tight chest /heatburn

Hi there, haven't been on here for some time so hi all again!

So I've been essentially symptom free for some time now and have stepped down medication to just 1 puff a day of seretide 50. I've been on this for a few months now and still had no trouble which is great.

The past few days however I've noticed a few niggles and for the past few nights I've woken up with a tight chest and really shallow breathing. When I try to take a deep breath, I really have to force myself to breathe in and then squeeze out if that makes sense? After a bit of this I then seem to get heartburn which in turn makes the tight feeling get worse. So I'm not sure if it's heartburn giving the tight chest or vice versa?

During these 'events' my peak flow is reduced from 570 to about 490. The tight feeling does improve slightly after ventolin but I've only had max 4 puffs as I don't want to get back into using it too much.

Just wondered what people thought? What do you think the best course of action should be?

17 Replies

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  • Hi Butterfly,

    I think you need to make an appointment to see your GP. This could be asthma related, but there are other conditions that cause symptoms like those you have been experiencing.

    Out of interest, can I just ask at what time you have your evening meal, and what you generally have in the way of food at that time?

  • Thanks for your reply Maggie, I tend to have my evening meal around 5pm with the kids and tend to have pasta or meat and potatoes kind of meals. I don't usually eat anything after this time but do drink a decaf coffee during the evening.

  • OK, thanks for that. Sometimes eating a meal late in the evening can cause digestive problems which in turn can lead to heartburn and reflux during the night. Reflux can cause irritation in the oesophagus and trachea which feels like asthma (something I've had experience of in the past few years).

    You still need to see your doctor, and the sooner the better. Obviously something isn't right, and if it is affecting your asthma you need to get it dealt with before things spiral out of control.

    Hope things get better soon.

  • Hmm next available appointment is two weeks today! Ah well, will see how things go .

  • Two weeks!!! Doesn't your local surgery have an urgent/emergency list for people who need to be seen quickly? I mean, what happens if you have a suspected urinary tract infction? Leave it two weeks and you could end up with a (more serious) kidney infection or worse. OK, there's no guarantee you'll see your own GP if you need urgent attention, but given what can happen if asthma goes out of control I'd rather see any doctor than none.

  • It's ridiculous isn't it, I often joke that it's best to have an appointment booked in just incase you get ill!

    They do have a few book on the day appts but they're nigh on impossible to get as you have to ring at 830/1130 and within minutes they're gone.

    What I thought is that I'd have the appt for 2 weeks booked in but if things deteriorate too much / too quickly, I'll just mention it's asthma related and get in there and then. I've had to do that in the past and they've got me in immediately.

  • HI, I had a similar issue last year - was feeling a bit better so decided to reduce seretide - I was taking 4 puffs of 250 mcg at that time . After a few weeks I started feeling breathless ( couldn't take deep breath and also was very short of breath when walking). Since then I took 4 courses of presnisolone, had lots of tests and unfortunately still have breathing problems. Before that I was taking seretide mainly for cough.

  • Sorry to hear that Polzovatel. So even after the courses of pred, you are still having trouble?

    I am finding that I'm getting the heartburn feeling along with asthma symptoms during the day too. I am trying to avoid taking ventolin where possible as the added fast heart beat is not pleasant but it can mean I am stuck with the shallow breathing/ burning chest feelings. I have tried taking antacids which ease the burning for a short while.

  • I really do think you should you should contact your surgery and mention that you have an asthma related problem (which it is) and get yourself in to see the doctor - don't wait another couple of weeks. I know how unpleasant heartburn can be on it's own (having suffered with it for months a little over a year ago) and that was without an asthma complication.

  • I've got the same problem with the GP. Rang them yesterday to ask for an emergency appointmnet, because my PEFR had gone from 550ish to 200, and was told the next available emergency appointment was next Wednesday!!!!!! I've got a rescue course of steroids, so I've started them myself. I had the same problem at this time last year and ended up in A&E three times in a week. I don't think GP receptionists get the right training, the one I spoke to said I could talk so I couldn't be that ill. Yes, I could talk, but only after 10 puffs of Ventolin and a spacer!

  • The only thing you can do if this happens is go through to the practice manager and raise the issue with him/her, After all, how can the practice improve if those responsible for the running of the place aren't aware that there's a problem in this area. It isn't necessary and doesn't always happen, I've never had a problem of this nature. The receptionists at the medical practice I attend are very good and will normally do their utmost to fit me in if I need urgent attention. Mind you, it probably helps that they've been dealing with my asthma for twenty years plus now.

  • Thank you Maggie, I followed your advice and managed to get an emergency appointment this morning. I had to put up quite a fight though!

    The Gp has given me some lanzaprazole ?sp to see if it helps, he thinks the symptoms aren't asthma and are purely due to the heartburn.

    I'm a little concerned though as my pf is getting progressively lower (400ish) and I have the tight chest & shortness of breath without the heartburn too. I mentioned this to him but he didn't seem concerned. I have upped my dose of seretide myself anyway so hopefully this will help.

    I have kept my appt for two weeks time and will try the lanzaprazole and see how I go.

  • I was put on lanzoprasole. It took a few days to kick in but it did work. Three years go my asthma was playing up - the odd thing was the pattern was atypical. Exercise helped, whereas eating made it worse. My inhalers had little impact and eventually, in desperation I contacted my local surgery. As it happened my usual GP was away so I saw a locum. He spotted that I had recent history of gastric problems and put me on a course of lanzoprasole. Problem solved.

    See what happens.

  • I have my fingers crossed then!

    Meanwhile I'm resigned to the sofa, too short of breath for anything else!

  • Well over a week on the lanzaprazole and whilst my heartburn is better, my tight chest and breathlessness isn't. Pf hovering between 400-450. Is it just a case of waiting for it to calm down after the heartburn has upset things?

  • I seem to recall it took a while for things to settle. Glad the heartburn has improved though - I'm all too well aware of how miserable it can make life.

    There are other things you can do to help. Avoid fatty or rich foods, anything spicy, and try to stay away from coffee and chocolate (apparently caffeine has a relaxing effect on the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle - I understand the same is true of mint). One other thing, try to keep yourself fairly upright for an hour or so after you've eaten. Difficult I know in the evening, when all you want to do is relax, but it does help.

    Give it a couple more days to see if your peak flow begins to pick up. If it starts to slip downwards again, I would contact your GP immediately.

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