British Lung Foundation
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Hello everyone, hoping someone can help me. Sometimes when I have a breathless bout, even though after using inhalers etc, and become less breathless, my lungs seem get confused and don't relax again like they should. It doesn't always happen. When it does happen it seems as though I'm having to take every breath deliberately,it's very wearing, I was awake hours last night with it. I'm not talking about what happens when you get into a hyperventilating mode (very scary). I try the pursed lips breathing and the breathing in and breathing out longer techniques, but nothing seems to help. Eventually, they do start to relax a bit, but does anyone know what is going on when this happens? Sadie

7 Replies

Hi Sadie

I haven't got an answer for that one but if you give the nice nurses on the BLF helpline tomorrow they will no doubt have the answer you seek. The number is: 03000 030 555

Good luck

Bobby xx


Its hard to say Sadie, could be your meds are not working as they should or a bit of anxiety about not being able to breathe. Have a chat with your doctor perhaps, using a spacer with the inhaler med may be useful for you at these times. Also check your inhaler technique with the respiratory nurse or pharmacist to be sure your medicine is reaching its target.

As Bobby suggests the BLF helpline may offer further advice and suggestions.

Take care.

BC x

Hi, thanks for your answers. I saw my consultant not long ago so know my meds are up to date and I use a spacer with the ventolin. It's not anxiety, it's more like when I've been more breathless than usual my lungs don't relax fully for ages, they seem to stay "up" a notch!! Hard to explain. I'll call the helpline. Thanks for your help. Sadie

Know how you feel Sadie. I had a similar problem a few weeks ago when at my worse with my lung disease.

I had a major hyperventilating experience - yes very, very scary - which was new to me, and it happened again the next day. When seeing my GP about it a day later, she explained that because I have for so long now, not over-exerted myself as I know my levels before becoming extremely breathless, I had suddenly put extreme pressure on my lungs by rushing upstairs after my 4 year old granddaughter who had opened a window - normally I take a few at a time then gather myself. When I got to the top of the stairs I was convinced I was going to die. I could breath out ok, but breathing in was mere impossible as I don't have the capacity to get enough air in, which started the hyperventilating. Tried the pursed lips and paper bag and settled in the end.

So - the slightest over-exertion can create that state apparently. Viscous circle isn't it when you 'protect' yourself by not over--doing it, yet trying to 'exercise' them (not a good example I've used is it!) can create more problems....

Hope that helps explain maybe why yours don't relax at times

Jean :-)

Hi Jean, thanks for your reply. Yes, I have had the hyperventilating experience a number of times, even having to have an ambulance on a couple of occasions. Mine's caused by taking too much air in and not expelling enough, over inflating the lungs and leaving little room to take in any more. I found that going "haaaaaaaaaa" as hard as I can over and over helps me get over these attacks. Like you, I've learned to stop the second I am feeling a bit breathless but sometimes it's too late and panic sets in. Horrible.

The "unrelaxed " lung thing is something different, it's not when I've been over breathless, just a bit more breathless than usual and after the inhaler has worked and I'm feeling fine, apart from this feeling of being aware of every breath.

Take it easy Jean, how you cope with copd and a 4 year old granddaughter I don't know!


Hi Jayenne - this answer helped me as I realised that when I over exert such as do something in a rush that is when I get extremely SOB and feel like I am going to collapse. I also often get the pain then too, I see the asthma nurse next week and I think I am going to have a lot to talk to her about after being on this site.

Mary x

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