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Is my tight chest asthma, reflux or wheat allergy???
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Is my tight chest asthma, reflux or wheat allergy???

I have been having tightness in my chest for the past 18 months, ever since I had pneumonia!  I have a lot of mucus/drainage which seems to lodge in my throat and choke me.  I get tight and have trouble breathing at all different times of the day and night. I can't seem to pin-point it to any special triggers. My family doc. says it's wheat/oats/barley/corn allergy and drainage and put me on Musinex and Singulair.  My gastro doc. says it's slight acid reflux and put me on Nexium. My lung specialist said it's IS NOT DRAINAGE and took me off Musinex because he said it causes asthma to get worse!!!  He thinks it's stress induced asthma but took me off Singulair. I try not to eat anything with any of the grains in it - WHICH IS REALLY HARD [wheat and corn starch is in everything!] - and I try not to eat the acid reflux foods - WHICH DOESN'T LEAVE ME MUCH TO EAT AT ALL!!!  I am losing weight like crazy [which is a good thing] but my chest is tight at least once a day. I can't seem to link it to a certain food or activity. I am getting very depressed. I keep being sent to new doctors, which contradict the doc before them and give me something new. Then the next doc says to do something different.  THIS IS DEBILITATING AND I AM SO DEPRESSED I CAN HARDLY FUNCTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have a metholcoline test in 2 weeks, but I'm scared to death because my albuterol inhaler does not work for me and the doc says that is what they use in the test if I have a severe reaction.  WHAT SHOULD I DO??????????  I feel like I am doomed and this will be my life from now on. NO ONE SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO HELP ME AND I CAN NOT CONTINUE TO LIVE LIKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't know the answer to your question this is just a little note to say that I know how it feels to be sick for a long time and to go through this kind of a thing with doctors and It is miserable. This is the problem with western medicine, and it is really common for one doctor to say something and another say the opposite in fact in my experience they rarely agree about anything.   Does not give you much faith does it?.   The only thing I could advise you is to see an alternative therapist.  If there is a chance your condition is stress related would also really help with the depression choose something that would help you relax like aromatherapy.  Also be really careful about restricting your diet to much as this can cause stress and depression problems.   Diet is closely linked to mental health particularly if you are not getting enough B vitamins.  Anyway take care and all the best.  I hope thing get better for you soon.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks so much for your kind words.  IT DOES REALLY MAKE ME LOSE FAITH IN ALL DOCTORS!!!  I take Dr. Andrew Weil's daily vitamins which are pretty strong, but you're right, I propably need more vit. Bs.  I looked up alternative therapists on Dr. Weil's web site.  I really respect him, so I was thrilled to find a doc in my area that graduated from his school of alternative med. in New Mexico.  I also love your suggestion about aromatherapy.  Thank you again for taking the time to answer my post.
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472191_tn?1213635731
I have had asthma almost all my life, so I know how frustrating it can be.  I do know that there is a connection between asthma and acid reflux.  Acid reflux can definitely make asthma worse, so taking something for the reflux may help some of the asthma symptoms.  You did not mention if you are on any inhalers, are you?  An inhaled corticosteroid such as Advair helps to control symptoms while Albuterol helps for immediate wheezing.  I hope this helps.

Vicki
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks very much for your post. One doc put me on Singulair and another took me off of it.  Said I didn't need it.  I go for a Methacholine test soon for asthma, but I am very concerned since my Albuterol inhaler doesn't seem to help me.  And that is what they use if the Methacholine test sends me into an asthma attack. I also have some awful test soon to check if my reflux meds are working or not. They stick a tube thru my nose and down to my stomach for 24 hours. Not looking forward to that one either.  THIS IS HELL ON EARTH!!!  Have you had any of these tests done?  Is Advair helping you?  I pray they will find something to help me.  I just want to be a Mom!  That's all I want, and I can't do that.  By the way, your collie is beautiful.  We had one years ago and I miss him.  Take care.
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Avatar_n_tn
Try to ease your anxiety as much as possible b/c it will make you much worse than you really are. I have SOB, and chest tightness. But when I am relaxed and not worried, there is still a little SOB but no pressure or chest tightness. Google anxiety related shortness of breath and you will find some interesting stuff. I never knew it could cause such severe symptoms but I am really starting to think it can. Maybe try some anti-anxiety meds such as Zoloft. I know it ***** to hear it from others that it is anxiety related because thats what I have been hearing lately. But I really tried to ease it and I really did get a little better. I haven't had much relief from the inhalers and have spoken to a few different docs. My pulmonologist is perplexed as to why the inhalers aren't working and I am going to another one. I am also getting more gastro testing as well. I am in the same boat as you pretty much. But I do find slowing your hearbeat and resting to where you don't need as much oxygen and breathing in and out slowly helps. It is really scary though and easy to get panicky. I have had some episodes that were pretty scary. But somehow testing shows mild asthma, hiatal hernia and a mitral valve prolapse all minor stuff. Nothing that major to explain such sob with little relief. I do feel better tonight so hopfully this will stay this way for a while, it will get better than worse. It has been like this for a month now.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your post. I am starting to believe that stress/anxiety does have a role in my breathing.  It does make it worse for sure, but there are many times when it comes on for no reason!  Sometimes it happens after I have eaten wheat or a reflux food, but other times I can not pinpoint a trigger at all.  And sometimes it wakes me at 3 am from a sound sleep. I quess that's the reflux at work. I know my doc thinks I'm crazy.  Good luck with your tests.  I quess we just have to hang in there, but this is no way to have to live!  By the way, [I'm new to these forums] what is SOB?
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Avatar_n_tn
Shortness of breath, sorry =) Are you on any inalers for this problem? I am going to see a gastro doc today and hopefully we can test for acid reflux which could be triggering mine. I have it everyday as well and this has been every since I got sick last month. It is really hard living everyday focused on your next breath. I get the tightness all the time. Your not alone! Have you talked with anyone on why it isn't under control? Have you been allergy tested?
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Avatar_f_tn
It seems as though the doctors are stressing you out!!!! They are good at that. ;)

I have an elevated heart rate. Albuterol raises your heart rate as it is a heavy stimulant. Anxiety, as another user mentioned, will raise your heart rate, tighten the chest and make breathing difficult as it raises your heart rate. Ask them to use Xopenex and see if that helps. It's not the heavy stimulant that Albuterol is and I think you'll find that it works for you. Another thing that works for me since it's impossible to tell if my symptoms are asthma or my heart racing, I have learned ways to calm myself down and bring my heart rate back to normal levels. That way I can tell if it's my heart racing or the asthma. It sounds silly, but sit down in a quiet place and focus on your breathing. Try to calm yourself down. See what happens. I've gotten to the point that I can calm it down in the gym when I'm at higher exertion levels just by focusing on something else.

And for god's sake, if your dr, is stressing you out, find a new one!!!!!!!! I switched both my cardiologist and my asthma specialist mid-treatment because I didn't feel comfortable with either one. It's like any relationship, you just have to find the one you are most compatible with. The treatments work now and for the most part, I feel great! I very rarely have attacks anymore.

Good luck to you! I know how incredibly frustrating, debilitating and consuming this can be.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh boy. You are going through what I went through last year. I went to many doctors and one was absolutely sure it was all subconscious anxiety. I have no idea why I just developed allergies that were severe. I didn't have anxiety and my doctors put that doubt in me. Doctors like to say its anxiety when they can't explain things.

Food allergy is the pits. I had years of chronic constipation and pain because of food allergy just identified. I was getting reactions up to 2 days later. I haven't noticed that my food allergies affected my asthma. But my pollen allergies do and affect my asthma fast.

You have food allergies. Might you have other allergies? I wonder if your problem is something you are breathing in? I tell everyone to try a mask like the kind from the hardware store that is "HEPA" rated. After 5 minutes you should be breathing great if allergy in the air because this mask will filter most of it out, must be at minimum HEPA. BUT I advise you to talk to your doctor before you try a mask since if you do have asthma the strain might trigger asthma and if your inhaler doesn't work I'd not want to put you in that position.

*** What about Benadryl "gel caps" or "liquid", Does it help? ***

Mucus will cause the vocal chords to tighten in some people. That will cut off your air way. The Mask can help identify that too since it blocks out the stuff that can irritate it. The condition is called Strider I believe. Like asthma but not swelling it is muscles tightening. None the less it will restrict breathing if you have this. The inhalers don't really work for that.

I like and recommend Cromolyn Sodium solution through a nebulizer for mucus in the chest produced by allergy. But only lasts for a couple of hours. But trying it could at least tell you if that is what it is should the med work even for a couple of hours. Even for a test it is a possible answer. The inhaler version never worked for me just the nebulizer with this drug.

As for inhalers. Their are so many to try. I tried 3 before I found one that worked. Xopenex is popular. Xopenex is loved by many but I can suck it down all day and I get no relief. It doesn't work on me. Then they tried another, zip, nadda. Then they tried Proventil on me. WHAM opened me right up. So I suggest asking your doctor for some free samples in the office. Maybe you will have better luck with an different liquid albuterol type inhaler. Just don't use them too close together. Maybe a day a part when trying different kinds. Let your doctor direct you on how often or time in between needed when trying different kinds.

But if your breathing condition is from allergies like mine the inhaler may not be enough. Even though I open my air ways the muscles around my lungs still cram up and make it really hard to move my lungs. I need antihistamine and my inhaler together. I use Clarinex. Not that strong but it helps more than not.

My allergies and asthma was really hard to identify for my doctors. Just like you they all had different opinions. No not that is this, then no not that or that has to be this... ect. Every doctor had a totally different conclusion. Finally one doctor said that I would have to have the worlds worst case of pollen allergy that he'd ever seen causing asthma, mucus, muscle cramping in the chest and vocal chord tightening all at once and the odds of it existing is near zero. Then told me because I had so many symptoms it was anxiety. But that doctor could not have been more deadly wrong on his diagnosis. I indeed had all those medical conditions and more. I went as far as to trigger a controlled allergy attack under the supervision of a new doctor. Scope in my down my air way to my chest and monitoring all symptoms and in fact that was all happening at the same time. Finally proof. Kinda loose faith in doctors after all that.

But the simple tests were ignored by my doctors. I could wear a HEPA mask and not have breathing problems until I removed the mask. I could also make the breathing problems go away by putting back on the mask if caught early.

Benadryl also reversed my asthma. And my inhaler Proventil does a wonderful job for the emergencies until my antihistamine kicks in.

I sometimes use a nasal spray called NasalCrom. Only works for about 2 hours on me but helps stop the mucus in my throat. You can repeat usuage every 4 hours. In emergencies I have repeated usage up to 4 times in 1 hour. The stuff works just doesn't last that long. They say can only be used every 4 hours.

If you have mucus you should deal with it. You know its there so it definitely can and usually does cause problems. There are so many nasal sprays like even NasalCrom. I don't think your lung doc will disagree with this nasal spray since it is also used as in inhalant through a nebulizer for asthma. :) Hence Cromolyn Sodium soultion...

Now I am taking allergy shots which have helped reduce allergy induced asthma.

They can also test your heart to see if that has anything to do with it. But sounds like something else.

However during allergy testing for foods I did have an asthma reaction and sometimes I used to get asthma a few minutes after allergy shots so I would not rule out food allergy completely.

Also monitor your blood pressure to see if you get lower than normal pressure when you have trouble breathing. Talk to your doctor about allergy if that is the case.

Acid reflux can trigger Strider or Asthma.

Even bloating/gas can affect breathing. If you get gas try Gas-X.

I have been exactly where you were so I hope some of this might help you. Please send me a private email through here if any of my information helped you. I don't want anyone to go through what I went through.

And if you have asthma even stress can trigger it for some people. Not anxiety but stress can trigger real asthma. The inhaler should reverse that.

And if all else fails consider alternatives even if you disagree. Even just to rule them out. Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
I see that you also had problems with Singulair. I did too and had to stop taking it.
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Avatar_m_tn
And on a last note my Mom has pneumonia and for several weeks, months she had problems breathing with chest pain. The put her on Advair until she felt better. She did not have asthma or allergy. But after the infection was gone the mucus took a while to leave her chest. Could be a combination of all. :( Hope you feel better.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry I see that you wrote "past 18 months". That's too long for the after effects of pneumonia like my mom. I was thinking up to 3 months. Maybe after you try some of the tests I posted above you could see a different pulmonologist and allergist. I'd see both. If you have any tests like X-rays take copies with you. If you don't have copies get them from your old doctors to prevent unneeded exposures. Try older doctors that have more experience. Nothing like experience. Medicine might be different but symptoms are always the same. Maybe an older doctor might have seen what you have before and be better at identifying it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 80 years young ( thanks to red wine ) I had bypass surgery 1987. It left me with arthritis in my chest and no great improvement in my ability to
exercise without chest tightness. 5/6 years ago I had a stent put in and a
pacemaker about 5 years ago(who can remember?) Last year my cardiologist said I may have asthma. Symptoms were phlegm, cough, short-
ness of breath when climbing stairs,moreso on a full stomach. Sent me to
an asthma specialist. I have never had an asthma attack. I'm concerned
about the constant tightnerss in my chest. The specialist put me on Advair
for a few months and nothing changed. I stopped the Advair. Since then my
breathing has improved. My concern is the constant tightness in my chest.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry to hear you are having breathing problems, too. I am doing much better.  My family doc (who believes in alternative medicine) took me off the asthma & reflux meds and put me on a very mild anti-depressant to relax the muscles in my chest and throat.  It has been working great!  I still am carful what I eat, but I'm still not sure I have allergies to all those foods, even tho the test say I am.  I am actually exercising again and feeling pretty good.  Good luck, I hope you get some answers.
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Avatar_m_tn
hi this is phil from ireland. firstly asthma is curable !!!!!!!. the most profitable organisations in the world are pharma companies backed  by our governments.of course doctors will cut each other up over advice but they all learned from the same book. firstly have a meeting with your self sit down and make a list.i promise you the biggest culprit for asthma is the inhalers we use .surely all that powder substance we inhale must have some knock on affect. if u wake up every day telling yourself u are bad ill no good etc this is how your body will be . so start with basic stuff. if youve a friend who annoys u stay clear, avoid confrontations, escape a bad relationship, give up fags and late nite booze. this is basic stuff now your ready for next stage... shall i continue? is mise le mass philip..some irish their for ya x
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Avatar_m_tn
hi this is phil from ireland. firstly asthma is curable !!!!!!!. the most profitable organisations in the world are pharma companies backed  by our governments.of course doctors will cut each other up over advice but they all learned from the same book. firstly have a meeting with your self sit down and make a list.i promise you the biggest culprit for asthma is the inhalers we use .surely all that powder substance we inhale must have some knock on affect. if u wake up every day telling yourself u are bad ill no good etc this is how your body will be . so start with basic stuff. if youve a friend who annoys u stay clear, avoid confrontations, escape a bad relationship, give up fags and late nite booze. this is basic stuff now your ready for next stage... shall i continue? is mise le mass philip..some irish their for ya x
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Avatar_f_tn
I would try a gluten free diet. I was asthmatic for a long time and had chronic diarrhea and high blood pressure. My rescue inhaler didn't work and neither did the steroid inhaler. I was miserable and hopeless. I quit eating gluten and within a few days the asthma went away and within a few weeks the diarrhea stopped and the blood pressure problem corrected itself. All my antibodies were being used up to fight the gluten and not pollen, perfumes etc. I no longer get sick, the asthma is gone and so is the chronic diarrhea. Hope this helps!!
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Avatar_n_tn
The original problem was posted 6 years ago so I hope the person found help.  Here is my story and my SOLUTION!   Problem started with feeling sick to my stomach when drinking water at any temperature.  This increased to feeling a wide array of grossness every single minute of the day.  I would wake up feeling fine but shortly after breakfast the symptoms came on.  My stomach would flutter but felt like my heart was skipping beats which in turn made me dizzy.  Acid reflux.  Loose bowels.  Stomach pain.  

Finally I went to a naturopath who explained how the gut bacteria work and why mine was out of control.  Years of high sugar and high wheat diet churned up the bacteria and made little holes in my digestive system.  When I would eat a "normal" food, it would seep through the holes and cause pain.  The bacteria and diet also reduced my acid levels.  LOW ACID CAUSES GERD, REFLUX AND HEART BURN.  It's not too much acid.   So those lovely pills everyone takes to reduce acid really makes it worse.  Stop trying to tell your body how to do its job.

After doing just 3 days of the GAPS diet, I noticed a change.  No chest pressure or any other symptom.  I was normal and had no allergies!  It works but it's hard giving up your beloved food.  Feeling good is worth it though.
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