My Encyclopedia of Breathing Problems

In my search to figure out how to fix my breathing issues (see 2012 race reports starting in May), I’ve come up with a long list of potential causes. I thought this might be useful for athletes out there who struggle with breathing during exercise and aren’t sure how to fix it.

1. Asthma
This is every doctor’s first answer. I took a normal asthma test and was fine.

2. Sports Induced Asthma
I failed this test, so it appears that this is what is wrong. I started taking asthma medication and an inhaler before hard training sessions. It didn’t really help.

3. Sports Induced Ashthma
Yea, doctors love this answer. They changed my meds to see if they worked better. I’m still not sure it’s helping.

4. Vocal Chord Dysfunction (VCD)
It sounded like a good possibility. Treatment is re-learning how to breathe properly. Read more here:

5. Allergies/Intolerances
I had an allergy test done and found a couple minor foods that I was allergic / intolerant to, so I cut them out of my diet.

6. Heart Problems
Some people can have some backflow issues with their heart (called valve regurgitation), which isn’t all that uncommon or cause for concern. Exercise could exacerbate it though and make breathing difficult, which is a problem. So I got a stress echo done and the doctor said I was fine.

7. Muscle Problems
I’ve tried massage, PT, dry needling, and chiropractic work around my ribs/chest. It seems to help a little.

8. Sickness – Viruses or Parasites

9. Tumors
I had a chest xray done. It looked fine.

Well, that is it. Feel free to add to this list in the comments. Hope this helps somebody!