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?




Welcome to

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.


Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
Why am I having abdominal burning, throat pain, and diarrhea after alcohol drinking?

.. medicine will help in improving diarrhea as well, if associated with gastritis. Take the medicine for at least a week. Try to be on a bland soft diet for the next few days. For more information consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> .....   Read full

Is shortness of breath related to thyroid issues?

.. read your query and from what you have mentioned it appears that you have hypothyroidism. From your tests, I would suggest that you decrease the dose of Thyronorm to 75 mcg once daily. Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and ch...   Read full

Is shortness of breath and chest pain associated with anxiety?

.. no reason for you to worry. For your weight, heart rate in the range of 50s and blood pressure of 90/60 mmHg is not much of a concern, except if it begins to drop below this or you start to feel like fainting. I think your biggest problem is psyc...   Read full


Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

Management of Coronasomnia
Coronasomnia refers to increased sleep problems among people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the below article to get...  Read more»
Balantidiasis - Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Balantidiasis is a rare bacterial infection caused by a parasite called Balantidium coli. Read the article below to know...  Read more»
JAK Inhibitors in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Doctors mainly suggest JAK or Janus kinase inhibitors for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to ease their symptoms. Rea...  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask an Internal Medicine Physician Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.