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Trouble breathing and chest tightness
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Trouble breathing and chest tightness

Hello, Im a 33 yr old white male.  Starting around Oct. 1 (7 weeks ago),  one day I developed this tight feeling in my chest wall.  It causes me to feel like I cannot breath in properly, as if whatever is supposed to expand when you breath won't expand past a certain point.   It tends to fluctuate through the day, and sometimes I can breathe rather freely but most of the time I can't get a fresh satisfying breath.   Additionally, when my chest feels tight, I have this VERY HIGHLY ANNOYING and uncomfortable tightness all over my chest, sometimes the feeling extends into my lower throat and rib cage, even my abdomen feels tight at times when I try to breath.  But it's mostly in my chest wall over my central heart area.   I don't really feel short on breath necessarily, but again it's like my chest wall has become stiff or something.

Additional symptoms-- right at first, for the first couple weeks, I had mild sinus symptoms---bloody boogers, some sneezing, light runny nose, and mild surface headache.  But that is long gone, but my breathing/chest symptoms remain.   I have had very little in the way of coughing, and if I do cough it's mainly because my throat tickles.  I have had no fever, and the symptoms do NOT stop me from being able to physically exercise, although, I am constantly looking for a better breath and I'm always uncomfortable.  Sometimes I wake up at night and feel as if all the inside of my chest has fallen asleep like your foot would fall asleep, and at those times I feel like I'm not moving any air at all, even though obviously I am.

I do have some experience with cardiology. I KNOW this doesn't point to serious heart disease, but I was evaluated with a stress echo and holter 4 years ago due to my history of on again, off again PVC's.   Right when I first started feeling this way 7 weeks ago, I was checked by my doctor who did a chest X-ray and labs, including a D-dimer, all of which were normal

Do you know what this could even be? PLEASE HELP
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The differential for chest discomfort is wide -- and includes problems with the heart, lungs, GI system, and overlying skin and muscles. Your symptoms would be atypical for cardiac chest pain -- but does not necessarily exclude it. There would be a higher suspicion if you have other risk factors for heart disease (smoking, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol problems, or a family history of heart disease). If you have been recently evaluated with non-invasive testing such as a holter monitor and echocardiogram/stress test (which you said you had) -- and these results were normal, then it is unlikely that this is being caused from underlying coronary ischemia.

Your symptoms of allergies, etc., is also suspicious for pericarditis -- an inflammatory condition affecting the outer lining of the heart (which can be caused by a virus). This is often treated with high-dose NSAIDs.  However, to make a diagnosis, a complete history and physical exam should be performed by a licensed physician to exlude other serious causes for your symptoms.
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I have had similar symptoms.  The blood in your snoot, the sneezing, runny nose, and headache, combined with chest tightness and a slight cough--in my quite recent experience, as it happens--point to a possible allergic problem, including mild asthma, that is worth investigating.

The other possibility, referring only to the sense of chest tightness--and you might not like this--is anxiety.  One does not preclude the other.
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