Shortness of breath as a symptom of MS? - My MSAA Community

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Shortness of breath as a symptom of MS?


i have developed shortness of breath with exertion for the past 6+ weeks. Feels like on occasion I just can't get a full deep breath. This is unusual for me as I am and have always been very active--exercise a lot, have no history of asthma, no risk factors for heart disease (other than a bit of family history). Hickam's dictum states a patient can have more than 1 disease and I have a tendency to chalk everything up to MS, so I'm being worked up for heart, lung problems to be certain it's not.

So, anyone that is still ambulatory also have MS related breathing problems?

I know this can be an issue, weakened diaphragm, as MS advances, but read that it is less common in MS people that are still walking, jogging etc.

TIA and so glad to have this forum to knock these ? Around.

17 Replies

Hi Erash, haven't a clue, but interested in how you get on, keep us posted


I hope it's nothing serious erash keep me updated.

erash in reply to Jesmcd2

Thank you both. nuclear stress test today. Hopefully ok. Freaked me out at first but now ok with it. Said " who me? Heart disease? No way!" Guess I'll go to pulmonologist next...

Hi erash, it's cwacker, I've had those symptoms 2x in my life, once about 15 yrs ago(they say I probably had ms for 30 yrs now according to my past issues and old lesions) it lasted for 3 weeks, it was horrible and even missed work. Then again out of the blue 2 yrs ago, went to the er and after tests and x-rays sent me home, everything was "good". It lasted a little over a week. My neuro said it wasn't ms, disappointed and frustrated I did research and found what you did, rare in those who can still walk (that's me, altho having problems with my left leg now) it did pass but I clearly remember how uncomfortable and scary it is, I did just wait it out, somewhat sleeping sitting up on the couch. I hope your further tests are negative for any other illnesses, (ms is more than enough!!) and that you can find some relief soon

I have issues with my breathing too. Sometimes I can just be sitting there and I do this weird thing that is like a hiccup, but it is me trying to catch my breath. But I also have shortness of breath very easily as well.

erash in reply to tweets335

yep. I've been hiccuppng more in the past several months but not associated with shortness of breath. However, both can be caused by diaphragm problems...suggesting weak muscles and MS. My Nuc Stress Test was normal yipee!

tweets335 in reply to erash

Glad to hear you are doing well. I was diagnosed 4 years ago and the weird breathing hiccup thing just started about a month ago. It happens everyonce in a while. It is not a hiccup, Just some reason I feel like I stopped breathing and I am trying to start real quick.

I'm with you...I say that because I've managed to put on a lot, a Lot, of weight since being diagnosed with MS so I'm all for this shortness of breath being an MS thing and not this extra tire I lug big thing is the exhaustion that finds me. And it sucks the life out of me.

If the diaphragm is weaker because of MS, I'm going to do pulmonary rehab, exercises to strengthen it. I will let you know how it goes 😊


I have had MS for over 25 years and I still walk when I'm able. I have had Hasimotos thyroiditis, Depression and Arthritis nearly as long as the RRMS. Then a few years ago, after coming off Acthar gel for a MS relapse, I had Bradycardia followed by Broken Heart Syndrome, which left me with an enlarged left heart ventricle and mitral valve prolapse.

A few years later I experience chest tightness, feeling like it's difficult to get a breath and rush to the ER only to discover that I'm fine but I still feel the tightness in my chest and can't seem to catch a full breath. My doc gave me a breathing treatment and sent me home with two inhalers to take daily.

I'm really hoping it's a MS hug. I feel it more on the front of my chest and not really under my arms or back. It's not like chest pain or heaviness though.

erash in reply to Hidden

I hope you get relief!

I have often had a similar sensation, where I feel like my lungs can’t expand fully. I believe mine is MS hug, which has been causing tightness around my chest and abdomen for 20 years. I don’t feel short of breath, just unable to get a full deep breath.I hope you don’t discover any other issues, but if the Drs decide there are no cardiac or pulmonary reasons for your symptoms - you can bet that MS is squeezing your lungs.

Thankfully the MS hug is not life threatening, the way a cardiopulmonary disease often can be.

erash in reply to TracyBelle

After extensive work up, we believe it’s spasticity in my intercostal rib muscles and I am using a device called a breather to exercise expansion of f my chest wall. It has helped but I still have problems especially on bad MS days. I’m reassured bad stuff was ruled out

Gummy0323 in reply to TracyBelle

I reply as well it was the MS Hug


Whenever, smoke, even in little quantities, is in my vicinity, I have a problem in breathing!

Anybody with me?

I have this off and on but not regularly my doctor says MS Hug look it up great reading.

erash in reply to Gummy0323

It’s not the hug. It’s intercostal spasms that restrict my chest expansion. I do breathing exercises that help but mostly notice when I’m tired or bad MS day. But thanks!

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