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Old 04-09-2005, 08:30 PM   #1
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Question Asthma questions...

Last Monday I was diagnosed in the ER with both asthma and pneumonia, and put on a variety of meds. (Atrovent & Albuterol for the asthma, Prednisone & Zithromax for the pneumonia.) Wednesday I went for a follow-up with my regular doctor, who added Singulair at bedtime, for the asthma & to help with seasonal allergies. This morning when I woke up, I didn't have any wheezing, but I felt tight and almost like my lungs were really heavy. I don't really know how else to describe it, except that it felt like there was a weight on my chest. It disappeared after taking my meds. Now when they diagnosed me with asthma I was wheezing really really badly, and have still had some of that off & on all week.

So what I'm wondering is this: Is the heavy feeling an asthma thing, or is that more likely from the pneumonia?

I don't know for sure what non-wheezing asthma feels like since the few times I've had any symptoms were all the wheezy type. (May have had the other and didn't know what it was, though, since I had had the wheezy type before and didn't know at the time what it was, either.)

I've seen several of you describe that you have the 'tightness', and was also wondering, how do you feel that tightness? Can you say, "This is definately the bronchials that are tight and nothing else is affected", or is it more of, "The bronchials are tight, but my whole upper chest feels tight because of it" ?

Thanks for the info! Right now I'm trying to separate out what is directly caused by the asthma and what is from the pneumonia. My doc said to take the Albuterol more often than the official prescription if I was having problems with the asthma, but I want to make sure that it really is the asthma, and not the pneumonia, before I take extra Albuterol.

Melissa

 
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Old 04-10-2005, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: Asthma questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelissaNC
Last Monday I was diagnosed in the ER with both asthma and pneumonia, and put on a variety of meds. (Atrovent & Albuterol for the asthma, Prednisone & Zithromax for the pneumonia.) Wednesday I went for a follow-up with my regular doctor, who added Singulair at bedtime, for the asthma & to help with seasonal allergies. This morning when I woke up, I didn't have any wheezing, but I felt tight and almost like my lungs were really heavy. I don't really know how else to describe it, except that it felt like there was a weight on my chest. It disappeared after taking my meds. Now when they diagnosed me with asthma I was wheezing really really badly, and have still had some of that off & on all week.

So what I'm wondering is this: Is the heavy feeling an asthma thing, or is that more likely from the pneumonia?

I don't know for sure what non-wheezing asthma feels like since the few times I've had any symptoms were all the wheezy type. (May have had the other and didn't know what it was, though, since I had had the wheezy type before and didn't know at the time what it was, either.)

I've seen several of you describe that you have the 'tightness', and was also wondering, how do you feel that tightness? Can you say, "This is definately the bronchials that are tight and nothing else is affected", or is it more of, "The bronchials are tight, but my whole upper chest feels tight because of it" ?

Thanks for the info! Right now I'm trying to separate out what is directly caused by the asthma and what is from the pneumonia. My doc said to take the Albuterol more often than the official prescription if I was having problems with the asthma, but I want to make sure that it really is the asthma, and not the pneumonia, before I take extra Albuterol.

Melissa

The discomfort is probably a combination of the asthma and the pneumonia. Seeing that pneumonia is a pulminary infection, taking the albuterol isn't going to hurt.

 
Old 04-24-2005, 07:01 AM   #3
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Re: Asthma questions...

Just a question? Did you get a peak flow meter to help you determine when you are having an asthma episode?

~ask your doctor for one if not.

 
Old 04-24-2005, 07:06 AM   #4
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Re: Asthma questions...

Actually, I am concerned about how you were diagnosed with asthma...... NHLBI standards require a Pulmonary Function test be done to diagnose asthma Officially. Now that isn't to say your diagnosis is wrong, but its an official test to help determine your reversibility.

Basically a Pre and Post Bronchodilator PFT is where you go and take the PFT, take a bronchodilator, wait a bit, then do the PFT again. I believe your FEV1 (forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second) has to have an increase of > 12 % after the bronchodilator for asthma to be the diagnosis.

Usually (maybe somewhere out there they are) PFT's are not done at the ER. Your primary doc should be able to order one for you. You will want to get the pnemonia under control first (I think) but make sure you ask about how long before the test you should cease the asthma meds.

Just some helpful info
~When in doubt, ask your doc.

 
Old 04-24-2005, 08:32 AM   #5
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Re: Asthma questions...

I think it's probably the pneumonia but agree with the others about asking your doc. Also, there is a strain of pneumonia that causes asthma in adults.
That's how I acquired the darned condition!

 
Old 04-26-2005, 05:22 AM   #6
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Re: Asthma questions...

Yes, I did get a peak flow meter, unfortunately we didn't have any pre-attack readings to compare to. In the hospital, they did basically exactly what you described. Tested with a peak flow meter (I got around 80-100 for the reading...I remember looking at it, but couldn't see exactly which of those two lines it was on because I was so shaky from fighting to breathe), then gave me an Albuterol treatment, waited a bit, then tested again (up to 200), another Albuterol treatment, waited a few, then tested again (up to 350), another treatment, another wait, another test (up to 400). They also gave me oral steroids, IV rehydration, oral antibiotics, and Atrovent. After I was breathing okay again is when they heard 'something' in my left lung. They had also taken chest x-rays and bloodwork, and when they checked the film they could see the fluid in my lung and diagnosed the pneumonia, too. I should mention that I'd had minor asthma symptoms off & on for about 6 months, but just didn't know what they were at the time. After the attack, I recognized what had been going on. I went back to my regular doctor on the 15th and was still wheezing a lot and having problems with tightness & s.o.b. He checked everything out and said that the pneumonia was gone and this was all asthma. He asked me a lot of questions about the medicines I was taking, and how I was feeling, and one thing he asked was do I get a lot of reflux...I told him that I was only getting it after taking the Atrovent, but almost every time then. He said that he wanted to take me off of that because he felt that it was just aggrevating the situation. So he did, and he put me on another course of steroids and switched me to Advair. I've been on it for a week & a half, and everything has calmed down so well! I finished off the steroids and am still doing fine. I think the Atrovent was causing a good bit of it, because everytime I took it it was like I'd inhaled butane or something...very nasty taste, burned my throat, and caused reflux. The Advair has caused no problems and has actually kept things under control quite well (plus it doesn't taste bad, which is a big plus). The wheezing is gone, the tightness is gone, and the s.o.b. is gone. I have gone from using the Albuterol inhaler 15-20 puffs a day down to 2-4 puffs in a week! This week the only time I've used it was after I mowed the yard, at which point I did get a little wheezy & really tight. (I think I'm going to stop by the hardware store and pick up some of those masks to wear from now on when I'm mowing so I don't suck in all that junk.) Anyway, I go back on Thursday for a re-check, and to get another prescription for the Advair. Oh, one other thing, when I went to my regular doc a couple of days after the ER trip, he put me on Singulair at night to help with the allergies and such. At first it seemed to help a bit, but after a little while it didn't seem to help at all anymore (different allergans, maybe?). I ran out of free samples a few days ago and just started taking OTC Claritin, and it's worked great. I'm going to ask for sure when I go back Thursday, but I think I may just stick with the Claritin.

 
Old 04-26-2005, 07:43 AM   #7
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Re: Asthma questions...

One suggestion...forget the mask and just use the albuterol 15 minutes before mowing the grass...I do it and it works fine. Also do it before I jog and have no trouble breathing for the whole 2 miles or afterwards. The masks make my face itch (have skin allergies too) so that's why I don't wear them...guess I could use a surgical mask though...heck, the albuterol is easier!

 
Old 04-26-2005, 07:12 PM   #8
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Re: Asthma questions...

Thanks, Titchou! I was going to ask my doc when I go Thursday if I should do something special before strenuous activity. My family is entered in a Dog Jog to benefit our local Humane Society next Saturday (weather permitting - keeping my fingers crossed XXX), and I don't want to have any problems. Plus, mowing the yard is my self-appointed job and I don't want to be gasping during or afterwards! I appreciate the advice...it will be invaluable, I know!

Melissa

 
Old 04-26-2005, 07:13 PM   #9
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Re: Asthma questions...

PS...invaluable does mean 'worth too much to put a value on', doesn't it? Should have checked my dictionary before posting to be sure, LOL...

 
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