Breathing problems Please help

For a very long time I have suffered with most of the symptoms of hypothyroidism and only last week I was diagnosed with my doctor. Long story short over recent months I would have days where I was struggling to take a deep breath. Last Sunday I woke up and experienced this breathing issue all day. Monday morning I saw my GP who then told me some recent blood tests suggest my thyroid is lazy. My GP prescribed diazepam to calm me down as the breathing problems had caused to go into a panic state. Today over a week later I am still experiencing breathing issues and feel that I cannot get a deep breath. Can someone please tell me is this something to worry about. I feel desperate for help..

27 Replies

  • Well, I'm not impressed by your doctor at all! What use is diazepam in fixing a breathing problem?

    Have you been prescribed anything for the hypothyroidism? If yes, how much?

    One effect of hypothyroidism on the body is that stomach acid production reduces. As a result digestion is impaired and fewer nutrients are extracted from food. So, almost every

    hypothyroid person has nutrient deficiencies.

    The commonest deficiencies and the most vital in allowing your body to use any thyroid hormone you are taking are :

    Ferritin, iron, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D.

    Ask your doctor for blood tests for all of the above. Don't be surprised if they aren't all done, but get what you can. Then get copies of your blood test results, including the reference ranges, and post them in a new post on here, and ask for feedback.

    For air hunger (the breathing problem you seem to have), the most likely culprits are low iron and/or low vitamin B12.

    And of course, insufficient thyroid hormone causes it too, but it could be a while before you get your dose up to optimal.

  • Thankyou for your reply. I'm not on any thyroid medication at all. My doctor is referring me to an endocrinologist which may take up to 3 months. My doctor has also prescribed amitriptyline 10mg for pain. I'm at my wits end to be honest. My doctor thinks the breathing issue is down to panic attacks but I have this every morning and it goes on for hours. I'm exhausted all the time and body hurts. I just don't know what to do anymore.

  • Get the blood tests done that I suggested...

    I wonder why your doctor won't prescribe thyroid meds for you without the intervention of an endocrinologist? Usually they do the reverse... Insist that hypothyroidism can be dealt with in primary care, and no referral to an endocrinologist is needed.

    If you want to speed things up, and are prepared to pay, you can get private blood tests done without your GP being involved.

    This is a good test :

    Order the microtainer test (finger-prick test), the kit you need to get a blood sample is sent out to you by post. You have to follow the instructions then return the blood samples to the lab by post. Results are sent to you via email.

    If you know someone who can take blood for you, the other alternative is a vacutainer test (full blood sample from a vein like hospitals use). It costs the same as the microtainer test.

    Once you have your results, post them in a new post on here and ask for feedback. (Either take a picture of your results, obscuring your personal details, and upload them into a new post, or just type them in.)

    Regarding your breathing...

    I had hyperventilation issues caused by iron deficiency anaemia and untreated hypothyroidism. I panicked because I felt as though I was suffocating. I was lucky and was referred to a respiratory nurse who taught me some breathing exercises. It didn't fix the underlying problems (which were still unrecognised and unacknowledged at the time) but at least I stopped panicking.

  • I should point out that the blood tests may be ignored by doctors. They tend to only believe NHS test results. So if you do go ahead and pay, just remember you are doing them for you alone.

    Although... I have got a feeling that a few NHS GPs are now so strapped for cash they are beginning to look at privately done tests supplied by the patient because it saves them money.

  • My GP was very happy with me having Blue Horizon blood test. He even said to make appointment with Health Centre nurse to carry out the blood draw. He said it was only fair they did that as I was paying!

  • Thankyou for your help I am seeing my doctor again tomorrow morning. I shall ask for the tests. I'm wondering if he has referred me to endo as my mother has an autoimmune disease do you think that could be the case..

  • No idea. But it is odd behaviour. I didn't know you were seeing your GP again. My post below about writing him a letter is superfluous.

    Insist that you can't be left as you are for three months, and beg for a prescription for levo.

    For details of how your doctor should be treating you read this :

    I'm assuming that you have subclinical hypothyroidism rather than overt hypothyroidism based on your description of what your doctor said, but it wouldn't surprise me if I was wrong.

  • Get a print-out of your most recent blood tests results for thyroid hormones, with the ranges and post on a new question.

    Doctors and some Endos know nothing about clinical symptoms of hypo and breathing problems are one.

  • thanks I shall ask for them tomorrow.

  • That's good but post on a new question otherwise not so many people will respond.

  • Yes do ask for a printout of all your bloods done and their ranges too ChrissyS1, many ask for them these days.

    You have a right to get your own blood results by law. :)

    I always ask for mine.

  • Be careful with the amitriptyline, I have yet to find someone who can take that without it causing them even more sever problems, from wiping them out to making them feel dangerously depressed and very quickly.

    And thank you to Humanbean, I have been hypoT for 35+ yrs, diagnosed 25+ yrs ago. I have just in recent months started to get this 'air hunger' as you call it. I was getting a bit worried as wondered what it was. (I was tested some years ago for asthma - non-conclusive, maybe that is what it was then?) But at least I now know it is likely to be connected. It is becoming more of an issue too. I am always yawning too, a life long joke! I do take Vit B12, not taking iron at the min, it is one of things that regularly have problems with though, may need to go back on it.

    I have a theory - As a few day old baby (55yrs ago) I apparently turned blue. Presumably from lack of oxygen.

    However, my, now 22yr old, son had a breathing issue, some years ago, a month or so before the 'SARs' virus was publicised. Ended up in hosp straight from Dr's. 2 nights in hosp trying to get SAT's up - ended up with steroids.

    He has struggled for most of his life since, with hypoT symptoms - He was told he had 'seasonal asthma at one point too -I'm now thinking that was this 'air hunger' as it lasted only seconds at a time. 'Took him to Dr P recently, following yet another disappointing GP visit - Dr P says low adrenal function, thinks thyroid ok.

    My theory is that this lack of oxygen has caused both his and my problems.

  • I read this very recently, and it could be of interest :

    It seems to me that lots of nutrient deficiencies lead to breathing problems of one sort of another.

    My own air hunger responded mainly to iron and thyroid meds, but it seems likely that different people will be helped by different nutrients depending on their deficiencies.

  • Thank you for the links. I have read them quickly and will read them again in the morning. My 'air hunger' if that is what it is, is not so sever. Only really just started and is intermittent. I'm not as a rule 'asthmatic. And I do take Vit D. Will keep an eye on it and see...Thanks again.

  • Doesn't matter what you say is wrong with you, they will automatically think : antidepressants!!! Especially if you're female. If I were you, I would not get myself hooked on those - and you can get hooked quite easily, and it's hell trying to get off them. Unless, of course, you feel you are depressed. But, if you are depressed, it's probably caused by your low thyroid. All these things are interconnected. The human body is not just a collection of spare parts that can be fixed like a car in a garage.

    It could be that, due to the low thyroid hormone, your heart is struggling a bit, and that can make it hard to breath. A beta blocker might be more help than an antidepressant - surprised he didn't thing of that, because they love prescribing those, too. However, you're probably low on magnesium, and hearts need magnesium. No need to get tested, the test is unreliable, and most people are deficient in magnesium, anyway. Excess will just be excreted. Just try taking some, see how you feel. The best one for hearts is magnesium orotate. You can find it on Amazon. Start with half a tablet and work up. Monitor your body and see how it makes you feel. :)

  • Oxygen from your lungs is transported around the body in the red blood cells. This can only happen when there is sufficient iron in the cells for the oxygen to cling onto. When the iron is low and also the oxygen - then the heart beats faster in an effort to circulate more oxygen.

    So - Low Iron = Low Oxygen = Breathlessness and possible heart palpitations.

    Just my simple non-medical way of explaining things :-)

  • Regarding the amitriptyline for pain...

    If the pain you have is all-over body pain, joint pain, muscle pain the most likely causes of that are low thyroid hormone and low vitamin D.

    I was below optimal with my vitamin D but my level wasn't actually that bad. I supplemented to get my level up to optimal and my aches and pains disappeared.

    Vitamin D can be toxic so it isn't a good idea to supplement without knowing that you need it.

    The fact your doctor hasn't given you a prescription for thyroid meds is appalling, in my view. He should at least give you a prescription for a starting dose of levothyroxine. I really think you should write a (polite) letter to your doctor telling him how awful you feel, and please can you have a prescription for levothyroxine while you are waiting for your endo appointment. I don't think there is any point in making an appointment to see your GP again, just write the letter. A couple of days after you hand in your letter start phoning up the surgery and ask if there is a letter or a prescription for you. And keep phoning for a few days. You can't just be left to rot for 3 months, it is sadistic.

  • I had breathing problems (when my asthma inhaler didn't work) when my B12 was in range but not optimal. It took quite a few months to sort out. Anti-depressants aren't going to solve that (diazepam is addictive - been there), but doctors get extra funding points for prescribing them. Treating your thyroid optimally will probably solve pain and breathing problems

  • Thankyou for your reply I am going to the doctors tomorrow and I'm going to insist on an antibody test as I've been reading up on Hashimoto disease this afternoon and I'm convinced my hypothyroidism is caused by this.

  • Your GP will say it doesn't matter as the treatment is the same - however, if you have high antibodies it is often easier to get a trial of levo. Get ferritin tested as well.

  • will do I've made notes of everything as I can't remember anything. I contacted the Priory private hospital ad they can offer me a consultation in two days for £150 seems reasonable as I'm not waiting 3 months for the NHS.

  • I would suggest having the blood tests done privately - as suggested above - with Blue Horizon - by humanbean Then come back here to the forum for advice. Number 11 is the most popular package people take ..... If you have a consultation at the Priory you could still come up against a brick wall as they have to follow Guidelines or lose their licence to practice.

    People will advise and help - so much knowledge abounds here ....

  • A suggestion, please find out the name of the private Endo. Check with Thyroid Uk . They have a list of Endo,s used by members. No point in wasting £150 if you are not going to get the help,you need. I was an in patient in aLondon Hospital, met a patient with severe thyroid problems, had already seen and paid two Endo's who had not helped at all!

  • I would recommend seeing Dr P, (I have seen him twice now - 7yrs ago, gave me a life. Saw him again last month - I'd lost my way for a while, too much stress in recent months. And took my sone there too) would not cost you much more, but remember with any consultation you may have to pay out further for any private test required. However, Dr P, may be a lot more in tune to your needs - cannot prescribe - but can help. You may want to consider ringing the clinic and asking what they can do to help you - see if it is worth it for you. To me, and many others he was and is a life saver!

    You may not need to pay out for further tests, if you don't want to, if you are obviously clinically presenting. Spend your money wisely - find the right direction for you.

  • If only they would put the money into treating thyroid issues, rather than depression! There would probably be no depression!!!

    Isn't it known that most of the poor people committed to 'mental asylums' in the Victorian period had nothing much more wrong with them other than thyroid disorders. But by they time they realised this decades later most of them were too institutionalised to be released.

    Can't remember where I read this years ago - some study, when desperately looking for thyroid info.

  • Please read through this thread again :-) I have been on this forum for many years - over 4 - and know you have been given good advice and links to read. Reading and learning to take care of ourselves is key to finding wellness. I am not a Medic - so click onto my name above and you can read of my journey :-)

    Wishing you well .....

  • This is a link which will be of interest to you and I hope your symptoms aren't so severe:

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