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Lung diseases

Short of breath

05/26/2009

Question:

starting from the beginning, a few years back (about 3 years ago) i was told that i had a PE in my lung. after going through all the treatments the coomadin and everything else it is still there on a scan. the doctors say it has attached itself???? the breathing got better after a while and i eventually ignored it in fear of having to do it all over again.

about a year ago i started going back to the doctor because i was short of breath and or feeling restricted when breathing. i was given some tests and they came out normal i guess. i was then told that i was short of breath because i was over weight and i smoked. now mind you at my heaviest i was 195 pounts at 5" feet 7" inch. i have since took things into my own hands and lost almost 30 pounts and quit smoking. the shortness of breath has not gotten any better it has actually gotten worse. it seems the more i notice it the worse it gets. i am so tired of feeling short of breath and just having to live with it.... it cant be normal... sometimes when i get short of breath it hurts in my left sholder, almost under the arm pit but up a little farther. if i stretch sometimes it feels like my ribs pop in and out of place. and sometimes but rarely my hear starts racing and or fluttering and its like i cant breath at all, i instantly start yawning. all of witch i am doing nothing but sitting at my computer or on the couch, it is when i am least active. every doctor i talk to says it is just me and i am imaginging things.

do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

In most instances, pulmonary emboli are dissolved over time (usually within 6 weeks). Less frequently, the clot does not dissolve and can become incorporated into a kind of scar in the wall of the pulmonary artery. In some instances, this can lead to elevated blood pressure in the lungs (called pulmonary hypertension). If you have not seen a pulmonologist (lung doctor), I would recommend such a consultation. If you have a lung doctor, I would bring this possibility to her attention. A cardiopulmonary exercise test can sometimes be useful to differentiate various causes of shortness of breath, including deconditioning and obesity.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University