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By Mary556 On 2013.08.14 23:12
My PWP Mom is short of breath in one lung. She first told me about it several weeks ago. She said the left lung is fine but feels her right lung is not completely filling with air; she pushes to try to get that side to expand more. (Years ago when she started with restless leg it was her right leg.) My mother is not in respiratory distress, but this is uncomfortable for her. It seems to be more pronounced when she is reclining so we've been propping her up with extra pillows.

Her MD ordered a chest Xray and cardiac echo; both were normal. We started to wonder if Mom's shortness of breath might be anxiety-related because she has been suffering with depression every day and panic attacks sporadically during the same time frame.

Does this sound like the chest muscle tightness that PWP's experience?
(Lohengrin, thank you for describing that symptom in another thread.)
Is there any remedy? Would it help to put a warm, dry compress on her chest on that side to try to loosen the muscle?
We would be grateful for any suggestion.

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.08.14 23:57
Mary556, anxiety and panic attacks are or seem common with Parkinson's Disease. One thought is maybe Your Mom needs Her Medicine tweaked? I don't know what she takes but if it hasn't been adjusted in awhile it may need it. You mentioned Her MD? Does She have a Neurologist? Have you noticed if Her symptoms are worse between doses of her med's? Say like from an hour before the next dose to an hour after the dose? If so Her med's are helping it and it is probably PD related. (but that's not set in stone fact because in some people the medicine can cause dystonia) so it is important to discuss these things with a Neurologist. Also it might be anxiety related which itself could be a result of needing a tweak in medication. It's very confusing to try to sort out and very scary to be going through. Stress could also contribute to causing these symptoms. Has there been changes to routine or events that might be more worrisome lately? Please don't feel you have to answer these questions, I'm just giving you something's you can think on to try to solve Her dilemma. As always if You or anyone wants to email me it is my screen name here on the forum at just put pd forum or pd in the subject line so I don't delete it as spam. Hope this gives you a few things to look for and helps you solve the problem. Take care, best of luck and hang in there

We're all in the same game; Just different levels.
Dealing with the same Hell; Just different devils

By Freespirit On 2013.08.15 08:46
My husband has problems with shortness of breath. It shows up as a "off" symptom regarding his meds.

By parkinit On 2013.08.15 09:00
My husband has issues with shortness of breath as well and after many tests was told that the muscles surrounding his lungs are not functioning properly. There is nothing that can be done for this.

It sounds like she is fixated on this issue, which we see frequently in my spouse's PD. It can be anything and it obsesses him - from a zit that he asks everyone to view and try to extract to, now, he thinks he has allergies even though he shows no signs of allergies other than drainage (he's always had this with his PD) and a stuffy nose (not really a sign of allergies). So, here we go again.

You learn to be calm but not to buy into these fixations. They usually run their course and we move on to another issue. It is almost, to me, as though my husband has become a hypochondriac. He definitely was not this way early in our relationship.

By ysracer On 2013.08.15 16:12
Parkinit, It seems that way to me also. Being the hypochondriac that is.
My wife seems to think she has the flu, then bladder infection, then allergies.
But they all seem to disappear by the following day, or 2 at most.

By moonswife On 2013.08.15 21:53
Lohnegrin (Al to others) just posted on another subject. I am a caregiver, and when I feel insulted, overburdened, ignored, castigated or just exhausted, I reflect on Al's famous words:
"If only there were a way to show others what our life feels like and how it is to live with this disease just for a day. Yes it can be maddening, it can be frustrating to see, but to be trapped inside this is more maddening and soooo frustrating! Those caregiving can step away if only for a brief time, get out and doing something, We cannot at most we have a time between doses where we can tolerate life a bit better but never fully like before. This disease steals life from us but cruelly a bit at a time, it robs us of our voice to communicate and we are told to speak up, or we're mumbling. It robs us of facial expression and we are thought to not care or to have lost emotion, it is still there we just can't express it as before PD. ". How this reminder helps me put my life into perspective.

By Mary556 On 2013.08.16 07:13
Lohengr1n and everyone, thank you for responding. your answers are very helpful. It is priceless to have the benefit of your experience.
My Mom had a visit with her neurologist this week and she is doing so much better now. Her mobility is greatly improved and she is stronger, able to lift herself out of her chair again and do much more for herself without my help.

Yes, her L-dopa needed to be tweaked. Mom's dose had changed three times recently (long story). Somehow in our confusion I was continuing to give her 4 pills/day instead of 6/day her doctor intended. My mother's worsening symptoms these last few weeks have been so rough on her and much of this could have been prevented. It was totally my fault. My Mom would never think of blaming me though; she just keeps thanking me over and over. She is so loving and patient and kind. I have the best mother in the world.

Yes, sometimes she has a tendency to obsess and worry. When I am tired
and trying to do two things at once, I have a tendency to get inwardly impatient when she frets. Mom keeps checking her pill box to see which ones she took and which ones are left to take. She is worried about missing one and they are confusing for her. She asks me to explain what each pill is. Sometimes dopa looks smaller than usual and she worries that it is the baby aspirin. Last night at suppertime Mom was concerned that she hadn't taken her pill. I was so very sure that I had given it to her 45 minutes before (protein avoidance), but thought I would just open the compartment and show Mom it's empty to put her mind at rest. Well, it wasn't empty. I had forgotten to give my mother her medicine. Some of the things she worries about, she has a good reason. I do make mistakes and she does need to remind me. I told her she is not nagging me, she is double-checking me.

Anyway... my mother's shortness of breath has not returned in the last couple of days. She does have panic attacks now and then, so it is difficult to know whether PD muscle tightness or anxiety was the cause. Either way, the increase in her dopa seems to have resolved that problem. She has a new Rx anti-depressant that seems promising as well. We will keep praying.

Thanks again for your guidance.
I am so grateful to have found this forum.

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