Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Asthma and anxiety?
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Asthma and anxiety?

I have been having tight chest and breathing problems for about four months.

My GP said it was a virus and then when it did not go away said it was probably anxiety and prescibed beta blockers which I took for two weeks but did not make any difference. I have no other anxiety symptoms such as a racing heart.

Unsatisfied with my GP I saw a private chest physician who gave me a spirometry test which he says is abnormal and inidcates obstructive airways disease. I had a chest xray which showed too much air in my lungs. My peak flow is about 400. The physician diagnosed asthma and prescribed me ventolin (which I have had before and does not help me) and flixotide as a preventer. (I have taken becotide before for three weeks but no difference) I have been on this medication a week now but if anything feel worse not better. I am 28, female, non smoker, excercise regularly, vegetarian

My questions:

Could the abnormal spirometry tests indicate any other condition?

Could my abnormal spirometry tests be a result of anxiety?

If I do not respond to ventolin, does this mean that I do not have asthma, or may there be another drug/inhaler that may help?

If these inhalers I have been prescribed are unsuitable for my condition could they actually do me more harm than good?

Could I have anxiety and asthma at the same time?

Is it safe to take anti-anxiety meds such as Buspar at the same time as inhalers for asthma?

Many many thanks

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251132_tn?1198082422
The chest physician should reevaluate you.

The obstructive airways disease indicated by your abnormal spirometry test could be cystic fibrosis, reactive airways disease (RAD) or hypersensitivity pneumonitis.  However it
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Clares,

Whilst I am not a doctor I have suffered similar symptoms to yourself and done alot of patient research.

It has become very clear to me recently that I have suffered anxiety for quite some time...I recently had an emotional bout, which sort of crystallized the problem for me !

However, physical anxiety has manifested itself for many years as muscle tension in my chest, back and now lungs.

(I also get upper gastric IBS/ stomach bloating).

It appears the tension is now effecting my lungs to such an extent that I get asthma-like symptoms: mucus, tightness, bronchial sensitivity, etc... In fact a couple of years ago, when it first started, I had hyperventilation attacks and still regularly feel respiratory distress. This is often related to stressful periods.

Ventolin does not work and I have generally optimistic but mixed feelings about Becotide, which I have been taking recently. Buspar has provided me some relief from anxiety and perhaps somewhat reduced my concern about my breathing, although has really only taken the 'edge' off the problem.

I must note that my peak flow is relatively good, but still my symptoms are reminiscent of asthma. I have an appointment and shall be visiting a lung specialist in the near future and guess I may have a spirometry test myself.

I imagine my problem is caused by anxiety/ muscle tension in my lungs, but would not know whether I am officially asthmatic (?) It is exacerbated by stomach bloating which makes the breathing condition seem worse. It is definitely alot worse when my anxiety levels are high !

I guess you may be able to draw some parallels which may (or may not) give you some comfort !

Good luck...
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Avatar_n_tn
I used to always clear my throat and cough...since having an air purifier in my home that covers the whole house; I've totally stopped that and found it to help all my children even in the midst of this WI winter - we've had no colds or flu or other respiratory ills.  Here's some obvious signs in your own home that can indicate a need simply for air purification.
COMMON TRAITS OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
Affected Household Members initials: ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Dust on furniture / Visible in air
House odors
Allergies
Asthma
Sinus problems
Headaches
Sleeplessness / Light sleeper
Snoring
Sore throats / Colds / Flu
Itchy/ Watery eyes
Coughing / Throat clearing
Lack of Concentration
Depression / Irritability
Fatigue / Naps
Mold / Mildew in basement & bathrooms
Pet dander and odors
Smoking
Wood / Coal heater
Static Electricity

As you fill this in and realize how much is affected by your indoor air; maybe you'd want to try an ionizing/ozone air purifier like I have.  It's removed all respiratory ills in our family with 8 children 19 down to two.
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