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Tightness in my throat. Difficulty swallowing. Lying down is

scary. No pain, but it's...
Tightness in my throat. Difficulty swallowing. Lying down is scary. No pain, but it's scary. At times, feels like drowning. I have a minor heart condition, a damaged valve, for which I take Losartan. I've been on various iterations of BP meds for about five years now. For the most part, no problems. From time to time, difficulty breathing, but I think it's mostly poor air quality that sets it off. Nothing like this. This is a tightness, a thickness. Swallowing feels unnatural -- almost like something I might need to learn how to do again. Last night went to sleep and actually worried I might not wake up. Sometimes can't catch my breath, and a few heart flutters, but I think both of these things might just be me freaking myself out more than anything. This has been going on for about a week, and has gotten bad in the last couple of days. I am normally an anxious person to some degree, but am starting a new job next week. I didn't think I was nervous about it, but maybe I'm not being objective. Suspicion: some combination of respiratory infection/acid reflux/anxiety? I could go to my GP, but I suspect that she'll send me to an ENT to be scoped and/or up to my cardiologist, where I am probably due for an annual. But I don't think it's my heart. It almost feels like some bizarro allergic reaction. I took some expectorant pills for a few days, convinced it was mucus, but there's been no mucus movement at all... or if mucus is the problem, it isn't budging. Years ago, before my valve damage was diagnosed, but I was having some trouble at night, I was diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea. I was also told, at some point in high school when I was running track, that I might have exercise-induced asthma... although I think that was incorrect. Again, I nearly always feel good, and can nearly always breathe extremely well, even given the fact that I'm a somewhat anxious person -- so something else is going on. I'm a 36-year-old female, 6 ft. tall, about 160 lbs., out of shape (though summer biking usually solves that), not a wonderful diet. I take Losartan, birth control, low-dose aspirin, vitamins sometimes, cold medicine sometimes, ibuprofen sometimes. I've also had trouble sleeping over the last month or so, and have been taking doxylamine succinate (25 mg) as a sleep aid. I probably drink too much. Thoughts?
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Answered in 2 hours by:
4/23/2011
khagihara
khagihara, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 6,590
Experience: Trained in the multiple medical fields for many years.
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Any weight change?
When did it start? Is it constant? Is it getting worse? Does anything make it better? Does anything make it worse?
Which is difficult to swallow, liquids, solids, or both?
Do you regurgitate foods?
Do you have acid reflux? Sour taste in the mouth? Heart burns?
Chest pain after drinking a cold drink?
Any other symptoms?
Are you aware of anything which might have brought this on?
Any other medical problem?
Any surgeries?
Any family medical history?
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Any weight change? YES, I SEEM TO HAVE GAINED 4-5 POUNDS.
When did it start? Is it constant? Is it getting worse? Does anything make it better? Does anything make it worse? IT STARTED ABOUT A WEEK AGO, GOT WORSE A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO. NOT EATING SEEMS TO MAKE IT CALM DOWN, BUT THE TIGHTNESS/THICKNESS IS STILL THERE.
Which is difficult to swallow, liquids, solids, or both? IT'S MORE THAT IT'S DIFFICULT TO SWALLOW WHEN I'M SITTING AROUND DOING NOTHING. IF I'M EATING/DRINKING, THINGS ARE PRETTY MUCH WORKING. BUT THEN IT GETS WORSE BECAUSE I'VE EATEN SOMETHING. IF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL.
Do you regurgitate foods? ON OCCASION.
Do you have acid reflux? Sour taste in the mouth? Heart burns? A LITTLE BIT OF ACID REFLUX, I THINK.
Chest pain after drinking a cold drink? NO.
Any other symptoms? NOT REALLY. I FEEL A LITTLE PANICKY THAT THIS COULD BE A REAL PROBLEM, BUT I'M TRYING NOT TO BE A HYPOCHONDRIAC.
Are you aware of anything which might have brought this on? I'VE BEEN OUT OF WORK FOR THE LAST MONTH AND A HALF, AND WILL BE STARTING A NEW JOB ON MONDAY, AS I MENTIONED. I DON'T FEEL NERVOUS ABOUT IT, BUT MAYBE THE GENERAL SENSE OF TRANSITION IS GETTING TO ME. I DON'T KNOW.
Any other medical problem? NO, NOTHING MAJOR.
Any surgeries? LAPAROSCOPY A FEW YEARS AGO (4, I THINK) FOR SOME OVARIAN CAUTERIZATION. FULL RECOVERY. NO MORE BLEEDING.
Any family medical history? OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS? NOT THAT I'M AWARE OF. A FAIR AMOUNT OF DIFFERENT CANCERS, THOUGH. SCARY.
I HAD A THOUGHT THAT I'VE BEEN EATING A BIT MORE MEAT OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS THAN I NORMALLY DO. MAYBE I'M HAVING SOME SORT OF SALT PROBLEM. BEYOND THAT, I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THIS IS COMING FROM.
Do you have the following symptoms?
Raynaud's phenomenon. An exaggerated response to cold temperatures or emotional distress, this condition constricts the small blood vessels in the hands and feet and causes numbness, pain or color changes in the fingers or toes.
Skin changes. These changes may include swollen fingers and hands; thickened patches of skin, particularly on the fingers; and tight skin around the hands, face or mouth. Skin can appear shiny because it's so tight, and movement of the affected area may be restricted.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
All of the temperature-related stuff: yes. I've had cold hands and feet my whole life, regardless of the season. My feet occasionally go a bit purple-y. There is sometimes swelling, especially in my feet. As for the rest: thickened patches of skin, or shininess, there's none of that.
(I was tested for Marfan's a few years ago, by the way, and it's not that.)
Okay. You don't seem to have scleroderma.
It could be due to the stress or anxiety. If you continue to have the symptoms after starting a new job, you should see a doctor.
Any questions?
khagihara
khagihara, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 6,590
Experience: Trained in the multiple medical fields for many years.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Is it common for people with anxiety to feel as though their throats are closing? I guess it probably is. I will likely have a physical soon. How did you rule out scleroderma? Should I ask my GP to rule it out? Should I ask her to run a thyroid test?
Is it possible I'm having an allergic reaction?
Choking sensation or shortness of breath is common with anxiety. You don't have typical symptoms of skin changes with scleroderma. If you have neck swelling and thyroid symptoms (heat or cold intolerance, weight change, fatigue, palpitation, bowel problem, sleep problem, nervousness, hair loss, dry skin, fragile nails, voice change), you should ask her to do it.
You don't seem to have other allergic symptoms.
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khagihara
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