Does Anybody Else Have "Minimal Lung Defect"?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dhcpolwnk, May 3, 2003.

  1. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    I was told I had a "minimal lung defect" a few months ago, after taking numerous heart, lung and other tests to figure out why I had been having some strange, though fairly mild, breathing problems. No wheezing or coughing, just a sensation of running out of air and need to take aeveral deep breaths. It felt as if I had just "forgotten" to breathe. I was referred to an ENT, who said I had cronic rhinitis and some sinusitis, too, as I recall. She prescribed Flonase and later Atrovent.

    Around this same time, my PCP casually mentioned that the lung tests showed I had a "minimal lung defect." He apparently thought he already had told me about this, but he hadn't. I thought the lung tests had come back completely normal. My doctor said this condition amounted to a mild form of asthma. Since the breathing problems seemed to have gone away since I started on the Flonase and Atrovent, I just filed it away in my brain as another piece of interesting but not critically important information. I felt relieved to have an explanation for what I had been experiencing.

    Unfortunately, the breathing problems now seem to be back, but in a more intrusive way. It's happening more often, and instead of "forgetting' to breathe, I frequently feel as if my chest cavity is contracting, and I need to take a deep breat to expand it again. (I don't know if I'm describing this very accurately, but it's the best I can do at the moment.)

    To make matters worse, my health plan recently dropped Flonase from its drug formulary and substituted Nasarel. Although I got my ENT to authorize an off-formulary prescription for the Flonase, I discovered when I went to renew it that the authorization expired 4 days after the renewal! I spent hours on the phone trying to get the Flonase instead of the Nasarel, as I had done a side by side comparison of side effects and found that Nasarel was significantly worse in areas to which I'm particularly sensitive. But in the end, they said I had to try the Nasarel first and then, if I can't tolerate it or if it doesn't work for me, a doctor can authorize the Flonase.

    I can't say that switching to Nasarel coincides with my breathing problems getting worse, but I think I was basically getting just fumes from my Flonase bottle the last couple of weeks. (I was trying to wait until May 1 to renew my Rx, because that's when my new Kaiser Medicare + CHOICE coverage started, and giving me at least limited coverage for prescription drugs. Before that, I had no Rx coverage at all.) It was during the last couple of weeks that I noticed my breathing problems coming back. So it's possible that the Flonase had been helping to keep it in check.

    In doing research on the Web, I found that both Flonase and Nasarel are intended primarily for control of allergic sinusitis and/or rhinitis, not asthma. I haven't really found much of anything about "minimal lung defect" and what, if anything, that may have to do with what I'm experiencing.

    However, I know a lot of people with Fibro also have GERD, and since I have both GERD and some mild swallowing problems (another fairly new symptom), I suspect that that I might have aspirated some acid, causing or exacerbating the lung defect and making the breathing problems flare up again.

    I was wondering whether anybody on the board has had any experience with Flonase and/or Nasare and can tell me how they seemed to compare for you.

    I noticed on the box for Nasarel that one of the inactive ingredients is citric acid--just what I need with GERD and the heartburn side effects I already get from so many of my meds. Furthermore, as a child I was allergic to citric acid. Nothing major, like anaphylactic shock; just skin rashes. But it still seems silly to force me to use Nasarel first when the odds are very high I won't be able to tolerate it. (In fairness, I have to admit I didn't tell the docs about the citrus allergy, mainly because I didn't know Nasarel used citric acid until after I picked up the prescription.)

    To top everything off, I find the Nasarel applicator relatively hard to use, especially when my MS is making my hands and fingers particularly hard to control. I never had a problem with the Flonase applicator.

    Sorry for venting with my latest sad story. My problems are really nothing compared with what a lot of people on this board are going through. But I really am hoping to find somebody who can tell me more about "minimal lung defect" and about the relative merits and weaknesses of Flonase and Nasarel.


    --Laura R.M.

  2. obrnlc

    obrnlc New Member

    hi laura. i wonder if they meant "mild pulmonary hypertension". i had same diag. after testing. My personal theory is it is because of the tightness in the chest that the lungs have to exert more force to expand, but no one (docs) agreed with that. i also had the symptoms every few months and so thought the mild shortness of breath and difficulty taking a deep breath was due to allergies or something. hope this helps, laurie