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The history books record that in the nineteenth century Louis Pasteur formulated a “germ theory” of microbes as the causative agents of disease, and thus revolutionized medicine. His findings, along with his contemporary, John Snow (who linked cholera to infected water supply),...
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air hunger/shortness of breath

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by Tammie, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. Scarlett


    I have trouble with gasping for air, short breaths and breathlessness, particularly when I'm going through a bad spell.

    My step mother is a cranial sacral therapist and she explained that when your body is under stress it goes into the "flight or fight" response, and your breathing goes up in your rib cage and is shallower to take in maximum oxygen as quickly as possible. She said if I am breathing shallowly as normal it's sending a message to the brain that my body is under stress. She explained about how new born babies breathe from their stomachs, pushing the diaphragm out, and it sends a message to the brain that they are relaxed and safe, and that this is the natural state for when you sleep.

    If you concentrate to take some breaths with your hands on your stomach, and you feel them go up and down, it calms the system down. I've been doing these breathing exercises for the past couple of weeks and it's made a significant difference to my general condition I think, I have certainly felt a lot less anxious too. I can't breathe like this without concentrating at the moment, but being aware of my breathing all the time and trying to breath from the diaphragm as much as poss seems to have helped.
  2. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    I get this alot and I'm advanced lyme. The POTS also gives it to me. I have trouble breathing just trying to put my clothes on. It's an awful thing.
  3. Anika

    Anika Senior Member

    Hello Tammie,

    I just came across this thread, and I don't have any more suggestions from my own experience - breathing exercises and addressing the orthostatic intolerance issues have been the main things I've tried. I've tried Benadryl for allergic symptoms, not breathing, but that's a good thought.

    Which leads me to a question - you mentioned you also used your inhaler - which I tend to think of as for asthma or respiratory infections. So I wonder if that's what you're inhaler is for, and if it provides relief for some breathing problems? I'm curious because the first time I used an inhaler was for a severe respiratory infection - and there were two different types, one was supposed to be fast acting, and one was more anti-inflammatory, which I needed for while after the main symptoms from the respiratory infection cleared up.

    Some recent episodes I've had with breathing feel a bit more like it might be lungs instead of the usual - but I'm not sure how to tell. It does feel like I can draw air in, but am not getting the oxygen from it. Something I'll have to bring it up at my next Dr visit. Maybe an inhaler would help.

    And I do remember some episodes of feeling I needed to consciously breathe - and it was rather unnerving, but definitely as you said, not resulting from panic. It took too much concentration to breathe to panic afterwards, although after a bit I wondered if I needed to start panicking! Something I'd forgotten about, gladly. I hope you haven't had that symptom again.

  4. susan

    susan Senior Member

    Gold Coast Australia
    What you are explaning is peculiar to CFS. Ii will be ever grateful to the Gupta program for starting me on a new path with my breathing. I too was stopping breathing....holding my breath. I was breathing 23 breaths per minute while my husband was doing the healthy 10 I did a Buteyko home course and the breathing they teach allows you to throw away inhalers.

    I have now switched to Pranayana breathing. When I wake in the morning I lay there and just concentrate on breathing sloooooowly for about 40 mins. Buteyko says it takes time for the breathing part of the brain to catch "get the new idea of breathing" i just sit and breathe for hours now as it has becomes a habit. When you shallow breathe you use up magnesium.
    All us CFSers have adrenaline overload, so shallow breathing is getting us ready for an adrenaline there is an emergency. With breathing exercises, this slows considerably. I have worked so hard to achieve this and is one of the most important keys to getting well as it turns down the sympathetic nervous system and lets the parasympathetic system take over which is the calming one and allows detoxing system to happen.......less carbon monoxide to pollute ourselves.
  5. Luke

    Luke ooph

    A very simple technique I've found useful for these kind of symptoms is to touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your ring finger ( can be done with just one or both hands), or to wrap the fingers of of one hand around the ring finger of your other hand.

    These techniques always calm and deepen my breath and incease my sense of oxygen satiation. I was taught this by someone who practices Jin Shin Jyutsu who said she used it to increase her oxygen intake so she could outwalk her teenage sons.

    I've also found the breathing technique below that's recommended by Dr Cheney to be helpful. It's supposed to make our bodies think we're at a higher altitude and improve oxygen transportation, link to full article here.

    1,Inhale through your nose for four seconds
    2,Hold your breath for seven seconds
    3,Exhale through tightly pursed lips, creating "back pressure," for eight seconds.
    4,Do this eight times, twice a day, everyday.
  6. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

    United States
    Sometimes when I'm short of breath I am able to breath slowly and take in a lot of oxygen, but it doesn't feel like I'm able to take a deep breath. It's as if the air isn't actually getting into the places where I need it. I don't know if this makes sense and do other people experience this too or is it something different that what's being discussed here?

    I find that being exposed to certain smells causes shortness of breath for me. These include fragrances (both natural and synthetic), lighter fluid from BBQs, and cooking smells (onions, collards, beans, popcorn, and many other things). I find that even if I can't actually "smell" these smells they still affect me. I get short of breath sometimes and don't know why, but then I open the door to my room and realize my parents have been cooking something.

    In another thread about shortness of breath, Rich mentioned that mitochondrial dysfunction and glutathione depletion could be a cause. I know some people with MCS get relief from their symptoms from taking nebulized glutathione. There are better ways to raising glutathione besides taking glutathione, but this would go along with his theory. I was reading that you can get a prescription for an NAC inhaler which might be better than taking glutathione itself although there are still better ways to raise glutathione such as through methylation and improving mitochondrial function as Rich says.
  7. I'm having the same experience exactly - I feel like I need to take a deep breath, but I can't get the air to go all the way in. After about six or seven tries, sometimes it works; sometimes yawning helps. I have noticed that it's much worse if I have done too much and brought on other symptoms. Went out for a little bike ride on Saturday and definitely went too hard - been having my flu-like symptoms ever since and my breathing is horrible. Not sure if that's what folks mean by "air hunger," but, Lotus, I definitely understand your description.
  8. Susan Murphy

    Susan Murphy

    I have this same thing with my CFS. Heat is the main instigator. I have also had it bad since menopause began 3 months ago. My heart rate is always slow during these times, so it is NOT anxiety! Since perimenopause began, I have had no noticeable adrenaline. I believe the shortness of breath is due to low epinephrine. Is your heart rate low when you start these episodes?

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