Breathlessness: Hi. Just wondering if... - British Lung Foun...

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Hi. Just wondering if there are others who experience the same pattern of breathlessness with different activities as me, or am I just weird. Lately, following a series of chest infections I’ve been experiencing more breathlessness. What puzzles me is that although even light household duties (tidying, a bit of hoovering or cooking dinner) can make me breathless (not an OMG I can’t breathe kind of breathless, but a feeling out of puff and I’m going to have to have a breather for a bit kind of breathlessness), I can still take the dog for a half hour or more walk. I still can get breathless walking the dog, especially if it’s windy or going up hill. But somehow it doesn’t feel so bad, and I don’t know why. Maybe I just manage my breathing better when I’m walking than when I’m doing stuff in the house. Does anybody else find this?

33 Replies

Thank you for posting this! I have a very similar experience. I can go out to my sheep and walk around and get only a little short of breath. Other little things indoors and requiring hardly any exertion leave me breathless. I've often wondered how that can be and found it weird to say the least. It’s somehow reassuring to hear you say the same thing 👍

Glad I’m not the only weird one then. It does seem odd.

Hiya Rissa, n yep! I do get breathless doing household tasks. N ooh getting dressed n undressed really makes me Puff. I try to have a walk every day though and this seems to help especially I think, because I live by the Sea. I think indoors activity might make breathing worse because of Dust mites. 😊✌️🌻

I live by the sea too. Although as I live in Shetland walks can be at bracing at this time of year lol. I like to walk uphill (plenty of those here) as it makes me breathe harder which seems to help shift any phlegm. Glad I’m not the only one who has the same experience. The other day I got out of breath sitting on the sofa and repeatedly bending down to pick up the ball to throw to my dog. Maybe the dust mites do contribute. I probably should vacuum more often lol, but that’s easier said than done when it’s make you out of breath doing it.

Ohh it must be lovely to live in Shetland! I love Scotland and like to go to Westeros, for holidays. Yes! Sometimes I get out of breath doing the slightest task. But, I think it's important we walk for exercise, when we can, Lungs need a work- out too. I should Vacuum more too, but, hey Life's to short to spend too much time on Housework. ✌️😊🌻

Walking the dog is the only exercise I get at the moment. Having him is great for making sure I do go out everyday.

Yes, Pets are great for that. I,m looking to get a little Dog. I lost my Border Collie a few years ago n couldn't face getting another. But think the times right now. Would make sure I get out each day. 😊✌️🌻

If i was picking up a ball for a while i would be very breathless and in pain around my lungs. Some days housework does this too or even getting dressed. Its weird how some days we can do something then others we can't.

To be honest at first I thought I was imagining it, because of the fact that I could do something that was, in my view, more strenuous with less problems. So it helps to know that others experience the same pattern.

in reply to Dubba61

No fresh air getting into the house now. Except bedroom I have to have a fan on cold all night.

Very likely to do with posture. While walking your body is straight and you can move your stomach so that the diaphragm can move and also your chest can move. Doing house work, getting dressed etc. You can be bent over or otherwise restricting your diaphragm and chest. Reaching up for something high will restrict your breathing too. I hope this makes sense.

Yes. That makes a lot of sense. It does seem to be things that involve bending that are the most difficult. I think I also go into exercise mode when I go for a walk, if you know what I mean. When I was a teen (quite some time ago) I used to run competitively, so I think when I start getting out of breath I automatically control my breathing. But when I’m busy around the house I probably don’t.

That makes so much sense. Thank you 👍

in reply to 2greys

You beat me to it 2greys. Excellent answer.

Hi, I find that packing and bending or doing anything with upper body makes me breathless more than walking. I have moved a few times recently and was very fatigued each time. I had low DLCO and for some reason bending and housework or packing effects me most. Even though my breathing and fatigue are generally better since medication this still happens to a certain extent. Hope this info helps. What is your diagnosis?

The only diagnosis I have at the moment is asthma, which I’ve had since a toddler (now 45). But I am awaiting my first outpatient appointment as I’ve had a productive cough for about 6 years and have recently had trouble with chest infections (3 since May). The breathlessness is something that started alongside the chest infections. Obviously I’ve had breathlessness before with asthma flare-ups but this is more of a chronic breathlessness which is not significantly improved with my ventolin inhaler. Recent spirometry showed that although my peak flow and lung capacity are above normal, there is some obstruction in the small airways. So I’m thinking either my asthma has got worse (I’m already on a high strength steroid combination inhaler amd montelukast) or something else is going on (perhaps bronchietasis), or perhaps both.

LOL - sorry for the long answer. I probably should have just said ‘I don’t know’

Not too long at all! A High Resolution CT scan might help to see what is going on. I believe I have Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis but I needed a lung biopsy to rule out the many other things they thought it could be. If your symptoms are different than the past asthma hopefully a specialist can diagnose what it is. One of my pulmonologists kept saying I had asthma and gave me inhalers that didn't work and my lung function was going down fast.I am thankful it is better since being on Prednisone. Many diseases mimic each other so it's important to see the right doctors or they can all have differing opinions. I know you are in Scotland but going to a "Lung center" is important to diagnose these complicated lung diseases. We need to be our own advocates and push until we get the right answers. Now this is too long :)

I’ve got to see a doctor at the general medicine clinic at the local hospital first, but will hopefully get referred to Aberdeen (which has a specialist lung centre) from there. The person who did the spirometry seemed to think that that was what would happen. So fingers crossed that is what happens.

Yes , I too have the same thing , my breathing physio say she thought I was holding my breath whilst doing stuff without knowing it and also upper chest breathing (bad) instead of breathing from the diaphragm, have a look , could be you are in a bad breathing cycle !

Yes, I can empathise. My breathing has got worse lately, due to a different inhaler I think, but I find walking (with the help of my walking frame) easier to breathe than making a cuppa!

I find when I walk, after about 4-7 minutes, my breathing gets easier. So I can sometimes stop panting and breathe normally. I asked the physio at the pulmonary class, and she said the heart and lungs start to get in a rhythm and work better together. I still find the same though, that minor tasks at home can make me more breathless very quickly.

Hi, I can understand. I will share with you what works for me. I use my nebulizer regularly as needed. Nebulizers reach deeper in the lungs than inhalers. Get permission from your doctor on what activities are right for you.

Use the help of a physical therapist to show you what exercises are needed to move all parts of your respiratory system, the lower part of our lungs get lazy. Many times we are using only a portion of our lungs for what is needed to get that wonderful feeling of a full breath.

Also there’s wonderful exercise equipment that work the lower part of the lungs....for you! I feel like is cheating...but it works! 😉 the body has to move!

Love your part of the world! Feel well!

Cheers! 🥂🏖 from Florida!

I have had similar experience especially bending down to pick something up or to tie shoelaces . I discovered I was breathing in when I was doing it....trick is to EXHALE before or as you bend down .This helps enormously with the breathing ....I have no idea why but it has just worked for me .Hope this helps a little bit.

I have all the same issues, since I stopped smoking 5 years ago I have put on some weight it is also affects me after eating too xxx but if you can get on the Resiritory breathing plan this will help you as it does me x good luck


This happened to my 26 y/o daughter 2 years ago. For her, it turned out that she had blood clots in her lungs and pulmonary arteries. The clots' locations eventually started blocking off her heart, which was also enlarging.

She had surgery and is now on blood thinners for life.

Anyone who ever becomes short of breath should see their doctor immediately & ask for an MRI of the lungs (x-ray will not show clots). After all, breathing and lungs go together: if you become short of breath, your lungs must be checked.

The one thing we've learned through all this is that most folks have no idea they even have PE (pulmonary embolism). It's far more common than is realized. Please go see your doctor.

Perhaps it is all in the mind? Chores boring jobs feel worse than a pleasant walk with the dog, or by the beach. My breathing changes daily and one of the reasons is how I feel emotionally, whether I am more or less depressed than usual. I think this is something we just have to put up with

Hi I find indoor chores difficult I put it down to bending stretching and moving my arms getting dressed and undressed drying myself after a bath but when walking not that I can walk far I don't have to use the top half of my body as much so it is easier unless it's on an incline hope this helps

It seems a lot of us experience the same pattern.

Yes I agree that I get winded just walking around doing a few house chores, not breathless but feel the need to sit a bit but can shop in a huge store where I am walking for an hour or more & even though I can feel tired--don't feel like I need to sit.

I think you have answered your own question really, housework is bending and

stretching even if it isn't very active whereas a walk is at a more even pace, at a

pace we can do. I certainly find that is the case, the answer is go for a nice walk and

ignore the housework

Yep, it's bronchitis.

I can jog a mile for days or weeks, but one tiny little bit of bronchitis and I I'm out of breath walking a flight of stares. I guess people with COPD have little reserve so inflammation from even the tiniest infection that previously would have gone unnoticed can shut you down with the phlegm and fluid.

You'll get better. Trick is to keep your lungs clear. Use, bronchodialators wisely as needed, go to the doctor at the first sign of bronchitis and exercise, exercise, exercise.

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