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Air hunger

I’m finding air hunger to be one of the most difficult things to deal with at the moment. Newly on supplementary oxygen but when I’m having an uncontrollable coughing session I begin panting through my mouth. It takes a while for me to be able to do the pursed lip breathing and what seems like hours (probably about 5 minutes) before I can really get back to normal.

My doctor has prescribed low dose liquid morphine for this but only three times a day. These episodes happen 6 or 7 times a day. Not coping well at all!

  1. Hi DoINoU, and thanks for your post. Thank you also for lending your own support and encouragement here - it is always welcome. We also value you sharing your own extensive personal experience managing this condition and it's accompanying maladies using the medications you mentioned and journaling as well!

    We very much appreciate your candor with the community. I'm hopeful others will read your comments and have some ideas for themselves as to how to manage their own particular conditions with their physicians.

    Wishing you well,
    Leon (site moderator

    1. It’s well known that dyspnea triggers anxiety and panic attacks, causing hyperventilation and unnecessary pain and distress. Despite all the dire warnings about combining opioids and benzodiazepines, the risk is largely dose dependent and these medications are frequently used in combination safely. In my case, Klonopin was added at .5mg every 8 hours and the results have been excellent, with no complications or respiratory depression. Discuss your anxiety with your doctors and always take medications as directed. In my experience, the anxiety medications are amazingly effective once they’ve been adjusted to your daily cycle of dyspnea incidents. Keeping a personal written record of incidents to share with your doctors can help them identify your particular needs. Good luck!

      1. Hi again Biddy48 (Colleen), and so good to hear back from you - all the way from Australia, too! It sounds like you're managing quite a bit with COPD, IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis), and asthma. Add to that the nosebleeds, and you certainly do have your share to contend with!

        Glad to hear you seem to be managing all fairly well - once one gets over the anxiety and fright - you may be able to feel like you have somewhat more control over the various conditions.

        If there is anything we can do to assist you, even if it's just to lend a listening ear, please let me or any other moderator / team member know.

        Wishing you well (here from New York, in the summertime!)
        Leon (site moderator

        1. Leon, thanks for your prompt reply. I was diagnosed with IPF in July 2016 and only found out about the COPD when it was included in a referral to Pulmonary Rehab. Asthma was there too but I knew about that.

          Steep learning curve re oxygen use. Have had some horrendous nosebleeds. Now use Fess frequently to moisturise the nasal tissues.

          The nosebleeds caused the worst air hunger as I couldn’t use the oxygen properly and both nostrils were blocked. The liquid morphine helped but the episodes freaked me out. The morphine also helps with the cough.

          Cheers from chilly Australia
          Colleen P

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