Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Shortness Of Breath

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 6 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 25, 2009
  • 09:41 PM

I can't seem to get a diagnosis. Here's my history with this ongoing problem.

On June 28th, I went to emergency with an asthma attack, which manifested as loud wheezing even though O2 sats were 100%. I was treated with six puffs of Ventolin and six puff of another bronchial dilator. I was given a script for Flovent for two weeks, morning and night two puffs.

The medication was acquired on July 4th (I don't have drug insurance) and I took it for two weeks until July 19th. During this time I still required the Ventolin 1-3 times a day while working or out and about, but it did seem to help.

On the 19th of July, I had chest tightness all day and what I thought, was a really bad asthma attacks, the worst on my way home from work. I got in the house and I couldn't talk I was gasping so badly. I took a cold shower and a dose of Ventolin and after about an hour I was finally alright again as long as I was resting.

On the 20th of July, I saw a doctor at my family doctor's practice. He listened to my lungs, I was actually not having too much SOB that day, and said they sounded okay, but he'd order an x-ray and a baseline breathing test to check it out. At my request he also did an allergy test, to see if there was anything I was really allergic to that could be attributing to this. He also put me on Advair 500, twice a day. I was also prescribed an aerochamber and a peak flow meter.

July 21st, I got the results, the x-ray was clear. I was still having trouble breathing though. I decided to wait and see maybe it was just taking a bit of time to kick in. Peak flow was in the 350-400 range, personal best is 450.

July 22nd, I woke up and I could barely breathe. I took my peak flow, 300 and I took my advair and called in sick to work. While resting, I fell asleep and woke up some five hours later, peak flow still about 325. I was also feeling a little weak. I was panting hard just from changing from my pajamas to some clothes. I consulted a nurse over the phone and was advised to go to the emergency room, so I did. I didn't make it back up over 350 throughout the day until after treatment:

I was given a ventolin mask, an EKG was done, blood tests, chest x-ray and a dose of prednizone. The doctor did not think it was asthma, they were checking for blood clots but I got the all clear. They hoped this took care of the problem then. I blew 450 after leaving the hospital, hurrah!

July 23rd I am still constantly breathing heavily, only now I make it up the stairs and just outside the front door before it begins. My peak flow all day was in the 275-375 range being kept up with Ventolin. I had tremors from the masking the day before all day and the additional doses weren't helping any. I only have pain in my chest and back when breathing deeply. I do have a dry cough that comes from hard breathing. I make another appointment with the doctor at the doctor's office.

July 24th, I head in to see the doctor again. I explain what happened and since he hasn't seen anything, he sent me to a Thrombosis clinic to rule out pulminary embolism. Which they did, through a blood test.

So here I am, still gasping for breath when I am up and about, relatively okay when lying down. I'm having chest tightness, but now I am getting weak and tired because my body is working so hard to keep me alive. My lungs are feeling tired, that burn like when you overwork a muscle?

As a background, I am overweight (320lbs, 5'9") however I am not out of shape. Just last week I was walking to work or from work three or four times a week, each walk is an hour. To me, something must be wrong if I can barely make it out the front door now.

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6 Replies:

  • One thing I would be tested for is Lyme disease. It is known as the Great Imitator. It can show up with any symptoms and affect any area of the body. I have a friend whose husband was diagnosed with early onset alzheimer's disease and the wife has low blood counts. It turned out they had Lyme and the co-infections that go along with it. It would be worth a Lyme test with co-infections to rule it out or find out if you have it.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • A couple of questions: what is your blood pressure, where do you work (what are you exposed to on a daily basis), and what does the pain in your chest feel like? Is it a sharp pain?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I really wish I had written down my blood pressure because they only took it once since twice they had 'the wrong size cuff' and didn't bother with it. They did the clip on my finger that said my O2 sats were 100% and heart rate 81. I don't have a history of high blood pressure.I am a cook by trade. I am exposed to heat and poor circulating air, we have a panini press, toaster, microwaves and a large oven for equipment. I am under a fair amount of stress, that I usually like, however since this started now when I have to move quickly it is challenging because I lose air and energy fast. It isn't a sharp pain, it's just tightness, similar to an asthma attack. My sternum and collarbone are sensitive to touch, a little painful but not seriously so. At this point I am mostly uncomfortable by the end of the day because my lungs feel tired. What I mean by that, it's like when you are walking for an hour and by the end you think 'I can't take another step' but you encourage yourself to do so anyway so you get where you're going. It's like that, only with breathing. I do sometimes 'sense' my heartbeat without touching my chest and I woke up from a nap today with a very sore finger. Poor circulation perhaps? I'm waiting to see if it goes away. The pain is coming from the inside of the knuckle on my left middle finger.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • From what Ive read you seem to exhibit symptoms of COPD of which frequent use of cooking gas without proper ventilation is a risk factor. Other gases and fumes in the workplace as well as second hand smoke are also causes. Leading to the question, were you a smoker at any point?More specifically, I have a theory that you developed a possible complication of COPD -- pneumothorax, as it fits your symptoms. The bronchial dilators you were put on would treat the COPD but the pneumothorax, unless a small one, wont go away on its own.If I were you I would ask my doctor to test for protein alpha-1 antitrypsin, nonsmokers who lack this protein can more easily develop COPD and to do some lung function testing. Saying the ***l with the BP test was a misstep on your healthcare providers part -- hypotension is a symptom. Here is some additional information, keep in mind this is only a theory but may be something you should talk to your doctor about.http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000091.htmhttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000087.htm
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thank you very much, I have another appointment on Friday and I will mention that to her. I am certain we will be doing some tests regardless which ones.Oh, I have never been a smoker at any time.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Update:My doctor is now testing my for hyperthyroidism. If this is not what I have she will be sending me to a general internist as she's not sure where to go if it's respitory or cardiac.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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