 mile run, I felt myself inhale automatically for the first time. It turns out that my respiration is VERY depressed, and that I hadn't been letting it get a chance to go to the very low point it needed to get to in order for automatic inhaling to happen. A few hours later, I went to have a sleep study done on me. Over the entire 9 hours I lied in the bed with the electrodes and monitors on me, I didn't sleep once. I would doze off, then wake back up almost immediately, by body jerking as I did. I tried breathing very shallowly to allow for automatic respiration, breathing in a "normal" way forcibly, taking deep breaths and relaxing, everything, and I still didn't sleep. I was hooked up to an APAP machine (assists with respiration by shooting air into your nose according to your own respiration), but on both settings it had and with all the pressures tried, it actually made breathing harder. They couldn't diagnose me with it (because I didn't sleep), but I'm currently suffering from central sleep apnea symptoms. I know the root of this, though, is my shallow respiration.

Inhaling automatically actually hurts at this point. I can't get to sleep because the sensation wakes me up. I will try your things, hava, and see what they do.
Hello and hope you are doing well.

Your symptoms can be due to obstructive sleep apnea, wherein during sleep there is an obstruction to air flow due to laxity of the throat muscles during sleep and this could cause restlessness. It could also be due to central sleep apneas, which are caused due disorders or lesions in the brain. The peripheral system does not get the right impulses for respiration and hence the stoppage of respiration. As a result the person is aroused from sleep. The type of apnea can be diagnosed with a sleep study and therapy is given appropriately. So, you have to undergo a proper sleep study to diagnose these disorders.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
Did you recover?  If so, how?  I have this problem now.
Sounds like dysaunotomia or adrenal fatigue. Same problems. The less you sleep, the worse it gets. This is secondary as a condition. Maybe due to stress (physical or emotional).  Your lungs are likely filled with air. Exhale to empty them (5 seconds out, hold, 5 in, hold, then 10 out, hold, 5 in, hold, 10 out) for a minute. Put legs up the walk for 5 minutes to return blood flow to heart and organs.  Also, strengthen respiratory muscles by giving resistance on inhales, it helps in water. Look up ways to engage parasympathetic nervous system.  The goal is to quiet the autonomic system. You may have your airways inflamed and need a steroid inhaler and nasal spray. If you go to ER. Lie and tell them you were diagnosed years ago with an episode of dysaunotomia while traveling and it hasn't been back since. It's a tough diagnosis and they will give you things to kill you if they don't check your airways. You really need an epi injection at that point.  It will be okay. I went through it for a month after physical pain that caused too much stress. Listen to Tibetan singing bowls meditations while sleeping( or trying). Drink a lot of tilo tea. Try yoga and reiki. Be well. Trust your body, be thankful, practice mediation.
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