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Asthma or just feels like asthma?
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Asthma or just feels like asthma?

I'm just about at my wits end trying to figure out what's wrong with me and would greatly appreciate any help/ideas since it's beginning to ruin my life.

First a little background about me: I'm a 32 yr old male, about 6ft, 190lbs in good physical condition. I've been diagnosed with asthma since the age of 3 and have had a few serious bouts over the years but overall I've been able to lead a pretty normal life.  I've always had a physical job and was able to exercise regularly. I'd use my albuterol rescue inhaler to curb an attack or to pre-treat prior to exercising. I've been prescribed Singulair, Flovent and Qvar in the past but my breathing didn't seem to improve one bit with any of them. I've never been tested for GERD but I've suffered from acid reflux for almost 10 years. It's been pretty mild up until a couple of yrs ago. I would usually get relief from taking tums but the only thing that seems to work these days is omeprazole 20mg which I'm currently taking daily.

About a week ago, my doctor gave me a sample of Symbicort 160/4.5 to try once in the morning and once at night. For the first 3 days on it, I needed to use my rescue inhaler only once which is a vast improvement for me. Usually I need about 4-6 puffs daily. I also greatly improved my diet a few weeks ago (no sugar, bread, coffee, fried foods, etc.). I've craved sweets my entire life and would often go on sugar binges that would make the average person sick to their stomach. My breathing would seem to get worse for weeks following one of these binges but my doc says that's just a coincidence.

Two days ago, I ate a large dinner (steak and potatoes) and had a terrible time breathing after I was done. I took a shot of my albuterol and didn't feel any better so I just walked around trying to relax, and after about 30 minutes of burping it seemed to get a little better. This has happened nemerous times in the past but not as severely as it's been lately. I always seem to have a problem with gas and bloating after meals. Actually, I even have gas first thing in the morning upon waking. Yesterday, my breathing was awful all day. It feels as though there is pressure (not pain) in the center of my chest making it
very difficult to get in a full breath. I'm starting to wonder if my problem isn't asthma related or if the asthma is mild and something else is the real culprit.

I've never had classic symptoms of asthma to begin with. I NEVER wheeze and NEVER cough which seems to confuse my doctor. Additionally, my lungs always sound perfect and x-rays don't show any signs of a problem. The other thing that has my doctor (and me) baffled is that following a sneeze, I have extreme difficulty breathing. Everything could be just fine and as soon as I sneeze, my chest will get very tight and breathing becomes very labored for at least an hour until things finally start to return to normal. I'm at the point that I'll actually force myself not to sneeze in fear of an attack. Is it possible that something relating to my diaphragm/stomach/breastbone is mimicking the asthma?

I used to look forward to every new day but now I'm starting to dread every minute. I haven't been able to work or exercise in over two months. I miss the person that I was and would do anything to be back. Thanks a million in advance for any help.
Anthony


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746512_tn?1388811180
You should be seen by a gastrologist.  GERD (acid reflux) can cause asthma attacks and it may be the base problem.  You may need a stronger medication or additional medicines to control it.

High sugar and other foods can increase acid reflux which would increase symptoms as seen in the food binges.  The gas and burping also are related.  

Your doctor should also do pulmonary function tests to look at overall lung function and possibly a methacholine challenge to know for sure if it is asthma or something else.  

Good luck and hope it gets better.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much Tammy for your response. I called my doctor and he wants to set up an echocardiogram. I will certainly ask to see a gastrologist like you said following the echo.

One quick question: is it possible that GERD could still be the problem although I don't FEEL any heartburn? Since I've been on Prilosec (about 1 month), my acid reflux has been nonexistent. I'm wondering if there could be another component to GERD that acts silently that will in fact trigger breathing difficulties without the presence of heartburn.

Thanks again,
Anthony
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1521049_tn?1293761213
Asthma is an allergic condition with paroxysmal attacks of chest distress andshortness of breath including wheezing and orthopnea


Patients with lung deficiency may suffer from shortness of breath, low and weak coughing, dry mouth, red tongue, and thready and weak pulse; and patients with kidney deficiency may suffer from chronic asthma with short inspiration and long expiration, leanness of body, cold limbs, edema of limbs, difficult urination, heart palpitations, pale tongue, and deep and thready pulse
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Avatar_m_tn
Well I brought this to my doctor's attention and he set me up for an echocardiogram to rule out my heart as a possible cause. Apparently, my heart is fine. So that's one thing out of the way.. I've been on Symbicort for a few weeks and my breathing seemed to be getting a little better so I figured I'd hit the treadmill today for about 20 minutes. Nothing too intense, just fast paced walking/slow jogging. I felt fine until about a minute after I stopped and then my breathing became extremely difficult. No wheezing or coughing, just chest tightness making it very hard to breathe. It finally subsided after about an hour. I hear so many great things about Symbicort and I'm wondering if I just need a higher dose or something else altogether.
Ailsatcm888123, I don't have the other symptoms you mentioned but I'll def. look into kidney deficiency. Should I still be pre-treating with albuterol before exercise in addition to being on the Symbicort? Could something else be causing this nightmare or are my lungs just beyond hope?  

Thanks,
Anthony
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm 16, I've had asthma for all my life,Everything your discribing sounds exactly like me.  I dont have the wheezing or cough, just the labored breathing, sorry if Im not any help, just thought you would know your not alone.   I just want to get better.

Kayla.
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Avatar_m_tn

Hi Kayla,

Thanks so much for the response. It definitely helps to know I'm not alone. I've actually been feeling much better lately. I think that changing my diet has been very helpful. I've cut way back on carbs (mainly simple sugars and bread) and have seen an improvement in my breathing. Do you suffer from GERD? Like Tammy said, acid reflux can certainly bring on an asthma attack and when it's under control, I can breathe much easier. Even when I feel like I'm having an attack, my peak flow will be between 650-715 which clearly doesn't indicate any reduction in lung function for me.

I've started exercising again and that's helping also. The key is to be consistent but not to overdo it. If you feel like you're pushing yourself too hard, slow down and remember that this is only temporary until things get better. What are you currently taking for your asthma? Try to stay positive, don't lose hope and things will get better for you:)

~Anthony
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi.

Well I'm taking albuterol sulfate a inhaler. My docter wants to change the inhaler with a needle that privides amediate help, to open my airways when I'm having an attack.
I don't know if I have GERD. I can always look into it though.

I'm happy to hear your gradually getting better. I have been eating healthier portions of food. But the exercising I have not done.
Thank You so much! =)

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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Anthony,

Well I'm taking albuterol sulfate a inhaler. My docter wants to change the inhaler with a needle that privides amediate help, to open my airways when I'm having an attack.
I don't know if I have GERD. I can always look into it though.

I'm happy to hear your gradually getting better. I have been eating healthier portions of food. But the exercising I have not done.
Thank You so much! =)
-Kayla

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