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Can history of anxiety disorder lead to shortness of breath especially while eating and lying down ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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My daughter has suddenly developed shortness of breath. This is worse when she eats, and when she is lying down. She has been checked for all possible causes, and none have been found. Can you suggest anything that might cause this. She is 23 years old, and has suffered from anxiety disorder for some time, but the shortness of breath has just started in the last week.
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Anxiety and Stress
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mitaly 36 minutes later
Hi,

Thanks for posting your query

Shortness of breath can be due to some common reasons as:
1)Respiratory disorders as Bronchitis,Asthma,Pneumonia etc.
2)Allergy to any food item,changing weather.
3)Heart disorders
4)Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Since all the tests as reported by you are normal it seems that she is suffering from Anxiety Disorder which can present as shortness of breath and chest pain at times.

It seems that she is having acute anxiety.Some suggestions:

1)Have a healthy nutritious diet.
2)Surround herself with friends,family and supportive people.Let her not be alone.
3)Do Yoga/meditation daily.
4)Exercise daily for at least half an hour.It really helps in anxiety.
5)Have adequate sleep.
6)Encourage her for hobbies what she is fond of as music,movies,dancing etc.
All these things along with medications can help her in overcoming this state and be healthy.

Hope this answers your query.I am available for follow ups.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Can history of anxiety disorder lead to shortness of breath especially while eating and lying down ? 10 hours later
I am not all together convinced that it is anxiety, she arrived from USA a week ago, and was absolutely fine for the first 4 days, then suddenly she felt a heaviness in her chest and was unable to breath properly. The doctors have suggested it could be due to the humidity right now in Delhi, pls could you advise if this could be a likely cause. If it is how do I help her, as she is really freaked out, and very worried as all of us are.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mitaly 1 hour later
Hello,

Thanks for the follow up

High humidity usually causes problems in people who have some kind of respiratory problems as Bronchitis,Asthma,COPD etc.Since you had explained that all her reports were normal so a possibility of anxiety was suggested as anxiety symptoms arise all of a sudden itself and can manifest without any reason.
You can try using a humidifier in a room and observe for any changes.
It is very necessary to get her lungs clinically examined so that other causes can be ruled out.If her Chest X XXXXXXX has not been done then consider getting it done or request for a repeat one.

Hope this helps!

Wishing her Good health!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Can history of anxiety disorder lead to shortness of breath especially while eating and lying down ? 10 hours later
Her chest X XXXXXXX was done it was normal her PFT was also done which was just on the border of normal.
I still insist that it is not anxiety, as she has nothing to anxious about at this time.
Regards
 
 
Answered by Dr. Mitaly 1 hour later
Hello,

Thanks again.

It can be an allergic manifestation even as she has arrived right now to India.

Try to find out if any particular food item, clothing, things as bedding, pillows are causing any kind of allergy.

Consider visiting a Pulmonologist for detailed evaluation and if required he might advise MRI/CT scan.

Wishing her good health!

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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