Breathing Difficulty and Alcohol Consumption
by bfranklin, Jan 10, 2002
I am experiencing difficulty breathing. My doctor has diagnosed me with GERD and placed me on Nexium. I have had chest and neck x-rays that were all negative. All blood tests were normal. I feel as though I have a 'lump' in my throat and I feel tenderness in the back of my throat when I breathe deeply. There is a sour taste in my mouth.

I am a 27 year old male, social(6 beers at the bar 4 times a week) beer drinker who discontinued drinking any alcoholic beverages a month and a half ago when the dyspnea started. I have had chronic stomach acid problems, tingling in my fingertips, low white blood cell count, irregular bowel movements, loss-of-appetite, and restless sleep since the breathing difficulty started and the breathing difficulty is still present. The dyspnea is sporatic and unrelated to physical activity.

Anyone have any ideas of something that myself or my doctor should be looking for other than GERD?
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Member Comments (6)
by BillH, Jan 10, 2002
You may just need to get the acid reflux under control. I have many of the same symptoms with the breathing.  Sometimes it's like I cannot even get a breath.  But, as I am getting the reflux under control, the breathing issues do not seem to come up as much.  I have been told that it is possible for acid, if bad enough, to get to your windpipe, if that happens, you could get the feeling that you cannot catch your breath.  I also have the issues with tingling in my left hand/fingers.  I am getting a EGD done on the 17th to see if they can tell me more.

You may also try to cut out fatty foods, real spicy foods, carbonated drinks and coffee/tea to see if that helps.  

Good luck, Bill
by JC Hank, Jan 10, 2002
I have gallbladder problems the doctor's tell me.  This causes me to have GERD like symtoms.  I have had only slight breathing problems which only occur while I'm trying to sleep, which I would discribe as being "aware" of my breathing and feeling like It requires more energy to breath. One doctor told me that was Anxiety.  I also recently got told I have a irregular heart beat (atrial Fibration) which comes and goes which I think is tied to the gallbladder problems as it occurs only after my stomache gets upset after eating the wrong thing, ie. foods with to high of fat content.  One thing they asked me repeatly, each time I was seen for the irregular heart beat, is whether I drank alot, which I dont.  I also have the tingling in the hand and fingertips of my left arm.  Its not the whole hand just the outer 2-3 fingers.  I went to several doctors and alot of tests for my heart, a MRI for my head, EDG, HIDA, and a CAT scan for my guts.  Only the HIDA scan show anything out of the ordinary in that my gallbladder is working at 43%.  None of the doctors linked the tingling in my hand/fingers to any problem they could find.  The Heart specialist told me it was an old neck injury acting up.  Right now I'm believing him.  I also know that I'm sleeping ALOT on my right side only, which would tend to put a strain on the neck muscles/nerves.  If I lay on my left side I get uncomfortable "pressure".  I go to a gasto specialist and another heart specialist next week. Please post here if you solve any of your problems as will I.  

by Gerd Nerd, Jan 15, 2002

I have the exact same symptoms as you! My wife is a BSN RN nurse and has told me that alcohol will erode you cardiac spincter which is the flap of tissue that keeps your acids in your stomach from refluxing into you esophagus so that you don't get GERD and have what is commonly called acid reflux. The acid relux can be breathed into the lungs, which is then called aspiration and will give you asmatic symptoms. Furthermore, if you eat chocolate or spicy food you will get the same problems! You probably have gallstomes as well and don't know it!

You get gallstones from inactivity or poor diet! They are common today. You should take two full glasses of water in the morning and two in the evening and excercise with a walk and or a slow jog, then do at least 20-25 jumping jacks everynight along with 10-20 push ups and sit ups to get your circulation going!!


You will probably need Prilosec to control the GERD and need at least a stomache x-ray to see if you have a hiatal hernia!

A hiatal hernia is a tear in the diaphram and your stomache protrudes into the chest cavity and you feel as though something is caught in your neck!! See you doctor and eat smaller meals more often. No BBQ foods. Stay away from meat except lamb, fish, some chicken without the skin! More vegetables and cut the food with the large amounts of FAT as if you do have gallstones then you wil fing it hard to digest them as you will lack the bile!

The hyper acidity in the stomache does irritate the vagus nerves and other nerves as well unless it is sever to the point of breathing problems or pain you should be ok! Heart attacks are painful and if you feel as though your pain is intense go to the ER. Being 27 I would not worry to much!!!
by Gerd Nerd, Jan 15, 2002

The sour taste in your mouth is the GERD or acid refluxing when you go to sleep at night! Elevate your chest (not your neck) at least 8in when you sleep!
by toy drive, Jan 24, 2002
I Have everything that you have. MY main sympton has been sorth of breath like fish out of water. It started last july and has been a nightmare 24hrs a day. i saw cardio,pulm,evry dr you could think off. finally a dr said acid reflux . I have been on nexium for 12 weeks-the last 4 weeks double dose only got 50% better . I just had 24 hr ph to see if i need surgey. MY # 1 sypmton is short of breath all the time. Your not crazy . i thought i was but after hearing  you i guess we have bad reflux. ! am 30 yr old male active ruuner and sorts and i can't do anything. good luck
by joeys, Feb 03, 2002
bfranklin, i think we're in the same boat. i'm 26 years old, and have suffered gerd about a year ago. i used to drink a lot, and had a really bad diet - lots of coffee and colas, lots of beers, bad eating habits, etc. it finally caught up with me, and now i have gerd.

gerd nerd's post was very relevant.
i want to add however that you should avoid the following things:

- milk
- beans
- cabbage
- fatty foods
- softdrinks
- smoking
- potato
- spicy foods

lifestyle modifications help A LOT. after i was diagnosed with gerd, i left the bar scene, soon quit smoking, and stated eating right. i also used techniques gerd nerd mentioned, like elevating the head when you sleep, small frequent meals, and of course, taking either nexium or losec, depending on bad the symptoms get.