View Full Version : a little breathless

03-04-2009, 05:15 PM
Question for those of you who have had shortness of breath -- what have your diagnoses been? For about 5 days I've felt a heaviness in my chest and a persistent need to get a breath that I can't quite seem to fully take in. I ended up in the ER all night the other night for it. They gave me a breathing treatment and inhaler that helped minimally, if at all. My chest x-rays were clear, my EKG was fine, and my blood / oxygen levels were normal. They let me go in the morning with no diagnosis, but I'm still struggling to sleep and I get very tired during the day. A possibly unrelated development: a couple small purple spots on my neck and chest.

I'm confused. Any insights?

Angel Oliver
03-04-2009, 05:31 PM

I have just put some info on my blog on Asthma.NOT saying you have this at all, but just read it and see what you think.Please dont worry, i am NOT saying you have this, just read it and let me know what you think.


03-04-2009, 07:21 PM
hi rosebud,

One of the common symptoms that many of us suffer from is difficulty with breathing. This is especially bad during a flare. Sometimes just walking accross room can leave us grabbing at a breath. Also, for some reason, the breathing issues gets worse when we lay down. When I am having these problems, i prop up on lots of pillows. It is very difficult getting to sleep when you are having the work to get a breath.

sorry i don't have any solutions,,,,,but you should read the asthma blog. Good luck.

sick n tired
03-04-2009, 10:26 PM
Hey Rosebud,

My ekg was fine, too. It took a ct scan to see that I have Pericardial Effusion (water around the heart) causing the problem. Interestingly enough the Rheumy said the chest xrays were clear, too. I don't trust those much...last year my daughter had so many of them and then was told the pain and illness was in her head. They gave her a CT Scan and found a mass beside her heart, and pericardial effusion, as well as the effusion in the lungs. What the f...That was the same area that they were looking when she was xrayed.

03-04-2009, 10:37 PM

Though you had an EKG, x-ray and etc did they rule out pericarditis and pleurisy?

Do you get relief when sitting up and leaning forward. If so, pericarditis? Perhaps...

Have you tried any NSAIDs? May help relieve some of the symptoms...

I hope you are able to sleep well tonight...maybe try laying on the side you usually don't sleep on and see if that helps...


03-05-2009, 08:01 PM
You are all so helpful! I did read the asthma blog, and it makes sense. That is one of the things they said it could be at the hospital. The only things that make me doubtful is that the inhaler doesn't do anything for me and that it is a persistent low-grade pressure. Maybe this is characteristic of asthma...I'm not sure.

In terms of what makes it better, it seem to help when I'm not sitting against anything. So if my back is just against a chair or if I lean back in bed, it gets worse. Laying down is not really in the cards. Leaning forward relieves the feeling of pressure, but I still am a little out of breath. VERY interesting to know that the x-rays and ekg don't rule everything out.

Thankfully, I've seen an improvement today, though not totally back to normal. I'll call my rheumatologist tomorrow and see if she thinks I need a ct. Thanks again, you guys are fantastic!

sick n tired
03-05-2009, 10:07 PM
It is good that you will be seeing the doctor soon. Do you have any pain in your chest or just the shortness of breath?
I understand about the asthma... I always thought that I was getting asthma until recently and the inhaler doesn't do anything for me either.
My suggestion is for you to try to sleep propped up and possibly on your side. I found that sometimes helps some.

Angel Oliver
03-06-2009, 07:38 AM
I hope you find out what it is soon and get the relief that you need. I am sat up now and can breath ok, but if i was to lie flat on my back, i sound like i have a chest infection and then my breathing can go from 250 peak flow what it is now to 140. I did wake up breathless today though, but i feel fine though. A good reading for me is 450 on the peak flow....a gadget u blow into to find out how good the oxygen flow is.My friend is 650....so lucky :) But like sick n tired said, i used to sleep on a flat pillow.Now i am propped up, not too high, just enough to breath and not feel so heavy on the chest, it does help or if possible lie on your side.
Dont worry, it may not be asthma, but i am sure soon the doctor will help you out. And if it is, it can be managed fully :)