So I have been diagnosed with Asthma for 6 1/2 years. Up to now, I thought I knew what my asthma symptoms were. I have done a lot of reading up on asthma over the years and thought I knew what I was watching for. For me, a chronic cough some shortness of breath have been my main symptoms that I am having asthma problems. I am not a wheezer and my peak flow is usually OK until my asthma gets really bad. I do also have problems when I get sinus infectons as well. I never have asthma problems in the summer unless there are fires or the ozone is in the red zone.
Anyway, on Monday, I started having a stuffy runny nose, runny eyes, sneezing and just feeling bad. I assumed I might be having some allergies that were kicking up. On Tuesday, these symptoms persisted and later in the day I developed a low grade fever and a facial and head ache. I assumed I had developed a sudden sinus infection. On Wednesday morning these symptoms persisted and I started with a minor sore throat and some minor coughing. I was heading out of town for vacation and was worried about suffering with a sinus infection while I was gone. I went to the doctor at that point fully expecting to be put on antibiotics for a sinus infection. Instead, the doctor listened to my symptoms and said it sounded like I was having an asthma flare-up. He then listened to my lungs and confirmed it. I have now added Prednisone for the next week to my regimine of Advair, Singulair and Albuterol for the asthma. These symptoms were just my warning signs that my asthma was getting worse, by Wednesday evening and Thursday, my cough had really set in so I was 'lucky' to start treatment before it got horrible.
The doctor said I was the 3rd person he had seen so far that day for asthma. Evidently we haven't had rain in over a month and that combined with the heat and really low humidity has set the conditions for alot of heavy particulates to be sitting low in the air. There are no current air warnings though so I had no idea how bad the air was.
So I did an internet search when I got home on asthma symptoms and found alot of sites with the same basic stuff: shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, low peak flow, etc... I did another search on Asthma early warning signs and that really opened my eyes. I thought I would share a summary of some of the information I came across during my research. I hope it might help others.
Asthma Early Warning Signs:
itchy or sore throat
dark under eye circles
stuffy, runny or congested nose
mood change--grouchy or extra quiet
itchy, glassy or watery eyes
change in face color- pale or flushed
heart beating faster
Last edited by MountainReader; 07-07-2008 at 07:52 PM.
Reason: input from engineer
Add yay pluwning to the list too I always start yawning before a flare up and my plumol. says it's common ....last time it happend I was having my year end review from my boss....ugh timing is everthing!!
Another thanks for this list. I felt a little funky this morning, and then went to the library to get some work done. Was really irked in the library because my chin was so darned itchy. Thought it must have been a bug bite or something. Then I remembered this thread.
Today I've had:
dark under eye circles
mood change--extra quiet
Accordingly, I did a less intense workout this evening. Still managed to trigger some wheezing and shortness of breathe, but I was careful to stay near home. Still feeling kind of funky, so I'll use the nebulizer before going to bed.
Anyway, thanks again for the list. Maybe it will help me prevent an attack.
These signs have come in handy lately. I have cough variant asthma and had come to rely on the wracking cough as a sign that my asthma was worsening. This year my cough has been much better except in severe attacks. However I have experienced many of your listed early warning signs.
It turns out my PF's corresponded with these symptoms. I felt much better after using my nebulizer on those occasions and my PF's improved. Thanks for the list.
You're welcome. I am glad the list is helping you. I'm all for anything that may head off a bad episode.
This board is such a great way to share those tidbits of information we learn from experience. I've had asthma for years and was amazed how little I knew when I came across this information. Like you, I always thought the cough was my first warning sign too.
Interesting thing for me. My peak flow gets worse with my winter asthma. This summer, I get the cough and wheeze (according to my doc, I can't hear it) even though my peak flow has stayed high. I still haven't figured it out. Bad air and uncontrolled acid both triggering a constant cough but peak flow good. Finishing another round of Prednisone tomorrow so we will see how things go.
I was diagnosed with asthma this past Thursday. Like you I did an internet search and found the same basic asthma symptoms. The asthma early warning signs are a real eye opener. I say that because I had a lot of them. I will now know enough to watch out for them. Thank you MountainReader for posting them.
I'm sorry to hear you have asthma too. Good that you are diagnosed though. I was diagnosed as an adult in my 30's. Looking back, I know I had it long before but it wasn't properly diagnosed. There are so many more symptoms than those that most people associate with asthma.
You might want to keep a log of your symptoms and severity as you are getting to know your asthma. It will help you watch for trends. Also, make sure you get an asthma action plan in place if your doctor didn't give you one. It is important for you to know what to do when you start having symptoms. I have a post from a month or two ago all about asthma action plans if that helps.
Also, if you didn't notice, there is a "sticky" at the top of this board with a summary of all of the asthma early warning signs from this post.
Thank you for the advice and for bumping “About Asthma Action Plans” up for me MountainReader. I think it is safe to say I had asthma long before I was diagnosed as well. Excluding the asthma early warning signs that I had coughing was the only symptom that I really had. I never had it looked at because I just figured it was a cold. The only reason I had it looked at this time was because I have been coughing off and on for two months and the cold medication that I was taking was not helping at all. The doctor prescribed Flovent and Ranitidine, I went for a pulmonary function test yesterday, I see an ears, nose and throat specialist next Tuesday and I go for an upper g. i. one week from this coming Thursday. I have a hiatus hernia which is the reason for next week’s appointments.
There are several main causes of a chronic dry cough.
It sounds like your doctor is covering all bases with the referrals for the ENT and Upper GI testing.
I have fought with a chronic cough for years. Most of the time it is my only asthma symptom. It is also my only symptom for acid reflux. She hiatal hernia shouldn't really make a difference, but if you have a week LES you could have reflux as well.
It may be a weak les that the doctor is looking into. She gave me a printout about gerd with the following information on it:
Causes and Effects
If the valve mechanism that stops digested food in the stomach from flowing back up the esophagus does not function properly, acid juices are able to go up into the esophagus and can sometimes reach the mouth. This acid can irritate, destroy and scar the lining of the esophagus. From the mouth area, the juices can flow into the lungs. The effect of the acid juices on the esophagus, mouth and lungs are what cause the symptoms of gerd. The main cause of gerd is the weakness of the les, the lower esophageal sphincter.
Not all doctors realize the impact of reflux on the lungs and throat. It's good that your doc is persuing this course.
I ended up being treated by a Pulmonologist, ENT/Allergist, Gastroenterologist and Primary Care Physician in trying to get my coughing under control. It took some trial and error in treatments to find a plan that worked for me.
I am glad you and your doctors found a plan that works for your coughing. I will let you know what the results of my test are when I get them. In the meantime I am going to take your advice and work on my asthma action plan and do what I can to track my asthma triggers.