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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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my husband quit smoking 3 months ago. Now that it has gotten

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my husband quit smoking 3 months ago. Now that it has gotten cold outside he has twice now had an attack of being unable to breathe. His chest tightened up and could not inhale or exhale. He said it felt like his chest had an inflated balloon in it and air would only go down to his Adams apple. Both times he was doing physical activity outside. Could this be brought on from his quitting smoking? These episodes lasted for 30 minutes or so. He says he feels like they were extended in length because he got so scared. Once he was able to calm down some things seemed to improve. His age is 52.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 6 years ago.



Thank you for writing in today. This is not likely related to his quitting smoking. If anything, the quitting has likely improved his respiratory function. At this point, I have a couple concerns. First of all, given his smoking history, there is the possibility that he may have some underlying respiratory issue. Unfortunately, smoking can damage the lungs. However, since his complaint was exacerbated with physical activity during cold weather, possible cardiac issues are also concerning. Cardiac issues can manifest as chest tightening and difficulty breathing. For example, angina can be exacerbated when active in cold weather, but it tends to improve with rest. Unfortunately, smoking can increase the risk of cardiac problems in addition to the respiratory problems. At this point, cold weather and physical activity can exacerbate both respiratory and/or cardiac issues. I would have to recommend that your husband visit his provider for an evaluation and possible workup. I know the "go to your provider" answer is not a popular answer, but it is the necessary answer sometimes. I hope you understand why I would recommend it. I hope this helps to answer your question. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. Lisa

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