Bronchiectasis coughing and unable to breath.

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Have had bx for 20 years had my bouts of coughing up half cup of blood etc. Do all my exercises and take medication etc but every now and then i start to laugh or cough and i suddenly cant get my breath.

Feel like i am going to pass out then i start gasping for air. It can be embarrassing if out when it happens so i tend to not go to many social events. Have had it happen at work. Anyone else experienced this and if so how do yu control.

Thank you


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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, yes I've experienced it a couple of times, I've only been diagnosed for about 2-3 years now, not as severe as yourself though. It's happened to me at work, I find mine is caused by my Airways being blocked by mucus building up, as its hard to control when your sitting at your desk in the middle of an office.!

    I would certainly tell your GP though.

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    • Posted

      Thanks jules

      Specialist is aware and we are trying different medications.

      When it happens i cant even cough and everything just closes over .

      Cant breath thru nose at all as well.closest feeling to it is i suppose is when yu choke on food no sound at all comes out very frightening but i dont panic as i know if i go unconcious i will breathe. I guess its just comforting somehow to know it happens to others .

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  • Posted

    Glenda, it's very easy to get in that situation. Get checked by your lung doc. If they say no problem, you may want to practice some calming breaths. This is simple, just means that in coughing/laughing fits you train yourself to inhale through your nose & exhale through the mouth. We all tend to try to gasp in air through our mouths during coughing fits but that doesn't work because you're trying to inhale and exhale through your mouth at the same time. This can cause hyperventilation, panic attacks and, yes, possibly passing out. If you do pass out, have no fear as while "out" your body should go into normal nose breathing.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply. I know i dont panic as the specialist said if i pass out i will normally breath. Problem is i cant even breathh thru nose. They happen so quick and can happen even after all my clearance routine when i have no mucus. I dont cough up anything at all after an attack. Maybe its just an anomally i have.
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    • Posted

      Just to make sure: when in these situations & you try to breathe thru your nose, you do that with your mouth closed, right? It only works if we can get ourselves to close our mouths first.

      As to the panic, if one isn't prone to panic attacks (I'm not, nor was Himself) in most of us there is still an automatic small panic reaction. The body will react to the situation whether we're worried or not. It becomes more & more difficult to force our mouths to close in order to breathe thru the nose. Himself would never believe me even tho it was a COPD nurse who taught me the close the mouth/inhale thru your nose rule in cough jags. He never had a panic attack but he spent the last 10-12 years of his life being afraid he'd die in one of those jags.

      Does sound a bit like mucus plugs. If that's what it is the mucus might not be thin enough to cough up. A lot of us here are on mucolytics and nebulizer meds/saline to loosen up gunk & get it out. Without them, i can cough literally for hours & nothing comes up.

      I hope you get some positive help soon. Those coughing fits are no fun.

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  • Posted

    I wonder if it starts being a coughing fit and then goes into a case of hyperventilation. At least that's what it sounds like to me. I know because I've done it before. I went to the emergency room because I thought I was having an asthma attack when it really turned out to be hyperventilation. I've also gone to the doctor's office but it was the same thing... hyperventilation. You could carry around a paper bag and take yourself into the bathroom and try breathing into the paper bag. But you don't really need the paper bag if you can talk yourself down from it. One of the first things you should try doing is listen to a guided meditation or guided relaxation depending on what you want to call it. Listen to it everyday at least once a day. But twice is better. You can do one time at bedtime which is not a bad time per se but you should at least do it once while you'll be awake for the entire tape. Then when you have one of these fits you use some of those keywords that you've learned in the tape and you say them to yourself. For example let's say that the tape uses the words limp and relaxed. When you are having one of these fits and you say those words to yourself and your body instinctively starts to relax just like it would do during the tape. This really can happen because I've done it. And I did it with the help of a psychiatrist who did biofeedback. And that is what this is essentially. Of course you can go to a person who does biofeedback and pay them lots and lots of money and they will hook you up to a machine so that you can see just how relaxed you really are while you're listening to the tape. Or you can do it my way and do it for free or at least maybe the cost of the relaxation tape. Although you can find them for free online. If you don't know if you're hyperventilating or really having problems breathing use an oxygen saturation meter. If your oxygen is low then you really should go to the emergency room but if it is high you know what is hyperventilation.

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks for the answer. I know its not hyperventilation. Its almost like my airways close and i cant get any breath in or out. Not an anxiety attack.

      Can start when i am laughing or coughing . Eventually start breathing but i hoop in mouthfulls of air and it sounds awful and is embarrassing.

      At first i thoujght hyperventilating but def not that.

      Would be interesting to see if others have the problem and how they handle it.

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