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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Persistent Shortness of Breath

 heribertus - Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:48 am

Hi, I am 23 years old male, 67kgs weight and 172cm tall. I had almost 3 weeks persistent shortness of breath (dyspnea), no cough, no wheezing, nausea (sometimes, very rare) and it was not getting better even I'm not doing anything. In the last 3 days I felt air hungry in the classroom and also lightheadedness, tingling and felt sleepy all the day. I had a history on Asthma (when I was child). I went to the doctor so many times. They did X-ray chest to me (2 times, 1 at ER, 1 at student health center). Both told me that the result is negative. Then I also took spirometry test with the result:
FVC-------4.15-----------83%------- 4.26-----------85%
FEV1------3.62-----------84%------- 3.73-----------87%
%FEV1--87.22---------102%------- 87.55--------102%
FEF--------4.11----------85%------- 4.52-----------94%
PEF--------9.09-----------98%------- 9.14-----------99%
FEV3-------4.11----------83%------- 4.21-----------85%
The doctor told me there is no problem with my lung. Then I took EKG, the machine told us that there ST elevation, consider pericarditis, borderline abnormal. But my doctor wasn't sure that my shortness of breath is because pericarditis, since that result can occur in an EKG of normal person and she also found that my heart is normal from her observation (using stethoscope). And she always told me that my dyspnea is just because of psychological condition/anxiety.Actually long time ago, I felt pain on my chest and also 1 week pain on my left lower back. I'm affraid there is something wrong with my heart. My blood pressure is 110-120/70-80. I also had some problems with my stomach (gastric acid) especially when I missed my mealtime (nausea, heartburn). I am from Indonesia and just arrived at Tallahassee 2 months ago. Is there any relationship between there weather difference?

My doctor gave me albuterol inhaler, but it didn't help me at all. Then the doctor at ER diagnosed with allergic reaction and gave me prednisone and allegra. I'm feeling better after I took prednisone. What is actually the disease I'm suffering from? Is it heart problem? GERD? lung problem? Asthma?
What could you say about my symptoms? I'm getting frustated now. If I want to go to specialist, which one should I see? Cardiologist? Pulmonologist? Allergist?

Thank you very much
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:57 pm

User avatar Hi Heribertus,

Your symptoms fit asthma although your pulmonary function testing doesn't particularly support this. If, however, you weren't having a lot of symptoms at the point it may simply have been that your PFT's were normal because they didn't catch the bad point.

Pericarditis could potentially cause this as well but your symptoms don't particularly make me that suspicious of pericarditis.

The tricky part of all this is that prednisone will treat most of the things that could be causing your symptoms so getting better with prednisone unfortunately doesn't help figure out the cause.

On the other side of the issue is that you have gotten better so if you don't know what caused it but it doesn't come back your in good shape even though the cause isn't known.

I would recommend that you see your doctor again if any symptoms return. If you want to see a specialist I would suggest you first see a pulmonologist, then possibly a cardiologist if everything checks out with the pulm. doc.

Best wishes.

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