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Can anyone explain my sudden involuntary, deep and intense breaths?

Posted by TaraBlue

 I am a 54 year old healthy female.  Approximately 3-4 weeks ago, my lungs have started taking sudden, involuntary deep breaths.   It comes out of nowhere and is so intense that it startles me and then throws me into a panic attack.  It happens many times a day.  The best way I can describe it is like when you have a good, hard, long cry and afterwards, you have the hiccup-type deep breaths.  This is what it is like.  In between these episodes, however, my breathing appears to be completely normal.  This is scaring me and I doubt that any doctor will take me seriously even though I am very in tune to my body and what I am having IS real.  

I am working 2 jobs and just started the 2nd job 3 weeks ago in a medical laboratory.  I am wondering if I 'caught' something in the lab or if I may be allergic to something there.  It kind of seems as if it started right around the same time that I started work there.   Thanks so much for any assistance you can give me!  I am a BIG HUGE sissy!

PS...Oh and by the way, it seems as if I am constantly yawning lately too.  It seems to be all about my lungs getting more air.  But in between all these episodes, my breathing seems to be normal.  I'm scared.   


Answers (4)
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Hi, I'm 63 and experiencing exactly the same as you - its been going on for a year or so now but getting worse - quite a few times a day. It only seems to happen when I'm sitting down - not if I'm up and about doing stuff.  I get hiccups a lot too and also often yawn - just like you!!  It was reassuring to know that your are the same. Lets hope we find out what it is.

Hi Naomi,  Thanks for writing!  What could we possibly have that this started all of a sudden?  Like you, mine also is worse when sedentary.  I don't recall it when I am up and about.  I finally went to my primary care doctor and as I figured, she didn't have much to say about it or seem too concerned.  She did send me for a chest x-ray and phoned a few days later to say it was 'normal'.  I do want to share with you another post on this

Sandy writes: 
I just looked at your article entitled "The Importance of Proper Breathing Techniques". I have a particular symptom with my breathing. I will be breathing normally, and then it is as if my lungs all of a sudden fill with air, as if I were doing a deep breathing exercise. What is strange is that it is involuntary on my part. It feels as if my lungs are filling themselves with air quickly and all of a sudden. It does not hurt, but just startles me. Do you know what this could be? I would appreciate anything you would like to share with me. Thank you so much.

So far she hasn't gotten any response.  Other than that, I haven't been able to locate much on this when I GOOGLE it.  I am grateful to you for responding and agree with what you said about it being reassuring to know someone else has it.  I would feel better if we could have a professional tells us that it is nothing.  Meanwhile, I'm not sure what kind of doctor to go to next.  A Pulmonary Specialist?  A Neurologist?  The list is endless but my pocket$ aren't.  I did have someone at the Lab where I work tell me that it could be my 'phrenic nerve'.  I am getting ready to look that up when I am done here.  I don't even know what a phrenic nerve is!  HA!  I am concerned though that you have been experiencing this for a year and that you say it is getting worse.  I will keep on trying Naomi to find out something, anything.  Please keep in touch and I will likewise.  Until then, take care!  Tracy.


Thanks Tracy.  Hopefully we will find the answer one day.  Its probably nothing to worry about - but I do!! Will keep in touch. Naomi

I have this too. It was ok until I had a bike wreck and damaged my stomach muscles. Then the involuntary breath caused an incredibly painful muscle spasm. Luckily my stomach muscles have healed. I also have Cheyne Stokes breathing problems at high altitude. I think they both are related to oxygen regulation. When I am in good shape (but not too worn out from exercise) I tend to have fewest problems. Hang in there. 
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