Why suddenly SOB?

Hi All

I've not written in for a while as i firmly believe that if you have nothing intelligent to say, don't open your mouth. For those who remember i was diagnosed COPD just over 3 months ago, stopped smoking 3 months ago but had a reaction to quitting within 48 hours. That reaction actually lasted 5 weeks, but now ok. Being stage 1 i don't expect to suffer much from this disease and have to admit that for most of the time i feel fine. What i am trying to understand is i am feeling ok and then suddenly i am SOB and the thought of eating makes me feel sick. Sometimes when this happens i take a valium and within an hour the SOB goes away, this makes me think that what i am experiencing is psychological. Has anyone else had this experience?

39 Replies

  • May I ask what SOB is?

  • Short of breath

  • Oh I'm so slow.yes I do have SOB.I think its a kind of panic attack.I've been stuck with oxygen 24\7 for 4 years now.I can't afford to get excited or an emergency come my way.I hyperventilate.

  • I have panic attacks.I believe this disease is very psychological. my stomach does strange things.and like you I take a zanex about an hour I'm good!!

  • Sorry, sleep deprived due to course of steroids so am a little dumb at the moment. A while ago didn't realise that antiB's were antibiotics so please tell me what does SOB stand for? Sorry for being so stupid and unintelligent here but 5 days and nights without sleep have left their mark. Am hoping because I took the last of the steroids yesterday morning now that I will get some sleep tonight. I have had a course of steroids many times but have not had this ever before. Can't wait to either expand my knowledge or find out just how dull I really am when I learn what SOB stands for.

    Take care


  • So. I am really dull! Didn't even scroll down to see this had already been answered. Oh for a nights sleep!


  • Haha,,,,and zzzzzzzzzzz,

  • I think everybody better go to sleep😊😊

    Just kidding 😊 what was your fev1 Swerve? Don't recall. Has your breathing improved? Never heard of what your saying. Aren't you the one that started juicing and felt terrific?

    I know I sometimes have a racing heartbeat and a xanax helps that. I would guess it would help breathing.

    Figuring your chest muscles are all tensed up.Makes sense. You think your having panic attacks?


  • Yes, i think they are panic attacks, but they come out of nowhere and i am not thinking about copd at the time. Yesterday i got in the car at lunchtime, going to Tesco for lunch, had been feeling fine all morning, just set off and suddenly my throat closed up and i was sob. Then the thought of eating made me feel sick. Managed to have my lunch, got home and suddenly felt ok again.

  • Are you still juicing? I just read your old post, where you said you could run up the steps.

    Still can do that? ☺


  • Hi Rubyred777,

    Providing i am not sob, yes i can just about run up the stairs. Don't do it very often as i have hip problems, waiting to have them done.

    Still juicing plus my smoothie in the morning, which has helped keep the weight off after i quit smoking. I am still the same weight as i was 3 months ago.

  • Sounds like your doing great except for those panic attacks. Can you do your job ok? I know you were worried about that. Maybe all you need is to do some deep breathing exercises for your nerves.


  • Once my body got over the shock of not smoking, which took 5 weeks, no problem to do my job now. Before i could not walk 50 yards without losing my breath, now i am ok thanks.


  • Hi swerv, I am glad that you wrote your previous post about juicing....I bought a nutribullet...and I have put on weight thankfully as I have always been too thin .

    Thank you.

    Just a thought ...do you have an airfreshener thing in your car...they give me a tight throat .

  • I don't think fresheners are doing anything as i can get these attacks anywhere and everywhere.

  • I would get rid of the airfreshener that will effect your breathing.

  • Please Swerv, if this happens try the breathing exercise I told you about above.

  • Hi swerv, this condition telling you it's still there whatever stage you are, I've experienced that out of.nowhere I have an attack puts my nerves on edge, although don't understand the panic attacks, doc will not give me Valium , I am determined to go private to get what I need to help me,as I was sob all the time...I feel anxiety plays a big part,brought on by medical staff.!! Not giving correct meds for copd.

  • I do believe it is anxiety or panic, but most of the time it happens i am not thinking about copd.

    Living in Thailand i can get just about anything over the counter without a prescription, but will only take a Valium if i am sob and going somewhere as sometimes i start dry retching.

  • Yes ,it is apart of our treatment ,it does help with breathing,, they let me be housebound rather than get me addicted.....living in Thailand it must be humid, I've heard u get good treatment in the hospital there....pay and go. Much better idea than here in UK.

  • Yes, it does get humid but aft6er 18 years i am used to it.

    Paying for hospital treatment is ok, but expensive here.

  • Hello Swerv et al.,

    I don't recall if I have ever replied to this list but I am a long time lurker (reader) - I've got, what ever else it's called, really rotten copd. Let me congratulate you for getting yourself diagnosed and stopping the smokes. Even though it's stage one, a hallmark of COPD is what is known as an exacerbation or flareup of symptoms such as sudden shortness of breath, fatigue, etc. Flareups can be caused by high or low weather temps, humidity, dust, pollution, etc. including psychological reasons such as stress, anxiety etc. but this doesn't mean that a flareup (including SOB) is only in the mind. Sounds like what you're doing is ok. If the flareups become more frequent or prolonged, check out one those "expensive" docs. BTW, in London today the temps are going up to 35C with high humidity. The likes of myself and others with lung conditions should stay at home. Hope this all makes some sort of sense. For starters, have a look at the posts on this site on flareups (flare up, exacerbation). Now, whether here or on other lists/websites, there can be some extreme experiences - you mustn't diagnose yourself, but just collect the wisdom. Ok?


  • Thanks Steph.

    We average 32c most of the year, 38/39c in March/April, 30c in October/November with a lot of humidity. But i am used to it after 18 years. I have difficulty with the uk weather in August which is when i usually visit family.

    Met a guy online who lives in Pattaya, he has copd, came here for a holiday, felt much better so ended up moving out here.

  • Funny that. I've been in the UK for just over 15 years. I'm here from Canada and have stayed largely because of the moderate temperatures here. In Canada (Ottawa) it's in mid to high 30s often during July/Aug. In Jan/Feb it regularly can go down to -30c. But everything else about Canada - apart from the current government - is great. It's July 1 - Canada Day, eh. :-)

  • Hi Swerv, I think we all get SOB at times and sometimes it comes out of the blue for no apparent reason, at the moment I think t is the hot weather that makes things difficult . I hope you don't mind, but I am going to suggest that before you take a Valium, you try this breathing exercise, sit comfortably and breath in to the count of 3, hold it for the count of 3 then breath out as if you are blowing up a balloon or blowing out a candle to the count of six, do this for about 5 mins or until your breathing settles down. I do this several times and day and I find it really does help. If it has no effect then you can take your Valium. Take care and breath easy

  • I should also have said that it is very important that you breath out for longer than you breath in.

  • Thanks been doing that for a while now, it helps but sometimes within minutes comes back again.

    It's just trying to understand why you suddenly get an attack, what triggers it?

    I find it happens sometimes when i am talking a lot. I was with a client earlier and suddenly went slight sob, so i slowed my words down and tried not to too talk too much whilst i was pursed lip breathing.

  • Hello again Swerv, it is a real problem when you get SOB, I think it could be caused by stress, I know a stressful situation makes me SOB. You say it happened while you were talking to a client, maybe this was a bit stressful, it doesn't have to be a massive stressful situation, I'll try and explain what I mean before I start to waffle. About a week ago I was talking to a neighbour and she said something that annoyed me a bit, nothing massive just an inappropriate comment and I found myself getting SOB, perhaps that what happened to you. (I hope this makes sense) and I find a sip of water and pursed lip breathing does help. I hope this is of some help to you x

  • Yes thanks

  • I spoke to a lung consultant a few weeks back and she admitted that in her training years in the 80's. Her lecturer said that Asthma is a problem of the mind and Valium was the only treatment. She closed that with "Just goes to show what we know?"

    Very often breathing problems will affect the throat and feeling of not wanting food as we will tend to tense up all of that area. It is sometimes a fact that when we find it hard to breath we can start to panic which then makes it harder to breath and the cycle goes on. I deal with it by firstly as soon as I am SOB I stop and try to sit down leaning slightly forward. (Opens the lungs more) and do long controlled breathing in and out. By you controlling the in and out rather than more out than in it should get you back on track.

    I wish you all the best.

  • Interesting. I only tried valium for this a couple of weeks ago as i had a feeling that relaxation would help and it does.

  • Hi Offcut, at one time many people said that asthma was all in the mind...I think that's when psychology first stared being studied..and the idea still hangs around. If anyone has seen a toddler or young child in the middle of an asthma attack they might think differently.

    I know anxiety makes my chest tighter....perhaps because my breathing pattern is disrupted.

    I find your idea of stopping , leaning forward and breathing out more than in works often for me too.

    Take care

  • I believe this is the moment you need to be taking your Ventolin.

    Is that an intelligent enough reply for you or shall I shut my mouth?

  • Not on that yet just seretide 250 twice a day

  • Well, it would help maintain open airways to prevent sob. We use it as a prevention pre exercise, extremes of temperature/ humidity as well as when actually short of breath. Best taken with a spacer.

  • I am seeing my specialist on sinday, so will ask him.

  • I get this too. I can be doing something that isn't very physical and suddenly become a bit breathless. It does take me by surprise. I think it's when I forget to slow down when I do things.

    If I get emotional or get upset over something, straight away, I feel short quite of breath. I think emotion plays a huge part in this disease.

  • It sounds like it is psychological. I experienced something similar when I was first diagnosed with COPD. You could put to down to a panic/anxiety atteck. I also experienced a difficult time when I gave up smoking, not so much a allergic reaction more a case of the body readjusting after years of abuse by tar and nicotine. But just in case, go and see your GP anyway.

  • I am seeing my specialist on Sunday. The SOB is not too bad, just irritating as it suddenly comes on for no reason. I can be on my lap top when suddenly i have an attack. Nothing like when i first gave up smoking, i could not walk 50 yards without becoming breathless.

    I am stage 1 mild, so really should not have these attacks yet, but i do think it is psychological, which is why a Valium helps.

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