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    Old 10-07-2007, 06:51 PM   #1
    summerbreezz
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    Testing for Asthma

    I am 34, but am scheduled to undergo a metacholine challenge in a few weeks to try to diagnose asthma.

    I am curious if anyone else has symptoms like this. The doctor thinks I probably have had asthma since I was a little girl, but it's never been diagnosed. First the childhood history..

    When I was two years old I had skin allergy testing (I remember it!) and was positive for weeds and mold. I had severe eczema until about age 4. I was on a non-wheat, non-dairy diet. When I was in grade school, I had chronic respiratory infections. I caught bronchitis every winter. In PE class I was strong and a fast runner, but my face would turn red and and I could not breathe when we had to run endurance races. When I was 11, I began having this terrible, odd feeling in my chest in late July, early August, and it would last until October or November every year. It would feel as if my lungs were full of stale air that I couldn't get rid of, so every time I took a breath I couldn't get enough air in my lungs because they were already full of air. I would go around struggling to take deep breaths. Nobody believed me when I told them I couldn't breathe. Finally, after being told I was faking and causing problems, I was taken to the doctor. The doctor said I must be having anxiety attacks. I was confused, and said, "well don't you have to be anxious to have an anxiety attack?" The doctor said I must not realize I was anxious.

    Recently I went to the doctor and the doctor said my description of not being able to get air in my lungs was a classic description of asthma. So, for more than 20 years I have thought that it's my fault I can't breathe, and it might not be.

    Anyway, last spring I began having trouble every morning when I woke up. I would wake up and feel like my lungs were inflamed. That is really how it felt like. Like inflammation in the lung area. I also had chest tightness and a strange feeling like a charley horse or cramp in my lung. I am aware that I also have severe post-nasal drip, and would wake up with a sore throat every single morning and lots of drainage. When I described this to my doctor, he thought it might be asthma, but the doctors are still not happy with my descriptions of my symptoms, apparently. They have no answer for why I feel this way.

    Doctor gave me a sample of Singulair under the suspicion I have asthma, and also an albuterol inhaler. When I started taking Singulair, it was like a light switch turned on, and I realized how swollen my nose had been for years, and how congested my chest had been for years, but had never been treated. My chest cramping feelings literally disappeared with the Singulair. The inhaler works when I get the "not being able to get enough air in my lungs" feeling, but the Singulair makes it so that I am clear all the time, and I never get to that point. I have run out of my Singulair samples and am still waiting to go to the doctor, and am worried about the symptoms coming back. When I started taking Singulair and the antihistamine at night, I woke up every day totally clear of all symptoms.

    The problem is that every time I go to the doctor, the doctor listens to my chest and says, "you're fine". I don't know what the metacholine challenge will show, but I know when I did the spirometry when I first saw the doctor he said my results were actually "good". I have good lung function I guess, and he hears nothing wrong with my lungs.

    So, do I have asthma? I don't know. Does anyone else have symptoms like this?

     
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    Old 10-08-2007, 05:52 AM   #2
    Janster
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    Re: Testing for Asthma

    Yes...yes...Ohhhhh Yes.... it's weird but I'm going through the same kinda thing.

    I had allergy shots for 5 years when I was a kid. I was allergic to everything but the kitchen sink it seemed. As an adult - my allergy symptoms weren't bad at all - and I got used to things assuming they were normal. My husband and I had 2 kittens for 3 weeks - and my lungs bronchial tubes shrivelled up like I've never felt!! I had an asthma attack. After some temperary meds, my parents inherited the kittens, and I was back to normal. I've had other one-time serious reactions to things but I've always gone back to normal. After I was married, I've discovered I snore at night, I have what seems to be an almost constant drainage of fluid in the back of my throat and I clear my throat alot also. I started taking Allegra D at night to help control the snoring. Allegra D actually helps me breathe better and I sleep better and I'm more awake during the day..... I've been taking this for years.

    Low & behond....this past July.... I dunno if the humidity, heat, and a little bit of frustration set things off - but my chest got really really tight. I let it go for a week assuming it was due to work frustrations and it would go away (which I normally don't get frustrated from work - this time, I was ****** off).
    It didn't go away.... went to the ER... Doc followup....etc. Had pulmonary tests, blood tests and they couldn't find anything wrong. They gave me an emergency inhaler that didn't really do anything for me - my breathing was always OK. They blamed *anxiety* and gave me xanax. Sure - the xanax relaxed me but that 'burning' sensation never went away. I'm a high strung kinda person -and my job keeps me very busy (physically & mentally) - but that's where I work my best - under pressure and running around like a madwoman. The one day I was extremely busy and running around (chest was tight)- I started getting heart palpitations that scared me. So - I had to slow down......and relax. I eventually was given Advair.... and that worked almost immediately to get rid of the 'chest tightness'. After a month of using it, I started developing other symptoms (throat issues, etc). After about 2.5 months - that 'burning' chest feeling came back anyway. The bad thing about all this - it took me a month an a half before the pulmonary doc could get me in..... I had to deal with these symptoms for that long.

    About a week ago I saw the pulmonary specialist. No tests were given and the doctor was very nice talking to me about my history of allergies and my one-time asthma issues, etc. He's suspecting I have asthma...... and said there's no real test that can be given to diagnose asthma. Apparently, asthma has such a wide variety of symptoms/cures and can be ON one day and OFF the next. Even with test results turning negative - wouldn't convince him I don't have asthma....

    So - he gave me Singulair and told me to stop taking the Advair.

    Similar to what you're experiencing after taking the Singulair.....I never realized how bad I was stuffed up and my sinuses swollen. The Singuliar has totally opened me up to a point my throat feels totally different (in a good way). I no longer clear my throat like I used to. It's only been about a week of taking the Singulair.... and I still take Allegra D at night. I'm still not what I consider totally cured....and perhaps it takes some time before my chest feels normal. Or...maybe it'll never feel completely normal - I dunno???
    Saturday I felt really good (chest) but yesterday and today I'm feeling a slight stress in my chest. I'm trying so hard to find the 'sources' of why I feel good versus bad certain days.... something I'm eating? Something I'm exposed to? I dunno...there isn't anything different that I've been eating or exposed to lately that I haven't eaten or been exposed to over the past 20 years. I'm getting older (40) and I guess my body just isn't the same anymore.....

    I have a followup appt come Oct 18th. I'm pretty sure he'll have me track my daily routine to find out exactly what my 'triggers' are so I can avoid them in the future. This is allllllllll new to me......
    The weird thing is...anytime you *research* for asthma....they always talk about wheezing, shortness of breathe, and the usual asthma symptoms. In my case - my lung capacity has always been normal everytime they test me, I don't wheeze & I'm not really short of breathe (that I notice). I feel like sometimes I don't get enough oxygen in my blood.....not necessarily bronchial related at all. It's weird...and I'm trying to get a grasp of this whole thing.

    Last edited by Janster; 10-08-2007 at 06:07 AM.

     
    Old 10-08-2007, 09:43 AM   #3
    Gabby2007
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    Re: Testing for Asthma

    My spirometry and methacholine challenge were normal. But after extensive testing done by 4 different specialists - my lung doc says I have asthma. Those lung function tests are NOT fool proof - the spirometry can be "normal" if you simply made a huge effort in the test. The methacholine challenge doesn't diagnose non allergic asthma (my diagnosis) - although it sounds like you have allergic asthma...hmm. But it may not be 100% accurate for that?

    Advair - I had to stop taking it because it made my throat swell - I felt like I was strangling. My doc wasn't surprised at that - said other people have had the same experience. It can take some experimentation to get drugs that work for you, but it's worth it in the end.

    Years ago I had a bad time breathing. Couldn't stop coughing. The lung doc that I went to then tried different drugs, when they didn't work, he too implied that it was psychological, that I should "relax" and things would get better. grrr! They finally did get better - for a while - no thanks to him. Thankfully now I have a family doc who insisted I not let this chronic cough drag on, and a lung doc who kept trying different tests and meds.

    One of my triggers is respiratory infections/colds. Happens to a lot of people...get your flu shots! And - if your doc gives you nonsense about it being anxiety, even though you aren't anxious, fire that doc and get one who knows what s/he's doing!

     
    Old 10-09-2007, 12:05 AM   #4
    Janster
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    Re: Testing for Asthma

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gabby2007 View Post
    And - if your doc gives you nonsense about it being anxiety, even though you aren't anxious, fire that doc and get one who knows what s/he's doing!
    Even my husband seems to think I need to take the xanax they gave me a while back.... I keep telling him "It's NOT anxiety!!!" and I refuse to take it!!

    Like I've said before - nothing a tall cold strawberry daiquirri can't handle!!

     
    Old 01-16-2008, 02:06 PM   #5
    shan06
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    Re: Testing for Asthma

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Janster View Post
    Yes...yes...Ohhhhh Yes.... it's weird but I'm going through the same kinda thing.

    I had allergy shots for 5 years when I was a kid. I was allergic to everything but the kitchen sink it seemed. As an adult - my allergy symptoms weren't bad at all - and I got used to things assuming they were normal. My husband and I had 2 kittens for 3 weeks - and my lungs bronchial tubes shrivelled up like I've never felt!! I had an asthma attack. After some temperary meds, my parents inherited the kittens, and I was back to normal. I've had other one-time serious reactions to things but I've always gone back to normal. After I was married, I've discovered I snore at night, I have what seems to be an almost constant drainage of fluid in the back of my throat and I clear my throat alot also. I started taking Allegra D at night to help control the snoring. Allegra D actually helps me breathe better and I sleep better and I'm more awake during the day..... I've been taking this for years.

    Low & behond....this past July.... I dunno if the humidity, heat, and a little bit of frustration set things off - but my chest got really really tight. I let it go for a week assuming it was due to work frustrations and it would go away (which I normally don't get frustrated from work - this time, I was ****** off).
    It didn't go away.... went to the ER... Doc followup....etc. Had pulmonary tests, blood tests and they couldn't find anything wrong. They gave me an emergency inhaler that didn't really do anything for me - my breathing was always OK. They blamed *anxiety* and gave me xanax. Sure - the xanax relaxed me but that 'burning' sensation never went away. I'm a high strung kinda person -and my job keeps me very busy (physically & mentally) - but that's where I work my best - under pressure and running around like a madwoman. The one day I was extremely busy and running around (chest was tight)- I started getting heart palpitations that scared me. So - I had to slow down......and relax. I eventually was given Advair.... and that worked almost immediately to get rid of the 'chest tightness'. After a month of using it, I started developing other symptoms (throat issues, etc). After about 2.5 months - that 'burning' chest feeling came back anyway. The bad thing about all this - it took me a month an a half before the pulmonary doc could get me in..... I had to deal with these symptoms for that long.

    About a week ago I saw the pulmonary specialist. No tests were given and the doctor was very nice talking to me about my history of allergies and my one-time asthma issues, etc. He's suspecting I have asthma...... and said there's no real test that can be given to diagnose asthma. Apparently, asthma has such a wide variety of symptoms/cures and can be ON one day and OFF the next. Even with test results turning negative - wouldn't convince him I don't have asthma....

    So - he gave me Singulair and told me to stop taking the Advair.

    Similar to what you're experiencing after taking the Singulair.....I never realized how bad I was stuffed up and my sinuses swollen. The Singuliar has totally opened me up to a point my throat feels totally different (in a good way). I no longer clear my throat like I used to. It's only been about a week of taking the Singulair.... and I still take Allegra D at night. I'm still not what I consider totally cured....and perhaps it takes some time before my chest feels normal. Or...maybe it'll never feel completely normal - I dunno???
    Saturday I felt really good (chest) but yesterday and today I'm feeling a slight stress in my chest. I'm trying so hard to find the 'sources' of why I feel good versus bad certain days.... something I'm eating? Something I'm exposed to? I dunno...there isn't anything different that I've been eating or exposed to lately that I haven't eaten or been exposed to over the past 20 years. I'm getting older (40) and I guess my body just isn't the same anymore.....

    I have a followup appt come Oct 18th. I'm pretty sure he'll have me track my daily routine to find out exactly what my 'triggers' are so I can avoid them in the future. This is allllllllll new to me......
    The weird thing is...anytime you *research* for asthma....they always talk about wheezing, shortness of breathe, and the usual asthma symptoms. In my case - my lung capacity has always been normal everytime they test me, I don't wheeze & I'm not really short of breathe (that I notice). I feel like sometimes I don't get enough oxygen in my blood.....not necessarily bronchial related at all. It's weird...and I'm trying to get a grasp of this whole thing.

    sounds like gerd and maybe post nasal drip/allergies

     
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