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New to asthma

So over the last 3 months or so I've had some breathing difficulties. Randomly during the day it would feel as though I'm struggling to get enough air, or that my lungs aren't expanding like they should. Sometimes it feels as though it's taking a lot of energy just to breathe and that there are long pauses between inhales. Whenever I exercise, within the first couple of seconds there is this chest pressure and tightness. I also get out of breath easily. I have instances of chest pain, either sharp pinpricks that come and go, or a sharp pain that occurs when I breathe. I have this persistent cough that gets worse at night (however there are some different symptoms associated with the cough). I have some allergies, I can't breathe in certain strong smells, and I hate fall and winter because breathing in the cold air feels like breathing in fire. I went to the doctor around 3-4 weeks ago and got a chest x-ray. The x-ray was fine, so she said that I probably have asthma, and gave me an albuterol inhaler to use two doses every 6 hrs as needed. The albuterol helps, but it isn't wholly effective when I exercise and I still have the other symptoms throughout the day. I use the albuterol almost everyday, twice a day. I don't know if still having the symptoms is normal, or what to do about it.

There are some other seperate symptoms as well. I got really sick in 2006, but this persistent dry cough has stayed with me ever since. Over the past couple of years I've had excess mucus (not post-nasal) in my throat all the time. I end up swallowing lumps of it daily. Sometimes it's so thick I find it hard to breathe and I have to drink glasses of water to get it down. At night the coughing gets worse. There is this hard cold that settles into my chest and throat. My breathing sounds like a rattle and I lose my voice. No matter how much I cough or blow my nose, nothing comes up. I've been prone to chronic upper respiratory infections since I was a baby, but none with symptoms that have lasted almost 4 years. I don't know if this is related to the astma, but is doesn't feel like it. Besides the albuterol doing nothing to relieve these particular symptoms, I've had these problems way longer than my recent breathing ones.

Just hoping someone had a few clues. Thanks.
Related Discussions
Avatar_m_tn
'Probably asthma' with just a bronchodilator given isn't effective asthma management even if it IS asthma.  It wouldn't surprise me if it was asthma, but I'd certainly try to do a follow-up with a specialist (Don't know your medical access situation).

A pulmonary function test would be a good start, peak flow monitoring, long-term controller medications, etc.  If you can, look into seeing a specialist.  

From some of your symptoms, I wouldn't be surprised to find reflux to be the culprit either.  Without knowing much more detail, the first paragraph sounds more like asthma and the second paragraph sounds more like GERD.

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