Respiratory Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Shortness of Breath and Yawning

I've been through all the heart, blood vessel, lung testing and nothing has come back with problems.  I have just started having episodes of shortness of breath and find that I'm trying to yawn all the time just to get a good breath.  When tested my oxygen levels were fine.  When these episodes become bad I find that my blood pressure also raises.  I normally have a BP of 110/70 but ended up in ER when it rose to 183/100 and that's when it really became difficult to catch my breath.  I was admitted and every test they ran came back fine.  When I'm not having difficulty my blood pressure returns to normal.  In the last 3 weeks I've been to ER three times and admitted once.  Each time when my blood pressure raises past 150's/90's I can't catch my breath.  The last ER visit they said it was anxiety but I was sitting in my lazy boy chair with my feet propped up when it happened. I still took the anxiety meds and found I was more relaxed but still didn't breath any better (just seemed to care less about it)  I have also discovered that it's much worse after eating.  It seems that even if I don't eat much it's still the same.  The doctor also put me on Lopressor and now I'm exhausted all the time.  In the morning sometimes my BP is in the 90's/50's.  I do have episodes of PSVT's and PVC's but have been told that those are benign conditions and nothing to worry about.  Help I've read what you've all gone through for years and can't imagine not being able to find any help for this.  I have had a thyroidectomy and am fairly well regulated on that.  I'm 57 years old so I'm not as young as many of you are.
18 Responses
Avatar universal
Im not a doctor of course, but it sounds like pnemonia if it only recently came on and hasnt been going on long. But if the tests all came back fine including a chest x-ray then I dont see how thats possible. Are you sure its not anxiety, because it kind of sounds like it if the tests are alright. Iv had anxiety pretty bad to the point of hyperventiliation and feeling like I was about to pass out.

Not sure how to help but ....

Avatar universal
I'm pretty sure it's not anxiety because the first time it happened I was sitting with my legs propped up in the lazy boy watching a sit com.  Nothing different had been happening in my life and everything was going well.  I also noticed that when I lay on my right side that my breathing is much easier.  It seems that I still yawn but it seems to be more satisfying and it's like a big sigh.  I also noticed that I have a little discomfort on my left side above my waistband area from the front all the way around to the back.  I did have a chest xray but that was fine.  When I told my cardiologist about the ER doc. putting me on an anxiety drug he said that I was the least anxious person he knew.
Avatar universal
Excessive yawning is often a symptom of generalized anxiety. Over the past several weeks, I received dozens of e-mails about breathing difficulties and excessive yawning, and in a way, it’s strange that I would receive so many e-mails from people suffering with these problems, because I too once had the excessive yawning symptoms.In my case, I would feel like I could not get a deep enough breath, and consequently, would continue trying to you yawn and take in more and more air. Like many people that e-mail me, I felt that I was probably the only person in the world with this strange anxiety symptom. Obviously, now I know much better…

I have heard from so many different people from all parts of the world with this type of anxiety symptom, so these days it is very clear to me that I was not alone. If you or someone you care about is dealing with this uncomfortable yawning-type anxiety, or feel like you cannot get a deep enough breath, the first thing to do is to see your doctor. But if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health — as mine did after many, many tests — then you may very well be dealing with the same type of anxiety symptom that I had.

In my case, I saw several doctors about the excessive yawning, and in fact, I was almost sure that I had asthma or some other breathing difficulty. But after being given every test in the book, the doctors assured me that there was no physical cause for my breathing difficulty, and in fact, I was “as healthy as a horse.”

This was difficult for me to accept at that time, but today I am well aware that anxiety and panic attacks can cause very real physical symptoms, and even very real physical pain. The fact is, chronic, generalized anxiety can build up over time, causing a person to constantly tighten up the muscles in their upper body, stomach and other areas. Often people are not even aware that they are tightening up these muscles, but over time it will create soreness and even a “tightness” in the chest that can seem very much like a breathing problem.

The way to deal with this type of chronic stress is by using the day-to-day strategies, such as those included in the EasyCalm video series for anxiety. Because yawning and breathing symptoms build up over a long period of time, they require a steady and consistent use of certain relaxation techniques, and other cognitive exercises to bring relief.

If you have had the excessive yawning type of anxiety, or feelings like you cannot breathe properly or take a deep breath, the first thing to do is to see your doctor. But if the doctors can find no physical reason for this, it is very likely you are dealing with chronic build up of general anxiety in your life. Check out the EasyCalm series from more on taking back control over these anxiety symptoms, and living a normal life again.  Excessive yawning is no different from any other anxiety problem, and you CAN overcome it, just as I did.

Take care,

Jon Mercer, MA
Personal Development Coach
Avatar universal
I started having this difficulty catching a satisfying breath back in late January/early February.  As stated in my post I had all the tests but what I failed to note was that I, during my 3 ER visits, was shown to have a low potassium level.  Each time I was given a "horse pill" of potassium.  Finally I decided to take matters into my own hands and started on a potassium supplement on my own.  When I told my cardiologist he did blood test to check my potassium levels (because too high can be dangerous).  What he found out was that my levels are now pretty much normal.  I have had a few, very slight, episodes with the difficulty catching my breath and excessive yawning but nothing like before.  Yesterday another potassium test confirmed that all was well with my levels and my cardiologist stated that taking the supplement was indeed a good thing.  I think that's why some people find adding extra salt to the diet is indeed helpful.  Maybe for those who suffer this should have their potassium levels checked or add potassium rich foods into the diet to see if this would help with the problems.  I think too often when a doctor doesn't have an answer they blame it on anxiety.  Sometimes there is an underlying problem as was my case.  I'm sure that when I was having the difficulty my anxiety levels did raise but I don't believe that that was what started the problems.  Potassium levels can fluxuate so the best would be to try to have the test when the problem is severe.
Avatar universal
I'm 33 and I have the same problem, it definitely started during a difficult time in my life 4 years ago so stress was there; but because I had asthma growing up, I just thought it came back.
After getting Asthma tested and getting chest Xray done, looks like I have nothing.
so potassium or anxiety? Jon since you started your relaxation exercises are you ok? anybody tried EMDR to solve this particular problem?
Please let me know
Avatar universal
I have had this problem many times and going through it again.  I am not aware of any stress in my life.  This past summer, when it was so horribly hot and humid, I started coughing.  Dr. prescribed antibiotics 3 times and it didn't help.  Finally, I told him I wanted to see a pulmonary specialist.  A broncoscopy was done and 3 weeks later there are no indications of a problem.  It is cooler now and the coughing has really slowed down but there still remains the "tightness" in the chest, the needing to get a deep breath and not always able to do it without a struggle.  I have been tested also for heart disease and nothing shows there either.  So I can relate to the feelings of frustration.  I will ask my dr. to check my potassium and see if that could be a problem.  I know it is mighty frustrating.
1759231 tn?1312917516
Surprised to find that I'm not the only one with this " disorder" orSOB as I've seen some people call it.. reading the responses for an hour now on the many things that people have tried and that most if not all have been to see every type of specialist under the sun and still nothing is coming up... baffles me. I just reciently went to see my Dr. as I've had breathing problems and excessive yawning when I go to work out. I'm 20 years old and have had this few a few years.. on and off. but never this serious ( As it has become more reciently ) He sent me for Xrays and blood work, but from what I've read, it looks to me as if they wont find much.
I'm a non smoker, I've never tried any drugs or smoked a thing in my life so where some people have said it could be a breathing problem - where you need to learn how to breath properly again ( after being a smoker ) I'd count out.

I have caffine daily in tea and occationally coffee, I'm lactose intolerant which cuts out a great portion of foods and beverages that most people take ( And it seems to worsen the issue )
I exsercise 4-5 times a week for an hour if not more... before my breathing and yawning problem worsened. I used to be able to run for 60minutes no problem.. and now 10 minutes into my owkrout ( nothing serious right off the batt or to intermidiate ) I find myself trying to take a full breath and I'll be yawning every few minutes. This is not only frustrating but annoying me. I used to be a dancer and now that this has worsened I'm afriad that I may not be able to due to me not being able to breath properly when I exercise.
This is when it seems to be the worst, however I find that its starting more when Im doing every day activities relaxing at home, watching tv. or laying in bed. I'm at a part in my lfie where if someone where to ask me how I'm doing, I'd automatically respond" Fantastic" .. minus this never ending un- resolved issue.
I have noticed that my chest will tighten up.. ( when its hard the breath ) and then ill go to try and take a breath.. and its like I skip a second.. breathe....skip.. breathe. Like I pause to take a deep breath. Then I'll get a shapre pain in my chest. This doesnt always occur... but when it does. it certainly hurts. (The skipping a breathe thing has happened as long as I can remeber. People have always thought something was wrong with me ) but to me.. this breathing pattern is something I've always been used to.

If anyone knows anymore info. on this symtoms, I'd love to hear your advice.. as I'm at the end of my rop... and the beginning of lots of soon to be tests from my Dr.
Avatar universal
I know its been a while since you posted, but just in case others read this post with similar symptoms. ..this is textbook symptoms of hiatal hernia. Many ppl develop this gi issue. You need a CT scan and possibly an EGD "Esophagogastroduodenoscopy"
Where the GI doc uses a scope down your esophagus while you are sedated. In those with hiatal hernia, he will see that the stomach is pushing up into the diaphram (especially after eating) which makes it feel as though its hard to really catch your breath.
Avatar universal
I'm 23 years old and have these same symptoms from time to time and they usually last from a couple days to a few weeks. Always needing to catch my breath, excessive yawning, but also light-headedness (likely due to hyperventilation), abdominal discomfort, heart palpitations and anxiety/worrying about my heart/breathing. I also notice these symptoms while doing something relaxing like going for a casual walk, laying in bed, sometimes right from when i wake up in the morning. I usually feel better when i go for a run or exercise.
I've had tests for my lungs and heart and i was told i have a stage-2 heart blockage which i was told not to worry about. I'm starting to feel this is a GI problem as Amina suggested because it does feel like my stomach is pushing up into my lungs and my esophagus feels swollen sometimes. If anyone has anything to add i'd love to here what you have to say. Thanks
Avatar universal
I just want to ask hows everybody? Im experiencing this shortness of breath and excessive  yawning for years, i was reading almost all the poat here and i can get a clear idea, some says anxiety, acid reflux, hyperventilation, problem with carbon dioxide.level but more says they dont know what it is . How's everybody? Please.share your success story, share the things that helped you !
Avatar universal
I don't have any answers but I have had difficulty "catching a satisfying breath," as the original poster put it so well, all my life. I'm 57 now. I too find that yawning helps me get that breath -- it's not a symptom, it's a solution to the problem.

I was heavily into competitive swimming as a kid through college, and while I was aware of the problem then, it didn't really bother me. I recently took up competitive swimming again in the Masters Swimming program, and now it's making it impossible for me to perform as I should. I'm just starting to research it, but I wanted everyone to know that it can be a chronic thing, not caused situationally.
Avatar universal
I should also add that last night at swim practice I did find another way to get that breath to come in: As I climbed out of the pool, I paused on my  hands and knees, and the breath came easily in that position.
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