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Can Asthma Cause Throat Tightness

When To Seek Emergency Care

Can Anxiety Cause Tightness In The Chest?

Tightness in your throat during exercise can sometimes indicate a potentially life-threatening condition. EIB triggered by allergens can lead to anaphylaxis a serious allergic reaction. As the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology notes, symptoms of anaphylaxis include a swollen throat, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, coughing, passing out, hoarseness and trouble swallowing.

Anaphylaxis can also cause symptoms outside of the respiratory system, including vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, changes in skin color and a feeling of impending doom. Treatment includes immediate injection of epinephrine.

If you’re aware of your allergies, it’s a good idea to have an EpiPen with you whenever you exercise. Follow up with emergent medical care.

Throat tightness, pressure or pain can also be a sign of heart attack, warns the Mayo Clinic. The same goes for tightness, pressure, pain, squeezing or aching in your chest, arms, jaw, neck or back. Heart attacks can also cause nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion, heartburn, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and a cold sweat.


Chest pain or pressure during exercise can be an early warning sign of heart attacks, as blood flow to the heart is temporarily reduced. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma

Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.

Your healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test. Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs.

What Does Vocal Cord Dysfunction Feel Like

People report that they feel like they have a lump in their throat or that its tight. You may struggle to inhale enough air, which can be painful or cause tension. Patients also may hear noise when they are breathing in, called stridor. This is different from a wheeze when breathing out, which is more consistent with asthma.

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My Experience With Chest Tightness And Asthma

I have never worn a corset, however, that is what I imagine happening in my chest when I experience chest tightness. I describe it as a corset to others because it feels like a physical barrier, holding my chest in as I try to inflate my lungs. As if I were being hugged too tightly as I try to inhale. Often, the constriction tightens with each attempted breath, spurring a counter-productive panic.

I dont always experience this symptom with my asthma, its a secondary symptom, mostly. When I do experience it, its usually accompanied by stress or anxiety, as an exacerbation to my initial flare. Im thankful for this, because, in all honestly, its terrifying.

My biggest fears to this day are drowning and suffocating, the feeling of not being able to breathe; stemming directly from the tightness of my chest during an asthma attack. I like to understand my fears, I find it helps me to rationalize and reduce anxiety. So, I dove into a bit of research and this is what I found.

Whats The Difference Between Vocal Cord Dysfunction And Vocal Cord Paralysis

Sore Throat Phlegm Cough Wheezing

Individuals with VCD typically have fully mobile vocal cords. Most of the time, the vocal cords can open and close appropriately. Vocal cord paralysis is when one or both vocal cords are stuck in one position, unable to open or close. If a vocal cord is fixed closer to the middle of your airway, it may cause breathing trouble. If its fixed to the side of your airway, you may have trouble with you voice and trouble protecting your trachea and lungs from food and liquid when you swallow.

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Uncontrolled Asthma Symptoms May Start In The Stomach

by William Allstetter, National Jewish Health

Uncontrolled gastroesophageal reflux can push stomach contents into lungs, causing irritation and asthma-like symptoms.

For most of the 25 million Americans living with asthma, symptoms are controlled with an inhaler or other medication. For some, however, breathing problems persist or worsen, even after trying several asthma treatments. For these patients, the problem may not be asthma at all, but gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Experts at National Jewish Health say it is common for GERD to mimic asthma or worsen symptoms of existing asthma because reflux is entering the airway, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and pneumonia.

“When patients come in with persistent asthma and medications aren’t helping, it’s time to start considering that the issue may be coming from somewhere outside of the lungs,” said Jeffrey B. King, MD, chief of Gastroenterology at National Jewish Health. “It’s not uncommon to find that these patients never had asthma, and that the true problem is starting in the stomach.”

Reflux is a normal function, and it is only when stomach contents rise to the back of the throat and enter the airways and lungs that reflux begins to cause health problems. A dysfunction of the muscle where the stomach meets the esophagus is often to blame. When that muscle is not tight enough, stomach contents travel up the esophagus to the airway and enter the lungs.

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History And Physical Examination

Your physical examination will include checking your vital signs, such as your temperature, pulse, and breathing rate. A fever can be an indication of an infection. Rapid breathing or a rapid heart rate can be a sign of a severe infection or an impending asthma attack.

Your doctor will listen to your breathing sounds with a stethoscope, which will help determine whether your congestion is on one side of the lungs or both.

  • Generally, with asthma and allergies, congestion affects both lungs.
  • Congestion can be limited to one lung or one section of a lung when there is another cause, such as an infection.

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Itchy Face And Throat

Some people with asthma may also experience an itchy face and throat in addition to the more traditional symptoms of wheezing and coughing.

These itchy sensations arent related to asthma itself but may be instead attributed to allergies. If allergens trigger your asthma symptoms, then you may have a subtype called allergic asthma.

When you have allergic asthma, you may experience more traditional asthma symptoms. along with:

  • itchy skin

What Are The Most Common Asthma Symptoms

Acid Reflux Causes Throat Tightness!

The most common symptoms of asthma are:

Experiencing one or more of these symptoms could mean you have asthma. Its more likely to be asthma if your symptoms keep coming back, are worse at night, or happen when you react to a trigger such as exercise, weather or an allergy.

Could it be asthma?

If youre experiencing symptoms of asthma, book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Theyll be able to work out whether its asthma or something else, such as a chest infection, gastric reflux, or a bad cold.

If you think your child might have asthma, we have more information on spotting the symptoms in children.


A cough that keeps coming back is a symptom of asthma. Its more likely to be asthma if your cough is accompanied by other asthma symptoms, like wheezing, breathlessness or chest tightness.

Not everyone with asthma coughs. If you do cough its usually dry, or someone with uncontrolled asthma might have thick clear mucus when they cough. The right treatment can mean youre cough-free most of the time.


Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling noise coming from your airways, mostly when you breathe out.

Some people feel their asthma isnt taken seriously because they dont wheeze. You may still have asthma even if you haven’t noticed a whistling sound – so dont put off seeing your GP.


Chest tightness

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What Are The Types Of Vocal Cord Dysfunction

  • Laryngospasm: A laryngospasm is where your vocal cords seize or contract. You may lose your ability to speak and struggle to breathe. This can be caused by a reflux , environmental irritants and more.
  • Exercised induced VCD: This is when the vocal cords move toward the middle when you are breathing during high intensity exercise, making it difficult to take air in.
  • Irritant-induced VCD: Irritant-induced VCD is when the vocal cords contract with certain environmental triggers, such as strong scents, fumes, pollutants, chemicals and more.
  • Stress-induced VCD: Vocal folds contract as a response to stress and anxiety.

Worsening Asthma Or Bronchospasm

Wait, an inhaler designed to help your asthma may make your symptoms worse? Yes, some folks may have worsening symptoms of tight airways. Its called paradoxical bronchoconstriction. If you feel more wheezing, tightness, or shortness of breath after using albuterol, stop using it and speak to your doctor.

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Treating Asthma Chest Pain

Before treating your symptoms, your doctor will want to make sure your chest pain is caused by asthma and not any other conditions.

If you experience chest pain due to asthma, your physician will probably prescribe an individualized treatment plan. Follow their instructions carefully to lessen your chances of developing symptoms.

When youre having an asthma attack, you may be told to use an emergency or rescue inhaler to relax your airways and improve your symptoms. In one study, using inhaled albuterol resulted in improvement in 70 percent of children and adolescents with asthma-induced chest pain who performed exercises on a treadmill.

Sneezing And Nasal Congestion

Symptoms And Causes Of Asthma

While many things can trigger sneezing, its also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If youve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and youre positive you dont have a cold, those sneezes could be indicative of mold exposure.

Sneezing is the immune systems standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.

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When To See A Specialist About Your Asthma

Asthma is not always easy to diagnose, Fineman says, but you should see your doctor if youre having repeated episodes of wheezing and coughing or shortness of breath. If you’re diagnosed with the condition, work with your doctor to develop an asthma management and;action plan.

Although your primary care doctor may be able to diagnose and;treat your asthma, if your symptoms dont respond to a first-line therapy of inhaled corticosteroids and short-acting bronchodilators, Asciuto recommends that you see a lung specialist or allergy and asthma specialist.

What Food Changes May Be Needed For Allergic Esophagitis

You may need to stop eating certain foods for a while to see if your symptoms improve. Start eating these foods again one at a time as directed. If certain foods cause your symptoms, do not eat them. Some common examples are dairy, nuts, eggs, and seafood. You may need to change what you eat to relieve your symptoms. You may need to see a dietitian to help you get the right amount of nutrients.

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What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack

A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.

If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:

  • Anxiety or panic.
  • Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
  • Chest pain or pressure.

Bacterial And Viral Infections

Anxiety Lump in Throat, Fullness or Tightness EXPLAINED! (Globus Hystericus)

Infections such as the flu, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia can cause your airways to make extra mucus, which youll often cough up. It may be green or yellow in color.

The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 doesnt usually cause mucus in the chest. But complications from the virus can include pneumonia, which does involve chest congestion.

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Allergic Asthma: Symptoms And Treatment

Ashley A. Sullivan, MSN FNPStudent, Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CaRN, California Pacific Medical Center

Natalya M. Kushnir, MDDirector, Allergy and immunology Clinic of East BayBerkeley, CA

H. Henry Li, MD, PhDFAAAAI, FACAAIInstitute for Asthma and AllergyWheaton and Chevy Chase Maryland

Michael A. Kaliner, MD FAAAAIMedical Director, Institute for Asthma and AllergyChevy Chase and Wheaton, MarylandProfessor of Medicine, George Washington University School of MedicineWashington DC

Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers

Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have;few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands ,;headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.

Preventers are;very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.

The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.

Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after;using;your preventer inhaler.

Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep;side effects to a minimum.

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Personal Asthma Action Plan

As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.

If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.

The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.

Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.

As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.

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Making The Diagnosis Of Vcd

Skin Allergies

The diagnosis of VCD is definitively established by direct visualization of the vocal cords while the patient is having symptoms . Classic vocal cord dysfunction is characterized by adduction of the anterior two thirds of the vocal cords with a characteristic posterior chink observed during inspiration. Wood and Milgrom2 provide a detailed description of diagnostic laryngoscopy, including recommendations of how to differentiate true VCD from vocal cord movement induced by the procedure itself . A normal laryngoscopy in the absence of acute symptoms does not exclude the diagnosis of VCD, as approximately half of the laryngoscopies done without first provoking VCD symptoms were normal in patients ultimately diagnosed with VCD.1 Accordingly, various challenge procedures have been recommended before laryngoscopy, including methacholine or histamine, specific irritant, and exercise.2,13 If vocal cord adduction is not seen in a symptomatic patient, the diagnosis of VCD should be questioned.

Njira L. Lugogo, Monica Kraft, in, 2008

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What Causes Exercise

Environmental allergens, pollutants, or irritants inhaled during exercise may help trigger the symptoms. Prolonged, strenuous exercises without rest periods and exercising in cool, dry conditions can also bring on exercise-induced asthma. There are two theories to explain why this occurs.

  • Rapid breathing during exercise does not allow inspired air to be warmed and humidified by the nose. This cold, dry air cools the bronchial tubes, causing the muscles around the bronchial tubes to constrict . After exercise, the bronchial tubes warm up. In asthma patients, warming up of the bronchial tubes causes the bronchial tubes to swell and become inflamed. This might explain why asthma occurs after exercise. This may be similar to what happens when previously cold fingers are warmed and they become red and swollen.
  • The second theory involves the loss of humidity surrounding the cells lining the bronchial tubes during rapid breathing. This drying induces the mast cells to release their chemicals, causing bronchospasm and inflammation.
  • What Causes Asthma

    Healthcare providers dont know why some people have asthma while others dont. But certain factors present a higher risk:

    • Allergies: Having allergies can raise your risk of developing asthma.
    • Environmental factors: Infants can develop asthma after breathing in things that irritate the airways. These substances include allergens, secondhand smoke and some viral infections. They can harm infants and young children whose immune systems havent finished developing.
    • Genetics: People with a family history of asthma have a higher risk of developing the disease.
    • Respiratory infections: Certain respiratory infections, such as respiratory syncytial virus , can damage young childrens developing lungs.

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    What Is Exercise

    Exercise-induced bronchospasm used to be called exercise-induced asthma. The term bronchospasm means tightening and narrowing of the tubes that bring air in and out of your lungs.

    Many people with asthma have EIB. But EIB also affects some people who dont have asthma and some who have allergies rather than asthma.

    If you have coughing, wheezing, or tightness in your chest that;begins after you;start exercising, you could have EIB. This type of narrowing happens during vigorous exercise because you tend to breathe more through your mouth instead of through your nose. This allows cooler and drier air into your lungs, which can trigger the bronchospasm.


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