Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
tightness in chest
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tightness in chest

i have a question, i have been having a tightness in my chest for the last week and a half. What I have been feeling can be described as this: diffuculty breathing or just hard to catch my breathe ( especially when sitting up or standing, easier to breathe when lying down) When i first noticed this it was very very mild,but i it got worse after being around cigar smoke. I went to the doctor last wednesday, just to make sure i didn't have phemonia or nothing like that. The doctor said that she could not hear any wheezing or anything similar to phemonia symptoms( i had no fever or no feeling of being sick besides a light cough). The only other symtom I was  having besides the tightness in my chest was a very very light cough.(with no funny colored mucus or anything like that) So the doctor decided to give me an inhaler and told me that it was probably stress related or mayble asthma.  For the last couple of day I have been using the inhaler (provertic) but it doesn't really help much. So i was wondering what cause be the cause of this? Could this be related to stress?( i have had alot in the last couple of weeks) What else should i try to help my symptoms. Also the doctor suggested that i take a COPD test a few weeks from now if i am still having this problem.
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242588_tn?1224275300
Tightness of the chest can be caused by:  
• diseases of the heart, lungs or the rib cage;
• stress; and
• blood clots to the lungs.
If this is asthma or anything similar, you will need to use proper technique, to get benefit from the inhaler.  Asthma may occur without wheezing.  If you have any questions about technique, you should check with a member of the doctor's staff.

It would be wise to take the COPD test as it would help clarify the diagnosis.  I assume it is spirometry, a simple breathing test that provides information about how your lungs are working.

Even without the shortness of breath, it would be wise to address your stress level, using relaxation techniques and maybe even counseling, with medication.
3 Comments
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236883_tn?1223406124
Wow, your symptoms sound remarkably like mine. I was perfectly healthy until 15 months ago. I'm 45, I eat right, I work out, I thought I was invincible and then I suddenly developed what appeared to be chronic asthma (shortness of breath all the time, aggravated by smoky air, talking too much and overexertion) but, like you, asthma meds did not help me, so it was not run of the mill asthma.

first of all, find a better doctor. You should have some tests to rule out heart problems and other scary things like a blood clot in your lung, and mundane things like allergies. It could be mold or chemicals in your home or workplace. Rule out the easy things to identify first before taking drugs that don't work for you! If you don't find easy answers (I didn't) then you could have something similar to what I have.

I just found a pulmonologist who gave me an answer that finally made sense. He said an infection can damage your breathing passages and even once the infection is gone your body gets "stuck" in the hyper-sensitivity mode. Your body can heal, can re-learn that it doesn't need to be hyper-sensitive anymore, but it can be a long and gradual process. The more you can allow it to heal without aggravating it, the better.

I personally found the greatest relief from Buteyko breathing exercises. You can find a little info online if you google it, but I highly recommend buying the book "Asthma Free Naturally" by Patrick McKeown (available from Amazon, you might have to wait a few weeks for it, it's more popular in the UK than here). Give your body as much healing support as you can - good, clean diet (eliminate common food sensitivities - dairy, wheat)..that's a good idea no matter what the problem is! Get a good air filter for your home (Austin Air), get a good night's sleep, sleep on your side (it's easier on your lungs, on the left side especially). Always, always, always breathe through your nose, especially when exercising. Meditate. Take supplements that are recommended for asthma (search PatrickHolford.com for recommendations). And TAKE IT EASY! At least for me this was the hardest thing to do and looking back I wish I'd taken it easier sooner - when I overdo it is when I backslide.  I didn't take it easy enough in the early days and I kept aggravating it by overexerting myself (with exercise especially) and it got progressively worse and worse. I had to have a really scary week or so before I got smart and started to rest enough. I had to really modify my exercise routine and found Pilates to be the perfect exercise for me as weight training or cardio would aggravate my condition.

There is hope! I'm almost living a normal life these days and I'm recovering with no drugs. You'll see lots of postings here where people state the 10 drugs they're on, but they're not getting better. Why then, do they continue to use them?! Your body is designed to heal itself if you let it!

Best of luck to you tis.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have recently been diagnosed with severe asthma (I am 41).  In August, I had developed a cold that one of my nephews had.  I got really sick and couldn't even sit up or walk around for 3 weeks.  No fever, wheezing, congestion and severe difficulty breathing and what feels like a clogged vacuum hose in the front of my chest. When I lie down, the left side is easier than the right, but it seems both sides are getting more and more uncomfortable.   I also feel a particular area over the left side of my breastbone that feels uncomfortable.  The doctors thought I had pneumonia, then a blood clot in the lung and then did a Methyl Choline Challenge that inflicted an asthma attack - which was frightening, and determined that it was asthma.  I have been on Nasonex, Singulair, Advair, Proventil, Prednisone and two courses of Antibiotics not to mention my other medications.  Although I am sitting up at my desk now (thank God I work at home), I still have constant tightness and cannot really do much at all before feeling pressure and tightness.  The inhaler I am using (Proventil) is for 4 times a day and I am having to use it 6-8 times and that doesn't even remove the tightness.  I do notice that when I get upset or excited it gets worse.  The pulmonologist has done a lung xray which showed no active disease, and a CT angiography of the lungs (looking for blood clot).  The asthma test showed that my lung function is fine but the asthma is severe.  He said we may need to look in another direction along with the asthma - narrowing windpipe or heart problems.  Can it be more than just asthma?  Does it take awhile to get the chest pressure under control?
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