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Lung diseases

Yawn to catch deep breath

10/04/2006

Question:

For about 2 + years now I`ve had a problem where I always feel I have to yawn to catch a deep breath. Most times it`s an imperceptable yawn for others, but it`s there. My breathing always feels kind of stuck and not satisfying. I`m 46 year old male, peak flow reading around 600, former smoker, no trouble exercising. ( actually the problem goes away during exercise ) Only "disease" I ever had was a bad case of gastritis about 3 years ago. ( sharp pain on inspiration, ran EKG`s, lung X-rays, etc., all normal ) Anyway, this feeling is ruining my life. Could it be GERD? I just started Pepcid A.C. today, to give it a shot since I did have the gastritis ) Oh, here`s another anomally, if I`m sick in some other way, this feeling usually takes a back seat or goes away completely until I feel better ( meaning a cold, sore throat, etc.) . Could it just be anxiety? I don`t feel anxious except for this symptom? It almost feels like the breathing is stuck just below the sternum. When I lay down I`m usually fine. I do stiffness almost all the time in my neck, shoulders, back, and ribs. Not debilitating, but always there. If I stretch hard I can feel my rib cage "pop". ( although that doesn`t help the feeling ) If I eat alot it seems a bit worse, and if I burb sometimes it feels a bit better for a little while.

Thanks

Answer:

Everyone perceives breathlessness and respiratory symptoms slightly differently and it is sometimes difficult to communicate a respiratory sensation. Its those times that I appreciate the opportunity to ask and clarify and seek further descriptions.

Unfortunately, your question and symptoms fall into that category; I am have a difficult time understanding exactly what you are sensing.  It might be beneficial to see your primary care physician or a lung specialist and review with them your description.  Pulmonary function studies would help to determine if there were any abnormalities in your lung capacity or ability to move air in and out of the lungs. Imaging studies such as a chest x-ray or CT scan would determine if there were any structural abnormalities.

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Response by:

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati