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Hi all,

I'm wondering if anyone with any medical knowledge or experience can help me.

I'm 19 years old and for the past 2 years have been suffering from SOB. I'm never gasping but have a feeling as if I don't have enough air and have this strange feeling from my throat downwards, like an irritated feeling. I have not been diagnosed with asthma and lung function was good overall 90% is this good or borderline?

I have also had a chest x-Ray which was clear.

Every time I get a virus for example a cold, my cough lasts for weeks. The last time it lasted 8 weeks and varied from producing lots of green mucus to very dry and keeping me awake all night.

The doctors gave me amoxicillin, clarithromycin and prednisolone but none seemed to help apart from the steroids.

I am getting very worried and it's getting me down.

I also have had reflux since I was 15, they have tried various drugs such as omeprazole 20mg, 40mg and lansoprazole 30 mg but nothing has got rid of it. They said they will try endoscope if it does not work after this course of omeprazole. I just wonder if this is possibly linked to my chest problems as I have heard it can.

My oxygen sats are 99% and as I am young the Drs don't seem to be worried or care.

I have often thought that if I continue to feel this way I don't want to live anymore.

Can anybody help?

14 Replies

I forgot to add that quite frequently my fingernails are purple and my lips can tinge this colour, however I am told that if I was cyanosed I would probably collapse. But people sometimes notice this too without me mentioning it?


Right. There seem to be a few clues in your story, so let's consider the facts. You're 19, and have a had a clear chest X-ray, and your SATs are 99%. The medics you've seen don't seem to be too worried about any physical symptoms. This is all good. The two antibiotics you've been given won't do anything for viral infections such as a cold, because these medicines only combat bacterial infections. Prednisolone will have helped because it reduces inflammation.

Certainly reflux will make your oesophagus feel funny - the "throat down" feeling that you describe.

There are a couple of phrases in your post that may hold the key - you're worried, it's getting you down and you feel that you don't want to live any more.

At age 9, 19 or 91, and all stages in between, when our bodies feel that we're under pressure they do indeed respond with very real physical symptoms. Shortness of breath and anything vaguely tummy-related are classic symptoms of a body reacting to the stresses and strains we all feel, and it's entirely normal. you're not alone in feeling like this!

It's time for you to take control of your situation. How about this for a plan:

First, make an appointment with your GP for about two weeks ahead. Then, every day for the next two weeks as you wake each morning, lie comfortably on your bed, take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth, closing your eyes at the same time. Lie back for three minutes and simply allow your worries about your health to drift into your mind and then out again - a bit like clouds moving across a blue sky summer sky. After three minutes slowly open your eyes, get up and get on with the day. don't stay in bed, but get up, and get washed and dressed, treating yourself to a decent breakfast. Each evening, go to bed at the same time, no later than say 10.30pm. Don't eat after 8pm and do everything you can to make your bedroom calm and comfortable, but not too warm. Read for ten minutes by all means, but a book, not anything with a screen. Stay away from iPad and turn off the bedroom TV. The screens stimulate our brains and make proper rest more difficult. Make the room as dark as possible, and if it helps, fall asleep to soft music. There are hundreds of relaxation music videos freely available on YouTube. Mozart for babies is brilliant, but if classical music isn't your thing there are many other styles from which to choose!

Go for a gentle 20 minute walk every day, regardless of the weather. If it's cold put a scarf over your mouth and nose so that you reduce the risk of cold air irritating your airways.

Avoid caffeine and spicy or fatty foods that are a bit indigestible. If you smoke or drink alcohol or take any recreational drugs then try giving these a miss. Drink plenty of water instead.

If through the day the negative thoughts about your health start to crowd your head a bit then try the 3-minute breathing and relaxation trick as per the above. And don't forget, thoughts are just thoughts - nothing more. They come, and they go if you let them. Don't bother to stop to argue with them!

If you feel that you could do with some help with this then Google "Headspace" and follow the ten-day programme. It's completely free, and it works.

Keep a simple diary of your symptoms.

A couple of days before your GP appointment sit down and review your experience and feelings. I'd bet that you'll actually be feeling much better, even to the point where you'll be OK to cancel your appointment. But if you feel that a visit to your GP would be useful then because you'll have kept a diary, you'll be able to go over the facts. You'll also know that you've taken steps to take the pressure off yourself. This will help you to eliminate the symptoms that are being caused by your worries and pressure, which means that any remaining symptoms, if indeed there are any and which may have a purely physical cause, are going to be much easier for the GP to identify.

You do say that you wonder if it's worth living. Well it is, and at 19 you have a wonderful lifetime ahead of you. Many many people have felt the way you feel, it's very common, and really, a normal part of being human. If at any time that feeling becomes more than you can handle then the right thing to do is ask for help. If you can't get to your GP, then try family, work or college friends. You'd be surprised just how kind people can be. If you feel really bad to the point of wanting to hurt yourself or anyone else then go to A&E, call the Samaritans or an ambulance.

You've made the first step in the right direction by raising this on here - well done.

Please do give this little plan a try. There's no part of it that could possibly do you any harm. It's your body, your life, so take control of it!

Good luck.


Great advice. I will add to have a look online as there are lots of breathing exercises both for those with lung problems and for anxiety. x

1 like

Hi thank you for your reply. It's strange I actually felt better after writing this post. I do have generalised anxiety disorder but sometimes believe that Drs use this as a scapegoat for an easier life.

I just can't explain the bad chest colds I get and wheezing in relation to the shortness of breath everyday (even without acold). Perhaps they are entirely separate matters. I almost feel like other things should be ruled out for example the acid being aspirated while lying down at night, hence the shortness of breath.

I sometimes believe that it's in my head but it's not my typical anxiety symptoms for example the butterfly, awful feeling in your stomach when you're worried or heart palpitations. It's not an intense sense of fear just a constant strain.

Thank you for the advise and I will do that, I think the diary is a good idea.

1 like

Yes doctors can rather jump on anxiety sometimes with breathing problems - understandable but can be annoying.if there are other tbings going on. It can of course trigger asthma for some people as well which can be confusing, but at the same time people who have both generally know the difference in how they feel.

TimN's advice seems definitely worth following as like he says if it doesn't help, or at least doesn't fix everything, you can then point out that you have done all this and still have symptoms, and can show them the diary - and hopefully it will help at least a bit. Oxygen levels can often be good in young people even when they are having an attack so in itself that is not really helpful either way. As others have said colds won't respond to antibiotics or show on x ray, but if you do have asthma they do still tend to cause problems and linger. Spirometry can be tricky as you don't necessarily know what your personal best is - 90% predicted is fine but I used to get 120% predicted at times and still have asthma - can be a bit of a roll of the dice depending on how you ard when you do it. If they did want to investigate asthma then ideally they would see how the spirometry responds to reliever medication.

Feeling like that all the time is miserable so whatever the cause I hope you start to feel better. Perhaps a different GP may listen better to the whole picture if you have found before that they focus a lot on one particular aspect. Perhaps it's also worth taking a picture of your fingernails/lips when they change colour. I would also think that if that were caused by asthma you would be feeling a lot worse but they could look into anything else which might cause it and at least settle that.


Fabulous reply Tim... brilliant support


Spot on Tim. In fact I started to write a reply then read yours, they were so alike it was pointless for me to continue.

Excellent well balanced advice, keep up the good work!



Anxiety will cause all sorts of physical symptoms, not just a thumping heart and tummy butterflies. Some people find that yoga classes are a big help, and so why not see what’s available in your town?

But taking a few minutes each morning to allow your mind and body to breathe, plus eating well, taking gentle exercise, and sleeping well, none of this costs anything. It has to be worth a try.

Good luck!

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Please go ahead and do the endoscopy. If you have any issue inside such as Chronic Gastiris, a good Biopsy will show.

With a history of Acid Reflux, look into GERD or NERD symptoms and also a key likelihood of HATIAL HERNIA. A hatial hernia may cause such strange feeling of not having enough breath- ideally since it pushed against part of the Diaphragm.

1 like


Having read TimN comments you can do no better than to follow his suggestions. I have a medical background which also includes psychology, I must say TimN is offering excellent advice.

We all have 'down' periods, accept them for what they are, just passing thoughts. However understand there will 'up' times as well, so look forward to them.

Best wishes, do have a Happy Christmas,


1 like

Excellent reply from Tim I have asthma for a long time and recently went through a bad spell was admitted to hospital for tests, endoscopy and colonoscopy as my iron was very low. After endoscopy it showed acid from stomach had caused burns on my oesophagus and the acid was also affecting lungs. Have also got Hiatus hernia as the respiratory consultant said to me I had a few things going on. Have been put on medication to reduce acid. Am careful what I eat.Hope this post helps in someway.

1 like

Forgot to say that I also experience sinus problem use Neil med wash and dymista spray when required. Don't be too hard on yourself. One of the greatest gifts I was given was the gift of music I play with a group once a week and it's great therapy. Pamper yourself. Have a happy Xmas.



Your oxygen stats are great

Your lung function

Is 95%

That would be normal

or a mild obstruction

The doc gave you antibiotics

Just in case you

had a bacterial infection rather than a virus

Your x ray was clear

You got steroids and you feel well ??

Where you wheezy or just


People with asthma can have a reflux

but your treatment with the

Antacid will solve this problem

in time - maybe a month

SOB could be caused by other

issues like anemia

Again I am sure that the doc

Will do or has done a

blood test

After the until initial high of steroids

people often feel a little low

?? this

In bold weather people with mild asthma

can get out of breath after even

mild exercise but your blue inhaler

should help you here

Revising your doc in 2 weeks

is a good idea


I think one also needs to have their thyroid checked in case they have unexplained shortness of breath and palpitations with perfect oxygen sats.


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