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I am a university professor. I started to have shortness of breath five years ago. It usually starts in the middle of semester and becomes worst by the end of the semester. After winter break or summer, everything will be back to normal. But it will come back in the following semester. I developed allergy 10 years ago and I suspected that my shortness of breath is related to my allergy. Three years ago, I started allergy shot, which stopped all other symptoms but it did not help my shortness of breath. I visited several doctors for this but none of them can figure out what is going on. The pulmonary function test indicated that lung function is excellent and my heart is also in good condition. They also excluded the possibility of asthma. I just visited an Otolaryngologist and he could not find anything wrong with my throat and vocal cords. At the end, he suggested that this may be caused by stress. Does anybody have similar situation?


Hi zhangyu, I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one with this problem. I wish I had some insight to share with you but I am clueless too. I'll just share some of my own experience.

Over the last ten years I have mystery bouts of chest tightness and shortness of breath that goes on and on with no let up, but every time a doctor does a lung function test on me, they tell me everything looks great. I'm glad of it, but at the same time I want to know why it is I can't breathe!

I was at the doctor for this today actually. He had me do a lung test breathing in and blowing air out to start, then taking an inhaler, waiting a bit for it to kick in and doing it again. There was no great difference. In my classic overacheiver fashion, both were good. I had a history of asthma as a child, but unlike before, whenever I've had these "episodes" the inhalers for asthma have never helped. I guess one of the things I'd like to know is if it's possible for allergies to affect your lungs WITHOUT having asthma??

My doctor ordered some blood tests, an EKG, and a upper body CT scan to see if we can get to the bottom of this. He is as perplexed as I am, but at least shows interest in trying to figure it out. I would really like to know what causes it to come on and why it goes away. Last year I felt bad for about two months. Finally I went to get a massage and the symptoms went away. I tried that again this time and although the massage felt great, it didn't do anything to help my breathing.

I do think there's an anxiety component to mine, but it's not the whole thing. I've been anxious plenty of times between the last episode and this one, and I haven't had any trouble breathing! It's so frustrating and although I try to stay positive about it, that facade crumbles regularly. I hope you find some answers for yourself, and if I get anything worked out I'll post back.

Take care!