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LindaG 01-31-2003 11:57 PM

Angina? Lung problem? Opinions please
I'm 33 years old and I have a crushing, heavy discomfort in the upper middle part of my chest that radiates into my neck/throat. It feels like I'm laying down with a heavy box placed on my chest and throat. I don't feel like I'm getting enough air when I inhale. I have to do a hard cough and take a really deep breath every so often to feel like I'm getting enough air. If I'm sitting slouched I have to sit up straight to try to relieve the pressure but it doesn't seem to work. This has been going on about two weeks. I'd be so grateful for any thoughts or suggestions. Thank you!

Merrida 02-01-2003 08:29 AM

I'm not a doctor, so I certainly wouldn't be able to even guess if this is heart or lung related, -- that said, here's a few opinions.

I get similar sensations, and in my experience, I've found it can be:

1) Anxiety - you don't have to feel like you're "going nuts" or that there's something terribly wrong to feel the symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks. Look at your life and see what happened 2 weeks ago, if things culminated, and your body is reacting to other things in your life. If you feel like you cannot express yourself (at home, at work, physically, emotionally, etc), if you're supressing feelings, or feel caught,...sometimes our bodies express this with physical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, throat constriction, being comfortable only in certain positions (think of that analogy in other aspects of your life, this is very real stuff),... these are just some of the symptoms.

2) GERD or ulcer - sometimes with either of these, the symptoms of acid can cause pain similar to those associated with a heart attack, - pressure from the sternum up into the throat and even into the arms and jaw. Lying flat down will make the pain worse, especially in your esophagus which runs right behind your sternum, and you could even feel pressure (not just burning) in the little hollow of your throat above your collar bones. Lying down flat can cause acid to pool, and if you have a hiatal hernia, (it's like a little loop, think of like a reverse tonsil, in your esophagus, a bulge or pocket extending OUT, and acid along with foods, can collect in that little pocket, and if you're lying down, it cannot release or make the pain worse). This explains why the most comfortable situation is sitting straight up.

3) Asthma - do you have a history of asthma? This can cause feelings of constriction, the desire to gasp for breath or clear your lungs out. With asthma the tubes don't necessarily get constricted and need to be opened, but in reality they are like rubber hoses that become too lax or over-stretched. With asthma, the "tubes" cannot form a firm air passage way, they're just lax tubes creating "waves" -- think of a garden hose with a bunch of kinks in it. That's sort of like asthma, and you can imagine that sensation inside. Many asthma meds are used to help "straighten out" those kinks to create that smooth inner passageway.

A lot of the situations your doctors will look at will be if you can find positions or situations to gain relief. If you can "make the pain stop" by certain things, that's important. How long each attack or episode lasts. How the pain starts and progresses. What intensity it starts at and progresses to. What the sensations are, if they change, are they constant, every day, associated with sleep, food (eating, not eating, certain foods, etc.), difficulty swallowing,....

"Pressure" has been associated with heart as well as stomach and lungs, but either way, not something you want to guess at. I'd check with your doctor. Usually telling them you've got chest pain is enough to get you RIGHT IN!

Life isn't what [i]happens to you[/i] -- it's how you [i]react to it![/i]

[i]Thoughts[/i] don't make us who we are -- [i]Actions[/i] do.

mlgable 02-01-2003 11:52 AM

It could be lung related or it could be something as simple as GERD. You need to get this checked out by a doc. Since you have had this for 2 weeks already then you need to see the doc ASAP just to rule out and serious problem. The longer this goes on the more damage you may be doing by not getting it checked. Visit your local urgent care after you read this post. Let us know what they find out and how you are doing.

LindaG 02-01-2003 11:16 PM

Merrida and Mlgable, thank you both for your helpful answers! Merrida, the time you spent on your post with so much information is something I am truly grateful for. I will take everything you said into consideration. Thank you again.

badgirl 02-02-2003 04:49 PM

I would go to the doctor right away, let us know how you are doing, Good luck, Badgirl

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