Natural Remedies

Young Active Male With Sudden Chronic Shortness of Breath

Posted by Alex (Us) on 02/11/2017

Young Active Healthy Male Sudden Chronic Shortness of Breath (Detailed History) HELP!

Hello, I am a 23 year old male who first started experiencing symptoms on July 1,2016 (about 7 months ago). I was in prime physical condition with 9 hours of outdoor carpentry daily, 3-4 days of calisthenics a week and 3-4 sessions of 30 minutes swimming across a lake and back. I had a history of asthma that required daily medication but had been off everything since MIDDLE SCHOOL with no symptoms despite my career and active lifestyle. I assumed my breathing troubles were in the past.

My diet that winter had been VERY good vegetarian + fruits veggies beans but had suffered a bit in the spring with regular processed foods. My diet was somewhere in between in the summer with boiled eggs and regular fruit but not a ton of veggies (mostly green beans/peas) because of living situation. It should be noted that I had been consuming diet energy drinks regularly in the summer prior to the onset of my condition.

Anyways, one day I was swimming and noticed that I felt like I wasn't getting enough air. I chalked it up to poor breathing technique and returned to shore, but found that I was having catching my breath even at rest. I made an appointment with a doctor that evening to get a rescue inhaler. That Friday morning I received the inhaler, the condition worsened over the day with no relief from the inhaler, and I submitted myself to the ER that evening. It's worth noting that my voice was much higher/weaker/and cracky upon the worsening of the SOB.

ER did the normal drill for Asthma and prescribed a 5 day burst of 40mg prednisone and advair. Neither of these prescriptions helped and I spent the 4th of july weekend in bed in a depressed state. I returned to work the following tuesday despite still feeling short of breath and chest pain, but over the course of the work week the condition gradually went away, by the weekend I was back to normal and began my normal routine. However, about a week later the symptoms came back leaving me at home bed ridden again, and I have been struggling with chronic chest pain and shortness of breath ever since.

I returned to the doctor who prescribed a 60mg prednisone burst and taper with albuterol/ipratropium bromide twice daily. This allowed me to return to work for a while but I was still struggling with breathing/chest pain. I was only able to sleep 2-3 hours a night while taking prednisone and was taking a cold shower every hour trying to fall asleep given I felt so hot. Given all this I left my job on august 8th and haven't worked a day since.

Since then I have been through multiple prednisone bursts, tried albuterol, max dosage advair (500/50), and spiriva. The only thing that seemed to ever do anything was the 60mg prednisone and duo neb, the albuterol alone does not help AT ALL and. During september I though the condition was getting better so spent time resting but I was wrong. The chest pain and sob is CONSTANT but ebbs and flows in severity (a decent 3-4 days followed by a bad 2-3 days etc). I quit taking all my medication in January due to its lack of efficacy.

From September - December my diet was terrible given my lack of money and consisted of frozen lasagna/pizza and bananas. Since my acceptance to EBT however my diet has improved drastically.


Constant Chest pain/tightness, constant shortness of breath, very slight throat tickle, occasional sensation to cough but infrequent and typically unproductive, more noticable upon exertion but symptoms are present at rest. Upon onset of condition voice was abnormal. I have not been able to do any significant physical activity beyond walking ever since quitting the high dosage prednisone.


In the months prior was exposed to wood dust/drywall dust to no ill effect. Prior to condition was working almost exclusively outdoors but was exposed to significant bat droppings during a home residing. Exposed to significant mold during rotten boat house demolition (about 2-3 days), and exposed to freshly excavated soil and in an area with a high water table.


Doctors have noted either light weezing or no weezing upon all admissions. With only one doctor noting harsh wheezes in lower right lung in late july. All admissions have shown oxygen levels around 98-99% at rest despite severity of symptoms. Blood drawn on 10/17/16 showed slightly low potassium at 3.1 mEq (ref=3.4 - 5.1 mEq/L) and elevated White blood cell at 13.3 (ref=3.4-10.7,10**9/L). No differential was done on 10/17/16. When differential was done on 11/3/16 white blood cell had returned to normal at 8.0. Differential did show slightly high percentile of monocytes at 11.2% (ref=2-10%) but absolute count was within the normal range at the time at 0.9 10**9/L (ref=0.3-1.0).

D-Dimer has been done in october and january but showed up normal. On 1/17/2017 another hemogram/diff was done upon admission to the ER with stabbing chest pain on the lower left side which showed high MCHC (mean cell hemoglobin concentration) at 37.1 (ref=31.5-36.5 g/dL). This wasn't present in blood tests done previous to this.

repeat xrays have been mostly normal with the exception of moderate overexpansion. A ct scan of the chest was obtained on 11/30/16 with the findings shown below:

**FINDINGS: No significant peripheral interstitial prominence. No bronchiectasis. No geographic areas of air trapping. There is a 5 mm nodule in the left lower lobe image 209. No acute pneumonitis. No pleural effusion. No pathologically enlarged thoracic

lymph nodes. There is a small amount of thymic tissue seen in the anterior mediastinum. Heart size is normal. No pericardial effusion. Limited imaging of the upper abdomen is unremarkable.**

Allergy testing has showed reactions to dogs/cats/dust mites with low severity and very mild reactions to various wood species. Spirometry obtained while taking 60mg prednisone was "normal" but later test indicated "mild restriction" I will add image of detailed spirometry results to this posting. FENO was 15. most recent IGE was low (25 if I remember correctly).

I was recently admitted to pulmonology sometime in January for further investigation. Echocardiagram obtained was normal with mild pulmonic regurgitation. A fungal antibody by cf blood test showed negative for Cocccidiodes, Histoplasma, Blastomyces, and Aspergillus antibodies.

A laryngoscopy was recently done which show inflamed vocal chords and a vocal polyp and I was diagnosed with vocal chord dysfunction. However, it's worth noting that these results were obtained after a bout laryngitis/bronchitis where I had lost my voice due to coughing which was significantly productive (lots of sputum/mucous). Shortly after the laryngoscopy I had a reccurence of the same laryngitis/bronchitis which I have since recovered from. I have been going to speech therapy but the have not found any improvement or relief from my symptoms with the therapy.


I have lost faith in the Healthcare system and am paranoid that the repeat high dosage prednisone usage and the lack of adequate diet has caused this to last far longer than it should. I am worried that what I am experiencing may be causing permanent damage to my lungs but I am trying to stay optimistic. I am begging for some sort of remedy/potential diagnosis and am willing to try even the most intense therapy regimens with rigorous precision if it will return my life back to normal. I don't want to watch my 20's slip from me.

Thank you all and God bless, Alex S.

Replied by Art
768 posts

In reply to Alex (Us),

You mentioned that you were exposed to bat droppings, did your doctor test you for hantavirus antibodies? There are different strains that can affect you differently with flu like symptoms, shortness of breath and reduced heart efficiency.

You don't say where you are located and some areas are well noted for soil that can release bacteria and other pathogens when turned or disturbed. Valley Fever would be one example, but your location would help to narrow the possibilities.


Replied by Alex

Hello Art!

Upon onset of my condition I was working in Northern Wisconsin, always on local lake front property. I don't believe I have been tested for "hantavirus", I will have to look into that.

Thank you!

Replied by Art
768 posts


Here is a recent article that discusses a possible relationship in Wisconsin to a rare form of hantavirus. This one is related to rat droppings, but you may have unknowingly been exposed to that if you were doing any type of demo work or construnction or possibly bat droppings may be affected also.

It seems that the fact that your local doctors have not been able to diagnose your problem might mean that it is something unusual for your area and this article would certainly fit the bill. Not that this is necessarily what you have, but it may give you a direction to pursue.

Also in your state, there was a bacterial blood infection called, Elizabethkingia, that started spreading near the beginning of 2016 and was still spreading as of May. A main symptom is shortness of breath. The bacteria is thought to exist in soil and water. People have died from it in your state, so having your doctor eliminate it as a possible cause as soon as possible seems highly appropriate. I will post the link for this one at the bottom of this reply. In either case, it seems like Wisconsin doctors should have been aware of both conditions and done the correct testing to make a determination for you.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 19,2017 CONTACT:Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Health Officials Investigate Rare Viral Illness Linked to Ratteries in Wisconsin and Illinois

Two confirmed cases of Seoul virus in WI, six in IL, all connected to rat exposure

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Illinois Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating illnesses caused by the Seoul virus, which a very rare type of hantavirus carried by Norway rats.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting six cases of Seoul virus in individuals who had direct exposure to rats at two different Illinois ratteries, which are facilities where rats are bred. In Wisconsin, DHS is investigating two cases of Seoul virus in individuals who had direct exposure with rats at a home-based rattery in northeastern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin rattery owner purchased rats from the two Illinois ratteries.

“Because rats from ratteries are sold to and swapped among individuals, we are working with local health departments and the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) to determine if there are additional cases, ” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. “We are responding aggressively to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of Wisconsin.”

A two-member CDC team of epidemiologists arrived is in Wisconsin to support response efforts, and assist with trace-out investigations of clients who purchased rats from, or were otherwise exposed to, the home breeding facility, and will participate in trace-back investigation of facilities where the breeder recently purchased rats. None of the identified ratteries are currently selling rats.

Hantaviruses are a family of related viruses found worldwide, typically carried by rodents. Rats with hantavirus will appear healthy. People can get hantavirus infections from having contact with, or being in close proximity to infected rodents, or their urine and droppings. It can also be transmitted through a bite from an infected rat. This virus cannot be spread from person to person.

Symptoms vary from person to person and may include fever, chills, nausea, intense headaches, back and abdominal pain, chills, blurred vision, redness of the eyes, flushed face, or rash. In severe cases, infection can lead to acute renal disease. Some people who become infected with the Seoul virus may not experience symptoms.

In Wisconsin, one of the infected persons had to be hospitalized, but both have since recovered. Five of the six Illinois cases showed no signs of illness.

Individuals who have had contact with rats recently obtained from a rat breeder and who experience these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

To avoid becoming ill with diseases carried by rodents:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your pets or areas where your pets have been.
  • Keep your small pets and their cages out of kitchens or other areas where food is served.
  • Pet cages, bedding, toys, feed or water containers should be cleaned away from areas where food is served or people may bathe.
  • Use gloves and a face mask for cleaning.
  • Avoid creating dust from fecal materials by wetting down bedding and disinfecting it.
  • Do not sweep or vacuum up rodent urine, droppings, or nests as this creates airborne particles.
  • Cover cuts and scratches before handling your pet.
  • Don't keep small pets in a child's bedroom, especially children younger than five years.
  • Don't snuggle or kiss small pets, touch your mouth after handling small pets, or eat or drink around them.

For additional information about safe handling and cleaning practices, go to is external).

Replied by Alex S

I've asked for another appointment with pulmonary to entertain the idea of a sputum culture tests. I've also read of instances where blastomycosis has gone undiagnosed even after the centrifuge antibody test, I think this could be a likely culprit.
What do you think?

Replied by Allison
Austin, Tx

Hi Alex,

I'm so sorry you've gone through all of this.

I'm also experiencing a similar situation as yourself. I am curious to know if your condition has improved and if you ever figured out what the issue is/was and if any treatments you've tried have helped you.

I really hope you are doing better!