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Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Message Board


Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Board Index


Air Hunger?
Nov 1, 2010
Hello, everyone.

I have never had air hunger problems before. I feel like I can't take a deep breath and have to constantly take deep SIGHS or YAWNS to feel like I can. This didn't start until around late March 2010.

My story is very long and I don't blame you for not reading the entire thing. But, I will go through it as quickly as possible.

I am a 37 year old male who use to weight 310 lbs. I went walking with some friends one day and we stopped at a local CVS to check our blood pressure. I know those machines aren't entirely accurate at the public locations, everyone did their pressure and it came out normal for them. I did mine and it was 200/110. I didn't feel strange or anything, but everyone flipped out and told me to go see a doctor. I went to the doctor that day and they put me on the highest blood pressure meds... Lotrel 20/40. Shortly after, I began to get a sharp pain in my left upper pectoral. I also began to ride a mountain bike for at least 30 mins a day. I also decided to take up running (at this point I had lost about 50 lbs). I began slow and tried to run a mile. I did this a couple times until on the 3 or 4 try of running a mile as hard as I could, my lungs BURNED very badly by the end -- worse than they ever did. They pretty much hurt the rest of the day. The next morning everything seemed back to normal, except I had air hunger. I couldn't take a very large breath without SIGHing or YAWNing. I really didn't think much about it. Until after a couple weeks it didn't go away.

Since I had lost 50 lbs by this time, and went to the doctor for a "lump" that appeared. The doctor examined it and suggested I go get a CAT scan. I did. After a few days, the doctor came back and said that there is no mass where the lump is and that is most likely a Lipoma which are common with overweight people and usually won't show up on a CAT scan and are benign and not dangerous.

Anyway, I told him about the air hunger and he did the normal "listen to your lungs" physical and said he didn't hear anything unusual and told me to go see a cardiologist, just in case. So, we made an appointment.

A few weeks later, I went to the cardiologist and did a stress test and a echocardiogram. The stress test came back excellent and the echocardiogram came back with no leaks, values, flow problems, enlargement, etc. So, as a final test they put me on a 21-day event/holter monitor. I wore this bothersome thing 21 days, day-night, through exercise, etc. After 21 days, the tests came back that I had no electrical problems and normal heart function. The only thing the cardiologist pointed out is that I have a low resting heart rate of 45 and 32 when asleep. He said this should be nothing to worry about considering all electrical issues can be ruled out for the heart. After it was all said and done, he told me that I won the "heart lottery" and that he probably wouldn't need to see me for a checkup until I'm 65 years old. During these tests, I informed him of air hunger, but he didn't seem too concerned about it.

So, I went back to the doctor a few weeks after these tests and told them I'm still having the air hunger issue. They ran through their basic tests again and said that it sounds l like the lungs are functioning normally. However, he suggested I go see a pulmonologist. We scheduled that and I went on my way.

About a week later, I was at the pulmonologist. He looked at the CAT scans (which happen to be in the chest and of my lungs too) and he told me there is nothing he sees that would indicate a problem. He said that I had a 2mm nodule in one lung, but could be the result of an infection (I had flu-like symptoms the week before that were going away by this point) and it's nothing to worry about -- he said most doctors wouldn't even let their patients know about nodules less than 5mm because they are so common in people. He did an asthma test of me, which came back to 93%. He said I need to have 90% or higher to be considered excellent.

Anyway, after going to a cardiologist, a pulmonlogist, and countless doctor visits about this. We've pretty much ruled out all the serious problems. All three of them have told me not to worry about it. However, it's still not going away. It doesn't stop me from exercising (I do strenuous exercise daily for 45 mins to an hour) or doing my normal activities. It's just an annoyance that I only really "realize" when I'm working at my desk or relaxing -- I don't really realize it when I'm concentrating on something, or involved in something.

The good thing out of all this is that I have lost 75 lbs, on the lowest dosage of blood pressure meds, and my blood pressure now averages at 127/78. I just want to get down to the root cause of this air hunger!

Thanks guys for reading! Any suggestions?





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