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Chronic wheezing and tightness of airways (no pain)

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Over the course of the past few months I've been experiencing nearly debilitating respiratory symptoms. The most noticeable and aggravating is wheezing. Throughout most of the day and being worse at night, I almost always feel mucus low in my throat, which triggers a cough that is usually not very productive. There have been many nights where I have spent a lot of time face down over the bathroom sink coughing and choking, trying to clear out as much of the phlegm as I can. I also have a sensitive gag reflex, which means that a lot of this typically leads to vomiting.

In addition to the wheezing, I've had a feeling of tightness in my chest, kinda like if I tightened a belt around my ribcage. When I breathe, I don't feel like I'm getting enough oxygen. The tightness isn't constant, though. Sometimes it doesn't feel as bad.

A peculiar feeling I have sometimes is that after I've been lying down for a long time, such as after sleeping, when I sit up I feel as though something is "shifting" in my chest. The best way I can describe the feeling is that it's almost as if there is something that slowly "settles" against the side of my lung(s) while I'm sleeping and then "falls back" once I sit up straight. It's just a really weird feeling.

Along with these symptoms are typical asthmatic type symptoms. I can't really exert myself without feeling like I've run a marathon. When I was at my worst a few weeks ago, I couldn't walk to the mailbox and back (about 60 feet) without stopping for a break.

There is no pain associated with any of these symptoms. No pain in my chest or throat at all. Only the tightness. I also have very little (usually none) upper respiratory congestion, meaning my nasal passages and sinuses are usually normal.

Now for a little history.

I am definitely overweight, and I am currently getting it down. After these symptoms first showed up I noticed that I'd reached an all-time high in my weight. Shortly afterward, I began to lose some pounds. Then, a while after, I gained it back. I realized then that when I had lost the weight, the symptoms seemed to go away, and I had felt mostly better. So, I used this as strong motivation to get myself into gear and start losing weight again. I haven't lost a lot, but I lost more than I did the first time, but the symptoms haven't gone away. They're not AS BAD, but they still torment me.

Being unemployed and without insurance, visiting my family doctor has not been an option. Fortunately my wife is a medical assistant and I was able to see one of her doctors for free. The doc diagnosed me with Restrictive Lung Disease and gave me different inhalers. Long story short, it didn't seem to help much. In fact, one of the inhalers, a Symbicort, actually made me feel a lot worse.

I had a chest Xray done a while back, and nobody seemed to find anything wrong, although my wife said that it didn't seem like it was a very good Xray.

Sometime soon, possibly this week, my wife and I are going to try to find a way to get me in somewhere (possibly county) so that I can find affordable medical attention. I want to get a CT scan and do whatever else necessary so that someone can tell me what the heck is going on. We just can't afford much.

In the meantime, the primary reason for my posting this was to find out if there is anything I can do on my own that will help clear my airways. The wheezing is torture. My wife is spending today doing a deep cleaning of our home, and I'm wanting to get an air purifier to put next to my bed. We have an indoor cat, and we also have a lot of neglected areas in the house that I'm sure contribute to airborne bacteria.

Aside from the cleaning and freshening of the air, are there any OTC medications or home remedies I can try that will help clear my airways? That's extremely important to me.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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