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Why do I still feel short of breath, and gag on food and drink?
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Why do I still feel short of breath, and gag on food and drink?

I have had a chest x-ray, arterial blood gas, respiratory functions test, and an MRI of the brain.    Yet I still have these episodes of shortness of breath.   It is not with physical activity, but rather at rest, even in the bed or sitting at computer.   It feels like my lungs have not enough capacity, they feel "dead" as if there is no air to expel, and consequently often times when I swallow food, or more often, a drink,  if I "forget" to "consciously" breathe in and out to get a "good breath going" before I drink I will often seriously gag on whatever i am swallowing (again its usually liquids),  I cough intensly and wheeze and gag for more air and feel like Im suffocating, with just 1 cough because again there just doesn't seem to be any air to expel when I'm at rest.  

I am a 30 year old male and I have no other known health problems, except for cronic (chronic) headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness, which doc says the MRI has given the greenlight there.   I also do regular cardio-vascular exercise, so I am not out of shape, even though I am technically 30 pounds overweight, I still should have nice strong lungs and a heart because I workout on a stationary bike regularly.


Any and all advice is appreciated, thank you!
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The normal or negative tests suggest that there is nothing wrong with your lungs.  The respiratory symptoms you describe are characteristic of anxiety or even what are called panic attacks.

Your gagging on food or drink may be another story.  You should have a tailored barium swallow test (swallowing study).  This test is helpful in identifying if there is any physical, muscular, or neurologic problem with your swallowing.  This is an x-ray test using fluoroscopy to watch for problems as barium is swallowed.  Barium sulfate is a harmless chalky, water-insoluble compound (salt) that does not permit x-rays to pass through it.  It causes the digestive tract to stand out in silhouette when viewed through a fluoroscope or seen on x-ray film.

Separate testing should be done to evaluate your dizziness, headaches and lightheadedness.  It might be best for you to see a neurologist for this evaluation.  It is conceivable that one or more of these symptoms could be related to your swallowing problem.
9 Comments
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I also forgot to mention, it feels like I constantly need to yawn,  like when I breathe deep I just cant get that "refreshing breath" ,   these symptoms seem to come and go in waves...usually a wave lasts a week or so, and then it comes back in a couple more weeks,  but ALL the time my lungs feel "shallow" and I gag easily.    When I was younger I never had this problem.
Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
sort of a "air hunger"?  this can be related to hypothyroidism.  any family history of thyroid disease or autoimmune disease? might be wish to check for thyroid antibodies and the Free levels.
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oh - and trouble swallowing is also a hypo symptom...as could be that extra weight.
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these symptoms also seem to fit with hyperventilation syndrome which I have expereinced and overcome. here's a summary of what happens: a person habitually chest breathes which is shallow breathing rather than deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing. The dia[hragm like any muscle that is under utilised loses condition and gets weak. when you do use it it can feel like it's hard to breath because it's week. You can train it with resistance training to get stronger - basicall breathe through a constricion device that makes you work hard to suck the air down. commonly athletes do this. in my case part of the problem was stress - UI found I would always have tense abdominals which makes it hard for the diaphragm to push down into the abdomen. I also had stomach gas bloating problems that also made it hard. training the diaphragm and treating the stomach problem solved it all. I used to get panicy from feeling that air-hunger like i couldn't get enough air. I would overinflate my chest struggling to get more air down. This just made me dizzy and frightened and panicy. Learning to do low slow diaphragm breathing worked wonders. I had lots of other tests that always showed no problems. good luck.





the brain can get used to the altered levels of O2 and CO2.
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Avatar_n_tn
WOW inanga: what you talked about is excactly what I'am going
thru!!  Please email me  ***@****  Gosh this breathing thing is ruining my life!! I have been to 2 different pulmo's with all my test results, they all say anxiety, I had a
very hard time with this cause I was a smoker, but as of now, my pft's show no copd, so I will not smoke again and take care of myself!! But I was always a shallow breather, and I wonderknow if when I quit I'am taking deeper breathes!! I have heard others talk about hyperventilation, but you really describe it with a physical component, that makes it alot easier to grasp!!  Inanga I really hope I hear from you!! georgie- oh yeah I also feel bloated, I'am however 40 lbs over
weight and most of it is in my belly!
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Avatar_n_tn

hi,

i've had so many tests done with a similiar problem and everything was all clear.

check out this site http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/

turned out to be all in the foods i was eating.

good luck

Richie
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Avatar_n_tn
since my last post I have confirmed the cause of my post nasal drip/excess mucous/coughing to be an allergy to corn which is also found in many forms in processed food.

here is an excellent book about hyperventiallation syndrome that helped me lots. The author was the breathing specialist that halped me out lots.

this is the US publisher's site:
http://www.hunterhouse.com/showbook.asp?bid=155

here's the author's site:
http://www.breathingworks.co.nz/products.htm

good luck all you bad breathers an allergy sufferers!!
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I can relate to your frustration !!!    I have had these symptoms for approximately 10 years. It's has effected every part of my life, work, sports and every day duties. I have had all of your same symptoms also.  
I have had blood test , barium test, Upper gi,a stress test in a drs. office using a tread mill to check my heart. another type test in the hospital where they connected all kinds of electrodes to my chest to check for heart problems. The same dr. wanted to do an angio gram to check for blockages, and if they were found he would send me to yet another dr. Well i went straight to a specialist who performed the Angio, and all was fine with my cardio vascular system. I then went to my family dr. who told me i may NEVER find the problem. Needless to say I NEVER went back to him..........It is extremely frustrating because i know there is a problem inside. I truly beleive it has to do with my stomach, or intestinal organs. It really is getting worse. Sometimes i lose my breath and feel that it is over for me. Yet i still do my best to work and excercise through all this. I will be going back soon to see if another dr. can shed some light on this situation. it has cost me a small fortune doing all these test for nothing and im really sick of it all. I still have a bloated feeling even after hrs. of my last meal, so i just know it's something to do with my digestion. They put me on prevecid, which helped with acid but did nothing for my breathing problem. If anything new comes up i will send you a mail, and i would appreciate the same. Thanks

Drazy
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