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A while ago I started having difficulty breathing after dinner. It didn't matter how much I ate. Recently, it's gotten worse. I've started getting it every night and even in the daytime, and it's even harder to breathe. It feels like I'm not getting enough air. I also get a sharp, stabbing pain right above my heart sometimes when I take a breath. I have to hold my breath for a minute, because breathing hurts so badly. This pain has spread to my lower right ribs, my lower left side, and my right shoulder. I also have dull aches around my ribcage. I have feelings of pressure on my ribcage, which almost feel like bruising. I have a dry cough which comes and goes throughout the day. My heart is always racing, which makes me tired. The symptoms don't always occur at the same time.

A doctor suggested I was having panic attacks. But I'm not feeling stressed, anxious, worried, or afraid. My symptoms are gradual, daily, and can last the whole day.


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replied June 8th, 2009
Gallbladder Disease Answer A6761


According to the symptoms you reported (difficulty breathing after dinner, sharp, stabbing pain in heart area, in lower right ribs, lower left side and in right shoulder), it is possible that you might be experiencing gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis) due to gallbladder stones.

Sometimes gallbladder inflammation is present without gallbladder stones and is referred as cholecystitis acalculosa. This might be a potentially dangerous condition if the gallbladder stones block the drainage of the bile via the bile duct. At the time of acute inflammation of the gallbladder, anti-inflammatory medications are given to stop the inflammation. If certain of the complications have already occurred, then surgery might be needed to completely remove the gallbladder and the gallstones. Surgery is a final option if the gallstones are not dissolved in time, but tend to grow and become more in number. Avoiding food rich in fat is imperative, because it causes fast evacuation of the bile from the gallbladder, which might additionally aggravate the inflammation and the pain.


You might want to visit a specialist for gastrointestinal diseases and have a physical examination, laboratory tests, an X-ray or ultrasound scan to visualize the condition of the gallbladder and the gallstones.


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