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What causes fatigue, insomnia, intermittent joint pain, occasional cough and anxiety?

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Posted on Thu, 12 May 2016
Question: I have been experiencing the following symptoms for several months. High degree of fatigue, insomnia, intermittent joint pain, occasional cough ( I quit 8 years ago after smoking for 50 years, diminished appetite and feelings of lethargy, feelings of anxiety and dread. That's probably enough for a while!
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Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman (19 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
ok... several thoughts

Detailed Answer:
Simple answer. Chronic cough is a potential cancer sign and an indication for a chest x ray. greater than 10 year after quitting lung cancer gets to be about as likely (NOT VERY LIKELY AT ALL) as if having never smoked, but unfortunately this does NOT apply to 8 years of quitting.

The more likely causes are infection including tuberculosis, lung abcess (seen one of those this year masquerading as cancer), or just some residual lung damage from cigarettes. If you are coughing up a LOT of phlegm daily then the lung damage residual is very serious and needs treatment regardless. If it is JUST a cough, the chest xray holds, but the amount of lung left might be pretty normal and UNLESS YOU ARE COUGHING UP your lung, your loss of lung tissue per year is about the same as someone who never smoked (small).
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Matt Wachsman (19 minutes later)
Will a ct scan be sufficient, or is an x ray the correct tool for my symptoms?
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Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
ct is an x-ray

Detailed Answer:
that is done in multiple images and the image reconstructed. They are equivalent. Since the radiation is less with x-rays, generally those are preferred but since there are multiple images at multiple angles CT's give demonstrably better images.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Matt Wachsman

Addiction Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1985

Answered : 4200 Questions

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What causes fatigue, insomnia, intermittent joint pain, occasional cough and anxiety?

Brief Answer: ok... several thoughts Detailed Answer: Simple answer. Chronic cough is a potential cancer sign and an indication for a chest x ray. greater than 10 year after quitting lung cancer gets to be about as likely (NOT VERY LIKELY AT ALL) as if having never smoked, but unfortunately this does NOT apply to 8 years of quitting. The more likely causes are infection including tuberculosis, lung abcess (seen one of those this year masquerading as cancer), or just some residual lung damage from cigarettes. If you are coughing up a LOT of phlegm daily then the lung damage residual is very serious and needs treatment regardless. If it is JUST a cough, the chest xray holds, but the amount of lung left might be pretty normal and UNLESS YOU ARE COUGHING UP your lung, your loss of lung tissue per year is about the same as someone who never smoked (small).