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Respiratory Therapist/Husband's breathing difficulty

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Question
Hello. I am writing you because my husband who is 67 yrs. old is having a problem, but he will not go to the doctor. I will try to be as specific as possible regarding his symptoms.
In November of 2012 he got a terrible respiratory virus that was going around which left him with a cough for weeks. He was a pack a day smoker and quit cold turkey. During the time of his virus he began to experience difficulty in breathing. He says it feels like it's harder to breath. Like he is more aware of his breathing than it just being a natural thing. He would go outside and walk around, and this seemed to make him feel better. I have noticed that when he gets this feeling I don't detect it in his voice (like shortness of breath) or in his respirations. I have also noticed that he can go outside and cut an acre of lawn with a rotary mower, cut wood and landscape the neighbor's lawn without any difficulty. These episodes seem to manifest themselves in the evening, although he has had it a couple of times in the morning. He has about 3 or 4 beers a day, and also gets acid reflux which he treats with baking soda in water, which helps. He is not overweight. I think I have covered about everything. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Answer
Hello Mary,

Thank you for entrusting me with your husband's personal health concerns. I will try to be as helpful as possible. As a long-term pack-a-day smoker, he may be at risk for a family of medical conditions referred to as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Additionally, the medical issues you raised could be consistent with one of many possible cardiac disease processes, such as CHF (congestive heart failure) or CAD (coronary artery disease), all of which can manifest with episodic shortness of breath.  Unfortunately, there is not more more I can tell you in terms of specifics... he needs to swallow his pride and go see his physician.

Respiratory Therapist

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT

Expertise

I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators (Respirators) - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness - Prolotherapy (from a patient's perspective) I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.

Experience

Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

Organizations
NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

Publications
-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

Education/Credentials
- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

Awards and Honors
N/A

Past/Present Clients
Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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