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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 58725
Experience:  GP in the United States
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I woke yesterday and could not breathe. I have had panic attacks

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I woke yesterday and could not breathe. I have had panic attacks before and familiar with the feeling of not being able to breathe in those circumstances. This however was different because not only did I not have some of the other feelings of a panic attack ie tingly lips and mouth, tingly arms etc etc but I had a kind of wheezing/crackling sound in my upper chest that was so loud my daughters could hear it too (they sensed a sound of a cat purring). It was very frightening and I must admit I wondered if I was having a heart attack although I had no pain, I was not grey in colour or clammy, I had no feeling of weakness. I just couldnt breathe. this went on for about 15 minutes. My daughters wanted to call an ambulance but I felt the feeling might pass. Instead I managed to get an emergency appt at my doctors. I was quite shaky by then but I could breathe okay. I should add that I have had an ongoing ear infection and have been in America for a couple of weeks hence why I didnt get the ear sorted. I was worried because I had a long flight home on Monday and my daughter who has type 1 diabetes started to go into ketoacidosis on Tuesday (we managed to deal with that okay). Hence I was extremely stressed. The doctor listened to my heart and lungs. He said my lungs were clear and my heart was strong. He also checked oxygen levels. He said they were all good. I asked if I could have had an asthma attack (I dont suffer with asthma) and he said not. He said I should go back if it happens again.. I am left with alot of worry. What on earth happened? Should I be insisting on a chest xray? The doctor said my blood pressure was high but to deal with that next week because it may because of the current situation. I am very worried. Was it a heart attack without pain? Have I developed asthma? Should I be insisting on more tests?
Hello. I'm Dr. Phil, licensed and practicing internist. Excellent service is my goal.

I am worried about a blood clot. Are you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did wonder about that hence why I took action and went straight to the doctors. I worried about it because I had been on a 7 hour flight. I took an asprin when I started not being able to breathe for that reason.

yes I think you are absolutely correct. There is a test call D dimer that can tell if you have a blood clot. I recommend this test
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My doctor didnt even suggest a DVT. I also did not have a problem with pain or swelling etc in my leg. Would that not have been the first symptom? If it were a DVT, am I still in danger after experiencing not being able to breathe? I did have a pain in my side overnight but I thought it was a pulled muscle from carrying heavy cases.

You don't necessarily have to have a DVT to have a blood clot in the lungs

The clot in the leg where they usually start could be in the lung!

That is really the only thing I am worried about and the lung symptoms are concerning.

A quick blood test would rule it in or out
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

But my doctor said my lungs sounded clear and my oxygen levels were good. Might that negate the concern? Can you tell from listening to the lungs if there is still a problem? Sorry to bang on about this but I want all my facts completely correct before I go back to demand certain tests. I should add that I have been extremely achey around my ribs etc since.

No, not really.

I have actually seen huge pulmonary emboli with a oxygen of 99% and clear lungs

I'm not trying to scare you just making sure you are safe
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your advice. I will speak with my doctors again.