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Old 05-05-2010, 04:53 AM   #1
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New breathing problems

I'm just looking for a reality check from an unbiased source here.

The pollen counts in my area have been really outrageous lately. And I've always had mild hay fever, though this week or so has been worse than usual. Then two days ago, I started feeling out of breath all the time, and my chest was tight. I had to go to work, though, so I just sort of hoped it would get better. And took antihistamines.

Yesterday, I was trying to walk up the small hill home, which is something I do regularly and easily, and I was really having a very hard time, so I decided I'd have to do something.

I'm new to my neighborhood, don't have a doctor, so I went to an urgent care clinic. I explained that I've never had something like this happen to me before. I expected they'd give me some sort of breathing treatment and then life will improve.

Aaaand, he says, "I don't hear any wheezing in your lungs. You should go to the ER right now and get (very long list of very expensive tests) because you might have a pulmonary embolism or something. Even though I really think you're just having a panic attack."

Um, NO. Not spending half the night and thousands of dollars, thanks. Whether it's my money or not. If I thought my breathing difficulties were serious enough to warrant an ER visit, I would have gone there in the first place. I told him this, and he was all, "You have to take care of your health rather than just doing what's convenient. What if you pass out climbing a flight of stairs?"

I think the antihistamines are finally helping, though, because I'm breathing more or less ok now.

What I plan to do is make an appointment with an allergy doctor once offices open today, and, in the meanwhile, continue to take antihistamines and minimize time spent outdoors until the pollen counts come down. Does this sound reasonable?

 
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:10 AM   #2
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Re: New breathing problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
... And I've always had mild hay fever, though this week or so has been worse than usual. Then two days ago, I started feeling out of breath all the time, and my chest was tight.

Yesterday, I was trying to walk up the small hill home, which is something I do regularly and easily, and I was really having a very hard time, so I decided I'd have to do something.

I'm new to my neighborhood,
Ho Haaa! The smoking gun! Prior to you moving, your body had either adapted to your old home, or there were fewer and/or less offending "irritants" or Asthma-triggers in your old home.

Then you moved into a place where there are more offending indoor allergens. Buts...... you were OK until the pollen levels "outside" went too high. Your body (Asthma) can tolerate a certain amount of outdoor pollens, and a certain amount of indoor allergens, but when combined, BOOM!, war breaks out in your body in the form of labored breathing, aka: tight chest; and fatigue, lethargy, increased hay fever and many other health problems.

Quote:
don't have a doctor, so I went to an urgent care clinic. ... Aaaand, he says, "I don't hear any wheezing in your lungs. You should go to the ER right now and get (very long list of very expensive tests) because you might have a pulmonary embolism or something. Even though I really think you're just having a panic attack."
One has to wonder if these drug-store doctors ever opened a book in school?! I've got Heart Failure, Persistent Atrial Fibrillation, Asthma, Insulin Resistance, etc., and I've encountered many doctors who have wretched knowledge of medicine. How do these quacks get through medical school!? Do they buy their certificate?

Quote:
I think the antihistamines are finally helping, though, because I'm breathing more or less ok now.
If your breathing problems and the increased severity of your hay fever, and other health problems, are caused or exacerbated by the combination of increased indoor allergens and outdoor allergens, then you MUST locate and eliminate the offenders within your new home, or your reactions and health will gradually get worse. I hope that I am wrong and you continue to improve without having to make any changes, or without having to do exhaustive detective work!

I am not a health professional, nor do I have any medical training or education. I am merely a poor victim of decades of allergic reactions, and I've learned how to live with my allergies/asthma/Heart Failure.

Best regards and luck to you in finding solutions!
__________________
Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

Last edited by Machaon; 05-25-2010 at 02:29 AM.

 
Old 05-05-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: New breathing problems

Thank you, Machaon. I doubt the move was the real CAUSE, because I've only moved a few miles and pollen travels much further than that. I think it's just a bad year.

Had another "episode" today at work, mostly went away, but I'm pretty upset by the fact that it keeps coming back. I have an appointment for Monday with an allergist, we'll have to see how that goes.

Meanwhile, are there any tricks you've figured out to breathe better when it starts up?

 
Old 05-05-2010, 04:09 PM   #4
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Re: New breathing problems

I can give you a little trick that has helped me ....inhale some Campho-Phenique. It's available at most drug stores. When I didn't want to take a hit of albuterol because I didn't think it bad enough, I've used a whiff or two of the Campho-Phenique. Very soothing. i also pour a little on a kleenex at bedtime when I have a cold and hold it in front of my nose as I sleep to keep coughing at bay. My grandmother's old trick...

 
Old 05-05-2010, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: New breathing problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
... Meanwhile, are there any tricks you've figured out to breathe better when it starts up?
In my case, I have four health problems which can cause breathing problems. I am Insulin Resistant, which causes breathing problems if I consume too many carbs. I have Heart Failure. When my heart is functioning below par, it causes breathing problems, mostly through Pericardial Effusion. I have persistent Atrial Fibrillation, which disrupts my heart's rhythm, causing breathing problems. And..... lastly...... I have Asthma, which of course causes breathing problems.

So... my first step is to try and figure out which of my health problems is causing my breathing problems.

If it is from my heart disease(s), I do deep breathing exercises, which occasionally helps.

If it is from Asthma, I first try to think of any new products we have brought into our home, or any other "recent" changes to our home. If I find out that we have made a change within our home then I remove it from my home, and then try to sufficiently air out my home. It usually takes an hour or two after I remove the irritant, and successfully air out my home, before my breathing starts to improve. At other times, if I remove the Asthma Irritant from my home, my breathing problems immediately start to improve, without having to air out my place. If I have been exposed for an extended period of time, my breathing problems can persist for many hours and even days!

I also consider whether or not I had recently been outside, especially on a high pollen day that is dry and windy. If so, the Asthma could be a somewhat delayed reaction to outdoor allergens, combined, of course, with the normal indoor Asthma triggers, which we all live with every day. It unfortunate but we can't really avoid all of the indoor triggers, no matter how hard we try.

Regardless of the cause, I take Flovent for my Asthma. It usually works pretty good. When I have incidents of breathing problems (labored breathing), I usually take an extra snort of Flovent. It takes a couple of hours for the extra Flovent to reduce breathing problems.
__________________
Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

Last edited by Machaon; 05-26-2010 at 02:41 AM.

 
Old 05-06-2010, 04:26 AM   #6
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Re: New breathing problems

So I actually did wind up going to the ER after dinner last night, the stuff from yesterday afternoon never really went away, I was sitting on the sofa still panting and starting to cough. I kinda think I was working my way up to a real dangerous attack, and I just felt so tired.

It was crowded there, but they gave me a nebulizer treatment (in the corridor, so I could watch everyone else's "fun night") and a prescription for an inhaler, so I'm no longer afraid I'll drop dead waiting for a bus or something. I was leaving the ER, and explaining something to my husband, and then I'm like, "Hey, I'm walking and talking at the same time! Awesome!

I've now learned that albuterol and nortriptyline don't go well together, but I called the pharmacist and he said normal inhaler doses shouldn't be a problem. I might just take advantage of a reason to quit the nortriptyline, though.

Monday, I have an appointment with an allergy doctor. We'll see how that goes.

 
Old 05-06-2010, 10:10 PM   #7
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Re: New breathing problems

So I used the inhaler all day today, maximum dose, and I still feel lousy. And I think I'm going to be up all night from the drugs. Again.

Yeah, gonna call doctor tomorrow early and say "I have to see someone today." Just another 7 hours, that's all.

 
Old 05-07-2010, 04:42 AM   #8
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Re: New breathing problems

Usually if the albuterol isnt helping at all, it may not be asthma. Have you ever had acid reflux? It mimics asthma big time!

 
Old 05-07-2010, 05:28 AM   #9
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Re: New breathing problems

The albuterol helped a lot the first few times I used it yesterday, like when I started feeling worse from walking the 2 blocks home from the bus stop. Then at night it didn't work so well. Had a really bad time for a while, which was made worse because it was like two in the morning and I couldn't calm down.

I don't know, maybe reflux is playing into it to some extent. I've had minor problems in that area in the past, and benadryl actually does upset my stomach. The fact that I've barely eaten all week can't be helping either. Maybe I'll start using some of my reflux control tricks. Starting with eating some breakfast.

 
Old 05-07-2010, 05:34 AM   #10
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Re: New breathing problems

Sounds like a good idea to get back in line with the reflux regimen. Also, did you use the albuterol before you went to bed? It's recommended for asthmatics having a flare up. Just a thought...till you get it all sorted out.

 
Old 05-07-2010, 12:42 PM   #11
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Re: New breathing problems

Last night, I was talking to a couple friends who have asthma, and I mentioned that I've really felt some degree of lousy throughout the day all week, and both of them said, "Maybe you shouldn't wait for that appointment Monday." Neither of them is really the panicky type, so I called the office today and they squeezed me in.

The doctor does indeed think that allergic asthma is the most likely explanation.

They did a breath test and I was at 72% of predicted. The nurse says, "Maybe you're just a little out of shape." I doubt it, the day before this adventure started I did a full-hour Pilates class and in late winter I did a 25 kilometer ski race. I'm going to assume that 72% reading means my lungs are impaired but they've still got more than enough capacity to keep me alive and somewhat functional, which I suppose is how I feel right now.

He gave me Advair to get under control, then next week he'll do some more tests and figure out exactly what's what.

 
Old 05-10-2010, 04:15 PM   #12
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Re: New breathing problems

Okay, the Advair is definitely working. Most of the time, I don't feel like someone's sitting on my chest. And I'm clearly getting better, but I'm not sure when I'm actually going to feel well and have energy again.

Is being TIRED all the time part of asthma? Seriously. Aaaand, the gastritis/acid reflux is tanked up, which isn't doing my lungs any favors, and the back is unhappy because I haven't been exercising, and overall I'm still feeling pretty lousy.

Okay, mostly just venting here, though I welcome suggestions.

 
Old 05-10-2010, 07:24 PM   #13
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Re: New breathing problems

Glad to hear the Advair is helping you.

I can't speak for everyone, but I can certainly share my experiences. You can look at some of my past posts to see that I certainly needed to vent and get some support from people on this board who "understand". Most recently this past November-mid-February where I couldn't stop coughing and had trouble getting good breaths. When I have an asthma flare-up, it really wears me out. Sometimes I'm able to get it back under control fairly quickly, but other times it can take several months.

I'd say if you continue to have problems after a while on Advair, you might want to go back in to the doctor. Could be you need a round of steroids also. I imagine you will be on some level of Advair for a while. What dosage did your doctor put you on? It comes in Advair 500/50, 250/50 and 100/50. I sometimes go down for maintainance and back up in dosage when I flare up.

It is a chicken and egg thing with reflux and asthma. I'm a bit unusual in that I get a chronic cough as a primary symptom for both conditions. Makes it difficult to see which is flaring. I also used to have acid coming up and irritating my lungs which inflammed my asthma. My doctors also have said that all the coughing from the asthma squeezes some of the acid up out of the stomach flaring the reflux. It just goes in circles. My GERD got so bad that it flared my asthma to the point I needed emergency treatment. I eventually had reflux surgery when the reflux meds stopped working after years. I was an extreme case though. I guess I just wanted to share that I totally understand where you are coming from.

It may take a while, but it is good to hear you are doing better some.

By the way, if you haven't already checked the sticky I have at the top of this board, you might want to check it out. It has early warning signs listed. Your friends were good to pick up on them. The list might help you be more aware in identifying yours.

Take care,
MountainReader

 
Old 05-10-2010, 07:52 PM   #14
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Re: New breathing problems

Currently, I'm taking 100/50 Advair. It should be enough, I don't think the swelling was THAT bad. I've got a followup with the doctor Friday, the first appointment was just to get me under some kind of control.

I think that the reflux (which, other than a little twinge here and there, hasn't bothered me in months) was touched off by taking a lot of benadryl. (Honestly, the idea I can't take benadryl anymore terrifies me, as that drug is my lifeline when it comes to the allergic rashes I've had for years.) So, now I'm not taking any antihistamines. At all. Which might be stupid, but heaven knows I've been stupid before. And I'm not spending much time outside.

Work has been rough lately. In some ways my schedule is flexible, but the not-so-flexible parts, it's really tough for me to get time off. My supervisor is aware that I'm sick, but I'm trying to keep it from becoming a problem.

I also have fibromyalgia, and I'm now realizing that the lessons I learned from that are exactly the wrong ones to apply to asthma. With the fibro:

1) Don't hurry to the doctor when you start feeling worse, there's hardly anything they can do about it anyway.

2) Ignore symptoms as much as possible for as long as possible, it's the best way to have a normal life.

3) Whatever hurts you to do? Do it more, it's the best way to stay strong and keep from getting stiff.

Yeah, that doesn't work so good with asthma. It's something I have to respect and take seriously, and, conversely, it is very treatable with medication.

I'm just rambling now. SOOO tired.

 
Old 05-12-2010, 05:04 PM   #15
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Re: New breathing problems

I've been going to work this week, today it rained hard all day so it wasn't too bad. I used the inhaler once today, when I was exerting myself at work, and I actually felt okay almost all day. Yesterday and the day before were not so good, everything was an effort and I needed the inhaler twice each day. Plus my whole head was itching, so I know it was pollen. To make things even more special, the antihistamines clearly are provoking my stomach. Which leaves me with a bit of a dilemma.

Friday, I go back to the doctor and this time there should be time for a proper workup. I fully intend to get allergy shots as soon as it's feasible, is there anything else I should ask him about? What sorts of information should I come away from the appointment with?

 
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