Sinus Infections/Disorders Community
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Debilitating Symptoms for Avid Distance Runner/Cyclist

I was an avid long-distance runner between the time that I was 14 and 22.  I always ate pretty well, and only occasionally allowed myself to become dehydrated.  I did not seem to have any allergies or asthma symptoms.  Heart rate and BP were always very good, much better than average.  I had great endurance and lung capacity.  I ran two marathons.

In November of 2012, almost overnight, I was unable to run.  This was only 8 months after running my second marathon.  Anytime that I would start a run, I would get a runny nose, headache, dizziness, general fogginess.  Around the top of my throat would become very dry, and I would become wheezy.  I would be forced to discontinue my run around 1.5 miles.  Immediately before this began, I was capable of easily completing 20 mile runs.  After returning from the run, the dryness would turn to coughing, and I would need to spit phlegm for about 20-30 minutes.  The resulting headaches would be fairly severe, and make me need to lay down and rest.

These conditions only occur when I do exertive physical activity.  I have since taken to biking and kayaking as less intense forms of exercise, but these too are now becoming difficult.  Cold weather definitely makes the symptoms significantly worse.

I also experience occasional headaches and migraines.  These are much less frequent and severe than they were when the symptoms first began.

Daily symptoms include general fogginess and decreased ability to concentrate (especially on reading).  I also have difficulty focusing my vision.  Tension in the back of the head is also a near-daily occurrence.  I feel constant sinus pressure and nasal congestion.  I feel a general disconnect from life, almost as if I'm watching it, but I don't feel it like I used to.

When the symptoms first began, my job brought me into contact with lead based paint, asbestos based grout, methylene chloride, dust, and occasionally bird feces.  My previous housing was nearly 100 years old, so it may have had asbestos insulation.  There was little ventilation in the bathroom, so the shower had the propensity to form mold.  I have since quit that job and moved.  I am now a student, so I work frequently on the computer.  I still live in an older building, but the ventilation is much better.

I have been to two different ENTs, and I have tried anti-histamines like Nasonex.  The ENTs thought that sinus infection was unlikely.  An MRI when the symptoms first occurred gave no leads as to probable cause.  I have been tested for lead poisoning, but this test came back negative.

I drink coffee daily, usually between 1 and 3 cups a day, though I've gone two weeks without any caffeine to see if that may have been a possible cause of symptoms, but the symptoms persisted throughout.

Running used to be my favorite thing to do.  It was my best stress-reliever, and gave me a way to escape from problems with work.  Now my options for exercising continue to dwindle, and it is playing significant damage on my quality of life.  The daily symptoms are making my work much more difficult as well.  If anyone has experienced similar symptoms and has come to a resolution, please let me know.  I don't want to continue to be so unable to live my life the way that I want to.
1 Responses
Avatar universal
just a thought but iwas wondering if you have had any bloodwork done to check for infection or inflammation?
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