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What could cause these tight chest and shallow breathing?

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My husband has been having these symptoms constantly, non-stop for nearly 8 weeks now:
- tight chest
- shallow breathing which leads to dizziness

These symptoms are not triggered by anything. He just feels it all the time now. He has never experienced anything like this
before.

He had an ECG test and a full bloodtest.
The ECG test showed "T wave", which the doctor indicated the possibility of high potassium, however, we were told it was still
overall normal.
The blood test result revealed a high potassium level of 5.2 mmol/L. He was prescribed Furosemide, a Diuretic 40mg tablet to take once daily for four consecutive days.
He was also advised to avoid high potassium foods.
He followed all of the doctor's advise.
While on the diuretic tablet, his chest pain significantly decreased, his breathing massively improved.
Two days after stopping the diuretic tablet, he had his blood test for potassium.

We received today his blood test result and the potassium is now 4.0 mmol/L.
Unfortunately, the tight chest and shallow breathing are back and are becoming more persistent.
It has been 5 days since he stopped the diuretic tablet.
As advised by the doctor, he had another ECG test and the results are almost the same as the first ECG test when his potassium was high.
Due to the persistent symptoms, we were advised by the doctor to do another blood test because it might be possible that his
body is not processing potassium properly.

As far as medical history, my husband has the following:
- He had a kidney stone around about the year 2008
- Gilbert's disease
- As a child, he is allergic to animal fur. When exposed to it, it triggers an asthma attack.

Other useful info about him are:
- 38 year old Male
- Caucasian descent

What could be the other possible causes of these persistent symptoms (tight chest, shallow breathing)?

Any opinion on these symptoms is much appreciated.

Thank You
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replied June 30th, 2012
Elevated potassium levels are most often related to kidney disease. Electrocardiographic changes due to elevated potassium usually occur at levels higher than 5.2 mmol/L. It may be that the potassium story with your husband is not the issue.
The patient's symptoms are recurrent chest tightness, shallow breathing and dizziness - but these symptoms in themselves do not suggest a sigificant diagnosis. One wonders if the physical examination by the doctor revealed any clues.
Breathing is an automatic process, and when we become aware of it - we "screw it up." The sensation of not being able to take a deep breath is most often emotional in origin.
Please be aware that I am unable to diagnose medical conditions online.


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