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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 12905
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I had some somewhat concerning results from some breathing

Resolved Question:

I had some somewhat concerning results from some breathing tests I did today. My breathing test showed that I had the lung function of a 94 year old, how can this be? I have never smoked a cigarette in my entire life!
I had some breathing tests done a couple years ago where my lung function was about 90%. I lived in a very unhealthy environment for 4 years (lots of mold, very dusty etc.), where I would get sick all the time (and I never get sick) with colds, sometimes I'd come down with fevers and have fluid in my lungs, and even wake up during the night having to sit up to catch my breath. I haven't lived there in 2 years now, and I no longer wake up at night, and I no longer get sick all the time. My airways are still very sensitive to certain chemicals (stuff for cleaning), and I sometimes have pain when breathing during exercise or cold weather. And when exercising I often feel like I can't get enough air, but I don't exercise regularly so I've just figured it must be that I'm out of shape.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 8 months ago.
It will help if you could provide some further information:
Do you have the actual results from the breathing test?
If you have it as an image file, you can attach it using the icon on the toolbar that looks like a paper clip?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

No unfortunately I don't have them

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 8 months ago.
To be able to say what could be causing the finding, it would be better if the results are available, as there are a couple primary patterns of lung dysfunction, with different possible causes. There also would usually be a test to look for a specific lung disorder. Is it possible to obtain the results of the test?

If not, then I can speak to common causes of lung dysfunction in someone of your age, but it would be more accurate if you could obtain the results.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

I don't think I'm going to be able to obtain the results. I'm happy to just get some general information, and then I can discuss it with my doctor next time I see him.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 8 months ago.
Very good.

The most likely cause of lung dysfunction in a young adult non-smoker is a form of asthma, in which there is spasm of the muscle layer in the airways of the lung. Asthma can be episodic, so can cause quite severe dysfunction one day while the lungs are essentially normal on another.

There also can be some chronic inflammation of the airways (bronchitis) related to some issue other than smoking, The most common would be from allergies. Allergies can actually also contribute to asthma, so it is possible to have a combined picture of asthma and chronic bronchitis from allergies.

Both of these conditions will cause an obstructive pattern on the spirometry.

It is also possible to develop excessive fibrous tissue in the lung, called pulmonary fibrosis. The fibrous tissue is not as elastic as normal lung tissue, so that the lungs cannot expand normally. This would cause a restrictive pattern on the spirometry. Pulmonary fibrosis can occur as a primary problem (i.e., we cannot identify a cause), but it also can occur in response to inhaling a substance that irritates the lungs, such as asbestos or air that contains certain germs (bacteria or fungus), or as part of a systemic condition, such as SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, or scleroderma. With your previous home environment, if the spirometry has a restrictive pattern, this could have happened in response to the dust that was inhaled at that time.

If you need any clarification, please let me know.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Thanks for your response. Just one question, if there was fibrosis would it show up on a lung xray?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 8 months ago.
If the fibrosis is more diffuse, it is more difficult to detect on a chest x-ray, although there are some people in whom it is more prominent and is seen on chest x-ray.

Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 12905
Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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