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Tight chest, confusing Asthma like symptoms

Werwulf profile image
6 Replies

Hi all,

I had asthma as a child and practically grew out of it as an adult or rather it became very mild. I've always had a blue inhaler but would use it very infrequently. Around christmas time this year I caught a cold which then turned into a chest infection (numerous negative lateral flow covid tests and a negative PCR test). Since then I've had a varying degree of tightness in my chest and what feels like a spot of irritation on the left side of my chest a few inches below my collar bone. A few nights I woke up feeling really short of breath and with a really intense tickling sensation in 'that spot' on the left. My blue inhaler did very little to alleviate it but it would calm down in about 20mins.

The first doctor I saw listened to my lungs, didn't hear anything untoward (I'm not wheezing or anything) and said it might be intercostal muscle strain. I had a week's dose of steroids which worked wonders.. the tightness went away for about 4 days, then crept back in again. The next doctor I saw said it was probably my asthma and added a brown preventer inhaler to my prescription (I haven't used a brown for a looong time). This hasn't really done anything to improve the situation and I'm just told it can take a long time and to be patient.

They also gave me a peak flow meter and what puzzles me the most is that my scores are consistently high ~700 - which looking at the charts tells me I have the lungs of a 7 foot tall 25yr old shotputter. It's really hard to pin down what makes the symptoms worse. Eating a big meal seems to, as does doing anything that stretches the muscles in my chest. Even certain foods seem to! Seemingly also, if I massage the chest muscle where it's irritated feeling, I can seemingly get some release of the tightness.

I'm just really not convinced it's even my asthma. Maaaybe I had covid and all the tests were false negative? So confused and fed-up. I have an appointment with a respiratory specialist soon. Any thoughts welcome.


6 Replies
Evie3 profile image

Hi. Your post resonated with me. Asthma as a child but ‘grew out of it’. However always had to see the asthma nurse yearly and as I age I get issues with chest probs. Then in 2012 my grown up son had some bloods done and his liver reading wasnt right. A newly qualified Dr randomly tested him for Alpha-1 Antitrypsen Deficiency and he tested positive. Long story short. Its hereditary, I am the carrier and my daughter has it too. Not saying that you do, but worth asking for a blood test, if they r at a loss. At least rule that out. Keep us posted

Werwulf profile image
Werwulf in reply to Evie3

Thanks, I'll look into that.

It's just all so confusing, I don't understand how it can be asthma if my inhaler does very little and my peak flow scores are high.

Evie3 profile image
Evie3 in reply to Werwulf

Ventolin does nothing for me either

Gareth57 profile image

Hi, the bit about the pain at the top of your chest is something I had last week (probably not the same!) I couldn't decide if it was muscular or lung but on my right side, I couldn't use my inhalers properly or turn to look behind without it hurting. Anyway I went for a cycle because I find it helps with the asthma, arthritis and general health and got so I was breathing hard, started coughing, brought up some phlegm that I didn't expect and haven't had the pain since!!

In_the_bardo profile image

I presented with similar symptoms and have been freshly diagnosed with dysfunctional breathing, which mimics asthma and presents with tightness of chest (that doesn’t respond to salbutamol). Chest pain, air hunger and feeling unable to reach a deep breath are fun complimentary symptoms, too. All that and I also have the consistent high PF of a soviet-era track and field athlete. Worth a Google, see if the pattern fits you.

Werwulf profile image

Thanks all.

This all kinda started when I piled on a bit of weight during lockdown. In my journey of googling every possible symptom I found some info sheets on the links between GERD/acid reflux and Asthma, and all the symptoms match, worse after a meal, worse at night, asthma symptoms that don't respond to an inhaler, sore/tickly/tight chest. I don't know why I didn't make the connection as I've had reflux before and it felt the same now I think about it (but not as bad). I guess because I was told it was my asthma initially. This feels like a very specific spot on my chest is sore and I'm fairly sure my asthma never feels like that, localised in a spot on my chest.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

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