Pain When Breathing

What Causes Pain When Breathing?

Pain when breathing can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'needs attention'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose pain when breathing, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "pain when breathing" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
reduced mental clarity
recent dry cough
regular earaches
recent onset vomiting
frequent episodes of diarrhea
incoherent speech
painful inguinal nodes
edema of the hands
poor bodily coordination
having trouble concentrating
Asian ethnicity
... and more than 30 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of pain when breathing:
Cause Probability Status
Epstein-Barr Virus 99% Confirm
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 54% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having chest discomfort, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you experience pain that only occurs when you breathe?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ In the past only
→ Yes, mild discomfort
→ Yes, moderate / severe pain
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no pain when breathing, history of pain when breathing, mild discomfort when breathing or pain when breathing, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
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