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Having frequent attacks of wheezing cough and burning sensation in chest. Any suggestions?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 661 Questions
Hello Doctor,
I have been having frequent attacks of wheezing cough accompanied with burning sensation in the upper chest area and sometimes very short prick like pain in the lower chest area. I have noticed that the problem aggravates after meals, especially when I eat something spicy. Also at times acid reaches my throat as I burp. I have a very short history of smoking, between when i was 18-21 year old. But it was very less frequent, like once in two days or once in a week at times. My family doctor has been treating the wheezing with Salbutamol. I take one tablet every night after meals. I can then sleep peacefully and the next day is fine, until about 10pm when wheezing resurfaces after meals. It does happen in day sometimes if I laugh a lot, but surprisingly it doesn't occur while performing cardio exercises at the gym. I am afraid that I may have GERD. Could you please help?
Posted Fri, 2 Nov 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Ishfaq Habib 2 hours later
Thanks for the query.

The wheeze arises with bronchospasm and the sulbutamol is a bronchodilator and that is why your cough is relieved with the sulbutamol.

The description you have provided is more in correlation with gastric disorders rather than the respiratory disease. The problem is probably due to dyspepsia and GERD. The reflux is causing the acid to pass to throat and subsequently causing irritation of the throat and hence causing cough.

Additionally the pain of the stomach is also felt in the chest and is confused with the chest. The pain is felt both at anterior and posterior aspect and the cough you are having will be dry cough.

It is recommended to avoid spicy and fatty foods and increase use of diet containing fibres. Antacids and gastric motility enhancers can help a lot.

If you still have some query, feel free to ask.

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