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Diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Having cough, heart burn and pain in chest. What could this be?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2000
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Diagnosed with walking pneumonia in October. Had a persistent cough when exercising about 8 weeks leading up to the pneumonia. Have had on and off pain in my left lung that is exacerbated by lying down for a couple of years now, much worse after the pneumonia. Now when I lie down, I start to cough, pain in back is worse, standing up makes it better, but I don't feel right. Also, I am very tired, I feel full a lot (haven't eaten breakfast in months and will often skip lunch). I fall asleep on the couch after work and wake up feeling my pulse is forceful and I feel weird (groggy). Family history, high BP on mom's side, type II diabetes (late onset on my Dad's side), Graves disease (my Dad). I'm a 28 year old male, 6'5" ~200 lbs and in average shape. I can still bike and do activities, better than a lot of other people, I just don't feel right though. I also get bouts of heart burn that have me salivating a lot at night. They will come for a week or two and then disappear for a few months.
Forgot to mention, when my cough is bad and my left back (around the lung is hurting) I often get numb lips. When I am fatigued after work, I often wake up with pins and needles in my legs and feet (unilateral or bilateral) that goes away after walking around.

What could this be? I want to say the residuals of the pneumonia, but the back pain around my left lung was around long before and the fatigue has been bothering me for some time. It feels like the pneumonia was secondary to something else. I've read anything from heart failure (unlikely for my age I would think), to GERD, to muscular problems.
Mon, 24 Dec 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 5 hours later
Hi there,

Thanks for writing in.

I would think more in terms of GERD or gastritis in view of your symptoms like pain, persistent cough at night,heartburn and excessive salivation at night.

Please do get the following investigations like Hemoglobin, Vit B12 levels, Thyroid function tests, Blood sugar levels both fasting and post prandial sugars to rule out anaemia, vit B12 defeciency, Thyroid disorders, and Diabetes respectively. The numbness and tingling might be due to one of the above.

Try to follow the below mentioned measures:

1. Drink lukewarm water at regular intervals( at least 8-10 glasses per day).
2. Regular exercise 30 minutes a day 5 days a week .
3. Have well balanced meals. By trial and error method avoid foods that make your symptom worse.
4. Avoid spicy, oily, XXXXXXX fried food.
5. Avoid tea, coffee, carbonated beverages, smoking and alcohol.
6. Instead of having 3 large meals a day, have frequent small quantity meals (5- 6 times) a day.
7. Avoid lying down immediately after a meal. It tends to make symptoms worse. Wait for at least 2 hours after a meal before lying down.
8. While lying down make sure the head is kept elevated on a pillow/ head end of the bed is slightly raised.
9. Avoid heavy exercise immediately after a meal. Again, wait for 2 hours after a meal and then exercise.
10. Do not skip breakfast. Ensure regular meal times.
11. You might get symptomatic relief with proton pump inhibitors like pantoprazole. Do consult your physician /gastroenterologist regarding the same.

Hope you feel better soon.

Have a great day :)

Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan

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