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Lung diseases

Shortness of breath after exertion or eating



Starting several years ago my sympptoms began lightly as if i were out of shape, but eventually has gotten worse and debilitating. i worked out on a regular basis. im now 47 and symptoms started about 5 years ago. since then i have had barium swallow test , x-rays , upper gi, stress test, echo cardio gram , angio gram, and pulmonary test , and a cat scan. scan said i had a small hernia and possibly dysphagia lusoria, although i have no problems swallowing and drs. seem to rule this out so for. This is really frustrating for me because it is becoming debilitating. It seems when i exert myself in the lightest way, or after eating , I have a hard time trying to gasp for breath. It feels like im ate a very large meal and i cant eat very much because of it. IM 5`8`` tall and weigh 175 about 20% body fat. I have to lay on an angle and hope and pray for the spasm like effect to end ,and begin to breathe more normally. It seems to tighten up tremendously in the sternum area, and my symptoms are really getting worse. I have been to 5 or 6 different drs. and no one knows what to do . I have been put on lexapro , zanax, prevacid, gi coctail, and pain medication, as well as others over the years and nothing seems to really help to stop these attacks after straining or eating in the sternum area. It feels like amuscle restriction from that area. Zanax does seem to help calm me down and try not to think about it so much , but it is not the answer i need. I desperately need help so that i can return to work and a normal life. Thanks for any help that you may suggest. Regards,


Your symptoms seem to be more related to eating and your gi tract than to your lungs.

You might want to see a gastroenterologist who specializes in esophageal function and ask about an esophageal manometry which is a test to measure the function of the esophagus and determine if there are any spasms which might be causing your symptoms.

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Response by:

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati