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New member & just diagnosed with asthma...

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Old 04-04-2005, 05:41 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 47
MelissaNC HB User
Smile New member & just diagnosed with asthma...

Hi, everyone! I was just diagnosed with asthma today, during a major attack. I also happen to have pneumonia, which they found while treating the asthma. In the past I've had a few times when I've had asthma symptoms (tightness, a slight wheeze, etc.), but have just toughed it out until it got better. I didn't really think a whole lot about it then because I also happen to get bronchitis a lot, and sometimes I would think that it was a different form of that or something. Anyway, I've been fine for the past couple of months, but started developing a cough last Thursday. Nothing major...just more like the cough that comes from allergy-sinus drainage in my throat. This morning dawned clear and beautiful and I decided that it was time to do a little spring cleaning on our storage building (so I can then spring clean the house and have somewhere to put the stuff, lol). I got out there and dragged everything out, separated it into piles, and swept the floor, then put back what I was keeping, and brought out some different stuff to put in there. My cough was getting worse the whole time, but I just figured that it was more allergy junk because I was outside. By the time I was done, my chest was getting uncomfortable and I was starting to wheeze. I called the doctor to see about getting an appointment, but they were booked until the afternoon...the triage nurse told me a couple of things to do (still going on the assumption that it was an allergy-type cough), and said that if it got really bad I should go to the ER. I tried what she said, but it just got worse and worse, so I made the stupid decision to drive myself to the ER. By the time I got there, I wasn't moving much air, and the wheeze was horrible. (I almost passed out as I pulled up to the ER doors...stupid!) The tightness in my chest felt like someone squeezing my lungs with steel bands. They took me right on back, and all the doctors and nurses kept asking me what I normally take at home for my asthma. I told them that I didn't take anything...I'd never been diagnosed with asthma before. They gave me several different breathing treatments (albuterol and atrovent), an IV, antibiotics, and oral steroids, and they also took blood and did a chest xray. The breathing treatments really helped...I still can't breathe normally, but it's a LOT better than it was. After they got all the results back, they told me that I DO have asthma, and that that was a pretty big attack. (I was getting around 80-100 on the peak flow meter when I got there, and 400 when I left.) They also found out that I have pneumonia in my left lung. So now I have been sent home with oral steroids, antibiotics, an albuterol inhaler, an atrovent inhaler, and a peak flow meter. I'm still only getting around 400-420 on the PFM. The respiratory therapist taught me how to use the inhalers, and gave me directions for the albuterol (4 puffs, every 4 hours, for 4 days, then the same whenever I start having symptoms again). He didn't, however, give me directions for the atrovent. He did say that it wasn't a rescue thing like the albuterol, because it takes it about an hour to work. But that was it. I have to go back to see my regular physician in the next day or two so that they can check everything out, so I guess I'll just ask them then. Unless there is a standard to it? Does anyone know? There were no written instructions with it, either...they just put all the stuff in a bag for me to bring home and didn't include the papers.

I do have questions about asthma, though I've learned a lot just from reading answers to other posts.

Is it unusual to develope asthma as an adult?

Is there an easy way to discover what my triggers are?

Are my children likely to develope it because I have it, or is it not generally related?

Does anyone have any general tips, or info, that a person who is new to asthma should know?



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Old 04-05-2005, 05:34 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 156
celtic_mom HB User
Re: New member & just diagnosed with asthma...

Hi Melissa! I just found out I have asthma a couple of months ago after my first attack. I'm 38. I got the same question at the hospital, "how long have you had asthma?". "I have asthma?". I too had an infection, although not pneumonia. Apparently, I had been walking around with a lung infection for a while and didn't know it.

As far as your questions -

From what I understand, adult onset asthma is more and more common. So is childhood asthma.

Triggers? Don't know, still working on mine, but it could be that both of us will only have attacks when we get lung infections. Of course, that isn't too comforting as I couldn't fight off anything this year, makes me wonder if my immunity is shot. I think the lung infection was the primary factor for me and that I had a secondary trigger set off the attack. I too had been cleaning right before I started having symptoms, but I was using a lot of chemical cleaners and I think that might have done it.

I have allergy testing set up in a couple of weeks. I've had to reschedule a couple of times because I keep getting put on prednisone and that has to be out of you system for a month before they can test. I think I do have other allergies that I want to get a handle on before they set off an attack. But from what I read, sometimes there are no allergies involved.

I would recommend finding a good allergist and pulmonary specialist to get a good understanding of what you are dealing with and to get a long term plan for management. I'm also seeing an endocrinologist to find out if there is a hormonal component to what is going on. I find it hard to believe that I could be fine up until 4 or 5 months ago and then, boom, I have a never ending chest cold and asthma.

I don't know anything about atrovent. I found this info online

# 40g (Atrovent Forte) - Puffer, Puffer and Spacer, Puffer and Spacer with Facemask Adults: at 40g per inhalation, 1-2 inhalations 3-4 times daily, to a maximum of 8 inhalations per day; Children: at 20g per inhalation, 2-4 inhalations 3-4 times daily

Not too helpful. If it's a controller med, I can't imagine you'd have to use 3-4 times daily - that seems extreme. I'm on advair right now, which is a controller med that is both a steroid and an dilator. I use it 2 times a day. I would call your internist first thing and ask about that. He/she may want you on something else.

From what I have read, children do have a higher chance of developing asthma if one or both parents have asthma. Of course now every time one of my kids sneeze I stick my head on their chest to listen for wheezing (j/k). Some encouraging news, I read that several groups are doing clinical trials right now for asthma vaccines that could essentially cure asthma for some folks and hopefully prevent it for our children. I couldn't get an estimated date they'd be available, but it appears it may be about 5 years.

Well, I don't know if I've been very helpful or not, but I wanted to welcome you to the board. I hope you are able to get everything under control quickly. It sounds like you are off to a good start.

P.S. Where in NC are you? I'm in Chesapeake, VA.

Last edited by celtic_mom; 04-05-2005 at 05:36 AM.

Old 04-05-2005, 02:16 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 47
MelissaNC HB User
Talking Re: New member & just diagnosed with asthma...

Hi, Celtic_Mom! Thanks for getting back to me! I've been in and out of the house today doing some chores...I know, I'm supposed to be taking it easy b/c of the pneumonia, but some stuff just HAS to be done, you know? Anyway, everytime I go outside, the asthma starts acting up again. I don't know if I'm just more sensitive right now because of the pneumonia, or what. I do know that my allergies (pollen, etc) have been getting worse and worse each year, and right now we are running high pollen counts around here. Those two things might be affecting it, too. I've used the Atrovent twice today, because I feel like I'm having to use the Albuterol so much. The Albuterol works so well, but it leaves me feeling a little shaky, too. I have an appointment with my doctor in the morning, and will see what they say. My friend (who has asthma) said that when she first started on the Albuterol, it made her a little shaky, too, but that she's gotten used to it by now and I probably will, too. I would like to have an allergy test done, but right now I'm on the Prednisone, so it'll have to wait a bit.

BTW, I love your screen name! I'm of Scottish ancestry, and my husband is of Irish descent. On his mother's side, he is 3rd generation Irish/American...his grandfather came over from Ireland when he was a child. I've told my kids that between my Scottish ancestry and their father's Irish, they have true Celtic blood running through their veins.

We live near Winston-Salem in North Carolina. About an hour west of Greensboro, if you're familiar with it. I have to say, I love Virginia. My in-laws have had a summer place up their at Smith Mountain Lake for years, and we love to go up there on vacation every year. Unfortunately, I think they're selling it this year to get something closer. But I'd rather drive that far...Virginia is so beautiful and clean...lots of undeveloped land...and everything is so much cheaper up there. (Love your tax rate!!! Ours is 7.5%...way higher!) Unfortunately, NC is getting overdeveloped...everywhere we used to have beautiful fields and forests is now ending up with parking lots and buildings or housing developments.

Last edited by MelissaNC; 04-06-2005 at 04:15 AM. Reason: I was being directionally challenged and put 'east of Greensboro' instead of 'west of G-boro'...oops! :P

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