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Old 12-20-2009, 09:12 PM   #1
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Unhappy Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Ok so I was diagnosed with asthma at age 20 and I am 26 now. I have never had any really severe problems other than a chronic cough. I have been to the ER once in those 6 yrs until recently. About two and a half weeks ago I started with a cold. Well a week into it I started feeling better and on the 11th I was ok besides I was a little hoarse and had a little bit of a cough but I noticed my asthma was flaring up a bit so I used my inhaler a couple times throughout the day. I went to a get together at my friends house and when I came home about 1130 that night I literally started with the worst attack of my life. I just couldnt move air in at all it seemed. I tried to start a Neb treatment but was soo out of breath I couldnt focus and once I got it going I wasn't really getting much of it in. Dad called 911 and I swear those 6 or so minutes seemed like an hr! The EMTs literally put O2 on me right away checked my lungs and out the door we went. I had a second breathing treatment on the way to the ER. My O2 was only down to 90 but to me it might have well been 0 is how it felt. Needless to say I spent the night in the ER and had more breathing treatments and shots and the doctor said it was triggered from a viral infection (the cold I had had)

I was sent home with Prednisone (started with 80mgs a day and weaned down over 9 days) and was told to continue my Advair I take and do Neb treatments every 3-4 hrs. I wasn't any better and the hospital actually called me that Monday and told me they were making me a followup appt with a doctor. I went to her and she didn't like my cough but my lungs were clear. She told me to keep up the Prednisone and all and see her back in two days. Went back Wed and they put me on an antibiotic (Z-pack) "just to make sure" as my lungs still are clear. I also was able to get my Singulair filled for the first time in almost a yr so I am now back on that. She took me off the Neb treatments as I have some heart issues too and it was causing my heart to act up a bit. She said to continue using my inhaler every 4 hrs as needed.

Well, I am now done with all my meds and continuing my Advair and Singulair and all but I am STILL having lots of tightness in my lungs it feels like and just can't hardly speak a sentence without getting short of breath. Also, to get up and do anything around the house makes me short of breath as well. I have had to use my inhaler twice today and even do a Neb treatment a lil while ago. I am at a loss here and I hate to keep running to the doctor when I don't have insurance. It starts to get expensive and I already have an almost $5000 ER bill now to pay for

 
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:40 PM   #2
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Severe asthma attacks can be really scary.

I too take Advair and Singulair. When my asthma flares, I go on Prednisone. Typically, it is about 10-17 days at a time, depending on which doctor I see. It is my Pulmonologist who puts me on the 17 day tapers when my asthma is bad. I also end up using my inhaler a lot and ofter end up on antibiotics as well.

It sounds like your asthma if far from being under control. I hate to tell you this, but it really would be good to see your doctor again.

Do you know what triggered this attack? Is it something you are still exposed to? I know cold air and pollution are killers for my asthma. I have both here right now. Infections also lead in to bad asthma flares for me also.

I've had periods of time when my asthma is flared like yours and I end up at the doctor up to a couple times a week. I once asked my doc if I was being a hypochondriac, but she said that my symptoms were very real and we needed to work together to get things under control.

I also carry around an Epi-pen with me. It isn't just for allergy attacks. It can also be used in a severe asthma attack. It helps open up the airways quickly and gives you time to get emergency care. I had one given to me at my doctor's office a couple years during a very severe attack and within 10 minutes, I was back breathing better. That was my scariest attack ever. I couldn't talk and my fingers, lips and toes were tingly and turning purple because of lack of oxygen. I was stupid not to go to the ER, but when I started for the care it wasn't that bad. The ephinephrine helped open things up fast and saved my life. Might be something you want to ask about.

Good luck getting things back under control.

Last edited by MountainReader; 12-20-2009 at 09:55 PM.

 
Old 12-21-2009, 02:32 AM   #3
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Hey Mountain,

I am new to this Forum and I'm glad to be a part of this forum. I came to know about my asthma one year back. My asthma gets worse when I feel stressed. I start wheezing heavily and my breathing starts to get labored. I started taking advair a little over a week ago and I didn't like it at all. It made me feel dizzy and I have anxiety disorder with panic attacks so when I heard about advair causing sudden death in some asthmatics it made me very nervous. Just want to know if others have taken advair and what side effects it gave them.


Swanlogan

 
Old 12-21-2009, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Most people have no problems with the Advair. There are some who do have side effects though. Yours seems like one of the more common ones for people who have responded on this board. For me it has been a lifesaver. I've been on it for years now with no problems. I started on 100/50, eventually went to 250/50 then things got worse and I went to 500/50. I stayed there for about 3 years. Went back to the 250/50 dose this year with the 500/50 when I "flare". I also rely on Prednisone when things get bad. What dosage did they start you out with? How do you do with Albuterol or another rescue inhaler? Do you have some of the same kinds of reactions?

There are other options. Many people have good luck with Symbicort as well.


By the way, if I hear wheezing, I know things are serious. My primary symptom is a non-stop cough and not being able to catch my breath.

 
Old 12-22-2009, 12:44 AM   #5
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Hey Mountain,

Thank you so much for the information.Recently I got asthma attack and been hospitalized for a month and become breathless. I had got trouble in talking also. My lips and fingernails turned bluish color. From that time onwards I visit pulmonologist on a regular bases and get advices from him.I am fine with Albuterol.

Last edited by swanlogan; 12-22-2009 at 12:53 AM.

 
Old 12-22-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Swanlogan,

You are welcome. I'm glad to hear you are doing better.

Do you have a written asthma action plan in place with your Pulmonologist?

Mine includes information on what to do at all stages. He prescribed me the Advair 500/50 (regularly on 250/50), Prednisone and antibiotics to begin treating myself if things start getting bad do I don't have to wait for an appointment.

It took me way too long to get my asthma under control. I'm a strong proponent of the asthma action plans.

My Pulmonologist strongly recommends yearly flu shots and the pneumonia shot. I'm allergic to the ingredients in the second, but I made sure go get both flu shots this year.

 
Old 12-24-2009, 02:37 AM   #7
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainReader View Post
Swanlogan,

You are welcome. I'm glad to hear you are doing better.

Do you have a written asthma action plan in place with your Pulmonologist?

Mine includes information on what to do at all stages. He prescribed me the Advair 500/50 (regularly on 250/50), Prednisone and antibiotics to begin treating myself if things start getting bad do I don't have to wait for an appointment.

It took me way too long to get my asthma under control. I'm a strong proponent of the asthma action plans.

My Pulmonologist strongly recommends yearly flu shots and the pneumonia shot. I'm allergic to the ingredients in the second, but I made sure go get both flu shots this year.
Hey Mountain,

Thank you for the info. I don't have an action plan with me. Will check with my pulmonologist. Also I am not satisfied with the tests taken by my doctor. What kind of tests are conducted to diagnose asthma? Can anyone help me out?

 
Old 12-28-2009, 02:54 AM   #8
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

I need to know why my post has been reported as Bad post. Please let me know the reasons.

 
Old 12-28-2009, 05:09 AM   #9
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

The usual first test is a pulmonary function test (PFT) where you blow into a tube, then ue albuterol and see if it improves. If that's inconclusive or they want more info,you can do a methocholine challenge. I've not had that so I can't describe it.

 
Old 12-29-2009, 04:18 AM   #10
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
The usual first test is a pulmonary function test (PFT) where you blow into a tube, then ue albuterol and see if it improves. If that's inconclusive or they want more info,you can do a methocholine challenge. I've not had that so I can't describe it.
Hey Titchou,

Thank you so much for the information. I came to know about my asthma one year back and they did pulmonary function test for me. In my recent research I come across a test called Exhaled Nitric Oxide which is used to monitor asthma level in patients. I have come across medical journals, which states that Measuring Nitric Oxide (NO) from the breath (during exhalation) has proven to be a useful tool for some asthma specialists in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Any information about this?

 
Old 12-29-2009, 05:11 AM   #11
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

No, I haven't. I've had athma for about 15 years and it is very, very well controlled on one puff of Flovent a day and pre-medicating with albuterol before jogging. Otherwise, the last time I used my albuterol for shortness of breath was about 2-1/2 years ago when we had 100 degree weather for 2 sstraight weeks during the drought. So, since I'm doing so well, we don't really bother with much at my 8 month's check ups other than to listen to my lungs, etc. Perhaps someone else on here has heard of it and can give you some info.

 
Old 12-29-2009, 03:40 PM   #12
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

I'd say that the best "test" to diagnose asthma is a good medical history by your doctor. My Pulmonologist spends about 30-45 minutes with me each visit. Most of that time is spent talking to me about all areas of my life, what types of symptoms I have, other medical issues, what is happening when I have asthma problems, determining my asthma triggers, discussing what I'm doing in response to asthma symptoms, what is and isn't working, reviewing my asthma action plan, discussing my diet and activity levels, etc...

I've also had a Pulmonary Function Test once a year for the last couple years. I've never had the challenge testing though. Last year, my Pulmonologist had me do a Modified Barium Swallow and Esophagram test. While it doesn't diagnose asthma, it did diagnose that "silent" reflux was irritating my lungs and making my asthma much worse. Getting my reflux under control helped me be able to get my environmentally triggered asthma under control better.

 
Old 12-31-2009, 01:01 AM   #13
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Hey Titchou,

Thank you for the info. Even I am hearing about this test for first time. One of my friend's doctor has done this eNO test for her and her asthma is well in control at present. Her doctor has changed her medication based on her eNO levels and she is fine now. After I heard about this eNO test from her I am very much interested in knowing about that. Because for a very long time my asthma has not come under control.

Anybody can help me?

 
Old 12-31-2009, 03:23 PM   #14
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

I had to stop Advair because I would have muscle spasms in my hands, feet, legs and chest. The spasms in my chest scared me so now I'm taking something else with a nebulizer.

 
Old 12-31-2009, 03:29 PM   #15
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Re: Severe Asthma attack last week and no better...

Thank you for this information. It was suggested that I also have this test done. It might explain why I started getting asthma at age 50 with no previous experience with these symptoms.

 
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