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What causes difficulty in breathing and chest tightness after eating?

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Posted on Fri, 11 May 2018
Question: My husband is complaining of difficulty breathing and tightness in his chest. This happened shortly after dinner so he wondered if he ate too much but that could not be the cause. He is 69 and has been relaxing all day. What should I do? Be aware of? I could take him to Urgent Care.

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Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha (39 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Possibly due to reflux. You can wait and watch.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for asking on HealthcareMagic.

I have gone very carefully through your query. Your husband is possibly suffering from gastroesophageal reflux. Our gastrointestinal tract has a forward propulsive movement (peristalsis) that moves the food material forward as it is digested, absorbed and finally expelled as feces. If somehow this movement gets hampered, food along with the digestive juices would stagnate, stomach acid will reflux into the food pipe and on the other hand the bowel habits would not be proper. The refulx is the likely cause of heartburn leading to difficulty breathing and tightness in his chest.

In order to relieve himself your husband needs to do the following:
* Avoid spicy food. Take small but frequent meals. Avoid long gaps between meals.
* Avoid alcohol intake (if it a part of your habit).
* Take Prilosec (omeprazole) once daily before breakfast.
* Take plenty of green leafy vegetables as well as other sources of dietary fibers. Take fiber supplements like isabgol/psyllium husk or senna. I would insist you to increase your dietary fiber intake.
* Regular morning walk and exercise to keep the bowel movements proper.
* Take curd or yogurt on daily basis. It contains beneficial bacteria and should help.
* Stress reduction has a very important role to play. Yoga and meditation should help.

However, in case of any apprehension you should feel free to take him to urgent care and get an electrocardiogram done.

Hopefully that should help.

Let me know if I could help further.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Answered by
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Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1954

Answered : 4438 Questions

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What causes difficulty in breathing and chest tightness after eating?

Brief Answer: Possibly due to reflux. You can wait and watch. Detailed Answer: Thanks for asking on HealthcareMagic. I have gone very carefully through your query. Your husband is possibly suffering from gastroesophageal reflux. Our gastrointestinal tract has a forward propulsive movement (peristalsis) that moves the food material forward as it is digested, absorbed and finally expelled as feces. If somehow this movement gets hampered, food along with the digestive juices would stagnate, stomach acid will reflux into the food pipe and on the other hand the bowel habits would not be proper. The refulx is the likely cause of heartburn leading to difficulty breathing and tightness in his chest. In order to relieve himself your husband needs to do the following: * Avoid spicy food. Take small but frequent meals. Avoid long gaps between meals. * Avoid alcohol intake (if it a part of your habit). * Take Prilosec (omeprazole) once daily before breakfast. * Take plenty of green leafy vegetables as well as other sources of dietary fibers. Take fiber supplements like isabgol/psyllium husk or senna. I would insist you to increase your dietary fiber intake. * Regular morning walk and exercise to keep the bowel movements proper. * Take curd or yogurt on daily basis. It contains beneficial bacteria and should help. * Stress reduction has a very important role to play. Yoga and meditation should help. However, in case of any apprehension you should feel free to take him to urgent care and get an electrocardiogram done. Hopefully that should help. Let me know if I could help further. Regards