Difficulty breathing during exercise and creaky-sounding lungs

Patient

Q: I have been having a lot of trouble with breathing while I'm exercising lately. I finished a couch to 5k program a few weeks ago, and every time I run I have very labored breathing, to the point where I'm wheezing and I have to stop and catch my breath. Lately I've been feeling incredibly tired during my runs, and once I start I immediately want to stop even though I have 30 minutes to go. My heart rate is also very fast (It was 180 when I last stopped during a run). I have never been told I have asthma, though I do have bad allergies most days and take Allegra daily. My father and sister both have asthma, so I guess I have a family history. I have been using my sister's inhaler (ventolin) before runs and its helps a little. It is always worse when I run outside, especially when it's windy, though where I live wind is hard to avoid.
I've also noticed some "creaking" in my lungs even when I'm not exercising. Sometimes when I breath my lungs will make a creaking sound, like something is rubbing against something else, especially at the end of an exhale. I haven't had any chest pain or coughing. I am a musician, and I have noticed that my lung capacity is not very good; I cannot sustain a phrase for nearly as long as the other people in my section and I feel like I have to take huge breaths all the time that disrupt the music. I am very concerned, as I have never had a problem with my lungs before and I fear that if this continues I will have to stop exercising. I have lost ten pounds and really don't want to stop.
I would also like to mention that I had a respiratory infection six or seven years ago that a doctor said may have been pneumonia. I remember this same creaking sensation happening then, and in the years since then, I would get the creaking very rarely, usually at night. Could my problem now be related to the pneumonia I had then? Or could I have asthma now?

Symptoms:  difficulty breathing and wheezing when exercising
reduced lung capacity
very fast heartbeat when exercising
fatigued more easily during exercise
creaky sounds when breathing
allergies
Doctor

A:   This question is currently in queue and will be answered shortly by one of our doctors. In the meantime you may browse our library of answered questions by clicking here.

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