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What is causing chest tightening and breathing problems
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What is causing chest tightening and breathing problems

I had triple by-pass surgery back in February, 2008, and had another angiogram back on September 8, 2008, as I am having alot of chest tightening and breathing problems.  The chest tightening and breathing problems will get worse if I do activities and even with just no activity at all.  In the last few weeks, even just sitting or lying down in bed will bring on chest tightening and breathing problems.  I also have pain just below the rib cage on both sides of the ribs and I notice it is worse on the right side.  Just recently, I noticed if I bend down, I get a sharp pain on the right side below my rib cage.  I am really worried as the angiogram I had on Sept. 8/08, showed my heart was in good shape---no blockages and the by-passes are fine.  I also had other tests on the heart such as echo cardiogram, stress test, prefusion study, etc. and they all showed I was fine.  In 2006, I did have an angioplasty on my left groin area due to blockage but this was cleared up with angioplasty.  I have lost over 20 pounds in the last six months even though I am eating normally and even eating more than I used to.  Back in July, 2008, I started experiencing alot of dizziness and lightheadedness when walking so my doctor has arranged for me to see a ear, nose and throat specialist as he thinks I also have an inner ear problem or problem with my equilibrium.  Recently, an ultrasound on my thyroid showed there is a nodule there and my doctor has ordered further tests to see about this nodule and why I am losing weight for no reason.  Could a thyroid problem be causing the chest tightening and breathing problems and pain?  Since I have such a strong history of blockages and family history of heart disease and artery disease, could I possibly have a blockage in another organ in my body close to the chest or even in my chest.  What could be causing these symptoms? I also start sweating for no reason, quite heavily at times and get very cold so I have to bundle up in a blanket.   Could cancer be a cause? I was a heavy smoker for 22 years, however, quit 12 years ago.  Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

It seems you’ve been through a lot.
The thyroid is anatomically related to the windpipe, however, with the exception of very aggressive thyroid cancers – growth does not significantly impair breathing. The aggressive thyroid cancers that may cause some invasion and obstruction would be conspicuous, so a mass effect by a growth on the thyroid is unlikely to produce chest tightness.
Pain may also be explained by migration of cancer (metastases). It is possible that growth into bone, particularly ribs could produce problems such as chest pain and difficult breathing. However, such a pattern, particularly for thyroid metastasizing to the ribs, is pretty uncommon.
The thyroid has a role in metabolism, and yes, it may cause weight loss in some cases, and weight gain in others.  So your current weight may have be partly influenced by derangements in the thyroid.
With the advent of modern imaging tools, an incidental finding of a nodule in the thyroid is common place. I wouldn’t be surprised if after subsequent testing, the nodule is deemed insignificant.  
Stay positive. If the symptoms are similar to what you were feeling before the byopass, best to inquire about your status with your heart specialist as well.
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Avatar_n_tn
Your reply is sincerely appreciated.  Saw my doctor yesterday and he is sending me for a complete body bone scan and quite a few pulmonary tests. The results of previous tests have all come back negative so far---thank heavens.   After the results of these come back, I am again seeing my cardiologist to see where to go from here.  My family doctor is really baffled but is really trying to find out what is causing this.  I am very lucky to have such a good family doctor and, hopefully, in the next while they will find out what is still causing these symptoms.  Take care and thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely,

Lindy55
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