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Old 08-02-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Asthma and deep breaths...

Hello...this is my first time posting as I am a new member. Some backround first before I ask my questions. I had childhood asthma then "outgrew" it later on. I was very athletic in high school and college and all my life. Became an insulin dependent diabetic and presently on the pump. Never had problems with asthma while in Cross-country, Wrestling, and Track in high school or college. About 10 years ago developed coughing and post nasal drip problems during late fall and winter which sometimes required codeine. I am a Health Teacher and am still very active...(until recently). About 6 years ago I had a severe exercise induced asthma attack which almost took my life. I was saved by one of my runners who had an inhaler. Got diagnosed with asthma and was put on prednisone, advair and singulair along with albuterol. It was very difficult for me especially with the prednisone as it upset my blood sugars and put them in the 600+ range which caused all sorts of problems for me. Eventually I weaned myself off of everything (took about 5 months) or so. I took all my carpets out and put in hardwood floors, put in a very expensive air purifier on my furnace and things did get better. I also had an allergy test which showed I was allergic to dust, dust mites, chicken and chocolate etc. And now up to the present...About 7 weeks ago just before school ended I had a few pieces of chicken and some chocolate (due to a low blood sugar), went out dancing and came home feeling like I could not get a deep breath. I called 911 and ended up in the hospital and was released the next day. My doctor put me back on advair and albuterol and atrovent, all it got me was a very hoarse voice and no real improvement at all, in a couple of weeks (after many totally sleepless nights due to fear, anxiety and not being able to get deep breaths) I was switched to flovent, etc and after about 3 weeks of that with no improvement I was again switched to symbicort which seemed to help a very little bit for a couple of days but then had a really bad day yesterday where i almost called 911 again. My problem is that i can blow a 600 on my peak meter but cannot get deep breaths (just maybe about 1 out of 5 or something). I went our for a very slow walk a few days ago and made it for about 200 yards before I was getting all anxious and could not get a deep breath. It's like my alveoli and bronchiole have 'girdles' around them and only let me take a full breath once in awhile. My doctor says he has run out of options and told me to make an appointment with a pulmonologist which I did but cannot get in to see him until August 19th. I have had very little actual sleep over the past 7 weeks and this is affecting my mental health (depression, anxiety, impending feelings of doom etc). My voice is still hoarse, my sleeping is almost non-existent, I feel like a slave in my house and cannot teach or coach in my present state (School starts in 4 weeks). I am getting desperate for answers...please Help!

 
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Old 08-03-2008, 05:22 AM   #2
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

I'm sorry you are having these problems. You should have headed to the pulmonologist 6 years ago when you had the EIA attack. I'm assuming your doc did not refer you at the time. If that is what you have, and it would seem like it since you don't need deep breaths unless you are doing cardio, then the flovent, symbicort, etc will do you no good. The proper treatment for EIA is pre-cardio treatment with albuterol - typically 2 puffs 15-20 minutes before. People with EIA do not need daily preventers. Hope this helps.

 
Old 08-04-2008, 05:53 AM   #3
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

I did see a pulmonologist at that point and it may have been him that put me on prednisone years ago (I have since forgotten). I only saw him once. I was able to get off it after a number of months...but the whole experience was really bad especially with my diabetes...I was up most of the night just going to the bathroom because my blood sugars were so high and then I was worried about insulin reactions because I was dosing myself so much.

My concern at this point is simply being able to get deep breaths.....while the symbicort has helped a little bit...it isn't much. I am at wits end at this point...I simply want to be able to get consistant deep breaths. Yesterday i tried my peak meter and I blew 610. I am 55 and weigh about 149...so I guess that is Ok. It does not reflect my inability to get the deep breaths though. I am fully consious of each breath that I take and I find it hard not to think about it every second. Doing anything physical is out of the question at this point. I am hoping someone out there understands what i am talking about and can give me some suggestions re: other medications I could try. August 19th is still 17 days away. I am reading Dr Frank Pescatore's book the Allergy and Asthma Cure. He is a board certified doctor who uses traditional and alternative treatments...however his office is near NYC and I live near Rochester NY. Any other suggestions?

PS thanks for your comments Titchou

 
Old 08-04-2008, 06:25 AM   #4
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

Why do you feel the need to take deep breaths outside of cardio activity? There really shouldn't be any need to do that. It appears that your respiration is fine...610 is great! Wish mine was that good. At 5'2" and 110 pounds, 350 is sufficient to go about my daily activities. But I do have to use albuterol before jogging as I can't get my breath during cardio otherwise. Perhaps I'm not understanding your issue with the deep breaths.

 
Old 08-05-2008, 04:24 AM   #5
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

I think this sounds more like anxiety to be honest. I suffer from both and I find I'm constantly trying to take deep breaths and only feel tight chested when I do, this is because I am overbreathing and causing myself to hyperventilate! Try to focus your mind elsewhere, your peak flow is fine so it is most likely anxiety causing your symptoms.

 
Old 08-05-2008, 04:32 AM   #6
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

This is the same reaction I have received from my doctor. All I can tell you is that I cannot get deep breaths and cannot do anything physical without being out of breath or that requires me to talk for extended periods ( I am a teacher and that is part of my job). I know it sounds strange, however It is very difficult to sleep...when I struggle to get deep breaths it seems to make things worse and my anxiety level goes up and it's a downward spiral from there. I usually have to get up and walk around or get in a recliner position with my head up. It's like there is a "girdle" around my bronchiole or alveoli that prevents me from getting deep breaths which we all need....I simply have real difficulty doing that. The other problem with the breathing exercises (Butenkyo Breathing) is that my nose is plugged alot in the evenings which stresses me out. I use nasal rinses and stay away from decongestants and that helps somewhat. I am presently looking at what would happen if I went on disability (to my health insurance) as I need that when i retire at the end of next year.

 
Old 08-05-2008, 06:03 AM   #7
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

I agree that it seems like anxiety. Have you tried any anxiety drugs?

 
Old 08-05-2008, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

Ross52,

I am so sorry for what you are suffering - how frightening for you. I have asthma, HBP, and Reflux (GERD, pretty severe actually)...

Before I was diagnosed with the reflux my breathing was HORRIBLE and like you I could not take deep breaths. Many times the medications for asthma can cause or exacerbate reflux.

Perhaps this could be a contributing factor in your breathing issues... A hiatal hernia (also associated with reflux) can cause breathing problems - especially with the deep breathing stuff and shortness of breath. You can get an endoscopy done to check for reflux and hiatal hernia. Treating this with a PPI (Nexium, Prevacid, etc.) - could improve your breathing. It has helped mine.

Also, anxiety does contribute and when you are worried it does inhibit breathing (I am a SUPER worrier anxious type person - this also contributes significantly to my breathing problems.

Perhaps a look at the 'whole package' is in order to get you on the right track.

Best of luck to you and I hope that you find relief SOON.

Vanessa

 
Old 08-06-2008, 05:51 AM   #9
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

Thank you for your response Vanessa...it is sooooo hard to make people understand that while my peak meter breaths are normal, including my spirometer readings (although on the lower end of normal according to my doctor)...that you can still suffer from problems with getting deep breaths. My x-rays (both front and side) show no obstruction. This is my second week on symbicort and my voice is a little better and so is my ability to get deep breaths although it is negligible at best. I have been so frustrated that I drove to Buffalo NY (an hours drive away...I live in Rochester) to get a second opinion from a board certified doctor who also practices alternative medicine (which is not covered by my insurance and extremely expensive). She is deals alot with allergies and diet etc. My appointment to my pulmonologist isn't until August 14th (which to me seems like an eternity away) but that's the earliest i can get in. My allergist also put me on Prilosec before breakfast and supper to see if that changes things. Having been so athletic and physically fit up until about 7 weeks ago and being at the point that taking a short walk or even having an extended conversation is tiring is really tough. The stress from the possibility of not being able to teach, losing my health insurance totally if I lose more than 31 days of teaching due to this situation...is very scary for me. I have been listening to music, watching TV, doing breathing exercises and everything I can think of to reduce my stress. All this to say thank you for understanding...I know this is not simply "all in my mind" because my inability to get deep breaths is there whether i think about it or not.

 
Old 08-06-2008, 06:02 AM   #10
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

No....I have resisted that because i already feel like a walking drug store being a diabetic, and asthmatic. I also have a very rare viral disorder called mollerets meningitis which i take Valtrex for. I get severe viral meningitis attacks that put me in the hospital and leave me very weak for about 2 weeks or so. The last time i took a sleeping medication at home (Ambien) I was told I was walking around during the night with my clothes half on (I went to bed in my PJ's and I was not even aware that I was up) I wasn't making much sense and I was fooling around with my insulin pump. I am thankful that my family caught me before I did anything serious. I did get about 4 and 1/2 hours sleep last night...which is better than nothing. I cannot sleep in the daytime for some reason...I have tried many times.

 
Old 08-06-2008, 12:02 PM   #11
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Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

Ross,

You have had a LOT to deal with - and I do not believe that it is "all in your head" - it used to hurt me so bad when people told me that about my breathing - because although I was diagnosed with asthma all of my Pulmonary Function tests came back NORMAL - so of course I must be making it up -- NOT !!! They feeling of SEVERE chest tightness, not being able to get deep breaths in, yawning a lot, feeling breathless and lightheaded was not something that I was making up.

Not being able to breath right (in my opinion) is one of the most scary feelings in the WORLD... I was so hesitant to believe my Dr. that it could be related to my stomach??? At the time I was not even having any heartburn (I do get that now pretty bad LOL) - anyway I was so hesitant to start the Prevacid - but am SO GRATEFUL that I did...

For me it took about (3) months to see a marked difference - and I still have bad days -but I do feel better - and less anxious. I also radically changed my diet to a reflux friendly type of eating (no chocolate, caffeine, tomatos, citrus, spicy, fatty, etc.) - its better for a body anyway.

Please let me know how the Prilosec works for you - I will be praying for your health and recovery.

Best wishes,

Vanessa

 
Old 08-06-2008, 12:29 PM   #12
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Exclamation Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

HI Ross , have you tried yoga or any other form of slow easy, honestly I've been having major problems getting a deep breath for around 3 years now and yoga seem to really do the trick for me. I have very severe asthma and I'm lucky when my peak flow hits over 300 (I'm a 38 year old female 5'8 180ish lbs so that is verrrry low )....which freaks my poor family out but for me it's the fact that I can't seem to get a deep or complete breath , I feel like I'm starving for air most of the time ,and it's definatly not stress doing it to me either (I'm a pretty happy go lucky type of girl. I just find the yoga seems to strenghten my lungs and allows me to get a breath just a little deeper..wich makes a world of dfference. And a good thing to know ..if your having difficulty breathing get you're tush to the ER ..there is no wait time for breathign isssues...i've been taken in before people with bones sticking threw their skin....air isn't something we can live with out ! And try to think possitive about going back to school , only one more year till retirement :P Lucky guy!!Goood luck with tht especialist there is some great ones out there!!

 
Old 08-06-2008, 07:08 PM   #13
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Unhappy Re: Asthma and deep breaths...

Thanks for your comments Vanessa and Engineer! Today has been an interesting day nevertheless! It is so nice seeing that there are others that truly understand what i am experiencing...I have not tried yoga but am practicing the Butenko Breathing exercises as best as I can and they do help...but not enough. Today i am having an additional problem. My blood sugars are skyrocketing! I first noticed it last night but I thought it was a fluke. I am on the pump and I gave myself a normal dose and my blood sugars just kept skyrocketing it is 340 as i speak and this is after giving myself 4 times my normal "supper" dose and taking 3 very slow walks (which I pleased to be able to do for the first time). I am very tired right now and since frequent urination is one of the side effects of high blood sugars...it does not look good for sleep tonight.I just found out now after doing some research on the net that high blood sugars are a side efect for some people....I wish my doctor would have told me...he knew I am a diabetic...he at least should have warned me about it. Well....I have my appointment tomorrow in Buffalo NY and I will be hooked to an IV for 4 hours for allergy testing, again on Friday for another 4 hours and again on Sat for 5 hours. I do appreciate your prayers Vanessa....what a summer...

 
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