Q. I have breathing difficulty on doing strenuous activites. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 08, 2019 and last reviewed on: Dec 09, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am 35 years old. Before six years I have been using smoke-free tobacco less smoke and I was a heavy drinker and I quited it a year before. That is my story. My question is why can I not breathe as long as I feel normal I guess. But any strenuous activity brings my breathing down quick. I mean as simple as pulling the trash can to the road which is only 40 feet. Making love to my wife. Jogging for maybe two minutes. Please help. I currently take Symbicort twice a day, but I still want my oxygen back. I am only 35 with seven kids. They need me. I cannot leave them. Please give me some advice. I have been to the doctor twice only because I cannot afford to go anymore. One doctor said it could be the first stage of emphysema and the second doctor said it is chronic bronchitis. Please help.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Yes, your symptoms are suggestive of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The diagnosis of chronic bronchitis is more likely. See you have been a chronic smoker and even smoking tobacco less smoke cause harm to your lungs. For the sake of your better health, you need to stop smoking right away. You should also start doing spirometric exercises at home. In the market, you can easily get three-ball spirometric exercise system that is also not too costly. You should continue to do walking and jogging. Once you stop smoking you would find gradual improvement in your exercise capacity.

Now I need to know the following things:

Since how long are you on inhalers? At what age you started getting the symptoms of breathlessness and why was the inhaler stated? Is your hemoglobin high? Any history of diabetes or high blood pressure? Revert with the asked details for better help.

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Thank you doctor,

I quited smoking for six years. I do not smoke.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I was asking you these symptoms in order to differentiate whether you have COPD or bronchial asthma. You are too young to get complications of smoking. See the treatment required for you is the continuation of inhalers and even if breathlessness persist I would prefer to add in such case Deriphyllin (Etiofyline and Theophylline) tablets that help greatly. When there is no relief we need to give stronger steroid containing inhalers.

So at this point of time, the best advice for you is to do a three-ball spirometric exercise to increase your lung capacity. As such, there is no medicine that can help you regain the lung functions back. So you need to build them again by spirometric exercises. Continue to use the inhaler and even if your breathlessness does not relieve then Deriphylline would be the next step. This is the best, safe and the only right way out for you. I have guided you according to the best recommendations. So I am sure that you would improve with the advice way outs.

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