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    Old 07-05-2007, 09:17 PM   #1
    john319
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    Question Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    I was diagnosed with mild asthma. I am a 42 yo male. My symptoms used to be chest tightness and labored breathing. Now I mainly get chest tightness or a chest sensation because I cannot honestly say it feels much like tightness. The part of the chest where I get this feeling is, if I was a woman, the cleavage area. I do not know what is the source of this tightness/sensation--asthma, anxiety, or what. Interestingly, the tightness/sensation goes away sometimes with only a little Xanax (.25 mg-1 mg); sometimes with the Xanax and a shot or two of Albuterol via the spacer, and sometimes with the Xanax, Albuterol via the spacer, and nebulizer. Most of the time I use the nebulizer--once a month--it is as prevention. Even more interesting is during one of these chest tightness/sensation episodes I am breathing fine. When I shift my focus from the chest feeling to focusing on the breathing, I am inhaling and exhaling without issue. Never during one of these chest sensations do I have trouble breathing.

    Re: the possibility this is cardiac-related...EKGs, echocardigram, stress test, and 24 hour wearing of heart monitor in a halter were all normal.

    I know to ask this to my dr, but any thoughts would be appreciated.

     
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    Old 07-05-2007, 11:13 PM   #2
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    I had something similar happen to me in 2004. I actually thought that I was having a heart attack (I'm 44 and also am an asthmatic). After much cardiac testing, it was determined that I had costochondritis (inflammation of the chest wall). It is a benign condition and is treated with ibuprophen.

    Is your chest area tender (near your sternum) when you put a little bit of pressure on it? That is usually a symptom of costo.

    I am currently having the pains again, but am going through a stressfull period due to some other health issues. The chest pains are the same, but I am also wondering if it's anxiety in my case or a reoccurance of costochondritis.

    Just a thought....

    Take care!

    Last edited by 6-paq; 07-05-2007 at 11:14 PM.

     
    Old 07-06-2007, 07:09 PM   #3
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    Post Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    6-paq,,

    You have costochondritis too? ! I was diagnosed with it last year! I too also thought I was having a heart attack. Went to the ER, did all the tests, (EKG, echo, stress, and wearing a 24-hour heart monitor in a halter)--everything is good with the old ticker. Sorry for the stressful times. After I finally realized it wasn't my heart, the costochondritis acted up during stressful moments like you (and still sometimes now on its own).

    I've never considered the chest sensation to be costochondritis. It's definitely a thought. I know when I get "genuine" costo I feel it in the upper rib area either in usually on either side of my chest. I also get costo in the center of the chest but the sensation feels a little different--not as sharp as the costo.

    You have anixety too? Welcome home, brother ! Me too. I am betting anxiety is playing a part in the chest tightness/sensation. Up until a couple of months ago, I consistently pondered over "is it anxiety or asthma?" Chest tightness is an overlapping symptom. What makes it perplexing is how it can be remedied either by Xanax alone, Xanax with the Albuterol/spacer, or the previous two + a nebulizer session.

    Thanks so much for the quick reply.

     
    Old 07-16-2007, 01:00 PM   #4
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Sounds like what I'm going through currently....chest tightness. Had it for a week & half so far. (39 year old female)

    I've never been diagnosed with asthma but as a child had a lot of allergies (5 years of shots) and 10 years ago ...an asthmatic condition that developed over 3 weeks of being exposed to kittens. The kittens had to go...and I don't have any pets at all currently. I also had a reaction to an MRI die (hives). That's been the extent of my allergies. I do take Allegra D at night to help me breathe better when I sleep AND my husband says I have sleep apnea (stop breathing - then gasp for air). ????????? While using Allegra D - this doesn't occur as much (he tells me) and I wake up feeling better and energetic. So...as far as I knew - I'm healthy as I could be....?? And then....
    On July 5th my chest began to get really tight. I thought it was from a bit of anxieity due to my weekend scheduling. So after the weekend passed - I did calm down and the tightness got better but never went away completely. I just let it go.

    Until Friday July 13th it came back ..... tried to make an appointment with the doctor and they recommended I got to the ER. Spent Friday night at the ER (EKG's, Xrays, blood work, etc) and 5 hours later - there was no immediate concern and nothing 'heart related'. They gave me a Xanax, and an inhaler (proair HPF???)and sent me on my way.

    The weekend passed and I was feeling better but not 100%. Monday morning I wake up and 1 hour later, my chest starts tightening up again. Use the inhaler and it just barely does anything noticable..... made an appointment and tomorrow I'm scheduled for a Pulmunary test.

    This is just soooo weird....as I've never experienced this kinda stuff and for no unknown reason. Perhaps the anxiety / heat / humidity around here lately triggered something??

    The Proair somewhat helps but not as much as I'd think it would...??? The Xanax calms me down but the tightness is still there - just somewhat hidden behind the drugs. I'm not wheezing and I at times it feels like I'm restricted while other times I honestly can't tell...?? The tightness is in the same place you decribe - in my cleavage area -

    I think I'm having more anxiety and more worried/stress from not knowing what this is...... I've been trying to read about asthma etc, but it seems there are soooo many different things/ways that can trigger it and so many different reactions the body goes through.

    Argh!!

     
    Old 07-16-2007, 08:27 PM   #5
    john319
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Janster,

    First thank you for the reply. Next: I am so sorry you are going through so much.

    The basic problem is that chest tightness is an overlapping symptom of both anxiety and asthma, both of which I have.

    Re: the sleep apnea...have you been officially diagnosed by a dr for this? If not you may want to consider a sleep apnea test. I had one last year. Thank God all clear. You go to a sleep study facility and they hook you up with a bunch of wires, monitoring you while you sleep. My wife came with me. It started around 10 PM and ended 6 AM.

    I can relate about the cats. I had to give away my cat on Christmas Eve 2005

    It sounds like the July 5 situation may have been anxiety. On July 13, were you under stress or anxious? Something bothering you? (Not to be personal.) It was a great move going to the ER. I've done it a few times because you just never know. I am glad everything was good on the heart front.

    Excellent move getting the pulmonary test. Keep me posted.

    I can definitely relate with the anixety/heat/humidity. I do get anxious when there is heat and humidity (probably because this was my first asthma trigger).

    Quote:
    I think I'm having more anxiety and more worried/stress from not knowing what this is......
    Oh man, are you preaching to the choir.

    Quote:
    I've been trying to read about asthma etc, but it seems there are soooo many different things/ways that can trigger it and so many different reactions the body goes through.
    So true. Up until Between 2000 and November 2005 I only had the heat/humidity trigger. Then on Thanksgiving Night 05, I got my first attack due to cold air.

     
    Old 07-17-2007, 01:12 PM   #6
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john319 View Post
    Janster,

    First thank you for the reply. Next: I am so sorry you are going through so much.

    The basic problem is that chest tightness is an overlapping symptom of both anxiety and asthma, both of which I have.

    Re: the sleep apnea...have you been officially diagnosed by a dr for this? If not you may want to consider a sleep apnea test. I had one last year. Thank God all clear. You go to a sleep study facility and they hook you up with a bunch of wires, monitoring you while you sleep. My wife came with me. It started around 10 PM and ended 6 AM.

    I can relate about the cats. I had to give away my cat on Christmas Eve 2005

    It sounds like the July 5 situation may have been anxiety. On July 13, were you under stress or anxious? Something bothering you? (Not to be personal.) It was a great move going to the ER. I've done it a few times because you just never know. I am glad everything was good on the heart front.

    Excellent move getting the pulmonary test. Keep me posted.

    I can definitely relate with the anixety/heat/humidity. I do get anxious when there is heat and humidity (probably because this was my first asthma trigger).

    Oh man, are you preaching to the choir.

    So true. Up until Between 2000 and November 2005 I only had the heat/humidity trigger. Then on Thanksgiving Night 05, I got my first attack due to cold air.
    I'm a *on the go* kinda person but I've always been pretty relaxed and don't worry about too much. I'm a typical woman who has a *To Do List* that's a mile long. That's been a part of me forever. So - I'm truely and honestly not worried about anything. Home, finances, and marriage are what I would consider perfect. I can understand the trigger from my weekend schedule...but does it take THAT long for the lungs to recooperate after you calm down? (if that's the case)

    Pulmunary test went quick. Chest is pretty good today (not 100%) and after they gave me the medicine, it didn't feel like it changed much.

    Obviously my symptoms (today anyway) have somewhat gone away. If it continues to go away -GREAT!! But if they can't diagnose it as *something* - that'll just make it all that much more to worry about until the next flare up.... Sheesh!! I THANK GAWD it's not serious - and I can deal with just about anything knowing its just a part of life.

     
    Old 07-18-2007, 05:43 PM   #7
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    Thumbs up Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Janster,

    Good to hear everything--home-wise and health-wise--is A-OK.

     
    Old 07-26-2007, 09:00 PM   #8
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john319 View Post
    Janster,

    Good to hear everything--home-wise and health-wise--is A-OK.
    Well, I hope you're situation clears up.

    My pulmonary test was negative for asthma. They said there were some irregularities but nothing to pinpoint. They gave me some Advair and blood tests. The blood tests turned up normal also.

    The Advair has been helping....Today I had another episode. 95+ degrees and humidity out-da-whazoo and me running around at work like I normally do - really hyped up the symptoms and my heart was beating 'weirdly' (hard to explain).

    I think the worst thing about all this is still having the symptoms but not having a diagnosis. Do you just pass it off as "I'm getting older and that's just the way my body is gonna react from now on?" kinda thing??

     
    Old 07-27-2007, 08:49 PM   #9
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Hi Janster,

    My wife and I have our 5 y.o. niece for the next couple of days. We're going to see The Simpsons tomorrow.

    Very glad to hear about the tests. I will reply in more detail soon.

     
    Old 07-30-2007, 07:18 PM   #10
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john319 View Post
    Hi Janster,

    My wife and I have our 5 y.o. niece for the next couple of days. We're going to see The Simpsons tomorrow.

    Very glad to hear about the tests. I will reply in more detail soon.
    NO need to reply.... just venting (so to speak). My apologieis. Just hanging in there. If this thing doesn't totally go away, I'm going to suggest seeing a pulmonary specialist. Can't go wrong...and keep plugging away till them find some answers. Thanks for Listening!! I hope you have a good visit with your family - as that's the most important part of life!!

     
    Old 07-30-2007, 07:35 PM   #11
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Hi Janster,

    Quote:
    I think the worst thing about all this is still having the symptoms but not having a diagnosis. Do you just pass it off as "I'm getting older and that's just the way my body is gonna react from now on?" kinda thing??
    You are so absolutely correct about having symptoms but no diagnosis. It so damn frustrating.

    I wish I could pass it off with your quote. For me it is a combination of mild anger, and getting upset and frustrated. From 2000 to 2005 I knew I had mild asthma and that was basically it. I had no anxiety about it. I carried around my Albuterol, knew heat/humidity was my trigger, and that was it. I was a bit suprised when on Thanksgiving night 2005 while my wife and I were walking to a friend's for The Meal, I got my first asthma epsiode due to cold air. I wondered but still wasn't concerned....until next month. On Dec 23, 2005 I read a story about a transit worker who crossed the picket lines of a then-strike, went back to cleaning the subway cars, got an asthma attack and died. Prior to that I never knew you could die from asthma. My "asthma" world was shattered and I have hated that day and newspaper article ever since . The next day--Christmas Eve--I gave away my cat. Needless to say it was not a Merry Christmas for me. In 2006 anxiety regarding asthma, something I never had before, soared through the roof. I wish I had stocks that went up like that . I suffered many asthma attacks but now in hindsight I wonder how many were actual asthma attacks or anxiety attacks. Chest tightness was the symptom. I used Prednisone as needed for eight months. Again in hindsight these episodes were probably anxiety because when I took the Prednisone, the chest tightness disappeared much faster than Prednisone takes to work.

    In the 7 years I have had asthma I have gone to the ER half-a-dozen times but never in a life-threatening situation.

    This year I have wondered about the chest tightness being anxiety or asthma.

     
    Old 07-31-2007, 03:13 PM   #12
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Hi John,

    Quote:
    From 2000 to 2005 I knew I had mild asthma and that was basically it.
    thanks for the post. I find myself in a similar situation. I know I have asthma, because that''s what the pulmonary function tests showed and what was eventually reported. I don't know any details yet and find it hard to believe that it should strike at my age (48), with no previous history of breathlessness or allergies (with the exception of a pollen allergy for about ten years, years ago). I am not being treated for asthma right now as there are issues with my blood pressure which have to be sorted out yet again.

    Since you say you did not experience your first asthma attack until five years afer your diagnosis, is it possible for a person with asthma to just have consistent breathing difficulties and no attacks?

    Were you an allergy sufferer prior to getting asthma?
    Is it normal to have a sudden onset asthma?
    Can prescription drugs cause this disease?

    Many thanks,
    flowergirl

     
    Old 07-31-2007, 06:39 PM   #13
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    flowergirl2day,

    Hi ya.

    Wow! I am sorry you got asthma--and especially @ 48 . I know asthma can strike during childhood or as an adult. I have heard childhood can be outgrown but not the adult version . I was 30 when I got it. I learned only recently relatives on my mother's side had asthma. I have heard it is genetic and can also be brought on by stress. Besides genetics I was going through alot of stress in 2000.

    I got my first cold air-induced asthma attack five years after the diagnosis. I am sorry if my writing misled you. I had epsiodes 2000-2001, a couple of which I went to the ER for. They were not life-threatening episodes--thank God. They've never been. Between 2001-05 I probably did have episodes but I really don't remember or they weren't a big deal. I was going through another health issue and my concentration was on that in the early 00's.

    Quote:
    is it possible for a person with asthma to just have consistent breathing difficulties and no attacks?
    I don't know.

    Quote:
    Were you an allergy sufferer prior to getting asthma?
    Yes, since childhood.

    Quote:
    Is it normal to have a sudden onset asthma?
    Yes. My friend's wife last year had to go to the ER 3x because of sudden asthma. She never had asthma before. She hasn't had any episodes since.

    Quote:
    Can prescription drugs cause this disease?
    I don't know.

     
    Old 07-31-2007, 09:33 PM   #14
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    John,

    I appreciate your informative post so much! I don't know anyone with asthma so will have to rely on this board and the internet for information. I guess I'll have plenty of time to learn. My asthma is here to stay!

    Many thanks once again.
    Flowergirl

     
    Old 08-01-2007, 07:00 PM   #15
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    Re: Chest sensation: asthma? anxiety? or what?

    Flowergirl,

    You're welcome . I would highly recommend you rely on your pulmonary dr. Getting help and info on the internet is good...to a point. Don't do like what I did last year and overdo it. I spent literally hours online looking up asthma. I have 29 astham/asthma-related sites in my Favorites. I spent so much time and energy online for asthma and that on 2 separate occasions my mind and head literally felt fried--I kid you not.

    One thing I learned is not to look at other people's asthma (mine included). Why? Asthma--triggers and severity--is often different for people. Example: perfumes can incite an epsiode with some; perfumes don't bother me. Example 2: last year I was forced to change buildings at my job because, due to the poor air quality and allergens from our department's move to the other side of the floor, my asthma became occupationally related. A co-worker who also is asthmatic, did not have a problem.

    Because of it's nature and what it can cause, asthma often has anxiety as a co-tormentor. I could not read any stories about near-death ER visits. I don't know your personality but I feared (and sometimes still do) my asthma will get worse, I'll neede Epinephrine, etc.

    Best regards. :

     
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