Quick question about breathing issues

I have had issues with feeling like I'm not getting enough air and I have to take deep breathes to compensate. I've done this off and on for about a year and just assumed it was anxiety and waited it out. (I LOATHE going to doctors) This time, it doesn't seem to be going away and I'm not particularly feeling anxious (I could be and just not realize it). There is not really any pain. Just a little cough, and chest a bit tight. If I go to the doctor, do I go to my pcp? or my rheumy?

Thanks my lupie lovelies!

I’m new to all this, but I have had breathing problems for years. I’ve had X-rays also-nothing. I would call your rume first. Don’t ignore with the tightness in the chest. I hope all is well, but with the tightness, I would get checked.

Breathing issues I believe can be associated with Lupus. But, then again everything that goes on in our bodies seem to have some relationship to Lupus. You can have lung involvement which could make you feel like you need to take a deep breathe. Is this happening more at night time? Also Asthma can make you feel like you need more air . Walking pneumonia, as we would call it is pneumonia that does not make you feel so ill. After having Bronchitis one winter I continued to have the same symptoms you are describing. I developed bronchial problems that was treated with steroids and inhaler medications. Also had a sleep apnea study and now use a CPAP at night.

Thanks Ann and Bumps! That's why I haven't gone lately. I'm just waiting for one of them to tell me to breathe in a paper bag! hahaha

I have experienced this myself and still do.

I was prescribed "combivent" by my family Dr. (inhaler)

I did find that it is quite expensive, depending on your ins.

If you can afford it, it works almost immediately, very well.

I am sure there are other kinds, "combivent" is just what they prescibed me.

Lupus has affected my lungs.

I am 48 and started noticing lung problems about age 43-44. before I was even diagnosed.

I hope this helps some.

Hi Artchick,

I would go to my PCP, but go to which ever doctor you have the most confidence in. My husband has problems with acid reflux that affect his breathing. You really should see a doctor, and not be shy about going. Please let us know what you find out, we care.

I've done this off and on for years, but was just diagnosed with lupus a year ago. Most doctors immediately attributed it to depression/anxiety as well as all the other lupus symptoms, until the other stuff became so obvious. Occasionally i will hear a slight wheeze, kind of sounds like a kitten meow, but it never does it at a doctors office, of course. I just had a little cold and flare a few weeks ago, and I guess that is what has me a tiny bit concerned. I may go ahead and make an appt. yuck!

Thanks for the replies! It helps to know I'm not alone.

Just a warning... one night my hubby felt like he could not get in enough breath. He was gasping, light-headed, weak... I was certain it was an asthma attack (I get them), and finally convinced him to go to the ER. Once there, they declared his oxygen level was fine, even though he was visibly still gasping for breath. He ended up admitted to the cardiac unit, and was diagnosed with a heart issue. (Essentially, an extra electrical current was making his heart beat much faster than it should, but not all the time. He has a single med daily now to take care of it.)

I am not trying to say this is your trouble, but I AM saying that you should have it checked out! Most especially if it worsens.

i just checked my pulse and it's 94! I've just been sitting on the couch since 9am....looking more and more like I should go in. double yuck. Thnx Talencia!


When I was initially DXed with lupus in 2003, I had some "breathing difficulty and a cough." I was referred to a pulmonologist by my rhuemy. The lung doc prescribed an albutural inhaler and advair or something like that and the symptoms were relieved.

I had some real serious symptoms in 2009. I could breathe but it felt like I was drowning. My oxygen level was 98-100% and urgent care and my primary both said post-nasal drip or a head cold maybe even bronchitits. I was coughing until blood came up. Turns out that I still could visit a pulmonologist using my old referral. And, my pulmonologist said I had a lung infection and bronchiectasis (lung scarring from Sjogren's--interstitial lung disease).

Please go check it out. I don't know your health plan, but a rhuemy can refer you to a pulmonary doctor.

Pay attention to your symptoms. Take care.

Regarding not being able to breathe sometimes with a cough, could also indicate a heart issue. I am a nurse with Lupus and when the heart skips a beat it could make you cough and your chest can either feel normal or get a little tight. If I were you I would see my primary Dr. ASAP for a complete work up.

when I had breathing symptoms, it was because of my allergies. I really think that people with Lupus tend to have multiple allergies to stuff, and need to get allergy tested every few years, and avoid stuff you are allergic to. I am not the best example of this: have to have cream in my tea every day, and tho I haven't been tested, my holistic Dr is pretty sure I am allergic to it. I do however, avoid the other stuff I'm allergic to. Like chlorine, for instance, and a great many foods. Actually, just remembered another Dr did test me and I am allergic to Dairy. Go figure! If I didn't have the Lupus, I would suspect myself of having selective memory loss. lol!

Please go see your Rheumy or PCP. You could have inflammation in your lungs which can go bad very quickly. I have had this happen and ended up in the hospital for 5 days. I now have an inhaler and a steroid inhaler for when I feel it difficult to breathe. If the cough is bad I always go just to be sure it’s not pneumonia. Once you have had a real scare with your breathing you realize it’s not something to mess with. If it turns out to be anxiety related then you will at least feel better knowing that instead of worrying about it which causes more anxiety.

Take care of you and I hope you feel better soon!

I have been having breathing problems for 9 yrs now. I was checked out by muliple a pulmonoloogist and cardiologist, they always say my breathing is great!!! NOT.....I actually have had a chronic pluerisy issue going on along with a little fluid around the sac of my heart (percardits) which some cardiologists have said a little fluid is sometimes normal? That means sometimes not and I had symptoms of it!! Anyway, when my PCP put me on prednisone for ear infection and fluid I started breathing better. Even though I do not check positive to LUPUS, (I have many symptoms) I have this issue which is common in lupus pts. My Rhemy is starting me on Plaquenil to see if that helps with the breathing. Breathing problems can also be from myofacia or costocondritis. Hope you get an answer soon....Be Well!

I have episodes of shortness of breath off and on. Been in the hospital for it just recently for prednisone infusions. The doctors don't know what it is from although they say Lupus. But when I get these episodes it is mainly on exertion and also when I talk. Oxygen seems to help which is weird since my O2 levels are good. Nodules have come and gone on CT lung scans. But recently I heard that low hemoglobin levels can also cause shortness of breath. I know I have low hemoglobin levels, so I am going to talk to my Rheumie on my next visit.l

thanks everyone! I've about convinced myself to call my pcp. I have mitral valve prolapse and an irregular heartbeat anyway along with high blood pressure (on meds for that). I realized from reading your responses that this reminds me of when I first had heart issues, fatigue and not feeling like I am able to get enough air. I'll chat with hubby tonight. Love my lupie friends!

I have done this off and on for the last few months......turned out to be allergic reaction to wheat / gluten ......no more symptoms since I quit eating those foods. RJQ is right......people with Lupus have a lot of allergies including food allergies.

And my food allergies always get worse about this time of year when the spring flowers start blooming !

SMOKY MTN SNOWFLAKE, do you mean that going on a gluten free diet totally made your breathing problems go away? I wonder if your breathing problems were the same as pluerisy issues, inflamation that gets better on antinflamatories and prednisone. Maybe there are different breathing problems we are having coming from diffent issues. If gluten free can help inflamatory breathing issues that would be a simple great remedy!

My breathing gradually got better when I gave up eating Nightshades. Hated to give them up, since fresh veggies are some of my favorites, but after I quit eating them, my breathing slowly began to recover. Didn't happen overnight, though. It actually took probably 8 or 10 months. But, I really urge everyone with Lupus to find out what your allergies are, and stay away from all of the items you can.

Alley said:

SMOKY MTN SNOWFLAKE, do you mean that going on a gluten free diet totally made your breathing problems go away? I wonder if your breathing problems were the same as pluerisy issues, inflamation that gets better on antinflamatories and prednisone. Maybe there are different breathing problems we are having coming from diffent issues. If gluten free can help inflamatory breathing issues that would be a simple great remedy!

I love these responses! I’ve had the same issue off and on for almost a years. I’ve been to the ER, my pcp & my rheumy. She finally sent me to The Heart Hospital where I got a VERY thorough checkup which revealed nothing. In fact my lung test results were so good that the dr couldn’t believe that I was only 5’3" & not an athlete, lol! I chalked it up to another Lupus mystery. I hadn’t thought about it until I read one of the previous posts but it hasn’t happened at all since I started eating gluten free. I think there may be a connection there…for me anyway. Hope everything goes well for you!