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Breathing in problem
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Breathing in problem

Something is wrong with my right lung and has gotten worse in the last six weeks or so.  I have had this problem off and on throughout most of 2011.

Much of the time I seem to have a problem filling my lungs completely with air.  This is especially noticeable when I try to take a deep breath through my nose.  It is still noticeable but less so when I mouth breath.  When I just take shallow breaths, I don't notice this much.  But then I get to the point where I feel like I need more O2,so try to take a deep breath.  But it feels like my right lung is constrained and I can only use 50-75% of it.

I've had a chest x-ray about 6 months back and they didn't find anything that jumped out at them except for a little expansion and some scarring (on the right lung).  The doc said I "probably" have asthma and gave me a bottle of Azmacort.  But this doesn't really help the problem.  

Ibuprofen can help the problem somewhat but not 100%, which would seem to indicate that the right lung is inflamed.  Leaning forward can help me take a deeper breath and take in more air.  Also lying down seems to be better for my breathing.

I do not have a cough, nor am I expelling mucus/phlegm.  I don't have a problem expelling air (which supposedly is one of the symptoms of asthma), just a problem taking AIR IN.

At 60 YO, I am in very good shape and generally do 6-8 mile hike/jogs two or three times a week plus workout at the gym two or three times.  My resting heart rate is around 53, blood pressure normal, cholesterol 150 with HDL 66.  However, with this breathing issue, my workouts (and LIFE)  are impacted since I seem to be working on 75% O2 much of the time.  I do breath and feel better after my hikes.

For the record, I had smoked for many years but gave it up about 2 years ago.  And I am unemployed and do not have health insurance, so I have to use one of the free clinics and volunteer docs near me.

Any ideas/help appreciated!
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242587_tn?1355427710
It would be appropriate for you to have another chest X-ray now, given that a lot can happen lung-disease wise, over a time span of 6 months.  Pulmonary function tests could also be helpful in assessing the question of asthma, with attention to both inspiratory and expiratory air flow.  If you have never before had signs or symptoms of asthma, it would be unlikely for you to develop asthma at the age of 60.  If the repeat X-ray and pulmonary function tests do not resolve the issue, I would recommend that you and your doctor request consultation with a lung specialist (pulmonologist).  

If, as I suspect, the diagnosis of asthma was made on the basis of wheezing it would be important to keep in mind that other lung conditions can mimic asthma in this way; specifically, diseases that can cause obstruction of the large airways, even obstruction of the windpipe (trachea) itself or disease of the vocal cords.  When this occurs, whatever may be causing the obstruction, may or may not be obvious on a standard chest X-ray and diagnosis may require direct visualization of your larynx and major airways by a lung specialist, with the use of a bronchoscope.  The other finding to suggest this type of obstruction would be wheezing limited to one lung.

I suggest that you share this message with your doctor for his/her consideration and seriously consider getting a second opinion.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I've noticed that I don't seem to have this problem at night or when I immediately wake up in the morning.   I can take deep breaths on waking but then this problem starts affecting me after I have gotten out of bed.

Does this give any further clues?
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Update was started.
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