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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

Lately, I've noticed that sometimes it's difficult to breathe as if something is pressing my chest. I have to take a lot of short breath and my chest is so uncomfortable. I also have a lot of dry coughing. I figured it was due to a panic attack but now these breathing problems happen so often. Could it be something else? Asthma? Is it possible to have a breathing problem from lupus? Does anyone else has the same problem?

Thanks!

Cinnia
 

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Hi Cinnia,

I hope you have told your rhumey about this?

Here is what I found.

It is a chronic form of pneumonitis, & is rare in lupus. The symptoms are a chronic non-productive cough, which comes on slowly, pleuritis-like chest pains, & difficulty breathing during exercise.
Infection needs to be ruled out as a cause. A bronchoscopy and/or a lung biopsy are usually needed to determine the cause.
Chronic lupus pneumonitis causes scarring in the lung, which decreases the ability of the lungs to deliver oxygen to the blood. Breathing function tests are used to follow the activity of the disease.
It is usually treated with steroids. The course of the disease varies, some patients improve, deteriorate or stabilise.
http://www.uklupus.co.uk/cdild.html

another link.

http://www.uklupus.co.uk/lsymp.html

There is a number of things that it could be, but very worth while in getting it checked out.

Let me know how you are doing.

Love,
Lyn

 

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That also sounds similar to what I get with asthma. I have a-typical asthma which causes a dry cough... Usually triggered by a tremendous tickle in my throat... And it also causes a tightness in the chest. Although if you've never been diagnosed with asthma, and you're having as many complications as you are from lupus, I'd be inclined to investigate the previous post.

Glad to hear you're seeing a new rheumatologist who actually listens to you!! I hope you are recovering well/quickly.
-Elizabeth
 

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Hi there :)

There are many things that can cause breathing problems with lupus and shortness of breath is quite common but needs investigating.

I hadn't come across Lyn's description before but here description sounds very similar to what goes on in ILD (Interstitial Lung Disease) which can occur in lupus and polymyositis. You can also have pleurisy problems (including dry pleurisy) and I'm sure numerous others.

I had pretty severe problems with breathing last year and it can be very frightening if it gets bad. I had x-rays done, lung function tests, an asthma provocation test and a CAT scan to be sure everything was OK. I do have some slight lesions on my lungs but there is nothing "serious" wrong. I still have the breathing problems to a degree (though no longer serious so long as I say on the same does of pred) and the pulmologist suspects that it is actually due to weakened muscles all around the thorax and lungs themselves (due to polymyositis/lupus myositis). I have a constantly oppressed feeling which gets worse when I'm tired and at times when lying down or in heat. The dry cough has been there for years but doesn't get worse. When it happens to me, I'll need to yawn to "get enough air" but if it's bad that doesn't work and I then have to make sure to stay very calm and breathe out completely so as to be able to fill lungs better when breathing in.

Keep a note of when it happens - does exercise make it worse, stairs, lying down, heat, cold...? and get it checked out. It might be nothing but it can be very frightening and I did end up in emergency twice in the same week once when I was doing a pred taper (haven't gone back down since) as I seriously couldn't "ventilate" well (my GP's words).

Katharine
 

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Hi, I have shortness of breath and find when I am flaring I cough. I do have mild asthma and lung tests have found my lungs don't get enough oxygen. I have to do what Katherine does and 'yawn' to get more air!

I would definitely get this checked out as it could have a number of causes. Make an appt with your gp or rheumy. Let us know how you get on.

Take care

Deb
 

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i just had to write to say a big thank you.I just joined the site tonight ( i couldnt sleep )
and was brousing through. I have had Lupus for 7 years now,but the breathing
difficulties have really been scaring me.My heart and kidneys are affected, but tests
on my lungs showed only slight scarring and "nothing too serious".The feeling of
not being able to get a deep breathe is awful, and i can only get one when i yawn.
Thank you so, so much.I really feel comforted to know its not just me who is
feeling this.THANKS
 

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Difficulty breathing and cough

Cinnia;556894 said:
Hi guys,

Lately, I've noticed that sometimes it's difficult to breathe as if something is pressing my chest. I have to take a lot of short breath and my chest is so uncomfortable. I also have a lot of dry coughing. I figured it was due to a panic attack but now these breathing problems happen so often. Could it be something else? Asthma? Is it possible to have a breathing problem from lupus? Does anyone else has the same problem?

Thanks!

Cinnia
We returned from the emergency room at 5:00 this morning. After walking at a festival today, I started having sharp chest pains in the center and left of my chest. I've done this several times over the years and was told it was esophogus spasms so I don't worry too much; however, upper left arm became numb and just wasn't right so my husband wanted me to get checked out. I realized during the exam that I had severe tenderness when pressed in the center of my chest. It was diagnosed with costochondritis. While there, I developed a forceful dry cough. Sent me home with nsaids and a follow-up to my doctor. Today it has expanded to the back of my right ribs. The doctor said it frequently follows a virus, which I've had. Hope this helps.
 

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Hi Cinnia, I just came across your post today...I have not been on line for awhile...I have been extremely fatigued and weak. I managed SLE for many years and led a somewhat active life. Five years ago a Cat showed something in my lungs. My GP was not familiar with the DX. and sent me to a lung doctor. He said the Lupus had entered my lungs. My Rhumy started me on Imuran which helped for several years, then it caused my liver enzymes to elevate, so I was taken off the drug. I have lost 40% lung function, maybe even more(I will be tested again in Nov.) Lately I sometimes feel like I am drowning, because I can't catch my breathe. I take Cellcept and I have been put back on placquenil. I just found out a short time ago that once the lungs are scared, they won't go back yo normal. I guess I was under the illusion that I would make a complete recovery.
Please go and see a lung specialist. If lupus has entered your lungs, maybe you can stop it before it gets too severe. Take care and Good Wishes, Rosie
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Lin,

The breathing has been better. Last year, I had fluid in the lungs... I think pleural. Since then, I think the doctor said that there is scare tissue. Sometimes this breathing happens when I seem to have a panic attack. It's definitely not from exercising because I was in San Francisco yesterday and walked a lot and was okay. A couple of days ago, there was some pain near my ribs. After more rest, the pain went away.

No idea why that time it was a little difficult to breathe because right now I feel fine. I guess I'll talk to my rheumy when I see him in 3 weeks.

But thank you for checking up with me!! I really appreciate it.

Cinnia
 

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Stress, anxiety, panic attack breathing issues I would think are separate issues that need different solutions; but if anyone who has Lupus, MCTD, etc develops a dry hacking cough that lasts 7-10 days and beyond; you should go and see your GP as soon as you can.

I didnt, and some months later after sever double pnuemonia and several other lung issues, found out I had pulmonary fibrosis (interstital lung disease). I lost 30% of my lung capacity.

If anyone has their ANA results and the autoantibody RNP is evident, dont wait 7 days, go ASAP.
 

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Hi Cinnia,
I just joined today, your post was exactly what I was looking for.
I have had Lupus for 22 years, and on August 22 I awoke at 5am with similar symptoms to yours, felt like I had someone standing on my chest, shortness of breath and when I stood up I got light headed - ended up in Emerg, they thought it was a heart attack (I have right-sided enlargement of the heart from a faulty pulmonary valve - still investigating the cause of that), did ECG's and enzymes and kept me for most of the day, ruled out heart attack and told me to see my cardiologist. He didn't think it was from the Pulmonary regurgitation but, I'm still short of breath upon any exertion, even an active conversation on the phone and people can hear it. Saw my Rheumy yesterday and she mentioned Shrinking Lung Syndrome among other things, took about a litre of blood, arterial blood gases and is booking me to see a Lung specialist.
From the level of her concern, I am a little worried, she's not one to panic and she seemed pretty adamant that we get things rolling right away.
You may want to contact your Rheumy and run your symptoms past him/her just incase they feel they should see you sooner?
 

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Cinnia,

I was just at my GP office yesterday and mentioned a breathlessness sort of feeling I have been experiencing and long story short I found out that low iron, low ferratin and low b12 can also cause these symptoms.

I am curious, have you had any of these come back low in recent blood tests?

Just food for thought and it may not be what is going on with you at all but I wanted to put it out on the table.

I hope your still feeling well.:wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi,

Actually yes... my iron is slightly low. Not very low but still low. My rheumy told me to take extra iron - 2 times a day. Since then, my breathing is been better. Though... I think part of my breathing problem is partly due to panic attacks.

Thanks everyone for all the opinion.

Cinnia
 

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Make sure you take your Iron properly and are you taking anti anxiety drugs?

If not you probably should be on something and if you already are then chat with your doctor about increasing the dose or switching to another drug. You should not have to suffer with anxiety and since you are it is not well controlled.
 

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!!!!! Very Important !!!!!!

Dear All

Please do not hesitate for one single moment seeking help for chest pains tightness or breathing problems. This is not a time for self diagnosis of yourself or a friend or family member. Each year more women die from heart disease than from breast cancer. The incidence of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack in young women with lupus is horrifically high compared with healthy women in the same age group. It is a major concern.
Women notoriously hesitate to seek help for themselves when they would be packing anybody else off to ER at once. The symptoms are often slightly different for women.
One study has showed that depressed people suffer more heart attacks than others. There is even a definite medical condition called "broken heart syndrome", a clinically demonstrable reaction to extreme stress.

Whether caused by panic or anything else, not being able to breathe can have fatal results!

That's what took me to A&E this weekend. I suddenly couldn't get my breath and almost collapsed. I could hardly speak even. No pain, no vomiting or any other typical symptoms, unless cold sweats counts, but they immediately suspected heart attack.

Take care !
Clare

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/actintime/haws/women.htm
http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_empty.aspx?articleid=2364&zoneid=76
 
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