QUESTION: I am a 16 year old female or average weight and I have noticed over the last few years that, when it is cold outside, I have a hard time breathing. I didn't think it was a problem until yesterday. I walked home from school and multiple times I felt like I couldn't breathe. I also get winded very easily while working out, though my heart rate doesn't speed up. Oddly enough, I can even get winded from just reaching down to get something off the floor. I have a hard time breathing whenever I'm sick too and rarely, but sometimes, in the summer. I was just wondering what your thoughts are on this and whether or not I should talk to my doctor. Thanks.

ANSWER: Hi, Kristina,

Of course you should see your doctor!  That is what he/she is there for, to keep you healthy and certainly someone who is not breathing well in multiple circumstances is not completely healthy.  This is most likely asthma, and we have many ways to help.  It could be other things, but this requires a visit, a good history, a good family history and an exam to plan out a good strategy for you.  It is not normal to have trouble breathing when you are 16 years old.

Good luck, Dr. Olson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Do you think I should make an appointment strictly for this or should I just wait until my next check up to ask about it? Your feedback has been greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hi, Kristina,

It really depends on how disabling to you these symptoms are. I don't think anything terrible is going to happen but if you would get some infection, like influenza, you might really get sick. If you said your next scheduled visit was in a year, to me that's too long.  If you are scheduled in a month or so, that probably is OK.  I just kind of hate to see you walking around in a pretty constant state of shortness of breath.  

Have a nice weekend, Dr. Olson  


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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