British Lung Foundation
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Sudden onset of S.O.B

Hi all, i have recently suddenly become S.O.B just doing anything but sitting still, seems crazy because 2 weeks ago i could run and jump and scream and shout with no problems and now im like this?! i cant even hold a conversation i could before, i read from other posts that emphysema can suddenly present itself like this? feels like the life has been sucked out of me. My doctor is being 'objective' until i get my scan done saying it could be psycological, but i'm sure i know whats going on. i have fev1/fvc ratio of .76 and an fev1 of 107%, am 29 years old and do not have alpha1 but have smoked my fair few over the years but recently quit, nothing showed up on standard x ray. Any thoughts good or bad would be appreciated, Thanks very much

9 Replies

Has your Doctor not given you anything to help with the SOB? I started out with the same thing last March, but my Doctor gave me antibiotics and a Salbutamol inhaler to keep me comfortable until my scan.

My scan revealed Bronchiectasis not emphysema. Bronchiectasis does not normally show on an x.ray. I think you have to wait until after the scan to find out exactly what is wrong, but you should have something in the meantime to help. If you haven't I would suggest you go back to your Doctor or ring the helpline on Monday.

I do hope you feel better soon. Remember don't panic you will feel better.


Thanks for your reply, no nothing given so far, will ring the helpline tomorrow thank you, i didn't think it was Bronchiectasis due to no cough, just a constant presence of sticky clear sputum in my throat. He has not actually even ordered a scan yet, i may get one done privately.


drinking plenty of water to help thin the mucus may help.


First thing that springs to mind is you have a lung infection. But then you say your sputum is clear which doesn't indicate infection. Also you say nothing showed on xray, infection usually does.

If your symptoms have worsened since the xray and there is a possibility of a lung infection, you need to get this treated asap before further lung damage and breathing difficulty results.

Check in with your doctors surgery and take the first appointment you can get that day, even if with another doctor, to get your lungs listened to. Explain your breathing difficulty and other symptoms. Say how long you have been having breathing difficulty etc, if its worsened since xray.

If your shortness of breath is so difficult when speaking you should write your symptoms down on a piece of paper, explaining SOB making talking difficult. Take this with you to your Surgery or the walk in clinic.

If things become even more difficult during the rest of today, you could contact NHS Direct for further advice:

Or phone the emergency service if breathing gets out of control.

If your symptoms are psychological, you may find better help through other sources other than this community.

High stress and anxiety can cause these symptoms as can heart disease. Recreational drugs, aerosol irritants, sniffing paint or varnish all can cause shortness of breath and could seriously damage your lungs.

A medical professional is your best option to determine your diagnosis.

First and foremost a diagnosis is what you need but don't delay getting help should you get into serious breathing difficulties whatever the cause may be.

Hope you are breathing easier real soon.

Take good care now BC

1 like

Hi pbv1, Like yourself i went from walking 7miles a day to 5 meters a day in just over a week and it is a shock to the system, but until the tests and scans are completed you will have to try and be more positive and I know you are worrying that is understandable, And very well done in giving up smoking, keep us updated, Mattcass


That is very scary for you. There are a lot of variables with Copd inc. weather, temperature, infections etched etc. I agree with others and would advise you ring the blf helpline in the morning. I hope that you start to breath easier very soon. Take care and keep pestering your doctor. With love TAD xx


Thanks very much everyone, trying my best


Hi, what medications are you taking if any.... are you using inhalers?


Hi there, No medications at all, no inhalers.


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