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Does thyroid lead to any difficulty in breathing?

Thursday, 01 April 2004
Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA
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Q. I am a 25 years old female. Lately I have started to get a feeling of suffocation engulf me along with difficulty in breathing. It erupts at no particular place or time and is not relevant to any particular activity and it lasts generally for about an hour or so. During this feeling, I also start feeling gastric and sometimes a little shiver in the thighs. I had got myself tested for Thyroid and it was positive. But soon after that I got it tested again and it was normal. Is the problem of suffocation due to thyroid or some other disease?

A.  An enlarged thyroid can press on the windpipe in the chest, and cause difficulty in breathing. Other abnormal growths in the chest can cause the same symptoms. However, these physical alterations in anatomy generally result in progressive worsening of breathing difficulties, and are less likely to result in intermittent symptoms. The latter could be caused by anxiety resulting in hyperventilation. Other concerns would be asthma, heart failure, GERD, diabetes out of control and kidney failure. Simple blood tests, chest x-rays (or CATscan) and pulmonary function tests would determine if there is an organic cause, such as one of the above diseases.

A.  An enlarged thyroid can press on the windpipe in the chest, and cause difficulty in breathing. Other abnormal growths in the chest can cause the same symptoms. However, these physical alterations in anatomy generally result in progressive worsening of breathing difficulties, and are less likely to result in intermittent symptoms. The latter could be caused by anxiety resulting in hyperventilation. Other concerns would be asthma, heart failure, GERD, diabetes out of control and kidney failure. Simple blood tests, chest x-rays (or CATscan) and pulmonary function tests would determine if there is an organic cause, such as one of the above diseases.

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