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- Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:42 pm
Hi my name is Kreg and I am 21, I have a half paralyzed diaphragm and have been a smoker for five years, slowly trying to quit, but failing. Lately i have had a lot of trouble breathing and wake up at night with a lot of anxiety and now my left nostril has the tendency of seeming blocked as if I can't breathe out of it.
My family has a history of heart disease, with my grandfather being the only person in my family, on my father's side to die of something different. I am wondering if this will attribute to heart problems and what risks do I face having this.
My mother always told me, even now, that the doctors told her it wouldn't affect me except maybe running, which I should avoid doing when possible, and I understand why because then I feel like I taste blood and can't breathe.
I am worried because I do not have a family doctor and every medicentre I have visited tells me I am fine. So IDK what to do. I can't ask them to run tests on me can I?
Please help, because I have developed high anxiety over this lately, as it has become progressively worse in recent months, the breathing problems I mean.
| John Kenyon, CNA
- Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:59 pm
Hi Kreg -- Partial paralysis of the diaphragm can be pretty uncomfortable at times, and people who have it often do develop chronic anxiety due to the sensations it causes which make them more aware of their breathing. This, in turn, makes the sensation of shortness of breath all the more acute. This is an area which may need work. Also, while the partial paralysis shouldn't affect your heart, there is still a family history of heart disease, which will eventually become a significant risk factor on its own. That and smoking are the top two risk factors for future heart disease, and one is controllable. Just keep that in mind. Your diaphragmatic problem in itself should be a contributor, but in time you may well have other reasons to be concerned. You (and only you) can eliminate one of those. That would make the other one (family history) far more manageable.
Diaphragmatic paralysis, smoking, anxiety and stuffy nose all can contribute to nocturnal dyspnea (trouble breathing), some of it quite genuine, some of it illusory but still annoying. For the nasal problem first make sure you don't have chronic sinusitis, a deviated nasal septum, or something similar. Also in many parts of the country it's chilly enough for the heat to be coming on, and this alone, if not coupled with a good-quality humidifier, can cause nasal stuffiness.
Basically your shortness of breath seems fairly explainable right now. If everything seems normal on physical exam and you continue to have symptoms it's likely you're developing some chronic respiratory anxiety. If this is the case, cognititve behavioral therapy (CBT), a kind of interactive, self-limited psychotherapy (not talk-therapy so much but actual re-trainin) is often very helpful and unlike talk therapy doesn't potentially go on forever.
Hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and please follow up with us here as needed.