Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
chronic cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath
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chronic cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath

Recently I took a PFT test for work and was unable to meet the min. standard for my age, weight, and height. I'm 31, don't smoke and have no know family history of asthma (I'm adopted and only know my birth mothers side of the family). Since last September or October, I've had this persistant, dry, non-productive cough. It feels at times as if it originates in the back of my throat. Since the test, I've noticed a shortness of breath when performing normal activities like climbing stairs and carrying on conversations. I don't stop to pant at the top of the stairs, but I notice I need deeper breathes and my heart is going faster. During conversations I need to takes breathes more often than I think I should. Lastly, I've been feeling this tightness in my chest. Kind of like a sandbag sitting on my chest all day.
The doctor has given me an Albuterol inhalor, and a some anti-biotics, thinking I may have a lower respitory infection. I hate going to the doctor and having him try this, and then try that. Do you think that it may in fact be Asthma or could it still be an infection? I live in Michigan and this has been going on throughout the winter. I didn't notice it in the summer, could this be a seasonal thing?
Lastly, instead of the trial-and-error method my doctor likes to go through, should I go see a respitory specialist right away. I am a little concerned about this and want to find out what's going on as soon as I can.
Other possibly important information: I'm 5'11" 180lbs, I have a sit down job and get little, to no, physical exercise.
Sorry the post is so long.
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There are a variety of reasons for having the symptoms you describe. They could be related to your lungs, to your physical conditioning, to an infection etc. If these symptoms are bothering you, I think it is important to find out their cause in order to treat the problem. The cause of this is relatively easy to find out. Having an abnormal lung function test at work is not enough to say that you are having a problem with your lungs. It should be repeated in a medical setting and a bronchodilator given and repeated again. This test will give you a very good idea as to whether you have asthma or any other lung problem causing these symptoms. You have not really described any specific symptoms that could lead to the diagnosis of an infection. However, you could be having a chronic sinus infection which can produce many of the symptoms you are describing I would recommend seeing your doctor and discussing your concerns and then working together on the decision as to the next steps.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I think you may want to check out some information on pulmonary hypertension. There is a website called PHCentral.org that you should just try.
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Avatar_n_tn
Personally, if you feel your doctors aren't giving you the help you need then I would go see a respiratory specialist. About a month ago I started having shortness of breath. It worried me so I went to my doc and she said that it might be from stress/anxiety so she prescribed me Paxil. I took that and it didn't seem to help so I stopped taking the Paxil. 2 weeks after I went to the doctor I started feeling pressure on my chest and still had shortness of breath. I went to the emergency room and they said I had bronchitis so they prescribed Zithromax. It helped tremendously, but I still have shortness of breath. I had seen 2 doctors w/in 2 weeks and still had SOB, so that's when I took it amongst myself and made an appointment with a respiratory specialist. I went and they did and EKG, breathing test, and ling x-ray. All of which came back normal. They said that they did notice that I had a rapid heart beat 140 bpm and that it worried them. I figured that was b/c I was nervous because of being at the doctors office. They said even for a nervous person it was still high. The respiratory specialist said that since my lungs aren't the problem that I could have a form of heart disease so he recommended that I go to a cardiologist and have an echo done. I went yesterday for the echo, but won't know the results until I meet w/the respiratory specialist again. The respiratory specialist has been awesome. He has made all the necessary appointments for me, something the other doctors I went to wouldn't do. He told me that he wasn't going to stop until they got to the bottom of why I was having shortness of breath and until they could help me treat it. I know trachycardia is having a fast heart beat and it can cause you to have shortness of breath.
I would deffinatley recommend going to a respiratory specialist.
It's better to be safe than sorry!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hope you are feeling better by now, but if not, get a chest x-ray. I had your symptoms (as well as cold/flu symptoms- chills, etc.) and my doctor tried the hit-or-miss method as yours did (antibiotics, etc.) however, they didn't help... it turned out that I had pneumonia but the antibiotics weren't at a high enough dose to do anything.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hope you are feeling better by now, but if not, get a chest x-ray. I had your symptoms (as well as cold/flu symptoms- chills, etc.) and my doctor tried the hit-or-miss method as yours did (antibiotics, etc.) however, they didn't help... it turned out that I had pneumonia but the antibiotics weren't at a high enough dose to do anything.
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Chest Tightness was started.
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