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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 46720
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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My dad has been suffering with a constant shortness of breath

Customer Question

My dad has been suffering with a constant shortness of breath for the last six weeks. One doctor diagnosed bronchitis, one doctor told him he has asthma, one doctor has told him he has allergies, none of which he has suffered in the past. He has lost a lot of weight in the last month, has a slight temperature, has a cough, but no phlegm, seems to be coming from his lungs, he can breath in, but cant really hold his breath, has had blood tests that show his while blood cell count is elevated, he is experiencing night sweats where he wakes up and the bed is soaking. A CT scan as an emergency appointment has been arranged, but not until March 13th. I am really worried that there is something seriously wrong with him, he is not eating, no energy, lethargy, can hardly walk up the stairs. I want to take him up to hospital tomorrow morning, he is exhausted and 76. Please help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 3 years ago.

Dr. David :

This is Dr. David

Dr. David :

if he is having that bad time breathing, you should bring him to the hospital.

Dr. David :

he needs to see a pulmonologist and get a pulmonary function test and a chest CT scan.

Customer: Is a pulmonary function test something that could be done straight away? I dont know if you are in the UK, but can I demand that the CT scan is done quicker than another two week wait?
Dr. David :

it is hard to demand things in the UK.

Dr. David :

usually your GP has to clear you for any sort of testing.

Dr. David :

best thing is to go to the A&E department if he can't breath

Dr. David :

and see if they can do the test there.

Customer: I am very worried that this could be cancer, is there any definitive symptom that I need to be looking for?
Dr. David :

symptoms are not a good way to look for cancer.

Dr. David :

best way to check for cancer is a chest CT scan

Dr. David :

I am a cancer doctor

Dr. David :

does he smoke?

Customer: No never
Dr. David :

that is good he doesn't smoke.

Customer: He described to the doctor that he has this cough, but listening to him tonight, I would not describe it as a cough, he can get breath into his lungs, but it seems to want to come out of the body too quickly, and then on the out breath he does this type of coughing,
Dr. David :

he could have a mucous plug

Dr. David :

or a mass in his lung blocking his airway.

Dr. David :

he needs to get a chest xray or chest CT scan quickly.

Dr. David :

they can do a chest xray for him at the A&E department.

Customer: He had a chest x ray apparently three weeks ago and one doctor said that she thinks she sees a shadow, but wants to have a CT scan to find out for sure what is going on. It is so frustrating that they have left him for this length of time being so poorly. Can they do a CT scan in A&E?
Dr. David :

in the US they can

Dr. David :

I

Dr. David :

I'm not sure about in the UK.

Customer: Can you explain a mucous plug?
Dr. David :

that is a plug of mucous which is thick and can block air flow into the lungs

Dr. David :

and cause cough and irritation

Dr. David :

but a mucous plug would not look like a shadow on a chest xray.

Dr. David :

I would work on getting a copy of his chest xray report as well.

Dr. David :

and get him a chest CT scan as soon as possible.

Customer: Is there anything I can do for him to make this more bearable? Would an oxygen mask be of any assitance?
Dr. David :

he might need oxygen.

Dr. David :

he should get his pulse oxygenation reading checked.

Dr. David :

this can check if oxygen is getting into his lungs.

Dr. David :

it is a simple finger light test which can check the percentage of oxygen in his blood .

Customer: Thank you for your help
Dr. David :

you are welcome

Dr. David :

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Dr. David :

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Dr. David :

you can always reach me as Dr. David if you have other questions.

Dr. David :

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Dr. David :

is my website if you need to reach me as

Customer: Yep got it - okay thank you Dr David
Dr. David :

you are welcome

Dr. David :

thanks for using JustAnswer.com

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