Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Tracking my efforts to beat Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), aka CFIDS, aka CFS

Monday, May 5, 2014

Trying to pinpoint the cause of my shortness of breath

My bad shortness of breath (SOB) continues and I'm really struggling to pinpoint the cause.  It has been going on for over a week, so this is something I clearly should pay more attention to.  Maybe this is one of those blog posts that falls under the category of "thinking out loud," but I also want to write my theories down so that next time I have severe SOB I can refer back to this list and see if any of these possible causes were present again.  If any readers experience SOB and you have any theories or guesses, I would love to read them in the comments.

Here are my guesses:

1) seasonal allergies or poor air quality accompanying Santa Ana wind conditions,
2) caught a respiratory bug, 
3) candida die off effect from taking Candidex recently, 
4) related to stopping taking pycnogenol two days before SOB started, 
5) recent increased intake of caffeine (mostly from black tea, but some coffee too)

[5/7/14 update:  It's becoming more likely that I caught a bug.  I've had sniffles for the same amount of time as the shortness of breath.  Both are lingering.  They wax and wane together].

9 comments:

  1. How are your lymph glands at neck--groin--any other obvious locations? Are they swollen ? More noticeable shortness of breath (as I always feel the lack of oxygen) . . . I don't want to scare you--but lack of oxygen could be a sign of lymphoma. Have you had your hemoglobin levels checked lately ? Are they low ? Lymphomas are reportedly more common in p/w ME/CFS.

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    1. It's OK. I just recently had a CBC and hemoglogin levels were normal. Lymph nodes are the same (my doc checks them every time).

      There was once a pretty comprehensive survey on Phoenix Rising that asked patients what their symptoms are. It got hundreds of responses and SOB was in the top 5 out of about 40 for ME/CFS. I know some patients who never get it though, so it's a mystery why some of us get it and others don't.

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  2. For me, it would be 1 or 5. I think you'd know if you had a bug and I've never experienced SOB related to drugs unless it was an acute anaphylactoid reaction (which I think you'd know). That's my two cents. I'm so sorry it's continuing! In my experience, not being about you breathe fully is worse than any other symptom when at its must severe.

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. How have YOU been doing?

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  3. Sorry, man. That sucks. :( My only suggestion would be to bust out the heart rate monitor and check for POTS. Just in case.

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  4. Don't rule out panic attacks. They can appear out of no where. An old repressed memory attempting to make it into your conscious mind. Or suddenly feel that IT'S all to much, etc. Im reading a great book right noe called Pain Free for Life. He speaks a lot about getting those repressed emotions out.

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    1. Thanks for the response Harvey. It's not panic attacks though.

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    2. Shortness of breath (sob) like Patrick described (& like I battle too) is completely different from the breathing issues that can strike someone battling a panic attack...

      MECFS sob is completely different from a panic attack. It's constant, and is often described as "oxygen hunger" that can plague us 24/7 to some degree when it starts. It's not an "attack" that comes & goes in one big spell, it can last days or weeks (or for me it lasted many years) and it just generally makes it hard to breathe and therefore talk or do much physically or fill your lungs in all the way, all day and all night long.

      While I respect anything that helps people feel better, I can say with 100% certainty my SOB has nothing to do with repressed memories but rather the inability of my body to correctly use the oxygen it's given, causing horrible shortness of breath.

      I know someone who gets panic attacks & have seen them happen first hand. It's frustrating to me that anything that falls under the psychological umbrella is always written off as if they need to fix something in their mind. Research is showing most conditions once thought to be "psychological" actually have physical, chemical causes: including panic attacks. Ex: the neurotransmitter GABA, (which induces relaxation & calm in our bodies) can only function properly with adequate amounts of serotonin. It's been widely found that people battling "psychological" conditions have very low levels of serotonin. It's also been found that panic disorders are thought to be the result of problems with neurotransmitters or the malfunctioning of the reuptake mechanisms of the neuron: all chemical processes.

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