I have shortness of breath in a cold environment. Why?

Q. What could be the reason for shortness of breath in a cold environment?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Siddiq
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 11, 2023 and last reviewed on: Aug 07, 2023

Hello doctor,

I had shortness of breath two months back. It was terribly cold at that time. I am not fond of cold at all. I consulted many doctors but in vain. They did my ECG, and it was fine. But the shortness of breath continued. I consulted a gastroenterologist. He examined my stomach and told me that my stomach is fine. I consulted many physicians about my shortness of breath. They are not ready to diagnose my problem. They told me I have anxiety problems. So I decided to do a complete checkup. I consulted a pulmonologist. He did my PFT (pulmonary function test) test. It was fine. He told me I have asthma and asked me to use an inhaler. But I was not convinced about the diagnosis. I went to other hospitals to see a cardiologist where I performed my stress test, Echo (Echocardiogram), and ECG (electrocardiogram). Everything was fine. Then they did a lung X-ray which was also fine. After that, I consulted an ENT doctor. She did an endoscopy which was also fine. Finally, I saw a gastroenterologist and underwent an abdomen endoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT (computed tomography) scan. The report was fine but I have a gallstone. The doctor gave me some medicines and I was getting a complete recovery from my shortness of breath. He told me I do not have symptoms of asthma. I stayed at my home for more than a month and never had any shortness of breath to date. I flew to my workplace last night. When I landed there I felt the shortness of breath again, especially at night time. I have medicines with me that the doctor prescribed. The cold weather is fading off here. Can you tell me what could be wrong with me? Before seeing this doctor I did all the possible tests like D-Dimer, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), PFT, ECHO, STRESS, ECG, Lung X-ray, CBC (complete blood test), etc. I have sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. I expect your valuable reply on this.

Thank you.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I went through your query. It sounds like you have been through a thorough medical evaluation, and it is positive that your tests have all come back to normal. However, your symptoms of shortness of breath, particularly in cold environments, are still concerning. It is possible that you may have asthma, even if your PFT (pulmonary function test) was normal. Sometimes, asthma can be difficult to diagnose, and you may need additional testing or a trial of asthma medication to see if it helps alleviate your symptoms. Another possibility is that you may be experiencing cold-induced bronchospasm, which can occur in people who are sensitive to cold air. This can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Avoiding cold environments or wearing a scarf or mask over your mouth and nose when exposed to cold air may help alleviate your symptoms. Other potential causes of shortness of breath include anxiety or panic attacks. Thank you.

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