How are diaphragm issues diagnosed? - British Lung Foun...

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How are diaphragm issues diagnosed?

DaveT81 profile image

Hi all,

I've been suffering with really bad breathing issues for months now and just can't seem to get to the bottom of it. I've had spirometry, x-ray, heart echo and CT scan and nothing shows on any of them.

I'm seeing a private Dr who has diagnosed me with autoimmune disorder/Hashmito's disease and is telling me that the breathing issues are a result of that. He has me on thyroxine and will continue upping the doses each time I see him but I've yet to see any difference yet and I'm now coming up to 5 weeks off work and I'm concerned that there's been no improvement in this or my other symptoms.

I'm convinced I have an issue with my diaphragm. The process of breathing feels laboured, and I can feel something struggling to work properly in there. I'm not saying I have a paralysed diaphragm - I'm 37 so I'm sure most medical professionals would say 'I'm too young, etc.' but it just doesn't feel right.

So my question is - would diaphragm damage definitely show on a CT or x-ray? I had a brief glance at my x-ray a couple of months ago and I noticed a slight elevation of one of my lungs but nothing severe. I've called around a few private clincs, Spire, BMI, Pall Mall, etc. but none of them seem to perform fluoroscopy of the diaphragm and lungs.

Any personal experiences/advice would be a great help as this breathing issue is crippling, particularly when I was running 3 times a week just 2 months ago.

5 Replies

Hello DaveT81! 20 years ago I had chemo, after I kept saying "I can't breathe"!!!! I went for breathing tests and 10 years later I went to a Pulmonary doctor that took a xray of my chest. He comes back in the room and says "No wonder you can't breathe" Your left diaphragm is paralyzed! It is stuck in the middle of your lung!" Finally 10 years later...ANSWERS! He saw the elevation on my xray. There is a new operation out for this where they hook a pacemaker to the diaphragm, it helps it function! My chemo also left me with heart damage, so for me I can't do the operation! I hope this helps!

DaveT81 profile image
DaveT81 in reply to JANET127

Hi Janet - thanks for your reply!

My concern is that the diagnosis of autoimmune disease is correct and there's some phrenic nerve damage that has affected my diaphragm. Only problem is, nothing really showed on any of the scans I've had done so far. I'm looking - without luck - for private clinics and/or hospitals that perform 'sniff test' fluoroscopy in the North-West.

My diaphragm sometimes goes into spasm with overwork. I saw an osteopath who helped me get it moving again and showed me how to prevent it. It might be worth seeing if a registered osteopath can help you.

I have a right side diaphragm paralised and have done for some time. It showed up on an xray but they do not know how or when it happened I did notice that some years earlier I could not swim as I was so short of breath and this is a indicator of paralised diaphragm. I have a number of heart and lung conditions and my main one now is Pulmonary Hypertension were I get short of breath doing the simplest of things.

Hope you get it sorted out soon!

Be Well

Thanks for your replies, all. So it's looking as if, if there were any diaphragm issues it would've shown on my x-ray. I believe there was a slight elevation on one lung but I would imagine a radiologist would have picked up on that had it been anything serious.

It's just such a nightmare at the moment, and I'm finding that when I lie down on my left or right side, it's like something is putting serious pressure on my lungs and making breathing harder.

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