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    Old 09-29-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
    Wildemere
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    Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    Over the past two months while and after working in the garden (I am an admittedly obsessed gardener) I had begun coughing and feeling a bit tight in the chest. Then one day a week and a half ago while at my desk at work I started coughing and couldn't stop and my chest felt really tight. I went to emergency room and was diagnosed with mild asthma and given an Rx for a blue and orange puffer. I was really shocked by the diagnosis as I am in my late 40s and have never had any allergies, tho they run in my family and my dad had asthma as a kid. I have so many questions and am hoping some of you can help!!!!!

    1. I don't wheeze or have trouble breathing. Coughing and some chest tightness are my key symptoms. Is that typical or unusual for someone with asthma? Is it possible I could have some other problem besides asthma? How come I don't wheeze?

    2. Do I really have to take the orange puffer indefinitely or risk having the asthma inflammation damage my lungs?

    3. The pharmacist said take the blue puffer first to open my lungs up then take the orange puffer. But I thought the blue puffer was just for when I was feeling really bad?? This seems contradictory.

    4. Since my diagnosis my voice has become very hoarse and I am having to clear my throat a lot. Is this due to the asthma or could the puffers be causing it??? I read that the orange puffer can cause thrush which can affect the vocal cords ... is this common?

    5. Am I causing myself serious harm by continuing to do gardening daily? I live in a very cold northern climate and winter and gardening is my salvation!!! If I have to give it up, I don't know what I will do. Of course, the weather is getting colder so likely the allergens will die down.

    6. If the asthma dies down when winter comes, do I have to keep using the orange puffer?

    All input welcome ... I can't see my regular dr till Oct 16!

    Are there any questions I forgot to ask???? I am so ignorant about this!!!

     
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    Old 09-30-2007, 04:28 AM   #2
    Janster
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    Re: Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    Wow....you're going through a similar situation that I'm going through.

    I'm a *high strung/very active/anxious* kinda person. Never had problems before but I have a looooooong history of allergies (5 years shots at a kid) and I've had an asthma attack from cat allergy in the past.

    3 months ago - apparently, my 'anxiety' prompted my chest to get very very tight and an 'anxiety' feeling in the center of my chest. I let it go...let it go...thinking it'd go away. Went to the ER. Everything is normal and good (lungs/heart/etc).

    I don't wheez and I don't have problem breathing.... the humidity bothers my lungs and they get worse (tight). Being high strung doesn't help either - as I've been experiencing heart palpitations.

    I've been on Advair for 2 months - chest tightness went away almost immediately. After a month....my throat's been feeling weird, I've been clearing my throat a lot more than I usually do, and I've got a lot of post nasal drip in the back of my throat (lot more than normal for me). Chest tightnesss started to come back a bit

    Finally saw a pulmonary specialist and he suspects *Asthma*. He gave me Singular (pill) and I'm to stop taking Advair (today was my last puff).

    The pulmonary specialist said..."Even if a specialized asthma test comes up negative, it still won't convince me you don't have asthma"

    So...I see him in 3 weeks to see if the Singular is helping. I also have an inhaler for bronchial symptoms...which, I haven't had to use. My lung capacity has always been within normal.

    Last edited by Janster; 09-30-2007 at 01:28 PM.

     
    Old 09-30-2007, 01:34 PM   #3
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    Re: Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    Sorry...me again...

    Other than my ER visit - I've had multiple visits to my family doctor. I've had multiple breathing capacity tests, a pulmonary test, and blood work all of which came up normal. Even with all the meds they've been giving me (so far ...inhalers, breathing treatments, advair) - the conditions still exist.

    So obviously - they're not even totally sure WHAT this is and are assuming I have asthma.

    Not sure what 'orange or blue' puffers mean......

    One of them could be an 'emergency' inhaler that is supposed to open up your bronchial tubes immediately after you take it (or within minutes). These are to be used when you are having trouble breathing...

    Another type of inhaler is a 'steroid' that'll build up your lungs tolerance (over time) and allow you to come in contact with gardening things and not be affected. These are to be taken regularly and can take time to 'build up' your lungs strength (so to speak).

    Follow your doctors orders - and go from there. Best wishes in controlling it!~

     
    Old 09-30-2007, 02:57 PM   #4
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    Re: Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    Over the past two months while and after working in the garden (I am an admittedly obsessed gardener) I had begun coughing and feeling a bit tight in the chest. Then one day a week and a half ago while at my desk at work I started coughing and couldn't stop and my chest felt really tight. I went to emergency room and was diagnosed with mild asthma and given an Rx for a blue and orange puffer. I was really shocked by the diagnosis as I am in my late 40s and have never had any allergies, tho they run in my family and my dad had asthma as a kid. I have so many questions and am hoping some of you can help!!!!!

    1. I don't wheeze or have trouble breathing. Coughing and some chest tightness are my key symptoms. Is that typical or unusual for someone with asthma? Is it possible I could have some other problem besides asthma? How come I don't wheeze?

    2. Do I really have to take the orange puffer indefinitely or risk having the asthma inflammation damage my lungs?

    3. The pharmacist said take the blue puffer first to open my lungs up then take the orange puffer. But I thought the blue puffer was just for when I was feeling really bad?? This seems contradictory.

    4. Since my diagnosis my voice has become very hoarse and I am having to clear my throat a lot. Is this due to the asthma or could the puffers be causing it??? I read that the orange puffer can cause thrush which can affect the vocal cords ... is this common?

    5. Am I causing myself serious harm by continuing to do gardening daily? I live in a very cold northern climate and winter and gardening is my salvation!!! If I have to give it up, I don't know what I will do. Of course, the weather is getting colder so likely the allergens will die down.

    6. If the asthma dies down when winter comes, do I have to keep using the orange puffer?

    All input welcome ... I can't see my regular dr till Oct 16!

    Are there any questions I forgot to ask???? I am so ignorant about this!!![/QUOTE]

    1) Not everyone with asthma wheezes. I rarely do. I just have the tightness.

    2 & 3) Since i have no idea what the drugs are you've been give (orange and blue don't mean anything to me as mine are brown and red) all I can say is that the steroid one you will need for the rest of your life UNLESS perhaps Singulair (don't know what it's called in Canada) could help you. You;d need to see a pulmonologist to determine what you really need.

    4) Yes, this is from the steroid inhaler. Are you rinsing your mouth after every use? If you aren't, then start now. If you are, then try brushing your teeth as well.

    5) Probably not. It takes 2-3 weeks for the inhalers to make any difference.

    6) All depends. Most likely you will as cold air can cause asthma attacks.

    As I said before, you need to see a pulmonologist...not all that simple in Canada, I know, but you'd really be better off if you could.

     
    Old 09-30-2007, 11:01 PM   #5
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    Re: Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    I don't have any relatives with asthma and started having my symptoms in my 30's. I think I had asthma for years before I was diagnosed. My primary symptom is a chronic cough. When it is really bad, I also get some chest tightness. I sometimes have some allergic triggers, but more often my attacks are triggered by extremely cold air, polluted air and chemical exposures.

    According to my PCP, there are typically 4 causes of a chronic cough: post nasal drip, asthma, allergies and acid reflux.

    In my case, it turns out I have all of the above. The cough is also my symptom for the reflux too.

    Once I was diagnosed with the asthma, it took me couple years to find a treatment that has been effective. My doctor was patient with my frequent visits and working through various treatments until we found what works.

     
    Old 10-02-2007, 07:02 AM   #6
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    Re: Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    My family has a long history of allergies, especially on my mothers side. My father's grandfather had asthma. When I was 12 years old I started getting this bad chronic cough. It was dry and deep, and when I'd cough hard, my chest would feel like it was "popping". I kept "catching" these bad coughs, and finally when I was 14, the doctor said I might have "cough varient asthma". She prescribed advair, but that made me worse. (Later I would read that inhaled steroids can actually make cough varient asthma worsen). From the way the inhaler worked, it looked like I did. However, when I went to a pulminary specialist, he said I did not have asthma because my test was normal (but I remember the nurse being surprised at how little I could blow). Then they did an allergy test. There were two bumps: one that is always there, the "control", and another, a bit smaller, lower, next to the control. I asked what the allergy was. The doctor said, "Oh it's nothing". Throughout the whole time, he denied that I had asthma, and he never listened to the symptoms I was describing...not well at least. I now don't think he is a good doctor, since I have read, and heard, that cough varient asthma doesn't usually show up on tests.

    Following this, I continued on, but often got tightness in my chest, but nothing too bad.

    Well, about a year later, I came down with bronchitis. After that, my cough was having trouble going away, even though my lungs sounded clear again, and I was having some slight difficulty breathing on my trampoline. I felt like I couldn't get air in my chest as well. I went to the doctor and once again, they suspected athsma. They gave me some asthma medications, and while they helped, they didn't help as well or as often. Only sometimes.

    Now recently, this May, I was at the gym working out. I was competing with a friend who was also receiving personal training. However, on this machine I started going too fast. I wanted to beat her in the "race". Unfortunately I lost. I first started having a bit of trouble breathing, then I started getting extremely short of breath. I tried to tell my friend that we needed to stop, but all I could get out was her name, as I started gasping for air. The trainers immediately took me off, and took me outside where I gasped for a few minutes. It stopped briefly, but kept coming back. Eventually my finger-tips were tingling and I was light headed, and when I got home, my mother had to interupt a client and sit with me and get me to actually BREATHE. I took my inhaler, and we did some recomended breathing exercises, breathing in with the nose, out through the mouth. This was hard at first, but eventually (took two hours) it calmed down, and for the most part stopped. I managed somehow not to go to the hospital!

    The next morning I woke up early and wanted to jump on my trampoline. So I went and started to jump slowly, then with more intensity. The gasping started again. I had to go to my mother, wake her up, and she had to help me breathe again. The rest of the day I felt short of breath, but was okay.

    I went to the doctor soon after, maybe a week later, and she said I definitely have asthma. She scolded me about going out on a hot day, and pushing myself too hard. She said not to exercise too much on very hot days, and not too much on very cold.

    It was actually surprising how much like a panic attack it felt, except for the fact that I didn't feel too much anxiety at all. I didn't feel like anything bad was going to happen. My doctor said that that is the difference between asthma and anxiety, otherwise, they really both feel exactly the same.



    Now to answer your questions:

    1.) Yes, of course. I have researched this alot, and I used to have asthma like this. You don't have to wheeze to have asthma. I still don't really wheeze, not often at least, and when I do it's kind of between a cough and a wheeze.

    2.) I don't know about damaging the lungs...I haven't heard of that...though I have heard of asthma worsening because of not using medicine.

    3.) I am not sure on this one. I only use one at a time, but then again, I can't use too much as I have high blood pressure and this can make that worse. You might want to ask your doctor about why you have to take two.

    4.) Sometimes asthma can cause an increased production of mucus. You might be experiencing that. I also have found that certain inhalers, such as proventil dry out the throat easily. Or, it could just be additional allergies that you are experiencing.

    5.) Talk to your doctor about the garden thing, I am sure you can work out a plan. They can probably put you on a good allergy medicine and help balance that with your inhaler.

    6.) Yes, if that is your daily puffer. I used to have asthma worsen in winter, and not so much with allergens, so I stopped using my daily inhaler in the summer, and thus started having much more severe attacks like the one I described above. The daily puffer prevents asthma from getting out of hand. The other inhaler is a "rescue" inhaler, meaning that you take it only when you feel symptoms, or before exercise. It is short lasting, while the daily last longer.


    Any more question? Happy to answer

     
    Old 10-03-2007, 04:36 PM   #7
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    Re: Just diagnosed and have so many questions!!!!

    I was recently diagnosed with nonallergic asthma. My lung function tests (spirometry, methacholine challenge) where negative, but the test tech and my pulmonologist tell me that the tests are only really accurate for allergic asthma. The asthma diagnosis is ultimately a judgement call by the doc - usually made after s/he has ruled out other causes such as cystic fibrosis, TB, etc...Did you all have a bronchoscopy? Ugh. Although the idea of it was worse than the actual test.

    I don't have any relatives with asthma, which is understandable with the nonallergic asthma - that is not a "family" thing.

    I had a problem with Advair. It made my throat feel tight - felt like I was strangling. Doc said other people have had that experience. It took some time and tweaking of meds, but now I'm starting to feel normal - after almost 2 years of virtually non stop deep, productive coughing. But I'm not looking forward to fighting colds again this winter.

    My docs feel that my acid reflux contributes, so does post nasal drip, so I take meds for that (3 drugs for those conditions). I also take standard asthma meds - a long acting bronchodilator and a steroid inhaler. I have a rescue inhaler, plus a nebulizer. The delivery truck came just now with *15* boxes of meds for the nebulizer - 24 vials to the box. I think it's a year's worth of the stuff.

     
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