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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes shortness of breath?

Answered by
Dr. Priyanka

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2011

Answered : 717 Questions

Posted on Thu, 22 May 2014 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: I have been getting very short of breath when I exercise or carry anything over 5-10 lbs. I exercise 3x a week at the YMCA adult swim classes, I am almost 70 yrs young and I am obese with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea (using c-pap) and high cholesterol, all controlled with medication. A few months ago I thought I had an asthma attach (1st one ever) and now I get very short of breath when carrying things or over exercising. I have had a nuclear stress test which they said did not show anything abnormal for my age, although my heart rate went high I recovered quickly. This shortness of breath worries me as I have never had a problem before like this and keeps me tired and prevents me from going like I am used to doing. Any suggestions?I was thinking about when I get SOB while exercising in the water and it appears to be whenever I am using my arms aggressively or when doing abdominal crunches and of course whenever I push myself too far, I don't seem to have an off switch, I just keep going until I can't breathe anymore, thinking if I keep pushing myself I can overcome it.
Answered by Dr. Priyanka 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
There are many factors related to SOB.

Detailed Answer:
Hi Mrs.Joangatrell,

I had gone through your history and understand your concern.

As per you medical history i got to know that you are having Hypertension,Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, sleep apnea,restless leg syndrome, cholesterol and one attack of asthma also.

Your main query is regarding shortness of breath.As you know shortness of breath means there is breathing difficulty on exertion. It means that your lung is unable to cope up with stressed situation.

Your all reports are within normal limit and you are regularly taking your medication as well.

In my opinion the main cause for shortness of breath is both respiratory and circulatory problem superimposed by the age factor.

So I would like to advice you to do regular moderate exercise for acclimatization of your heart and lungs.Do not do aggressive exercise. For the time being stop abdominal crunches and do not lift heavy weights.As you told all these problem are happening now that is due to your age factor, as you are growing.

So need not to worry much as you are doing well according to your age and various disease factors. Kindly follow the instruction mentioned above and look for the improvement. If you feel it to be helpful then continue this.

Lastly I would like to advice you to keep a INHALER (Broncho dilator) always with you, so that it can help you in the time of breathlessness.I give my patients Deriphylline or Salbutamol inhaler 2 puffs at the time of breathlessness.

Please continue balanced diet, healthy life style and be regular with your medicines.Don't hesitate to visit your treating doctor in the difficult times.

Hope my answer has helped you and cleared your queries.
Still if you need further more information do not hesitate to ask me again.I shall be happy to help you again.

Wishing you speedy recovery and good health.

Kind regards,


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D

The User accepted the expert's answer

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