Hashimotos and shortness of breath: I have been... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

111,298 members129,390 posts

Hashimotos and shortness of breath


I have been dealing with Hashimotos for years and am in the process of adjusting my meds. The 24/7 chest tightness and shortness of breath is tiresome and taking a toll. Sometimes it is hard to even get out of bed.... I have every cardio-pulmonary test out there and there is no medical cause. Anybody else experience this and if so, how did it get better.

45 Replies

Do you have any results with ranges you could share ? Could be your T3 is low.

Also B12 - Ferritin - Folate - VitD need to be optimal. Have they been tested ?

Oxygen is transported around the body by hitching a ride onto the iron in the red blood cells. Low iron = Low oxygen = breathlessness 😊- a non-medical explanation 😊

Territl01 in reply to Marz


Tsh 4.96 ref 0.40-4.12

Free t4 1.47 ref 0.82-1.77

Free t3 2.0 ref 2.0-4.4

Ferretin 115 ref 15-150

Thyroid peroxidase TPO 87 ref 0-34

Thyroglobulin antibody 40.1 ref 0.0-0.9

B12 355 ref 200-900

Vitamin d 29 ref 30-100

Am cortisol 16.7 ref 4.0-22

Was on levothyroxine 125 mg per day. One week ago started taking .69 per day plus 1 grain armour. Will stop levothyroxine in few days and take 2 grains of armour.

I also take 5000 mg of b12 and vitamin d.

The shortness of breath and chest tightness is constant and I do have dust mite and mild allergies. The inhaler or corteosteroids barely help. I have no drainage nor cough. It is debilitating.

I thought by switching to Armour I would magically get better.

Interestingly enough my tsh was below normal value last month but I had not gotten my t frees done. I also had complete CBC about 6 months ago and everything was above normal no iron deficiencies there.

Thanks for looking. Hearing me out

Marz in reply to Territl01

It is such early days for you with the changeover - give it time and I am sure you will notice a difference. Everything with Thyroid happens slowly - the body has to adjust - adapt and repair. their is no magic bullet.

You are doing lots of good things - just do not give up :-)

I got air hunger when undermedicated with thyroxine. How much do you take?


Territl01 in reply to klr31

Hi Karen, see my response to marz above-:)

klr31 in reply to Territl01

From the look of your TSH it looks like you are under medicated. Hope the switch to Armour helps you.


How is your sugar intake? I also have this problem when my blood sugar level is too high, if I eat gummy bears or a sugary snack it gets hard to breathe. There is a common connection between Hashimoto's/hypothyroidism, blood sugar levels, and asthmatic attacks. I've heard it from a number of people and I've seen some info online about it. I will try to find that link and post it here for you.

Joyia in reply to dang

Yes please do dang that would be helpful.

dang in reply to Joyia

I'm looking for it... can't find it, but I did find this from a previous post on this forum, a study showing that T3 helped relieve asthma in some patients who had low T3


dang in reply to dang

Oops sorry, just read they had normal T3 levels to start, my mistake

Territl01 in reply to dang

My sugar is fine I don't eat candy at all....

It sounds like you are suffering with allergies which I too get, horrendously, with hashi. The chest tightening is a type of asthma. I have had tests, like you, for similar, and the results have never been conclusive. Having said that, a majority of the time they can't get the spirometry to work, ever, with me.

Are you seeing a consultant? He/she should understand.

I saw an allergist and am allergic to several things including dust mites and mold. Albuterol does not help. No cough or mucous

Hi I've had Hashimotos for over 20 years and get shortness of breath on levo only. It became apparent to me very early post diagnosis that thyroxine wasn't a wonder pill for me.

I had a very open minded GP all those years ago that looked at the info I took in from Dr Lowe and prescribed T3/Levo. Everything was ok-ish until the last 5 years when I was taken off T3.

The shortness of breath was debilitating even sitting down or talking on the phone. The endo I saw seemed to attribute shortness of breath to over medicated/hyper but my blood tests confounded his theory as I had low FT4 and FT3 and high TSH following their advice - I got the CFS possibility suggested then.

I became tired of talking to the wall and tried Thyroid S. Life changer for me and no more shortness of breath (touch wood!).

Looking back the levo/T3 years weren't really great either. Something about thyroxine just doesn't work for me.

Hi Blumondo never posted before

Please could you tell me what thyroid s is ?I'm suffering with chest pains followed by shortness of breath had loads of tests got heart treadmill test this week been like it 12mths.help

Thyroid S is a brand of Natural Dessicated Thyroid extract and I get it sent from Thailand. It comes in bottles of 1000 and depending on the supplier it can cost £40 ish. I take 3 1/2 grains daily which I built up to slowly. I am self medicating and have been on it for a year.

I can only speak for myself and how it has improved my life and would advise research before self medicating.

My GPs and Endo wouldn't listen to me about my symptoms and tried to prescribe anti depressants and get me to fit a blood test range. All the time I followed their advice I got more and more unwell. Following their advice and my subsequent poor health did help confirm my opinion that I needed T3.

Territl01 in reply to BlueMundo

I started armour a week ago, this is encouraging!

BlueMundo in reply to Territl01

Good luck. I started on 1/2 grain and increased every 2 weeks. I stayed on 3 grains for 8 weeks before adding the final 1/2 grain.

Have you been prescribed Armour by a GP?

Territl01 in reply to BlueMundo

Yes, I live in Michigan. My GP was open to my suggestions. I actually met a gentleman that has had Thyroid problems for 45 years and he provided me with some answers by looking at my blood work. I showed it to my Doctor and she originally wanted me to go to an Endo but I don't want to start over again in 3 months when I can get an appointment. I have to purchase the Armour out of pocket, but if it works, that is ok with me.

Territl01 in reply to BlueMundo

This makes me hopeful and not crazy. I have had every test out there from pulmonary to cardio and there is nothing "clinically" wrong with me. Since I started taking Armour I am already feeling a little better. I am keeping my fingers crossed since I really do not know what to do.

I've got this too and was even hospitalised last year but it's improved massively lately which coincides with me starting on T3 :-)

Territl01 in reply to infomaniac

Did you use an inhaler at all? I did/do, if doesn't help. I started armour a week ago


I was very much like this daily for years. A couple of years back I started large does of vit b12 daily and this helped me greatly. I have since gone gluten and dairy free and find if I miss my vit b12 now it is not a catastrophe .. maybe worth a try.

Ps my gp coeliac and lactose tests did not show positive results but private testing did 🙄

Territl01 in reply to Hidden

I try not to eat gluten and b12 levels are low but clinically acceptabke

Hidden in reply to Territl01

I'm afraid my attempts at cutting down on gluten did not work at all. I now find even the slightest bit in my diet e.g. In condiments etc sets me off. Also b12 tests are useless. Check out symptoms on pernicious anaemia site which might help. Clinical tests only measure serum levels only and not how much is in your cells. It also doesn't identify If you are not absorbing sufficient levels or converting.

Do you have B12 deficiency and anaemia? As that can make you breathless at times. I don't get the tightness but very breathless. I find it quite claustrophobic at times. When I get a cold or chest infection, I also get really hacking coughs.

If you haven't had your ferritin levels checked yet, might be a good idea to get yourself tested. Anxiety, can cause breathlessness and tightness too.

Take care :)

Territl01 in reply to JOLLYDOLLY

Thank you - I had every test run and the vitamins look sufficient.....

Hi, as other peeps have said there's a possibilityit's iron deficiency or low B12 or even low D3, I had this a few years ago along with other symptoms B12 sublingual spray double doses really helped with my breathing. I also took lactoferrin but if you have an intoleranceto milk use the goat lactoferrin. Keep D3&K2 optimal. Check for allergies/ intolerance by doing an elimination diet. Tests don't always show these. Go as organic and chemical free as possible Inc household stuff and food and toiletries. If possible make sure your thyroid tablets are really working for you and make sure they don't contain fillers that don't agree with you. I've recently changed my T3 as I was an itchy wreck! Good luck. 😊

Shortness of breath went away when I quit Levo and went to NDT. NDT is the exact opposite, I pop 30mg before a hard 45 min session in the pool. On NDT you can push the body far beyond where you should, my swimming buddy recons I cheat. Someone here said it's actually a stimulant.

I was told there was no cause for my chest pain and air hunger/breathlessness. But strangely enough the problem went away when I got my iron levels up to optimal and started taking T3.

Before this my iron levels were in my boots and my T3 was very low in range. I can now tell when my iron levels are dropping because I get air hunger.

If you want to test your iron levels, this is the cheapest test I've found that is worth doing :


If you do this test post your results in a new post and ask for feedback.

Territl01 in reply to humanbean

Thank you - my iron is fine. I just switched to Armour a week ago and am keeping my fingers crossed

I would check Iron and B12 - I had air hunger when both of these were low.

I had this issue. While I was hypothyroid, I felt like I was going to pass out, or die, while I was pedaling my bike to the top of the hill I live on. However, this condition occurred after I had gone GF, and my antibodies had gone to zero. So, I would conclude this problem is a property of hypothyroidism, not Hashimoto's; although there is the possibility it could also be caused by a nutrient deficiency. If your FT3 is not about 75% up in range, and you are on levo, I would encourage you to add T3 to your regimen to see what happens. FYI, I add 10mcg or 12.5mcg T3, to my T4 dose of 75mcg or 88mcg.

I have hypothyroid but have always been negative for anti-bodies mainly perhaps because I've only been tested when gluten free.

I think there is a very strong connection between breathing and thyroid although the asthma doctor I was seeing (until he refused to treat me any more) thought this was ridiculous, he also thought that diet is unlikely to be part of the picture even when my chest improved significantly when I gave up butter (the one milk product I was hanging onto).

Your D and B12 results are very low for someone who is supplementing and you may feel better if you look into absorption issues. I personally feel better when I do my own research and follow my own path.

I know that when I feel less hypo my breathing is also better and I get some sense of smell back, I am also slightly less intolerant of foods containing salicylates.

Many people with hard to control asthma have sensitivity to aspirin and aspirin is known to increase tissue resistance to thyroid hormone is the only link / explanation I can find.

I would be very interested to see if any one has any references about thyroid and allergies and breathing difficulties.

Eddie83 in reply to bd79og

A google on "thyroid air hunger" produces many hits

Territl01 in reply to Eddie83

I see that! Pretty interesting:)

Hypo51 in reply to bd79og

Hi bd79og,

Sorry I don't have any references, but I'm suffering with breathlessness, also I saw you mentioned sense of smell, only diagnosed hypo about 2 months ago, I'm taking 75 mg levo, not feeling much better I'm afraid to say, but I lost my sense smell and taste about 18 months ago and I've never regained it back to what it was, in fact it's quite poor now, is that down to hypo? I don't have asthma but I've pernicious anemia, which I get shots every 12 weeks for, just would like to know as I'm new to all this,

Thanks 🙂

Should say too that I've joint and muscles ache and don't sleep well and get exhausted very easily.

bd79og in reply to Hypo51

dear Hypo51

You sound a lot like me when I am not feeling well which is still some of the time! When my vitamin D and B12 were very low I too was tired all the time and still am but generally a bit better for supplementing. Two months is not very long to be treated for thyroid, it took me months to get anywhere near right and I'm not sure that I'm there yet after nearly two years.

I've reluctantly started steroid nose drops to try and help the nose as I have now developed polyps, they seem to make my nose bleed and I've been on them for nearly four months but I have a very little bit of smell at the moment. Strangely what seems to help the smell the most is a really really rotten cold each time I've had one which was so bad I had to go to bed for a week my smell has come back for a little while sometimes quite well but this time only slightly.

Generally I'm fairly swollen in the lips and face every morning and this goes a bit by lunch / early evening and then I smell things for a few minutes until the next night. I think this may be due to the thyroid not being properly treated but I am "within range" according to my gp so no help there and I'm saving up for more blood tests such as rt3.

20 odd years ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic fatigue syndrome I was told about sleep hygiene techniques such as always getting up at the same time and keeping the bedroom restful. I'm not very good at following them but find a good nights sleep makes me so much better than anything from the GP!

I to have joint pain especially in the hips in the mornings this is better when I get more sun and also when I sleep better (but it can be sore enough to wake me which does not help!)

Good luck with it all and I hope you get some answers soon and feel better.

Hypo51 in reply to bd79og

Thanks bd79og

Think I need some vit d but Dr said I was fine.. it's good to know about other people's experiences as I thought I was going mad.. I lost sense of smell after 3 sinus infections 1 after the other.. I was hoping to go back to work soon but feeling so rough still makes it difficult.. I do have an endo app in Aug so hoping I'll get some help. But been told they ain't always any better than Drs..

Thanks for replying wishing you well and all the best..

bd79og in reply to Hypo51

good luck with the endo!

Kda45563 in reply to bd79og

Nose polyps can be due to salicylate intolerance . Salmon cylayes can also contribute to arthritis . Food intolerances contribute to thyroid problems . The Thyroid pharmacist has some good info there. Google it . Zinc is necessary for the enzyme that detoxes salicylates andv a deficiency can affect smell and tastev

Kda45563 in reply to Hypo51

Try zinc for the lack of taste and smell . Zinc is important for thyroid hormone activation

bd79og in reply to Kda45563

I already take zinc! but it does help a bit still no smell though. I have severe salicylate intolerance and follow the failsafe diet with no milk and no gluten too which is hard but helps a bit. I've put my thyroxine up in Feb and the recent good weather has meant lots of sun so actually feeling better than for years most of the time! Thanks for your reply

If your B12 is ok I would get your vit D checked. I had low B12 and very low vit D and had continual tightness and a vague ache in my chest. I had a treadmill test and angiogram which were fine. During one of my many visits to the internet trying to find a possible cause I discovered that 70% of people referred for angiograms are vit D deficient! Guess what? As soon as I got my levels up the tightness went away. I hope you feel better soon.

I’ve been dealing with Hashimoto’s for years as well and recently had to stop taking Cytomel because it was causing my heart to race. Now however I am on a low dose of Synthroid but I am experiencing severe shortness of breath almost on a regular basis throughout the day. I’m not sure if it’s related to the Hashimoto’s and the Synthroid as I have also Recently passed menopause. This however does not feel like a typical hot flash and then when I do suffer the shortness of breath I don’t always get sweats. I used to think it was a response to eating or drinking anything But I can go for a walk first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything and still experience that same shortness of breath.. Very confusing.

You may also like...