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I must have googled my medical condition a gazillion times but still looking for answers. This is my story and timeline. If anyone out there is/was going through the same ordeal and has found relief, please respond.
I am a healthy male, 44 yrs of age, with no pre-existing medical conditions. Sometime around Feb 2022, I started experiencing slight shortness of breath (sob). The sob did not bother me initially. However, a week later, it started intensifying and got to a point where I was literally gasping for air. I just could not get that satisfying breath and felt as if my air passage was closing up. I had no choice but to head to the ER. ER conducted the following tests which were all normal - Covid, CT Scan, Blood tests, EKG. The ER doc was unable to diagnose my condition and suggested I follow up with my pcp.
My Pcp prescribed me Prednisone which did not help subside my sob. My pcp suggested I follow-up with a Pulmonologist and Cardiologist.
The Cardiologist performed the Echocardiogram, checked me and told me I had no issues with my heart.
I then followed-up with a Pulmonologist who conducted a Pulmonary function test (pft) and told me that my lungs were inflamed and I had SEVERE ASTHMA. I had mixed feelings about the diagnosis as I never had asthma before. However, I was so desperate to find relief that I just followed what he told me. Initially he put me on Symbicort and after 3 weeks told me to switch to Trelegy Ellipta. He also prescribed me Albuterol to be used as a rescue inhaler during the sob attack. None of these inhalers helped during the sob attack. I informed the Pulmonologist that these inhalers weren't working but he kept on insisting that my lungs were badly inflamed and that recovery would take a while, maybe several months. It had been almost 2 months and I was utterly miserable. To add to my ordeal, I now started experiencing intense sinus pressure and had checked in 2 more times to the ER. ER performed the same test which were all normal. I just couldn't bear it anymore and decided to go for a second opinion from another Pulmonologist. The second Pulmonologist reviewed the earlier Pft tests results and I was shocked at what he told me. He said there was nothing wrong with my lungs and I did not have any asthma!! He concluded that my sob was most likely due to an upper respiratory problem and advised me to follow-up with an Allergist and ENT doctor. I was misdiagnosed and all along I had been forcing myself into taking meds I did not need!!
I then saw an Allergist who conducted the pft test again and confirmed that I did not have any asthma. She also performed allergy testing and confirmed that I did not have any allergies. She concluded that my sob was due to a condition called Vocal Cord Dysfunction that was caused by acid reflux. I told her that I did not experience any symptoms of acid reflux, to which she said that it was Silent Acid reflux and therefore I did not feel it. She told me to stop taking the inhalers and prescribed me Omeprazole 40mg. I've been taking it for almost 3 weeks now. Although the frequency and intensity of the sob has decreased, it is still there. I am glad that I am no longer gasping for breath, however I do experience the sob several times a day along-with the intense sinus pressure. I also want to point out that at times I am able to get some satisfying breaths without any issues or over exerting myself. And then there are times when I feel as if my air passage is blocked. The allergist also instructed me to practice pursed breathing several times a day. However, the pursed breathing only exacerbates my condition and I end up being more tired. Its been almost 4 months now and I am still experiencing the sob and the sinus pressure. I also want to point out that most of the docs I've seen attribute the sob to stress at work or home. I have absolutely no issues at home and although my leo job can place me in stressful situations at times, I have dealt with it for the past 15 years and never experienced such sob at any point. Therefore, I don't think my condition is anxiety/stress related. I have an ENT appointment in the next 2 weeks. Will request the ENT doc to perform a fibreoptic Laryngoscopy to check for issues with the vocal cords. Will update as soon as I can. Meanwhile, if someone is/was going through a similar experience, please share your story and if your condition has been correctly diagnosed.
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