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Q. I feel heavy breathing and weakness while climbing stairs. Can this be due to smoking?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 06, 2020

Hello doctor,

I smoke a lot, and these days I am experiencing difficulty in smoking. I feel weak, and my eyes are getting closed and feeling heavy breathing when using stairs.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

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

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Yes, these problems can be due to smoking. It may lead to heart problems which causes breathing problems on exertion.

Tell me if you have chest pain on walking, any palpitations, any family history of heart disease, or any history of diabetes, hypertension,etc.? Do you take any medications?

Also, tell me about your age, weight, number of cigarettes you consume in a day and since how long? I would be able to help you better with these answers.


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Thank you doctor,

No, until now I have not experienced chest pain. I am also trying to reduce my smoking. Both my parents are diabetic. I am 27 years old and my weight is 80 kg. I consume 10-15 cigarettes per day. But right now I have almost stopped because I have felt continuous weakness and heaving breathing many times.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

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

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

You do not have to try, you have to quit in any case. Do you know if your both parents are diabetic, you are at risk of getting diabetes. And that is itself is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and smoking would aggravate it. You may try Nicotex 4 mg chewing gum. They are very helpful in reducing cravings. Let us come to your breathing problem and weakness:

Most of the chronic smokers have cough. You also might be having it. I advise you to get a chest x-ray and ECG (electrocardiography), to find any evidence of any smoking related predominant effects. Breathing difficulties in smokers are almost always due to heart or lungs related problems. At this age, in smokers, mostly chest x-ray and ECG are normal, but we should not take a chance.

Weakness at your age can be due to anemia. However, you seem to be healthy as far as your weight is concerned. But I would suggest you to get the following routine investigations done as a baseline and also since you have a family history of diabetes.

1. Hemogram.

2. Serum creatinine.

3. Liver function test.

4. X-ray chest and ECG.

5. Fasting blood sugar and lipid profile.

6. TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).

Get yourself tested to see, if you have any abnormal reports, we would treat them. Until then you can take tablet Supradyn once a day. It is a very good multivitamin support.

Let me know in case you ever had any blood in sputum or you have excessive cough with sputum production especially in the morning. Also, if you have any weight loss.

I hope to hear from you, that you have quit smoking from the moment you read this message. Also, remember there is nothing like I will slowly quit. Take Nicotex for cravings.


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Thank you doctor,

Around two months back, I had two of these tests x-ray and ECG which came back normal and sugar test was also normal around 90 something. Yes, you are right I need to stop smoking in any case. I do not want diabetes to happen to me, it is very bad.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

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

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

If you got them two months back. It is not a problem. Do not get them now. Stop smoking and start jogging. Your lungs and arteries of heart will get better.

If you have cough and expectoration you can take a combination of Levocetirizine and Ambroxol once a day for 10 days. It will relieve your cough, would melt any deposited cough and also would relive your breathlessness if it was all due to smoking.

So, take this combination and Supradyn for 10 days. And review with me after 10 days.


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Thank you doctor,

I will surely take those medicines, but also suggest me some good medicines for weakness (I am taking Cobadex sometimes). And can I take Levocetirizine and Ambroxol during bed time (I work in night shifts and I sleep only at 5 AM).

Dr. Anshul Varshney

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

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

If you do night shifts, coffee and cigarette consumption is more there. Avoid them.

Take Supradyn for 10 days , it is good medicine for weakness too. Yes, you can take that combination whenever you go to sleep. Also, this is important that you sleep eight hours a day without any disturbance. And in case you snore a lot let me know, because snoring can be a reason of lack of sleep inspite of sleeping properly, leading to weakness and sleepiness in your office hours. Treating snoring becomes the priority then.


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