View Full Version : 19 Year Old Athlete, Inexplicable Trouble Breathing, Other worrisome symptoms

08-28-2014, 12:32 AM
Hey everyone,

For the last year or so, I've been experiencing the following symptoms to various degrees: Fatigue, Shortness of Breath, (more recently) stomach aches/pain, nausea and diarrhea, lower back pain, and even mild sleep apnea, which I believe could be related to the overall shortness of breath I have. I've been extremely active my entire life, playing multiple sports year around up until a year ago. I don't smoke, very rarely drink, am not at all overweight, and really have lived a healthy life. Plus, I'm only 19, making all these debilitating symptoms all the more perplexing. Originally, all this started with the sudden onset of fatigue and the subsequent diagnosis of sleep apnea. After preliminary attempts to treat the sleep apnea failed and the CPAP didn't work, I kind of began to doubt the sleep apnea diagnosis. My doubt only grew when I started having trouble breathing and feeling stomach discomfort. I've had many blood tests done, and only one showed anything interesting. A test for Epstein barr indicating that may have contracted the Epstein barr virus in the past year. A saw an ear, nose and throat doctor about my breathing troubles, and he said I have huge tonsils and some unusual nasal anatomy that leads to me relying through mouth breathing quite frequently. With all this being said, I was hoping I could get some help on this site. I'm really desperate, actually borderline depressed about all this. I used to be so active and happy, and now I feel so horrible. Please take the time to help out. Thanks.

Sincerely, Dean

08-28-2014, 12:02 PM
Hi. I have had Epstein Barr flare ups for over 30 years but that explains the fatigue. Shortness of Breath could be a cardio or a pulmonary problem. Have you been tested for asthma? had an EKG? I would definitely see a cardiologist if you haven't. Allie

08-28-2014, 01:42 PM

I've had an ekg, been tested for asthma, and had a spirometry done. All were good. The Epstein barr test I had led my doctor to believe I had mono at some point "whether I knew it or not." I'm starting to think some of my other symptoms may be a result of generalized anxiety disorder. As far as the Epstein barr virus, how do you treat that? Do you treat it? Or is something that kind of sucks and you have to just deal with it?

08-28-2014, 02:45 PM
Dean, you could be right about the anxiety for some of the gastro symptoms. But before you right it off to anxiety I would see a cardiologist . I also have mitral valve prolapse that showed up in my early 20's. It caused a lot of shortness if breath. At night after a day of drinking too much caffeine I can feel the flutter. Have you ever experience that or felt like your heart skips? Just trying to brainstorm with you. I think it is normal to have anxiety when you don't know what is wrong. Allie

08-28-2014, 07:15 PM
I don't know about a flutter or skip but worrying has caused me to notice many little things that could be symptoms, like the fact my heart seems to beat kind of hard, even fast. Again though, my doctor said none of my blood tests showed any indication of heart trouble, and my chest xray was clean. I think its possible that even if my heart is beating odd right now its due to anxiety, but I will certainly continue to explore your suggestion. I see my doctor within the month and if I haven't made reasonable progress in that time I'm going to Stanford hospital to give them a crack at it. And let me thank you for your very helpful advice. It's much appreciated.

08-29-2014, 03:48 AM
Are you planning to have your tonsils removed and the nasal issues repaired? That might be a start. And i second the suggestions about gastric or pulmonary issues.

08-31-2014, 11:32 PM
The ENT guy gave me a nasal spray to test out for a month to find out if my breathing troubles are due to allergies or anatomy. He did use a scope to check out my nasal anatomy, and he saw that my (turbines?) or something close to that word were structured unusually. If the nasal spray proves ineffective, tonsillectomy and surgery for my turbines and deviated septum is probably the next step. And I've looked into possible gastro and pulmonary issues. That's definitely something I'll ask my doctor my next visit. Thanks for your much needed advice.

09-01-2014, 05:24 AM
It's turbinates. And yes, swollen or irregular ones can cause all sorts of issues. That along with your tonsils would seem to be a large part of your problem.

09-01-2014, 04:37 PM
Wow thanks! I sure hope that's contributing to most, if not all, of it, as it seems like a fairly easy fix. Thanks a lot for your help!