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Q. I feel short of breath, and my lungs spasm when I laugh or exhale. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Radha Peruvemba Hariharan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 22, 2021

Hello doctor,

I am 21-years-old male. My height is 6'2," and my weight is 270 lbs. I have had shortness of breath for the past three months, and I quit smoking and drinking two weeks ago. When I work out, I feel fine, but every day from the minute I wake up till the minute I fall asleep, I feel like I have to yawn or I cannot breathe. If I forcefully exhale or laugh, my right lung gives the feel of spasm. After stopping alcohol, this has got better.

I consulted a doctor, and he said that both my lungs sound healthy and fine, and it was most likely due to anxiety. I could understand this happening in certain parts of the day but not throughout the whole day for months if it was the anxiety.

I wanted to ask for your opinion. And should I consider going to an ER?

Thanks.

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Glad that you are in the process of quitting drinks.

The problem of your shortness in breathing could be due to the following;

1) Obesity:

When you work out, you are forcing your lungs to breathe more deeply, and hence you feel better. When you are at rest, your lungs are relaxed. But with obesity, your abdomen will be pressing your chest, and the capacity of lungs will be less. So, I would suggest you reduce your weight.

2) Smoking.

As you are a chronic smoker, the smoke residue gets stuck to your inner lung linings, and it will prevent total oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange from the lungs.

3) Alcohol.

That will also produce gaseous distension of your stomach which can press your diaphragm and make it difficult for you to breathe.

So give attention to these three factors, and you will be better soon.

Regards.


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