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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonologist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 14575 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 9 Sep 2015 in Lung and Chest disorders
Question: Hi,
I am writing on behalf of my girlfriend. My Girlfriend is having issues breathing, shortness of breath that feels like the oxygen stops in her chest. It is very inconsistent, she can go weeks without issue or days and it gets better and worse throughout that time. She says it seems to be a little better if she lays on her back in bed. She used to drink a lot of diet soda (2-4 per day), after some research and seeing a possible link to the shortness of breath she stopped drinking soda's all together and hasn't had any in over 6 months. I am writing because she has spoken with her PCP and multiple specialists who diagnosed a problem related to physical activity, she is not overweight and does not work out, she works daily in an office. After the money spent on testing and little results to show for it she has lost confidence in her physicians and given up on her search, it's making her miserable. I know it's not a lot to work with but it's all I've got, is there anything that comes to mind?

Thanks in advance
XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar 21 minutes later
Brief Answer:
First consult Pulmonologist and get done PFT.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your question on Health Care Magic.
I can understand your girlfriend 's situation and problem.
Irregular Breathing difficulty in young age female is mostly due to stress and anxiety.
But better to first rule out Pulmonary causes for this.
So consult pulmonologist and get done clinical examination of respiratory system and PFT (Pulmonary Function Test).
If both are normal than no need to worry for lung pathology.
Possibility of stress and anxiety is more.
So please let me know
1. Is she having stressful life?
2. Is she having breathlessness in difficult situation like where she wants to escape?
3. Is she having wheezing or chest pain during breathlessness?
Please reply me answers of above asked questions, so that I can guide you better.
I will be happy to help you further.
Wishing good health to your girlfriend. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar 47 minutes later
1. She has been busy at work, she was recently passed over for a promotion and she's been too hard on herself. We have a happy relationship and argue little to not at all.

2. It can get worse during difficult situations and she sometimes feels like she needs to escape the situation.

3. No Wheezing but she does have chest pain
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar 13 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Possibility of stress and tension is more.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your follow up question on HCM.
Possibility of stress and tension related breathing problem is more.
She is also taking birth control pills. These pills can also cause psychiatric side effects.
Please let me know since how many days she is on these pills?
Please reply me answers of above asked question,so that I can guide you better.
I will be happy to help you further.
Wishing good health to your girlfriend. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar 22 hours later
I have found out the breathing issues began in high school well before she began taking birth control so that can be ruled out. Any ideas other than stress?

Thanks
XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Other possibilities are bronchitis,pulmonary embolism and GERD.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your follow up question on HCM.
I can understand your concern.
So, she is having breathing problems since high school days.
So in my opinion, possibility of stress and anxiety related symptoms is more.
Other possibilities are bronchitis and Pulmonary embolism.
In both these conditions, patient has periodically shortness of breath.
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is also a rare cause for breathlessness. I am suspecting this because she was having habit of drinking soda. And soda can cause GERD.
So please let me know
1. Does she have burning epigastric pain or belching or burping or chest tightness?
2. Does she have chest pain or coughing while breathing difficulty?
3. Did she ever undergone PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) and d-dimer?
Please reply me answers of above asked questions, so that I can guide you better.
I will be happy to help you further.
Wishing good health to your girlfriend. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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