Shortness of breath and coeliac disea... - Gluten Free Guerr...

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Shortness of breath and coeliac disease.


I am 58 and was diagnosed with coeliac disease 3 years ago. On and off over the past year I feel breathless. It’s like I can’t get enough air into my lungs and have to gasp or yawn to feel that I can get enough air into my lungs. It’s an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling. I also frequently get blocked sinuses. I am not anaemic, my oxygen saturation is normal. Chest clear- GP can’t find anything wrong- but I still feel I can’t get enough air into my lungs. It’s getting worse- experiencing it most days now. Is there any known connection between breathlessness and coeliac disease?

10 Replies

I’m not sure if this is relevant but it seems related.

I used to suffer from breathing problems which was always put down to asthma. I never had a test for coeliac disease. When I was a child it was called bronchitis. I’ve been on inhalers and steroids for most of my life, but they never worked well for me.

However following a very low carb diet in my forties, I discovered I was intolerant to gluten and after cutting gluten out of my diet, my breathing problems began to disappear. I am now in my fifties, on zero medications and have no breathing problems at all. My doctor says my condition has “resolved” and can only put it down to my diet change. I can only assume that there is a connection between gluten sensitivity and breathing problems. I’m not medically trained but I do wonder if it’s because of the high levels of bodily inflammation, provoked by gluten sensitivity.

in reply to MeTeeCee

This sounds a little like me!! Nice to know it isn't my imagination!! 😊

Ask them to test your B12 levels.

Deficiency is common is coeliacs

If the level comes back low end of 'normal' it may still warrant consideration...

Aak your doctor about hiatus hernia. It's common as you get older. Part of your stomach moves into your chest. I have it and was diagnosed with an endoscopy. I got very breathless when speaking. Certain foods make it worse. With me it's citrus and cafeïne. Anti-acid pills didn't help. Cutting out certain foods and Gaviscon did.

Hi lclark7335, I would look at your TSH and see if its going over 2. Between 1-2 is normal in a healthy population. Also that your T3 & T4 are in the upper quadrant of normal. Also that your vitamin levels, vit D, B12, Folate, Ferritin and Zinc are in the upper quandrant of normal. Coeliac disease damages the villi which leads to malabsorption issues which can lead to you not getting enough vitamins for your Thyroid to work or cause leaky gut which is thought to be a cause of Auto Immune illnesses of which Hypothyroidism is one x

Thank you everyone. Your advice has given me some new avenues to explore. Hopefully will get to the bottom of it. Best wishes xxxx

It could be additional allergies. I became allergic to quite a few things in the course of trying to get a ceoliac diagnosis. Main on is dairy - I used to get sleep apnea and wake during night unable to breath. Cut out dairy and issue resolved. I also get breathing issues with strong washing detergents, perfumes, household cleaning products. Food-wise seeds can cause issues with my breathing. Also allergic to cats which cause breathing issues. Seems to be once your GI tract gets damaged it can set up for a lot of allergies generally. If you lungs are clear, might be worth considering other foods/household products that could be setting you off. Or ask to be referred to an asthma clinic.

That’s interesting. I do sometimes wake in the night thinking I cant breathe. Maybe I should try to eliminate dairy and see if it’s that. I do have milk in cereal and eat a fair bit of cheese. Thank you.

Dairy intolerance/allergy is the classic partner of coeliac and you'll find a lot of people have that issue. The rule of thumb seems to be that once your coeliac damage repairs and you villi fix, your ability to deal with milk improves, but for many it remains an ongoing allergy/intolerance issue. Worth having an actual allergy test (you may have to do that privately to get a thorough test/picture), but no harm in experimenting by cutting dairy out for a few weeks and see how you fare. The sleep apnea/nightime breathing is a classic for many food allergy issues and just not taken seriously enough/at all by GPs. You have to become your own guinea pig really and start experimenting a bit.

I will! Thank you.

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