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Old 09-06-2007, 07:46 AM   #1
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Question about chest heaviness & coughing

I was diagnosed with asthma last November after a long bout with bronchitis. It is very likely I have had mild asthma since childhood due to symptoms and just was not diagnosed.

After various trials, I ended up on Pulmicort since April. It was working fine until a couple days ago (I switched to the flexhaler from the turbohaler a month ago which may have made a difference, who knows). I woke up with chest heaviness that I had not felt since April. I went to the asthma doctor yesterday, because I don't mess with asthma! My Pft's were down, and she heard me wheezing so changed my meds to the new combo Symbicort (anyone take this?).

Well, this morning, I am coughing more and it's a wet cough. My chest is still heavy, but my breathing is okay. My question is....does this mean I have a virus/cold that affected my lungs? Or is this all an asthma attack or asthma symptoms? Am I sick with something or just dealing with asthma alone?

Thanks for any insight!

 
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:45 AM   #2
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Have you tried your rescue inhaler? Did it help? You don't say what part of the country you are in but that could have a bearing on it. Here in Alabama I've had to use my albuterol some this season because we are in a severe drought situation (only area of the country!) and we had two weeks of over 100 degree weather. I upped my Flovent to try and compensate but that doesn't always take care of it.

 
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Symbicort is a combo medicine that contains both a corticosteroid (budesonide) and a broncodilator (formoterol). I guess it is similar to Advair in that respect. However budesonide is the same medicine (anti inflamitory corticosteroid) found in Pulmicort which you said stopped working for you. Advair contains fluticasone as its anti inflamatory and if the Symbicort doesn't work for you might be a better choice as a combo drug.

However you didn't say if you started the Symbicort yet. In any case I would assume it would take at least a few days, probably longer to work properly.

 
Old 09-07-2007, 05:38 PM   #4
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
Have you tried your rescue inhaler? Did it help? You don't say what part of the country you are in but that could have a bearing on it. Here in Alabama I've had to use my albuterol some this season because we are in a severe drought situation (only area of the country!) and we had two weeks of over 100 degree weather. I upped my Flovent to try and compensate but that doesn't always take care of it.
Well, I haven't had problems breathing. I just had the heaviness and a cough starting. I did not think the rescue inhaler was for that. I thought it was just for breathing, and if one needed to use it then the daily meds were not working well. Is that not correct?

 
Old 09-07-2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Quote:
Originally Posted by geraldatwork View Post
Symbicort is a combo medicine that contains both a corticosteroid (budesonide) and a broncodilator (formoterol). I guess it is similar to Advair in that respect. However budesonide is the same medicine (anti inflamitory corticosteroid) found in Pulmicort which you said stopped working for you. Advair contains fluticasone as its anti inflamatory and if the Symbicort doesn't work for you might be a better choice as a combo drug.

However you didn't say if you started the Symbicort yet. In any case I would assume it would take at least a few days, probably longer to work properly.
Well, the budesonide was working for awhile. The doctor thought that adding the formoterol would increase its effectiveness. This is day 3, and I am feeling an improvement already.

I was on Advair for several months until I started getting leg achiness and was eating nonstop. I am not sure it was the Advair, but I am thinking it was.

Thank you for your input. I really appreciated it!

 
Old 09-09-2007, 02:54 PM   #6
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Well, I spoke too soon.

I've been feeling worse since yesterday. Major chest heaviness and discomfort that is not going away

Does anyone have any suggestions? I've been taking my Xopenex every 4-6 hours, and it's not helping enough. I'm afraid I will have to do another round of Prednisone to get over this. I haven't had to take it since April and dread doing it again.

 
Old 09-09-2007, 03:27 PM   #7
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

My son always ended up with chronic coughing and chest tightness after a bout with the flu or cold. He was diagnosed as having "spasmodic croup" and was on Singulair for 2 years. He'd have it at least every 2 months. It would restrict him immensely and last about 2 weeks. Starting gradual and then getting worse...and finally tapering off. Then start up all over again in another month. Horrible for any child or adult!! Finally, I took him in to his Pulmonary Specialist in the midst of another "croup attack". "Oh my" said the doctor. "We are having a severe asthma attack". So, a couple injections of steriods to the bum... several days of breathing treatments with the nebulizer at home and now being treated for Asthma with Advair, Singulair, DuoNeb, and Zyrtec..... I have a new son! The mixture of meds allowed us nearly 6 months without an attack. We had some slight instances when he would start coughing and clearing his throat... but I would break out the nebulizer and keep his bronchioles wide open to prevent restriction. It worked well. The doctor did some allergy testing with my son and low and behold.... he's allergic to so many things. He's now been diagnosed with "Allergy related Asthma". Allergic to Beef, Chicken, most fruits, chocolate, cats, dogs,dust, pollen, mold, grass, palm trees (great we're in Florida). There are actually 32 things on his trigger list... but I thought I'd mention the most commonly eaten foods. So, knowing his triggers... we've avoided them to the best of our abilility. Now we are almost a year and a half without any asthma attacks.
I really think many people have such sensitivities to food aside from outdoors and eat themselves right into an asthma episode.
Keep this in mind. Maybe consider some form of allergy testing. It took us nearly 4 years to figure out our son's true trigger. And now with the right meds, he's doing fabulous.
Goodluck to all of you who suffer from this frustrating condition.

 
Old 09-09-2007, 04:44 PM   #8
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinky3 View Post
Well, I haven't had problems breathing. I just had the heaviness and a cough starting. I did not think the rescue inhaler was for that. I thought it was just for breathing, and if one needed to use it then the daily meds were not working well. Is that not correct?
Any time you can't breathe properly, whether it's from coughing due to asthma (not a cold or food going down the wrong way, etc!), heaviness, whatever, you need a puff of the rescue inhaler. And if you have to use it more than a couple of times a week, and all known triggers are accounted for, then your asthma is not under control. I think you need allergy testing and maybe an adjustment in your asthma meds.

 
Old 09-09-2007, 10:24 PM   #9
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

I did get allergy testing in the spring. Right before I was going to start my shots, I came down with thyroiditis so never did it. I am going to start shots as soon as possible. I will have to ask them to order the vials again.

In the meantime, my meds were adjusted last week and did not help. Is it still possible to adjust meds more (I'm taking 4 puffs a day of Symbicort) w/o resorting to oral steroids? I'm afraid my asthma flare up may have reached the point of no return.

 
Old 09-09-2007, 10:26 PM   #10
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayday613 View Post
My son always ended up with chronic coughing and chest tightness after a bout with the flu or cold. He was diagnosed as having "spasmodic croup" and was on Singulair for 2 years. He'd have it at least every 2 months. It would restrict him immensely and last about 2 weeks. Starting gradual and then getting worse...and finally tapering off. Then start up all over again in another month. Horrible for any child or adult!! Finally, I took him in to his Pulmonary Specialist in the midst of another "croup attack". "Oh my" said the doctor. "We are having a severe asthma attack". So, a couple injections of steriods to the bum... several days of breathing treatments with the nebulizer at home and now being treated for Asthma with Advair, Singulair, DuoNeb, and Zyrtec..... I have a new son! The mixture of meds allowed us nearly 6 months without an attack. We had some slight instances when he would start coughing and clearing his throat... but I would break out the nebulizer and keep his bronchioles wide open to prevent restriction. It worked well. The doctor did some allergy testing with my son and low and behold.... he's allergic to so many things. He's now been diagnosed with "Allergy related Asthma". Allergic to Beef, Chicken, most fruits, chocolate, cats, dogs,dust, pollen, mold, grass, palm trees (great we're in Florida). There are actually 32 things on his trigger list... but I thought I'd mention the most commonly eaten foods. So, knowing his triggers... we've avoided them to the best of our abilility. Now we are almost a year and a half without any asthma attacks.
I really think many people have such sensitivities to food aside from outdoors and eat themselves right into an asthma episode.
Keep this in mind. Maybe consider some form of allergy testing. It took us nearly 4 years to figure out our son's true trigger. And now with the right meds, he's doing fabulous.
Goodluck to all of you who suffer from this frustrating condition.
I am so glad your son is doing better. I am so thankful that none of my children have asthma. I can't imagine how scary that must be. Thank you for sharing your experience.

 
Old 09-10-2007, 06:57 AM   #11
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Pinky: Yes, you may be beyond what the inhalers can do since you didn't use the rescue when the flare up started. If oyu don't get ahead of it at the first inkling, you might not be able to with the inhalers. I'd see your doc...

 
Old 09-10-2007, 11:04 AM   #12
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
Pinky: Yes, you may be beyond what the inhalers can do since you didn't use the rescue when the flare up started. If oyu don't get ahead of it at the first inkling, you might not be able to with the inhalers. I'd see your doc...
Thank you for your response. This may be a silly question, but using the rescue inhaler during a flare up can reverse the flare up and decrease the chances of it getting out of control? I thought it was just a "bandaid" and would only help the symptoms but not fix the problem.

I've only been diagnosed since last November, so this still is a bit of a learning process for me.

 
Old 09-10-2007, 01:25 PM   #13
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

If say you are having an attack because you walked into a smoky bar...you use the albuterol - or whatever rescue inhaler you have - and leave the bar. Attack goes away. No big deal. Once you remove the offending thing and medicate to get you breathing while you remove yourself - or it, then that's all you need to do. It's when you continue to need the rescue when no apparent trigger is about.

Like I said about this summer (and keep in mind I've had asthma for about 12 years), the 105 degree weather here with no rain for over a month sent everyone off the deep end. I'd wake up in the night with that little tickle of a cough or a little gasp for breath. One hit of the albuterol and I was fine. Added a puff a day of my FLovent, as instructed previously by my doctor, and went on about my business. It probably happened 4 times in a one month period. Now that the rains have come and the temps moderated, I'm back to regular dosage of Flovent and no problems.

If you find yourself using your resuce inhaler twice a week or more, oyu aren't under control. You need to go back to your doc and get an understanding of what's causing the problem and how to correct it. You may need a different med or dose. You may need allergy testing and injections. You may just need to add an antihistamine to your regimen at certain times.
Everyone is different and you have to work with your doc to find out how to control YOUR case of asthma. All I can do is tell you how I control mine.

And I'm a jogger too...I have to take 2 puffs of the albuterol 20 minutes before jogging...then I can run as long as the legs hold out (which isn;t all that long for a 61 year old woman!)

Good luck!

 
Old 09-10-2007, 05:00 PM   #14
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

Thank you again, Titchou.

I think I understand better now. My dr. put me on oral steroids to get over this hump. I just hope that once I get over it, the Symbicort will keep it under control. I wonder how likely adding the Foradil will help since the Budenoside is now only 160mcg per puff.

Your jogging ability impresses me!

 
Old 09-10-2007, 09:38 PM   #15
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Re: Question about chest heaviness & coughing

You are obviously in another country as I am not familiar with all the drugs you are on....

And as for the jogging, I'm a stubborn old broad...jogged two miles one week after having my gallbladder out...mostly to prove I could....at age 59.....

 
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