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Odd breath

Didn't really understand about hyperventilating until today. Younger DD having first baby - six weeks to go. Up at health centre for midwife check on Mon. BP high. Asked if anyone could take her to local maternity dept for monitoring. Which I did. Allowed home by teatime, after scan, bloods, chat with consultant she's now under, etc. Day of rest yesterday, BP check with practice nurse who co-incidentally is my asthma nurse. BPs again high and off we went to hospital again for monitoring. Let out earlier this time as appt with con on Friday.

I was fine on Monday. No asthma grumbles. But today, firstly parking space further away at bottom of hill and I found breathing a bit funny when got back up to hosp. Not my usual out of breath puff, nor the asthma cough (I'm not a wheezer). Managed not to let on and worry anyone. But it was strange cos felt lungs hurt though not in asthma way. No elephant hugs to my sides but more a kind of twisting to chest. And no, not in a heart attack way either. Crosses fingers.

Assuming this was a cross between panic attack and hyperventilating.

Puzzling. Fine now but feel shattered. Any thoughts? Any calming ideas?

6 Replies

Sorry you had a funny turn and hopefully that's all it was- hope you're feeling better.

When I get stressed I think my breathing goes all out of whack and sometimes I can't tell if it's asthma or a bit of anxiety. It helps me if I can sit somewhere quiet and take a bit of ventolin, but also focus on trying to take calm breaths through my nose. Someone once told me to 'breathe like a baby' - if your tummy rather than the top of your chest is going up and down you're doing it right. If you can't do that within a short while you need more meds and maybe medical help.

That's what works for me - might not be right for everyone - but it definitely helps me tell the difference between asthma and anxiety.


Thanks gamba.

Had a lovely day of doing nothing today. Tried the breathe like a baby and will try to remember to do so when I take daughter to hospital for consultant chat tomorrow. Putting down the funny turn to keeping my worry under wraps from daughter and being strong for her and her partner.


baby breath

Hi GrannyMo,

Hope the worry and breathing is getting back under control. The baby breathing technique used by gamba is a very good one. When stressed or worried or anxious there is an adrenaline response from our body that increases our breathing (and heart rate- its the fight or flight response though we may be sitting still-our worry/stress/anxiety thoughts bring it on) which then increases our stress which brings on these and asthma symptoms. Hyperventilation is very poorly understood and perhaps only the very obvious 5-10 percent that is obvious to everyone is actually understood as hyperventilation. The other 90-95% is called hidden hyperventilation and people in the asthma and anxiety areas practically all suffer from it.

By focussing on your breathing (that baby breathing technique) you can control the knock on effect on your breathing thus self limiting what symptoms you experience. As a cougher you could try not to cough as there is little benefit in productive coughing (complete misnomer). Our bodies are designed to eliminate mucus using our cilia and calm gentle breathing. If you can ever hear your breathing at rest (definitely whenever you cough) you are after or are hidden hyperventilating. Coughing is probably a bit tougher on you than being a wheezer and less understood.

The link to anxiety and asthma is through the effect on our breathing. At low levels of CP (correctly measured, consistent for 6 months and taken first thing in the morning) then it takes very, very little to bring on asthma or anxiety or both and it can be difficult to distinguish the cause. We can protect ourselves from both by consciously minding our breathing and doing gentle exercises to retrain our respiratory centre (medulla) to safely and successfully alter our normal breathing habit. Best learned using a trained experienced practitioner with the usual provisos of doctor approval or acceptance if reluctant.

Fingers crossed for you,



Buteyko- I'm glad you are familiar with the baby breathing thing and that it works for you.

I sorry but although I do some alternative things like breathing and yoga and exercise to help with asthma and stress, I do not accept the hyperventilation/buteko theories you often post. I can't speak for anyone else on the board but it feels like you hijack lots of discussions without really listening to what people are talking about.

I would love to have complete control of my asthma and not take any meds. But for the time being I am not well enough to. I don't think a conversion to buteyko would change that.


Panic over. Daughter's consultant quite happy at results of tests and said would see her in two weeks time.

Re Buteyko. Thank you for taking the time to impart your feelings on this subject. Unfortunately I'm in line with Dr Mike Thomas, a consultant in Aberdeen, who is quoted as saying: ""I'm a scientist, and the physiological claims the Buteyko practitioners make do not stand up. Buteyko is more of a faith than a science.""

Although research in The Medical Journal of Australia showed the participants ""demonstrated a trend towards lower inhaled steroid doses"", it also showed ""no change in lung function"" and ""carbon dioxide levels remained the same in both the control group and the Buteyko group"".


Hey GrannyMo, glad you're daughter's in better shape. Hope you've had a chance to relax.


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