Breathing and coughing problems - Parkinson's Movement

Parkinson's Movement

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Breathing and coughing problems


Hi all,

I’m a Biomedical science student from the Netherlands and I have a few questions concerning breathing and coughing in people with Parkinson’s disease for my research. Breathing and coughing problems seem to be underestimated among doctors when treating Parkinson’s disease patients so I’m wondering how you experience these problems?

What type of breathing and/or coughing problems do you experience because of Parkinson’s disease (for example, pain when breathing or being out of breath faster than you used to or maybe your cough is less powerful then it used to be)? Maybe you do not experience any breathing and/or coughing problems at all because of Parkinson’s disease.

How big of an impact do these problems have on you daily life (for example do you avoid certain situations because of your breathing and/or coughing problems or do you sleep less because of these problems)?

Do you notice a difference in breathing or coughing when you are in “OFF” state compared to your “ON” state (for example do you experience more wheezing)?

Do you experience any anxiety because of your breathing and/or coughing problems caused by Parkinson’s disease?

I’d also like to know your age if possible and also at what age you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

This is not an official questionnaire but I’m just very curious what type of breathing and coughing problems people with Parkinson’s disease deal with and how it affects their daily lives!

Thanks in advance!


12 Replies

Paralyzed phrenic nerve

Hello ChristijnW

The only problem i had was coughing when sleeping. I would choke on my saliva and wake up coughing. It at times would be severe. But only lasted for about a year. 12 years with PD this happened in my 11th year,

Hi, I have breathing & coughing problems...especially when I bend over I end up puffing & my nose becomes more blocked up...I start coughing when I get into bed..& often wake up coughing during thd night...I am 59 years old dx 3 years ago...

I am 83 years old. I was diagnosed at the age of 58. At that time I had regular chest infections and came very close to having pneumonia. I learned that Pd interferes with the body's natural ability to clear the chest of phlegm. I found that coughing makes my throat sore, but I had to cough the phlegm up, to avoid it becoming infected. So I learned to expel air rapidly out of my lungs without constricting my throat. In that way I could clear the phlegm and not inflame my throat.

I was able to avoid those chest infections in that way. I have continued to walk every second day for one hour since 1994. I have been able to stop taking any Pd medication in 2002. I still have Pd but at a much lower more manageable level.

Read my profile and contact me.

well yes i had problems with all that but i have over come all that through exercise breathing through the nose and exhaling through my mouth as i walk i used to bring a lot white yucky stuff at night time it was revolting but i over came that by my self,,gargling at night and morning when you exercising it brings it all up as well,,i got my elbow checked i have a tear in my elbow so im getting it fixed tomorrow as its painful.

Hi Chris. My husband has PD, diagnosed a year ago at age 54. He has trouble breathing when we walk fast. He coughs at night as he finds he is very dry in the mouth and throat despite being well hydrated during the day. He was having trouble for awhile at times with choking and coughing while eating but it is much better now that he eats very slowly and doesn't try to talk during meals. Hope this is helpful.

I am 71, diagnosed at 69, Chris. The neurologist thought I had the disease for a number of years before diagnosis. The neurologist diagnosed me with orolaryngeal dysphasia. I have trouble swallowing, due to PD, and so I cough with phlegm in my throat at times. Bread products are not easy for me to swallow, so I’ve had a couple semi-choking episodes and yes, it can create anxiety at times.Sinemet does help, somewhat, at times. I have to be very careful, as to what I eat and make sure I chew all my food well. Too much phlegm can be a problem sometimes. Off times, it is worse, so I make sure I eat during “on” times, about 20 minutes or so, after I’ve taken Sinemet. I never used to have trouble breathing until just this last couple years, when I’ve caught myself being out of breath at times. It doesn’t hurt, and I don’t have cardiac disease at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if PD affects breathing in some way, for me, because my autonomic system is, indeed, being affected by neuro-degeneration. I’ve also been diagnosed with orthostatic hypotension, which can be very difficult to deal with, at times. The breathing and coughing problems affect me somewhat, but are not chronic enough in my daily life, to be a nuisance, at this point. I do think being on Sinemet is somewhat helpful, because when the neurologist upped my dose recently, because my PD signs had advanced, I have had less choking and coughing and hard breathing episodes. Hope this information is helpful to you in your research, Chris.

Ironically I've been mentally noted this very same subject for my visit to Neuro in April. I am a brass (trumpet) player and have always maintained a good practice and breath control habit, in spite of an admiration for a good cigar now and then.

The problem as I can explain it is muscle control or bradykenisia..... I recently have awoke having to gasp and take a few breaths to "catch up" as if I were underwater and had depleted my oxygen. However when taking in the oxygen I find myself having to concentrate on filling my lungs and using my diaphragm fully.

I think that is the brady kinetic part of this equation. The slowed movements and reactions cause a less forceful reaction than needed. Simple actions like blowing your nose or clearing your throat requires a percussiveness that I am finding hard to duplicate from my younger life. I feel I have been spared to this date by the previous training and playing i've done. My biggest fear used to be having the PD attack my facial muscles. I wouldn't be able to play and flexibility would suffer. Or I would have a permanent "vibrato".

Now I'm thinking it's the breathing!......

My husband was diagnosed late in life--at 80. His symptoms were attributed to something else. Last year he started having difficulty swallowing and began aspirating food. That caused him to choke and cough and he had to have food and water off a teaspoon ultimately.

There are a few other threads on here on this topic which you may find interesting. This is the link to one i started.

Good luck with your studies, this is an under reported area.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the comprehensive answers! This will help me a lot in my studies.

I hope you all good luck with your disease and I hope breathing problems will be more recognized in the future.

Hikoi thanks for the link!

My husband was diagnosed in February of 2012. However he had coughing and chest pain for maybe 5 years before. He continues to have it to this day he has just turned 68.

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