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What causes chest heaviness,throat tightness,palpitations and shortness of breath?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10442 Questions
Hello, I am enquiring on behalf of my mother. She's 73. Has had RA for 30 yrs (currently taking 6 weekly infusions of remicade and oral methotrexate.....approx for the past 10 yrs) She has also recently been diagnosed with bronchiectasis and is receiving physio along with a decongestant and almost constant antibiotics for recurrent lung infections (non smoker). My and her concern is re an almost constant feeling of chest heaviness and throat 'tightness' which worsens on leaning forward, some palpitations, shortness of breath at times. The symptoms were relieved recently for about a week after completing 2 courses of antibiotics but have since returned.This has been happening for the past few months. The lung specialist recommended her gp referred to cardiology along with physio etc. She did have an ECG at the gp surgery last week which was normal (she said she had the heaviness during the ECG) There has been no f/up scheduled with the Gp. She feels as though she is making a fuss when visiting the Gp and feels the gp would refer her if she felt necessary. She has also recently (2/12) been started on anxiety/stress (my father was diagnosed with dementia a couple of years ago and although he is still relatively well she has not coped well with his diagnosis and slow deterioration. I have advised her to go back to her gp.....which she will but I am concerned there has been no diagnosis re the chest symptoms and worry if it could be cardiac related/life threatening? Apologises for the lengthy query! Many thanks XXXX
Posted Sun, 23 Feb 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Due to stress anxiety. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for posting your query. The chest heaviness and throat 'tightness', palpitations, shortness of breath that your other is feeling are more likely to be related to anxiety. Since she has been examined by her GP and cardiac causes have been ruled out there is no need to worry. This does not see to be a life threatening issue. It can also happen due to a congestion in her airways due to recurrent infections. Whenever symptoms appear,give her steam inhalation - Take hot water in a vessel, put eucalyptus oil in it. Tell her to inhale it by covering with a blanket. To help this problem you can take a few measures- 1.Check her caffeine intake-Avoid giving her too much tea, coffee or cola. 2.Try physical exercise like aerobic exercises daily for twenty minutes. 3. Learn controlled breathing. 4. Let her do simple relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation, etc. You can also discuss the problem with her GP who will help her in choosing a good antianxiety drug with low day time sedation. I hope this answers your query. In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out. Wishing you good health. Regards. Dr. Praveen Tayal. For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL
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