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Old 06-03-2005, 08:21 PM   #1
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Unhappy Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

I'm so glad to have come across this forum. I've been doing endless searching on the web trying to come up with answers to the problems I've been having and I haven't found much. Maybe someone here will be able to relate and share their experiences with me.

I'm 24 years old, and for the last two months I have had difficulty breathing. My chest constantly feels tight, like I can't get enough air down into my lungs and I want to yawn a lot. I've paid visits to my general doctor and my asthma/allergy doctor, and they don't seem to be able to give me an answer. But they do give me a lot of inhalers and breathing treatments that don't work!

My asthma doctor did a spirometry test (blowing out the candles on the cake) and said that overall my results looked good...and this was when I felt quite bad. He said I did have some small airway constriction. He didn't seem overly concerned though. I was given a breathing treatment, and did the test again. He said I showed a little improvement, but not enough to "conclusively" say it was asthma. I do have a history of asthma and I receive allergy shots, but (luckily) I haven't even touched my rescue inhalers (Maxair and Atrovent) in I couldn't tell you how long. When I take them I usually notice very little improvement, and sometimes feel like they make me worse.

He gave me Qvar, and a course of antibiotics because he thought it might be due to a sinus infection and post-nasal drip irritating my lungs. This was at the beginning of April. Since then I've taken 4 different antibiotics, with my doctors hoping that particular one would do the trick and clear up my infection. I haven't had any colored mucus though...just very clear, white, sticky mucus that occaisionally accumulates in my throat. I haven't been coughing either - I haven't felt the urge. When I do cough just to give it a try, it's very dry cough, with nothing produced. I do wheeze a little on exhalation.

However, every day I still CANNOT breathe. The only real relief I get is at night when I'm sleeping. Sometimes it is a little better than others, but I'm never back to feeling like myself (ie: being able to take a deep breath).

My general doctor attributed it to stress and upped my Zoloft dosage. I thought it could be stress too. My grandmother passed away in early April and it was quite a shock. My symptoms were there a little before that happened...but I admit they "blew-up" so-to-speak afterward. Then maybe the added stress of not being able to breathe, missing work, etc. I don't think it's too far off, but there is something physical underlying it. I know how my lungs feel and I don't think that can be due 100% to me being stressed and anxious. I've been doing some relaxation techniques and trying not to let my mind focus on my breathing. There are times when I'll have my mind off it completely, but then it comes around to the fact that things still aren't right.

I can see why my doctor would think I'm a head-case though. Everytime I go in, I can feel tight as can be, and they'll put the little ET-finger on me and I'll show 100% oxygen level, and under the stethoscope my lungs sound clear. Thank goodness, but I CAN'T BREATHE!!

I just don't know what this is. It's not the feeling I associate with asthma. I had lots of attacks when I was younger, took my inhaler and had a bad time of it, but then I did get relief. Now I don't. I thought I might start feeling better by being faithful to the Qvar, since it's a corticosteriod and might reduce the inflammation, but so far I notice no difference. I'm taking my Clarinex like I do every year at allergy season.

I felt like this several years ago and no doctor really knew what to do with me then either. I went to a quack pulmonologist who had me on all sorts of inhalers and prednisone, convinced I was going to have limited lung capacity for the rest of my life. My regular doctor put an end to the Prednisone and Advair. He gave me some antibiotics instead (which I thought at the time helped, but they haven't done the trick this time.) After about a month it went away, and I haven't had any problems breathing since that time until, well...beginning of April. Now it's going into two months and I'm sick of it! I'm frustrated and scared. If it's asthma, why can't I be treated with asthma meds? If it's not asthma, what is it?

If you've read this far, thank you. I'd appreciate anything you have to share ((ideas, similar experiences, support, etc.) I'm at my wit's end!

 
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Old 06-04-2005, 12:30 PM   #2
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Is the tightness in the middle of your chest (around your bronchi), or in your back.

Also, do you have chronic bronchitis, or get bronchitis frequently every time you get a cold? Have you had pneumonia before?

I wonder if you have a low level bronchitis that is aggrevating your asthma, or if you have walking pneumonia. Where is it tight in your chest?

 
Old 06-04-2005, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

I feel the tightness more in my lower lungs...like I'm hitting a wall when I try to breathe in. The last couple days it's been more generalized throughout my lungs, but it has been more hot and humid.

I had pneumonia and bronchitis a lot when I was younger. The last time I had a case of pneumonia was about six years ago.

The only trouble I have with my back is that my ribs feel out of sorts, like they're being pushed around and displaced, but I feel it in the front of my lower ribcage as well.

 
Old 06-04-2005, 08:18 PM   #4
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

It sounds like you have some kind of pneumonia. When's the last time you had bronchitis? It's possible you had a low level bronchitis that went into a kind of pneumonia.

If your doctor didn't see that, I might get a second opinion.

 
Old 06-09-2005, 01:23 PM   #5
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Hello,
Chest tightness and pressure is what I felt two weeks ago as well as pain with movement and breathing. I was put on prednisone, had normal chest x ray and EKG.
I had a chest CT done and it showed multiple blebs. I can feel air popping in my side. Blebs are congenital blister like areas on the surface of the lung that can cause air to leak into the lung and cause a collapse.
teacup2005

 
Old 06-09-2005, 09:11 PM   #6
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

teacup...

Just wondering...when you say you can "feel air popping in my side", could you please explain what exactly that feels like to you, as I feel the same weird sensation. Do you feel this in your back (lower lung) area? Wondering, as I've had SOB as well.

Free to feel good, I hope your docs figure this out soon for you, and will be able to help you get past this.
Thanks..
Deda

 
Old 06-12-2005, 06:29 PM   #7
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Hello,
On my left side under arm. When I breath deep and have a flat hand on my ribs I can feel air popping and also hear it. Like bubble wrap. At times I have to breath in deep to catch my breath. Guess the multiple blebs I have are popping yet not enough to collapse the lung. Just a constant rubber band feeling around my chest.
teacup

 
Old 06-12-2005, 10:51 PM   #8
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Thanks Teacup.

 
Old 06-13-2005, 05:28 PM   #9
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Hi everyone, thanks for replying. I haven't been back to check on the post for a while, but I'm sorry to say that my "mystery condition" hasn't improved much since the last time I was here.

justme100 - At the very beginning of this, my allergist thought it was post-nasal drip causing my problems. I wasn't quite satisfied with this, so went to emergency care (not the hospital, but a 24hr local clinic) a few days later. Dr. listened to my chest, said it sounded clear, but I could have bronchitis (???) He gave me some antibiotics. I haven't had any coughing though...

I saw my regular doctor last week now he's on a kick about GERD. He pushed on my stomach, asked me if it hurt. It did a little bit, but not overwhelmingly so. He gave me some Nexium and said I should set up an appointment for an upper GI. He didn't listen to my lungs at all though...and at this point no chest x-ray or anything else has been done, other than the spirometry tests at my allergist's office (which have looked good except for the small airways). I'm going to see him again tomorrow, and also ask him what he thinks about this GERD stuff. I don't have any feelings of indigestion or acid coming up, but sometimes after I eat I feel really puffed up under my rib cage. (this is what I told my dr. that got him started on this).

Ergh! Every day, every minute, I feel like I just cannot breathe! We're also having quite a run of humid weather which isn't helping the situation. I've been taking Qvar for several weeks now...does anyone know how long it takes to usually see some improvement from it?

I keep pursuing things on the Net but I come up with a lot of loose ends. Aspergillus/Aspergilliosis is something else I'm looking into (since I did test allergic to that mold) but I just don't know! I'm starting to feel very down.

Teacup...that popping sensation must feel very strange...I hope you're improving.

and Deda, thank you for your support. I hope someone has some insight very soon!

 
Old 06-27-2005, 09:05 AM   #10
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Hey! im glad I found your post, I get the same thing everyday but by me it happens on random times everyday. Im 17 and I dont even smoke but I get this...

It mostly happens in school when Im sitting, I feel this weird tightness by my chest but a bit lower, it kind of feels like the muscles in that area are tight or that there is just something weird there pushing me...I dont have asthma and my x-ray looked ok.

 
Old 06-28-2005, 12:41 AM   #11
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

I think every one should be checked for thyroid problems as well. Hypothyroid can cause a tight chest and shortness of breath too. I think that's where my tight chest has come from. When my thyroid levels are good, everything's fine, but when they are bad, (like right now), I'm short of breath and my chest gets real tight.
Of course I know there can be other causes as well, but please get them to check your thyroid levels.
Deda

 
Old 07-18-2005, 01:03 AM   #12
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Hello,

I too have had the same problems that you describe. It started about 4 years ago, and it has been really bad the last 2. I've had Pleurisy 6 times in the last 3 years and Bronchitis twice in same length of time.

I'm 31 and smoked for 13 years and quite 2 years ago when my chest pains and shortness of breath starting really gettting bad. I thought for sure that my problems were smoke related, but since quiting I'm still having the same amount of discomfort as I was then, sometimes even more.

My doctor thought it was asthma for the longest time and treated me with Advair and Albuterol which gave me no relief, in fact, I think it made me worse. He also had me on Prednisone and a number of other anti-inflammatories over the last 2 years for my Pleurisy which also seemed to give me no relief. There was no cough or phlegm associated with my chest pains and shortness of breath, so he wasn't sure what as going on. He eventually sent me to a Pulmonary doctor which did asthma tests on me, all of whick came back fine. He then did an x-ray and CT Scan, and those came back fine too.

Even thought we had determined it wasn't asthma, the Pulmonary doctor suggested me using a different inhaler (Qvar) and a different inhalation powder (Foradil). By this time, I am just at my ropes end with all this pain, that never seems to go away and asked why I was still being treated for something I didn't have and decided to figure it out on my own.

I started doing some research, thinking that if I don't die from this constant, never ending pain, then I'm probably going to die from all the medication that they have me doped up on. After some searching I noticed that I had alot of the same symptoms of GERD. At first, I thought there was no way it is was that because I don't feel any fluid or acid in my throat, but after reading more I found out that many people have it and don't even know it. I found out that the fluid can get into your lungs and cause inflammation and bronchitis. It can also cause tighting in the chest, chest pains, shortness of breath, along with many other things.

I brought this up to my doctor and he put me on Prevacid. Within a day the tighting in my chest and my shortness of breath was starting to go away. I couldn't believe it. I had found something that was giving me more relief than anything else I had been on. After about 2 weeks, all my symptoms seemed to be almost gone, but I had been having side effects from the Prevecid after the second day, like waking up in the middle of the night shaking really bad, a heavy, pressing, feeling in my upper chest, and terrible stomach cramps. This concerned me and then I found out that medications like Preveced could cause pneumonia and I stopped taking it. After more investigating I found some natural remedies that could help with GERD like Ginger juice, Aloe Vera Juice, and Apple Cider Vinegar. I usually take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before each meal and it seems to help.

I also read that you have to find the cause of the reflux. Some of these things can cause it or aggravate it (smoking, coffee, soda, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, over eating, over weight, stress) along with many other things. I'm not quite sure what the cause of it is for me, but I left my ex-husband 4 years ago after 10 years and have been rasing our 4 kids alone since then. I had my mother pass away from breast cancer years ago, my father passed away from lung cancer last Sept., and I've had 2 grandfathers, my grandmother, and two friends pass away within the last 2 years, so perhaps "STRESS" could be the cause. My diet wasn't really all that great either, so I've since stopped drinking coffee, soda, alcohol, and stopped eating chocolate, and real fatty foods. Plus I've been walking an hour every night for the last 2 months. I feel better now, than I have in a long time.

My doctor sent me to get an EGD (gastroscopy) done last Friday and they found a Hiatal Hernia, and I'll get the results back from the biopsy this week.

I'm sorry this was such a long winded reply, but I do hope it can help you some how. It may very well not be GERD that you have, but it would be worth looking into.

Also, I don't know if you drink caffeine and alcohol or not, but those 2 things mixed with anti-depressants can cause adversed effects. Caffeine and alcohol alone without being on anti-depressants can cause and already stressed-out person to become more stresssed-out and will prevent you from being able to really relax.

I wish you the best, good luck.

Last edited by Ina1974; 07-19-2005 at 11:24 AM.

 
Old 08-05-2005, 10:19 AM   #13
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Its called Hyperventilation+syndrome. Search google and read about it. Classic symptoms. Tight chest, inability to get enough air!!

 
Old 07-11-2006, 12:10 PM   #14
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Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

It's as if I wrote your message. I have just embarked upon the exact same experience and am currently on my first round of antibiotics. Have you had a successful diagnosis?

 
Old 07-24-2006, 01:27 AM   #15
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Smile Re: Constant Chest Tightness...What Is This??

Hey you... sorry to hear of your breathing problems. I used to have a great deal of problems absorbing air even tho my lungs would seem to expand normally. I was put in the booth more than once, checked with and without inhalers and told there was little or no difference in the tests. I was told they could not find any problem. Still, I lacked breath. Anxiety attacks many times accompanied and added to my breathing difficulties. I too would get the majority of relief when asleep and was able to breathe well upon awaking. After finally crawling out of bed and becoming mobile the breathing problems would return for no apparent reason. I finally tracked the foods I ate and found any food containing yeast and gluten and ANYTHING with wheat were the problem. If you eat bread and sugar in the same meal and bloat shortly after unable to expel the gas perhaps you share the problem I have. When I exclude wheat, yeast, gluten from my diet my breathing is at least 90% better and I have not had an anxiety attack for at least a year. Hope this helps

Last edited by Mister_B; 07-24-2006 at 01:31 AM.

 
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