Q. Is there any relationship between breathlessness and trouble to swallow?

Answered by
Dr. Shyam Kalyan N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 25, 2016 and last reviewed on: Mar 18, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am a 25 years old female. I am suffering from breathlessness and cough since several months. Finally, I consulted a GP 20 days ago and had several tests done. They are TSH, lipid profile, CBP, chest x-ray, lung function test, liver and kidney functioning, blood sugar, urine test and ECG. All the reports came back normal except that I have vitamin D, B12 deficiency and low levels of iron. I have hypothyroidism, for which I took ayurveda medicine for three months.

Also, I have a weird problem. Whenever I bend my head backwards and try to swallow my throat gets severely irritated and gets blocked. Then, I have to cough to clear up. Otherwise, while swallowing with my head backwards I feel like I am losing consciousness. I also feel that there is something stuck in between my throat while I swallow anything. Whenever I cough I could be able to take air inside at a time and breathlessness gets normal and I gain start to feel breathlessness after some time. My doctor has prescribed Montek-LC saying that it could be due to allergy. I took Montek-LC for two weeks, but still did not find any improvement in breathing problem. Also my doctor had advised me to stop taking ayurveda medicine as it causes these symptoms. I started taking Thyronorm 25 mcg. Is there any relation between my breathlessness and trouble to swallow? Please advise me.

Dr. Shyam Kalyan N

Allergy Specialist Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

We are happy to help you.

  • Your problems are related. Basic derangement in your body can be classified into three main issues.
  1. Hypothyroidism.
  2. Anemia (low iron).
  3. Vitamin B12 and D deficiency.
  • To correct hypothyroidism you have started Thyronorm (Levothyroxine Sodium), which is the right thing. Follow up with endocrinologist regularly and as per his advice titer the dose of Thyronorm with due consideration with the thyroid function test values.
  • The thyroid medication is mostly will have to be continued for rest of your life. If they are taken properly it removes a lot of other issues.
  • Hypothyroidism can cause skin and mucosal dryness that could be the reason for difficult in swallowing. Another reason could be any enlargement of thyroid gland which may not be externally visible. For the same an ultrasound neck has to be done which can tell us the exact size of thyroid gland.
  • Anemia causes breathlessness. Iron is important for hemoglobin formation. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in blood. Hence, low iron cause breathlessness straight forward.
  • Iron tablets, Iron syrups, Iron muscular injections and Iron intravenous preparations are available in addition to blood transfusion to correct anemia. Depending on the iron value and hemoglobin value of your blood we can suggest the right treatment.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected by taking sufficient eggs, green leafy vegetables and gut friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus or Spirulina or VSL-3 or G-Norm (Saccharomyces boulardii), etc. You may take these daily once for 10 days which will replenish the friendly bacteria which will produce adequate Vitamin B12.
  • Vitamin D deficiency can be corrected by Calcitriol and Cholecalciferol tablets and sachets. The same depends upon your vitamin D values, which if we know, we can suggest you the right treatment.
  • Vitamin deficiency can also lead to mucosal problems and impaired mucociliary clearance causing difficulty in swallowing.
  • When you bend head backwards the cervical spine comes in contact with esophagus and the bolus of food finds navigation difficult through the esophagus. This is not an abnormal thing provided you do not have any neck issues.
  • Ruling out neck issues requires that you take a cervical neck x-ray anteroposterior and lateral views. However, I feel the x-rays are not needed at this stage.
  • The combination of all three issues I mentioned is giving you these troubles. The troubles will vanish once you take adequate treatment for each of the three issues.
  • Take treatment for full course and wait for four weeks. You should be alright. Suppose with treatment for four weeks you do not find improvement then you revert back to me.
  • If you can send pictures of your reports I can suggest you the exact treatment for anemia, vitamin deficiencies and thyroid issue. In your next query kindly upload all the files so that we can give you a more specific treatment.

Revert back with the reports to a general practitioner online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/general-practitioner


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