Behcet's Syndrome Society

Can shortness of breath and elevated liver function be caused by Behcets?

I was recently diagnosed with Behcets after almost 10 years of mouth sores, skin blisters, and lesions misdiagnosed as herpes. I recently had blood work done due to shortness of breath and it came back with elevated liver function. My dr. told me to not drink for 30 days, but I don't drink often...may a glass or two of wine here and there. Does anyone know if the shortness of breath and elevated lft could be because of the behcets?

10 Replies

Hi, I've had both. Been checked out very carefully cardiovascular wise and SOB has been attributed to BD. I'm bit like you - never drank much but my LFTs go up and down according to which medication I'm on. Three years ago I decided not to drink anything because of the LFTs - thought I would give my body every chance I could. Also now that I am on Methotrexate I have been told definitely not to drink.

Hope that helps.



Just a thought - have they ruled out Lupus for you?


When I was first diagnosed they ran many tests and ruled out Lupus, chrones disease, and many others. My case is very mild with just the mouth sores, skin lesions, genital ulcers, and occasional joint tenderness. I would gladly deal with my mild symptoms than with lupus any day!


I also have very high liver enzymes and these do seem to match up with a bad flare in my behcets. I also have SOB which cannot be attributed to the liver enzymes being high, but in saying that the SOB does get worse when I have a flare. The fatigue in itself makes breathing difficult.

I do drink but not to excess and this doesn't seem to affect the liver enzymes. Thus my consultants feel it is attached to the inflammation process during a flare.

I am under a muscle weakness clinic at a respiratory hospital in London for the breathing as a separate issue and this is still being investigated. They have established I have a drop of oxygen and very shallow breathing whilst sleeping and I now have a CPAP at night but also have a similar problem during the day when awake.

You can get a pulse oxymeter which will measure your pulse and oxygen levels. I purchased mine online and it records the levels over many hours and plugs into the computer to give you the consultant at the respiratory hospital accepts my computer print outs that I give them to show what is happening at home.



One of the earliesr diags I have was Sleep Apnea. If I do not use my CPAP I am severely compromised. I no longer work as a software engineer as my concentration was very poor near the end.

I have had Behcets for probably 35 years and was just diagnosed this year.

Enjoy the good days

Ignore tge bad.


I don't drink at all , dont like the taste ,and I had these symptoms . It turned out to be the colchicine was affecting my liver . I had taken it for 20 years with limited affect but just a year ago i was getting ALT and Aphos liver elevations . Since I stopped my ALT dropped from 260 to 14 . The other test also measures inflammation in the body so although it has decreased it is still not normal . Could it be medication for you ?


At first I took colchicine twice daily but my rheumatologist said I could take it as needed for outbreaks. The tests were performed just before an outbreak so from what folks have posted here, I'm thinking that it had to do with the onset of the outbreak. I have noticed that my general practitioner didn't even mention the behcets as a factor hmm....


Hi there witton do you mean alkaline phos in your liver function test I have Pbc (primary billary chirrosis ) ask your doctor to do an Ama blood test it's an auto immune liver disease I also have sjogrens or possibly bechets vaginal ulcers but not mouth ulcers but I have mouth sores daily dry eyes dry mouth antibodies against my thyroid alk phos is an indication of pbc as there all autoimmune diseases I think it's worth getting the blood test I was diagnosed in 2011 but my useless doctors had tested me in 2006 and 2008 and never told me I had terrible fatigue and facial pain from the salivary glands I noticed that a few people on here have sjogrens and bechets sjogrrens is highly associated with pbc too .my liver consultant said that auto immune often involves the liver oh and by the way I've suffered shortness of breath for five years now this is my first post in this site so hope this helps I will gladly give more info if anyone wishes x

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Yes, most definitely shortness of breath and high liver function tests can be caused by Behcet's itself or as an adverse effect to the meds taken for Behcet's. It is actually fairly common to have slightly elevated liver enzymes when on certain meds, especially the stronger toxic ones we all have to take for Behcet's. Usually when its only slightly elevated, dr's will just keep an eye on it, and it isn't harmful. But if they come back very elevated or increase in a short amount of time, then there is more cause for concern.

My liver function tests seem to always be elevated and my dr. basically just .puts it down to bein Behcet's-related. I also had a complicated surgery (called the whipple procedure) in my abdomen to remove a choledochal cyst that took up my entire biliary tract and half way into my pancreas-- since then, I have had chronic elevated pancreas and liver enzymes. But Behcet's itself can cause inflammation in or around the liver also.

As for the shortness of breath, I suffer from that almost daily-- this symptom took over my life through my teen years, and every dr. tried saying I "just had asthma"-- eventually it got a bit better, but now over the past few months, I've started having lots of trouble with it again. I find that it gets real bad when my chest area and neck becomes inflamed-- it feels like I'm being suffocated from the inside-out, like a thick string is being tightened around my neck. It also gets bad when I'm over-heated or the air is hot and muggy-- I suffer from really bad heat intolerance, so I often have to have fans going, or the central air, and sometimes when I get really over-heated I will put ice packs around my neck and chest. Sometimes the shortness of breath comes on when I exert myself, like if I'm having a very bad day with severe exhaustion and bad swelling and pain, and I try to move around then I will have trouble breathing. I also notice sometimes it worsens at night when I lay down, my chest will feel very heavy and tight. I've undergone full breathing and asthma tests again about six months ago and am cleared of asthma or any other cause, so I just assume its related to my Behcet's. However, my Grandma has Sjogren's and she too suffers from shortness of breath often. Maybe its a common problem with systemic autoimmune diseases; I think shortness of breath is also a symptom of Lupus.

Another thing to remember too is that strong narcotic pain meds taken often and in high doses can cause difficulty breathing because it slows down the CNS and the breathing muscles become sluggish, causing oxygen levels in the blood to often decrease. Its important to realize that with Behcet's (and other systemic autoimmune diseases), it affects the entire body, which means that there are an endless amount of different issues and symptoms that can arise. Its also hard sometimes because so many sites describe Behcet's as simply causing oral and genital ulcers, skin rashes, and eye inflammation-- when there is so much more to this disease-- the ulcers and skin manifestations aren't even necessarily the worst symptoms or most concerning symptoms it can cause. You also need to keep in mind that these things can be caused by any number of other problems that aren't Behcet's-related. Having your troublesome symptoms and blood work monitored closely by your rheumatologist is a good idea.



I have just signed up and did a search for "shortness of breath". This is a very old post, and as I am brand new up I am unsure if the protocol, and whether I add to this thread as it is so old .... . Oh well, I'll take the chance.

I have severe shortness of breath but not the liver issue (as far as I know).

I am in hospital right now. I went to emergency a few nights ago due to shortness of breath, tightness and constriction in the chest that was worse when I lay down. It felt like I couldn't breathe.

Given that these symptoms seemed very similar to Pericarditis, which I've had a few times, once with a very large effusion AND given that the symptoms seemed very like the Pulmonary Embolism I had six months ago in between my bi-lateral hip replacement, and I had just come off blood-thinners, I was very worried.

I have had an chest x-Ray, a CAT scan of my lungs, a normal echo-cardiogram and a stress test echocardiogram. And a battery of blood tests.

No Pericarditis, no Pulmonary Embolism, nothing seemingly wrong with the function of my heart. Nothing coming up on the blood tests.

Until two years ago, before I ended up in a wheelchair and bed-bound, waiting for my hip replacements, I was always very active - walking at least 1 1/2 hours per day, plus yoga a couple of times a week. Well, in between flare-ups, but although they were severe, I always seemed to get back to normal.

After my hip replacements, I was slowly getting back to normal. The only reason I didn't walk more than 1/2 HR was not due to breathing difficulties - but due my the effusion and stiffness in my left k née.

This extreme shortness of breath I am experiencing now (getting better because i am back up to 30mg of Prednisolone) is worrying me because there has ALWAYS been a proven medical issue in every other flare up I have ever had. There seems to be no Particular condition with a name... I can't walk to the bathroom without getting out of breath....

So I came here to see if any other Behcet people had this issue, and read this thread. Helps a bit to know it's not only me... But I don't have the liver problem....


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