Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What causes sharp chest pains when breathing deeply?"
What could cause sharp chest pains while taking deep breaths? I've been dealing with this for a year at least, and I only really notice it flaring up after I have exercised hard or when I'm breathing very cold air. Is this a sign of a serious disease, or is it possibly just a benign lung condition? I've talked to friends who have this too, so it didn't seem like a big deal.
Sharp chest pains while taking deep breaths can have many causes, most of which are not serious. However, physicians who will be qualified to discuss this issue with you include your internal medicine physician or primary care doctor. In most people, sharp chest pains with deep breaths, especially with hard exercise or while breathing cold air is a perfectly normal finding which simply represents the sensitivities of the lining of the tubes inside the lungs to the fast flow of air or the cold. If, however, the pain is also associated with wheezing, shortness of breath, or a cough that you only notice while exercising or in the cold, it is possible that you have a mild variant of asthma, called exercise-induced asthma. Exercise-induced asthma involves a over-reactivity of the tubes in the lungs to environmental stimuli such as cold and exercise that causes them to constrict when stimulated. This leads to the symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and, occasionally, chest pains. Diagnosis of this condition is straightforward for your doctor and may result in the prescription of an inhaled medication to be taken immediately prior to exercise. As always, the diagnosis and management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor is recommended.
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