December 15, 1999
Question from Federal Way, Washington, USA:
I am 27 years old and have had diabetes since I was 4. I have type 1. I recently have had shortness of breath. Every time I go to the doctor (every 3-4 months) he asks if I have shortness of breath and at this last visit I said no because I hadn’t had any. What does this mean and what should I do? It’s like I can’t catch my breath or I can’t take a deep breath. It’s scary.
It’s likely that the symptom of shortness of breath is, in your case, due to some degree of anxiety; none-the-less, proper diagnostic procedures should be undertaken to exclude all medical causes (respiratory, cardiac, etc.).
It’s not related directly to diabetes, though. Anxiety is a psychological response, quite common nowadays among westernized people, of anyone under circumstances of fear and/or danger and can be even useful helping people to perform difficult tasks skillfully and admirably. When excessive it has prominent autonomic effects (such as shortness of breath).
Ask your doctor either the reason he has been asking you for that symptom, as well as if all medical causes have been excluded, and then whether he thinks you need a psychological consultation.