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Gasping for breath, non smoker. Worried

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3388 Questions
I am a 65 year old woman, non smoker. In the last 6 weeks I have noticed that I have to gasp for more air maybe 5 - 6 times an hour as if I am not getting enough oxygen. I made an appt to see a pulmonary doctor but the first available date is late Sept. I am worried.
thank you
Posted Sat, 8 Sep 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 1 hour later

Thanks for your query.

I would like to know some more information related to your problem , to understand the condition better and help you well.

Do you have breathlessness ?
Is the gasping more in the early mornings or any specific time of the day when it is worse ?
Did you have any kind of medication , food or any material ?
Are you on any medication since long ?

Waiting for your reply,

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Gasping for breath, non smoker. Worried 8 hours later
1) yes, occasionally I have breathlessness ( I am uncertain of definition though)
2) I am more aware of it before I get out of bed before the alarm goes off. Still half asleep, I have very shallow breathing perhaps curled up in a ball my diaphram is not extended. At that time it feels like I almost "forget" to breathe and I am jolted awake with need to gasp to breathe. Once up and moving I see no difference in my need to gasp for air during the day or night. I feel this shortness of breathe throughout the day especially when I am moving around, less when sitting at my desk.
3) No respiratory tract infections in my past. I have an excellent primary care doctor and get a chect x-ray every year or two. No history of lung allergies or asthma.
4)No allergies to medicine, food or material
5) Besides the OTC things like calcium, vitamins and low dosage aspirin, I have been taking Diovan 120mg for high blood pressure for 7 years.

Please ask me further questions if I have not explained myself well enough.
Thank you XXXXXXX XXXXXXX Thornton
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 14 hours later

Thanks for the information.

Detailed examination of the chest with a stethoscope would help to know if there is any obstruction to the airflow in the lungs.

But based on above information , I could think of it being a restrictive lung disease rather than any serious neural or muscular involvement.

I suggest you to get a Pulmonary function test done , this test confirms whether the condition is due to restrictive or an obstructive cause.

Restrictive lung diseases can be seen in many conditions most common being results will provide enough details so as to narrow down the possibilities and arrive at a right diagnosis through specific tests.

Hope I answered your query.

Please ask me doubts , if you have any.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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