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Atypical asthma-is it really asthma?
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Atypical asthma-is it really asthma?

I've had respiratory issues since childhood. Never diagnosed though till 25 years old. My asthma diagnosis has always been in question. Allergies/asthma runs in my family and my daughter has asthma. Now my understanding of asthma is that the diurnal variations in peak flows should be greater then 20%. I don't think I've ever measured more then 15%. My doctors never have really heard wheezing in my chest, except some when I'm full of mucous and down about 50% of best peak flow. I've been to two different respirologists. The second one I'm seeing now is at The Pacific Lung Centre in Vancouver, BC. She seems to think it's asthma too....to what degree I don't know. The first feels that I have a very small amount of asthma, despite the fact that I take 6-8 puffs/day of Singulair 200. I do get shortness of breath, cough and chest tightness. Recently I had another exacerbation and it started with waking up one morning with mucous rattling around in my chest. Then after 3 days it turned into infection with fever. I got antibiotics and ended up for 5 weeks on prednisone. I've also been on prednisone in the past for 6 weeks, but not related to infection. Just a chest full of mucous. I still cough up mucous from my airways, but at least I don't feel it rattling around anymore. My family doctor is not entirely convinced of my asthma diagnosis. As I've had digestive issues over the years too. And at one point was even diagnosed with the starts of colitis. Lately I've had issues with iron and folic acid deficiency. I do get asthma attacks though for certain perfumes (that contain cat products). I do have allergies to dust mites, molds and feathers. My latest respirologist has ordered blood work to identify more allergies (antibodies test?). So I guess my question is, if my asthma is so "mild" then why do I need inhaled steroids regularly. I've been told to never go off them, because the consequences are too great, as I get bad exacerbations.  Do I just present differently with my asthma? Or is there something else going on here?
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942934_tn?1268111982
Oh I forgot to mention that I'm now 39 years old and I've also had 3 sinus surgeries for chronic sinusitis infections. My best peak flow in the past was 500. Now I average 380-430. I'm hoping it will improve yet after this last exacerbation, which started about 6 weeks ago, as mentioned earlier. I also have exercise induced asthma. Running in cold air really is a bad mixture for me. Does anyone else have asthma like this? The lack of wheezing but tons of mucous production, particularly when the lung function drops.
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Avatar_m_tn
There's a lot of thinking that some forms of asthma-like symptoms are caused by chronic fungal infections, which could also explain the chronic sinus problems.  I dunno, just a thought.  Google: Mayo fungus asthma for more expert info,
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same problems as you, I've never been diagnosed for asthma till now, there are two different kinds of it. One is typical asthma witch that is where you weez . And that is what most people are use to. The second is atypical asthma and that is when you have a cough, and most people don't know that because of the coughing and they will confuse it for a cold until it gets worse. But when you start having shortness of breathes and coughing , or just trying to breath in deep so you don't cough, you are actually having a asthma attack. And most of the time it is caused by allergies due to dust , dirt, mold, animals and so on....
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had continues heavy chest, shortness of breath and mucus for 8 months.  Almost daily I have a heavy chest.  I sleep fine and when I wake up I feel fine.  After being up for about a hour I start to get heavy chest and hard time breathing.  X-rays, CT scans came back normal.  Pulmonary breath test is 86%.   When I can clear out mucus I breath so much better.  Am on predisone for one week and steroid inhaler.  Just a bit scary because it has been so long.
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