Constant dyspnea, wheezing.

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In Jan this year, I had acute onset of dyspnea, chest heavyness, audible wheezing, like a whistling when I exhaled. I was smoking at the time, been smoking off and on since I was a teen, I am 43 now. BUT, I have had some long periods when I didn't smoke. This last time was for about 4 months, pack every 3 days. When this began that was it for the cigs. I used my Albuterol ( I have a hx of allergic asthma) but it didn't take the sensation away  completely. If much at all. My wife, now ex as of today sad and I got a dog around this time, I am allergic, so thought it was the dog. Went to ses the GP, he listened to my lungs, sounded fine, except on forced expiration, when I coughed and wheezed. Prescribed a steroid inhaler. I used it, and it did take away a fry cough, otherwise no difference really. Maybe slight Had a CXR too, was normal. Saw a Pulmo in April, thought it wast he dog. Sent me to a alergist for testing, even tho I knew I was allergic. She did spirometry, well above normal I was told, still I had the constant dyspnea. Prescribed Dulera, not much difference.

I have been away since June fron New Mexico, and the dog. I am in Alaska now. Been on a ship, on shore, in different places. But the dyspnea remains. ALL the time. The whistling noise, the heaviness of breath. I go to stand up, it gets worse, I walk, it is worse. You can hear it, well I can. Take a shower, come out with temp change, worse. Always there. Sometimes I exercise, not as heavy as I used to, and I don't notice it as mush, but I still do, if that makes sense. When I stop, sometimes the whistling, the heavyness intensifies. And I have this sore throat too, especailly after activity. Mornings seem to be the worst. No cough, no phlegm, no fever. I have not been sick this year, thankfully.

I had a spirometry done 2 days ago: FVC:6.06, FEV1 4.39, FEV1/FVC 72.9

Post Albuterol: 6.49, 4.79 73.8. Yes, good numbers, well above normal. Excpet for the ratio which is close to the cutoff of 0.70. Still, with how I feel, not sure how this is possible. I have constant dyspnea. I wonder if I have emphysema, and have for awhile, but thought it was exercise asthma. I never used my inhlaer much prior to this, and when I did, any wheezing went away COMPLETELY. Now I use it more often, and not much change.

I am supposed to see the Pulmo doc on 11/9, for full PFT's. I sent him the spirometry and he said it looked fine. I know you can have emphysema, and normal PFT's, but how I feel, I should be late stage, yet the spirometry says otherwise. Many people have early COPD, and no sxs. What gives? I know it affects everyone different, but this is crazy. People can have norma spiro, but a low DLCO, I guess I will know soon. I may ask for a chest CT too. The pulmo said if PFTs normal, then we can discuss other causes. Guess I wil know soon. I asked him about the FEV1/FVC ratio. He said I was overreading it. That handheld spiro makes results look worse than they are. Mine were "normal". But I feel like crap, since Jan! Overall, it is not as instense as it was, but in some ways feels worse.

Anyway, thought I would pick some brains on here. See if anyone had similar circumstances? Opinions please. I know the numbers look good, but I feel terrible. As I wirte this, I still have the feeling.

Be well,


2 likes, 7 replies


7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi it is possible you have asthma and not copd.    I had late onset asthma brought on but not caused by smoking.  The fact you used your blue ventolin inhaler and the wheezing went is a good indicator of this.  

    Have you ever had a peak and flow done?  This is used specially for diagnosis of asthma?   Or maybe you have a lung disease but not copd or asthma.   Your doctor/consultant should be doing a CT scan as this would show up on it.   Also have you had a chest x-ray?    There is obviously something wrong and it's just a case of finding it.  Hopefully it is nothing serious and can either be cured or controlled.

    Let us know how you get on please.  x

    • Posted

      Peak flow ranges from 580 something to 650. Yes, the Albuterol helps, but not fully. Takes the edge off. True, could be Asthma, but it's not intermittent, all day, everyday thing. Still possible I guess. I like the Pulmo, so I will go by what he says. I did have a chest xray in May and it was normal.


  • Posted


    Sounds like you have had the run around.  I am NOT A DOCTOR but from what you describe, bronchitis, asthma and/or emphysema have been ruled out by your doctors. 

    This is not what you going to want to hear, but please for your own sake, consider the pshchological component.  You are under a lot of stress right now and now your health is another cause of stress.  Meditate, pray, talk to a friend or see a counselor if you can afford it.  

    The cigarettes are an emotional crutch that you can't afford right now.

    Please don't "shoot the messenger".  But also please do consider what I have said.  It might help. Find gratitude in your life and breathe deeply.

    Best of luck and God's speed my friend.

    • Posted

      Hi Ken,

      I appreciate the reply. Yes, I am under stress for sure. While the divorce is final now, I hung on for a bit to try and make it work. This all began in Jan, though things were not great then. That's when the sxs began. Have not smoked since then, never will again.

      I agree the Spirometry readings look good, and I do have a hx of Asthma. But it was always allergic and I never used my inhaler, they would sometimes expire. So while stress may play a role, what is going on is not normal. Like I said, I appreciate what you had to say. BTW, I do skype with a therapist and have sone so for awhile. I will see what the Pulmo has to say, and of course the full PFT's, as of now I have only done Spiro and had a chest xray.



  • Posted

    It doesn't sound like asthma then with a reading as high as this.   I don't know if this is a good idea or not but have you checked symptom checker (google it)?   You put your symptoms in and it comes up with a possible list of illnesses.   It's just a guideline though so don't get too carried away with it!  smile   x
    • Posted

      I have been on google quite a bit. Not sure if it's been good or bad. Maybe both. Despite my numbers, I know how I feel. Hope to have an answer after my full PFT's. One way or another. Should have done awhile ago, but figured it would go away, which it has not. Wished I had back in May, but thought the spiro would be enough. Unbeknowst to me that there are some additional tests that are done. Hopefuly they will provide more clues. Again, all I know is how I feel. Which is way out of propotion to what the tests say. So who knows. Can't be the first person, that is for sure.

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