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Lying down causes shortness of breath/difficulty breathing. Could that be from my ME/CFS?

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by greeneagledown, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. greeneagledown


    I was diagnosed with CFS 6 years ago. At the time, among other possible causes, cardiac and pulmonary causes were ruled out. I've had trouble breathing and shortness of breath during significant exertion (walking up stairs, light jog, etc.) for all six years of having CFS, but lying down never gave me breathing problems until a couple months ago. Now lying down almost instantly gives me shortness of breath and makes breathing more difficult. My fatigue also became much worse around the same time that this started (again, a couple months ago). I'm seeing a primary care doctor to explore possible causes. My question is, can lying down exacerbate breathing difficulties in someone who has CFS and doesn't have any co-morbid conditions? Has anyone experienced that or met someone else who has experienced that? I know some other diseases are classically associated with this symptom (heart disease, liver disease), but I've never heard of lying down causing breathing problems in CFS patients.

    Just trying to figure out how worried I should be about a possible heart issue, or whether this could just be my CFS getting somewhat worse.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
    merylg and rosie26 like this.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    @greeneagledown - I have problems if I lay on my back, right side, or stomach. A pulse oximeter shows that my oxygen saturation drops in those positions, and my heart rate rises. Some other ME/CFS patients have the same problem, and for some it's the right side that is the good one.

    I'd suggest getting a pulse oximeter and trying out various positions to see what works best.
    merylg and rosie26 like this.
  3. Hanna

    Hanna Senior Member

    Jerusalem, Israel
    I also experiment breathing difficulties with laying down. As it has been described here on the forum (see the inclined bed therapy), elevating the upper part of the body when reclining may help.
    manna likes this.
  4. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    We're all so different. Due to chronic OI, I feel best when laying down. Any way is good.

    I just wanted to add that if you have OI, esp increased hr, going from an upright position to laying down can be too much on you. Try sitting first then laying down.

    Tc .. x
  5. greeneagledown


    Thanks for the responses, everybody!
  6. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Community Support Volunteer

    @greeneagledown I am the opposite and have trouble breathing if I am standing up/waking around for more than a few minutes and walking up a flight of stairs just about kills me. Laying down is the only thing that brings relief and I can lay on any side or position. It is interesting how different we all are. But for peace of mind, I do think you should be evaluated by a cardiologist if you haven't in a while.
  7. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

    WA, USA
    I can have trouble breathing when lying down. I've had my heart checked and there is nothing conventional wrong with it.

    However, a sudden worsening of symptoms should always be mentioned to your PCP who should check it out. 6 years ago was a relatively long time, and something could have changed.

    all the best
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014

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