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Feeling a bit like you are being strangled?

Is this an asthma symptom or could it just be anxiety?

Newly diagnosed with asthma so getting to grips with symptoms etc. Been feeling it a lot more with the humidity at the moment but walking to lunch earlier I felt tight around my throat as apposed to in my chest (tho feel tight there too at the moment). Almost like I am wearing a collar that is a bit too tight..

11 Replies

Hi Cazzr

Tightness in the throat isn't usually linked to Asthma, in Asthma tightness in the chest is much more likely. There is a condition called Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) which can mimic the symptoms of Asthma but with some variations such as the tightness located in the throat area rather than the chest for example. VCD occurs when the vocal cords should move out (I think) instead of moving in towards each other reducing the amount of air you are getting in, it sounds much worse than it is in that it can be treated even cured in some cases with speech and language therapy, it is diagnosed by an Ear Nose Throat specialist. There are a few members on the messageboard who have VCD so hopefulIy they can answer any questions you may have better than I can. I see that you have been newly diagnosed, it is possible that it could be a perception thing in that it could be originating from your chest but it feels like your throat, looking at your previous posts (sorry I am nosy!) you have good reversibility? this is suggestive of Asthma as relievers don't really help VCD although it is possible to have both Asthma and VCD together which can make diagnosis more difficult. Are your inhalers helping much? I'm not sure about the anxiety thing, if you are feeling anxious then I guess it is possible tightness in the throat could be due to that but I am not sure about it to be honest.

Hope you feel better soon :)

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Thanks for replying to this, will bear the VCD in mind. It's not overly troublesome and potentially could be thyriod related as I've recently had a test for this. I kind of just wanted to see if it's likely to be the asthma or not..

As for reversability, yes, and the puffers do help so do think I have asthma and actually suspect I have had for quite a while without really knowing.

I'm not sure but I think the ventolin eased the feeling I had in my neck when it last happened so not sure what to think about that, I'll have to monitor and see how it goes.

I think I'm quite lucky asthma wise as I gather my FEV1 and PF are very good even without the puffers as at my spiro test I was blowing readings of 100% of what they'd expect for my age and 6ft 3 height. The thing was that after the neb, my readings jumped by about 40% for FEV1 (I think) and 20% for PF.

I do feel better with the puffers but is it just that my body needs more than the 100% value they calculated? And by that much? Makes me wonder about the figures to be honest.

Since I've started my PF diary I seem to be blowing about 470 in the morning and 570 in the evening

(before the meds) and I can feel the difference. Makes me feel a bit of a fraud from an asthma perspective in that even my low is 'normal'...


Hi Cazzr, can't comment on how your feeling but just wanted to say Hi as I'm newly diagnosed too and have similar story about 'above normal' Spiro results.

I've been going through the same thing, feeling something strange and thinking is it the asthma or something else, should I used my inhaler or not etc. I too think I've had it some time and so have got used to feeling like this, I guess time will tell if we feel much better after being on the steriods for some time.

My PEF is way higher than predicted, persoanl best is 550 and should be 470 or something so when it dropped to 400 my doc wasn't that bothered although it'd dropped by 27%! I saw my asthma nurse yesterday and she didn't seem bothered about ACTUAL PEF values, more about how they changed. She also said its the symptoms I should worry about not the PEF.

Good luck with it xxx


Hi Sept,

I think my PF is supposed to be about 470-480 too (according to a calculator on the web) but when at work yesterday I was checking my peak flow (hey, it's a new toy and I was curious) when I was feeling a bit heavy on the chest and PF was about 430.

Now, thats not a huge difference from the expected(bout 10%) but my personal best is about 570 at the moment (I don't know what best was on the spiro) so thats about a 25% drop. Enough to make me feel a bit odd.

Also, I don't feel half as bad as I did when I had chest infections earlier in the year so I'd be intrigued to know what my PF's were then!

Do NON asthmatics PF's fluctuate as much or is this the point?


Also, is it me or is it suddenly a lot easier to breathe today, not had any vent apart from this morning...


Ha ha know what you mean, I'm always faffing and checking my PF, I'm a scientist so I like to experiment and build up a picture! LOL, like my PF drops each time I do it so do more than three sometimes to see how much it changes, and before and after blue inhaler etc.

I don't know how much non asthmatics change but my GP said something about a 10-15% change would indicate asthma so I guess a non asthmatic would change less than this? (Which would suggest our 25-30% def indicate asthma) I'd get my hubby to do it but he's an ex-asthmatic so not a fair comparison. LOL

My PF usually drops to 400-430 and I get the symptoms although sometimes its 470-490 and I don't feel well so I guess its not just down to PF.

Don't know about today, still had to use blue inhaler but then trying to take my new turbohaler started me off this morning!!


Despite feeling better yesterday and only taking ventolin before my clenil (unlike the day befores many times in the day), I am now coughing and PF is down again. I wonder if it's because I didn't use the vent much yesterday..

Surely the Clenil is meant to control it more, rather than the vent. Oh I wish I knew what i was meant to expect.



Maybe it will take some time for Clenil to work - not sure how long you have been on it? , otherwise there are other preventor inhalers out there which could work better. Also about the peakflows being good, some people have much higher personal best peakflows than what would be their recommended, for example I have a friend who is 4'11 and is 19 and her recommended is about 400 but her personal best is 470. Peakflows aren't everything and if you're symptomatic despite good peakflow please take your salbutamol and in needs be see your GP/Asthma Nurse or if having an acute attack - A&E.

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Hi Thanks, for replying. Been on clenil for about 5 weeks so far this time. Was on it at the start of the year but didn't get any more when it ran out as I was in denial a bit about having asthma.. {blush}

Am on 2 x 200 twice a day which I gather is quite a high dose for what I consider to be mild asthma.. But then I am 6ft 3...

At the moment I'm a bit wary of keeping on going back to the docs/nurse as I feel like i'd be making a deal out of something small... There are people with far worse medical problems than me who need their help more than me...

Will keep monitoring for a bit and see how I get on. Probably just the weather giving me jip..


Hiya, i take clenil too and in the first month i too had problems feeling like my throat was swelling and like i was being strangled and after being taken to hospital for an attack found out that i had an infection right at the bottom of my throat causing it to swell and giving me that suffocating feeling due to the inhaler. I consistently use a spacer to try and keep it from reoccuring and wash it after every use, aswell as swilling my mouth afterwards. As for my PF, for my stats i should sit around 460-470 but i can never manage above around 380. Ive recently had that nasty virus thats doing the rounds and could barely manage to hit 200 somedays!


I get this, like you, first thought it was panic, and then started to worry something was really wrong with my throat, discussed with a few gps, noted when it was happening and they put it down to allergy. Tried different antihistamines, only one that works for me is Piriton, it eases both asthma and throat symptoms (tend to flare up at same time).

Pollen's a trigger for me, especially at start of season, straw at open-air events is a big beast of a trigger and I've noticed over last year milk can set me off.

Hope this helps

: )


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