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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Asthma

Question: Short of Breath While playing basketball. 24 y/o male

 gvajd001 - Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:02 pm

I am a 24 year old male and I have been experiencing shortness of breath while playing basketball. I have had the same issue ever since I started playing Basketball when I was ten. I am just wondering if it is possible that I have some kind of Asthma? It takes a couple minutes before I get wore out, but once that happens I have trouble exerting myself anymore.

A little more about myself: I am 6-2 195 pounds, athletic and very much in shape. I have recently been diagnosed with Narcolepsy and I take Provigil to help that. Other than that I am normal, I have no allergies(that I know of), a little bit of anemia that it was suggested I take a multivitamin for and I do everyday, and thats about all.

I just want an explanation for always being out of breath on the court even though usually I'm the guy thats in the best shape out there. If there is a real problem, what kind of doctor should I see?

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:26 pm

User avatar Hello -

While your guess at asthma is a good one, I'd want to eliminate any cardiac-related causes first, such as some sort of structural abnormality. While this seems relatively unlikely, especially since you've had the problem since you were 10, it would make sense to have this ruled out first -- unless that's already been done.

So let's assume you've ruled out (or will rule out) any sort of congenital structural abnormality of the heart. That would likely leave exertionally-induced asthma as the likely culprit. This usually (but not always) occurs secondary to gastroesophgeal reflux disease (GERD), and exercise seems to cause a flowover of gastric juices, which are aspirated (it also happens at night quite often, during sleep), irritating the bronchi and resulting in shortness of breath after brief exertion. Basketball would be good for that for sure.

But first I'd try and have an echocardiogram done, just to be certain there's not something (it would most likely be a malfunctioning valve) going on with your heart. Quite possibly, given the right primary caregiver, you could get this all done at once.

I hope this is helpful to you and that you'll follow up with us if you have any further information, antything new comes up, or when you have an exam to determine what may be causing this problem. Best of luck to you.

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