I've had breathing problems for about two years but couldn't afford going to a doctor until I turned 65 a few months ago. Because I'm morbidly obese, the doctor I finally was able to go to (had gone to a free clinic before that when I got really really sick)decided to do a whole series of heart tests including a chemical stress test. Nothing showed up that would indicate a problem with my heart, a chest x-ray indicated no problems, and blood tests were fine except that my red blood count was unusually high. I am Type I diabetic. The doctor feels that my body is 'deconditioned' because of my weight (370 lbs.) and that's what's causing my breathing problems so recommended my going for cardiac therapy. When I asked about COPD she said it wasn't that because I never smoked. Is it possible to have COPD if you didn't smoke? As a child, my father worked in a factory that manufactured coal tar products and his clothes were often covered with gooey black globs that my mom, sister, or I had to scrape off his clothes before washing them...he eventually died from lung cancer even though he had never smoked because of his exposure to those and other carcinogens. I also worked at that company part-time as a teen and later full-time for two years in my mid 20's but in the office so is it even possible that breathing in or touching that goop all those years ago could of caused my breathing problems now. I know it sounds like I'm clutching at straws here but I'm not getting any answers except that all my problems are because I'm fat. I've been fat a long time but over a 13 year period where I cared full-time for my mom who had Alzheimers I added a lot more pounds....she died 2 years ago at age 89.
BTW, the shortness of breath is accompanied with SEVERE fatigue and weakness upon standing...for instance, I can only load the washing machine halfway before having to lean down on it because I'm short of breath and then after finally finishing having to sit down because I'm gulping for breath. I often get light-headed going from a lying to sitting position, feel unbalanced when walking...I can only walk very short distances without a walker and my daughter got me a wheelchair because there's no way I can walk for any length of time without feeling like I'm going to pass out.
I understand the weight implications but also know my body and sense something is very wrong and it frustrates me that no one will listen to me. In the meantime, should I be able to lose a substantial amount of pounds, which would be amazing because even a little bit of exercise has me feeling like I'm going to die off, something more serious could be taking hold. My father was misdiagnosed with having TB (in 1968) because he had never smoked and his doctor said he couldn't possibly have lung cancer. Six months later, finally another doctor diagnosed him but it was too late by then...I have a fear that could easily happen to me as well.
I'm probably expecting too much for an answer but maybe you could steer me in a direction where I could present my doctor with questions or something that would get me the attention I think I need.
Interesting note, Medicare has refused to pay for the chemical stress test because they say the doctor had to get it pre-approved as being necessary. I'm going round and round trying to settle this issue and could conceivably end up owing $2400 that I have no way to pay being on SS and not being able to work because I can't breathe properly. Here I thought that when I finally turned 65 that my life might finally get easier...the laughs on me.
Well, thanks for reading through all this. I hope you can wave your magic wand and come up with some sort of answer for me.
Frustrated in Orlando