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British Heart Foundation
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Chest sensations - scared

Hi all, I hope this is ok to post here.

Nearly 3 weeks ago I began experiencing weird sensations in my chest, the location is above the breast area. The sensation feels like someone is squeezing the air out of me and makes me feel like I am not getting enough air although I am not breathless I feel like I need to take a deep breath. The feeling can last for minutes to half hour and comes on with no warning and randomly. When I don't have the sensation I feel ok.

I have been to the doctors had an ecg last year for a lone episode I had of a similar feeling and now that the feelings are regular up to several times a day I had another ecg last week which was fine. I go back to the doctors next week.

I am 31, female and normal weight. I am so scared of what is happening and worried it could be angina or something heart related. I do sometimes get twinges of pain and a feeling in my arms but I also get anxiety so sometimes I know this makes things worse. The episodes happen when I am not anxious I could be walking, resting, in bed or doing anything there really is no trigger. My blood pressure was normal at the doctors and my pulse fast though the doctor said it could be because I was at the doctors.

Sorry to go on but if you got this far, thank you for reading.

11 Replies

Hi knic

I would go to a&e if it happens again..

Don't make yourself anxious and don'tstress just get yourself checked out... did the doctor give you any medication? Xxx

Keep us posted


1 like

Hi thank you for replying. I am on no medication, I had an ambulance out last year due to an episode like this - it was the first time and I got myself so scared that after a call to 111 they said to call an ambulance. The paramedics were here over 2 hours and did obs and ecg and all was ok. Now because it happens almost daily and more than once a day I try and not panic and wait for it to pass. I have the doctors next week but am worried it's a warning of an impending heart attack :((


I agree you should go to A&E

The ECG didn't pick up my issue 2014.

Then last year it was only because the paramedics happened to get a reading just at the right time. That they evan entertained monitoring me.

It didn't always show up on the hospital monitors in resus that night.

Yes of course it could very well be anxiety, the mind is a very, very powerful thing. Your mind can remember last year's incident and play the whole thing out over and over again without you being aware it is doing it. Therefore the episode playing over and over again, getting worse each time due to you being so anxious. Will definitely increase the severity of it. Deeper episodes, longer periods.

If it is anxiety, then like any physical incidents, it needs treating sooner rather than later. As anxiety episodes are very real at the time they are happening. So to you, you can only believe in what you are experiencing.

The medical staff working in the medical field are the ones with the technology of blood test and equipment to see if it is physical experiences you are having or if it is indeed the mind playing tricks.

So I think if you are experiencing this several times a day. Then there is no reason why you shouldn't go there this morning and make it clear you need to be seen, you need answers.

But just make them aware that you have been on this forum and you have heard that it doesn't always show up on the ECG straight away if there is any issues.

I don't know how often they exspireance patients like myself who it doesn't flag up with straight away. The doctors you see may not have experienced this. But it is a fact it does happen.

It is possible they may put you on a

24 monitor.

If it turns out to indeed be anxiety, please don't alow this to get you down and make the anxiety worse. Work with it and find solutions with you GP on how to fix it like you would with any other illness

I am sure it is anxiety from what you have said, but like you I am not medically trained. So best leave it to the people who are ha.

Let us know how you get on wont you.

Sending hugs of support, Jo 😊😊😊


Hi jo thank you so much for your reply. I think the problem with going a&e is that by the time I get there it more than likely would have passed we don't have the greatest a&e here either.

I have the doctors Tuesday and just want to get something done without him thinking I am just being over anxious and also dismissing me because of my age.


Hi Knic,

I joined HU yesterday, so that I could join a community for help with my symptoms or share my experiences with people like yourselves.

I like yourself have had breathing difficulties for 18 months now, sometimes it feels like someone has been pushing down on my chest so that It feels that I can’t get air back into my lungs and are unable to talk either, then I take a big gasp for air and feel better, and I also get chest pains every so often. I have also been struggling with my breathing just like you. And yes on most days I too feel fine. It can make you feel very frustraited at times but then I just try and relax, which can be also be very difficult with twin teenage daughters!!

I also consider myself an anxious person so my first thought was that I was having anxiety attacks. I approached my doctor with these problems and they sent me to see a specialist in our local cardiology department at hospital, in which I have had 3 event monitors over this period along with 2 treadmill exercises.

It was on the second treadmill event that when the exercise had finished they managed to record a slight anomaly with my chest rythim. I am still undergoing investigations and have been told that I sometimes have a fast heartbeat and the occasional tachycardia event.

So my advice to you if it helps is that you sound like you know what your own body should be doing and at the moment it does not feel right, so persevere with the doctor don’t let them fob you off, you have nothing to loose and just try and relax as well.

I hope this helps you in some way and anyone else that is following your post. Hope everything goes well and will keep an eye out for your future posts.

I go back to the specialist in 2 weeks time for another event monitor, but just reading the advice from other forums on this site I now feel better equipped to ask the consultant the right questions.

This seems to be a great site, my thanks to everyone on it.


Hi Ted thank you for your reply, sounds like we have likeness in our symptoms.

Have they diagnosed you with anything or put you on medication? I worry about unstable angina as my sensations seem to have no trigger :(


Hi Knic,

Apparently I have atrial eptopics (fast heart beats every so often) and some tachycardia results, but not sure if this is serious as I have asked my consultant and he just said that I need to be monitored,not sure over what period but that will be one of my next questions.

I was given beta blockers a month ago, but they seemed to make my symptoms worse so I have been switched to something called verapamil which is to stabilise my heart rhythm,especially as I have just been in hospital to have knee surgery, but will only be taking these for another week. I will be having another monitor fitted in two weeks time to see if anything has changed.

With all that said I too still feel that my breathing problems are still coming and going without any obvious trigger, I can’t put my finger on it and the event monitors don’t seem to pick up on these?

I have been told that my heart appears strong so like you I am still trying to find out exactly what is wrong with me.

Again hope this helps and keep me up to date with how you go on🤕


I had this a while back and have a heart condition and it was cos I was needing valve surgery. I get a high heart rate wen I go for my heart checks. Praying!!!


Hi I would def either go back to A&E or ask my GP for a referral, it might be anxiety but then again it might be a lot more serious, I made that error myself thinking that the palpitations I had were nothing to worry about! How wrong I was, when eventually I went to my GP he immediately phoned an ambulance and when I was apologising to the Dr at A&E for wasting her valuable time, I got a row ☺ I had heart failure!!, what a shock that was, she said they would much rather that people would go and they could send them home if it was anxiety than be like me and a lot of others who are the opposite, put off going and vital treatment gets delayed, keep in touch and let us know how you get on, fingers crossed all is fine, take care char xx


I suggest you look at the way you are breathing - with anxiety you tend to breathe high up in the body, in the ribcage and shoulders. I myself had a small heart attack in January, and after I got home, if I felt any tightness in the chest I breathed from lower down in the lower abdomen (you will see how in the next paragraph) and the symptoms slowly went away.

Try gentle belly breathing - it helps if you can lie down to start with. Put one hand on your chest and one on your belly, and feel which hand is moving more - it will probably be the upper hand. Try very gently letting the belly rise on the inward breath, and relax it and let it fall on the outward breath. Don't over do it, just gently. Because you are lying down, it not only allows you to relax and feel what is happening, but your spine will be straight and your diaphragm will be able to move easily. When you are used to breathing this way, try sitting up with a straight spine - if your posture is poor and you slump over it will stop the diaphragm from moving easily.

You should find that it helps with anxiety, and has the added benefit that it oxygenates the blood more, and hopefully alleviates some of the tight chest symptoms. Give it a try and let me know how you get on. I would also if you think it might suit you try Tai Chi, Qigong or Yoga, all of which use breathing techniques to keep you centred and grounded.


Thank you for your reply, it is most helpful - I do know I carry alot of tension and have to make an effort to try and relax so the techniques you suggested will help. I have the doctors tomorrow too so hoping he maybe able to shed some light on what is happening.


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