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Asthma symptoms

Just curious-have you had the TV version of an asthma attack (suddenly grab your throat/gasp for air) or do you have something different?  If you haven't ever had an asthma attack, what symptoms do you have that let you know you need your rescue inhaler/neb?

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Comments 15

  • Wheezy Me

    My asthma symptoms are quite typical, and yes, I had the TV version (except that I grasp my upper chest near the throat, not the throat itself).

    In milder cases I feel chest tightness or sometimes as if the air scratches my airways from the inside, before the visible symptoms appear.

  • Deborah Bartlett

    I am thinking of severe asthma attacks. I am pretty sure I grab near my throat…under the chin. 

    I know when I get that upper chest tightness and a constructing feeling….that can only be asthma. COPD can feel like a car is parked on your chest. My lungs feel like they are folded in half. 

    Sometimes I get dizzy when I need rescue med. Other times I can't talk. Most times an attack starts with non-stop coughing. 

  • dory2005

    When I was first diagnosed 30+ years ago as a kid, I had that awful feeling of not being able to breathe and gasping for air, and for the first couple of years I had to go to the ER a lot until my pulmo gave (a script) to my parents for a compressor and neb. Then ER visits weren't nearly as common.

    Now, I don't typically have the tv type of asthma attack, but the past two times that I was hospitalized, I couldn't talk and breathe at the same time, but I had gotten so used to not breathing well, that my 02 level was pretty low, and I just didn't realize how sick I was. 

  • LK

    My main symptom is a cough.  Also, chest feels cold, tight and I put my hand on my chest without realizing it a lot of the time.  I have noticed sometimes that I get dark circles under my eyes when I am having a flare.  Not from lack of sleep, it's a different type of dark circle if that makes any sense!  I lose my concentration and feel like I can't think my way out of a paper bag.  Get a very self-centered/turning inwards feeling and am unaware of what I am doing or what is going on around me.  Can only focus on getting my inhaler/neb.  Just lately I have realized that my voice also gets hoarser.  

  • Emelina

    If I run outside in below freezing weather (I was young and dumb and trying to show off), I’ll get the classic tv attack with audible expiratory wheezes, feeling dizzy and barely able to speak. 

    Usually though it starts with a throat tickle/airway itch, then the non stop cough and the constricted band like tight feeling. It’s kind of strange, but I figured out a quick and dirty way to know how bad of a day it’s going to be or how tight things are. At my old doc’s office, they’d have me take a deep breath and blow it out as fast as I could while they listened to the chest (like the spirometry maneuver). Sometimes this would bring out wheezes/whistles that weren’t readily apparent. When things are nice and open, I can do that maneuver no problem, all air out in 1-2s and there is a firm stop. When the lungs are mad (ie coughing fit, feeling air hungry) I can do the same and it takes forever to breathe out. It correlates well with the peak flow and goes away with nebs/albuterol. 

  • Deborah Bartlett
    LK posted:

    My main symptom is a cough.  Also, chest feels cold, tight and I put my hand on my chest without realizing it a lot of the time.  I have noticed sometimes that I get dark circles under my eyes when I am having a flare.  Not from lack of sleep, it's a different type of dark circle if that makes any sense!  I lose my concentration and feel like I can't think my way out of a paper bag.  Get a very self-centered/turning inwards feeling and am unaware of what I am doing or what is going on around me.  Can only focus on getting my inhaler/neb.  Just lately I have realized that my voice also gets hoarser.  

    Lisa…my immunologist told me that my hoarseness is caused by using inhaled medications. 

    Anyway….I have those weird dark circles. Not from lack of sleep. Sometimes, it almost looks like someone drew them on with a marker. Years back, before I realized how sick I was, I had those circles. I kept saying, something is wrong,, but I don't know what. I told my Mom that it looked like I was ingesting poison. I knew that wasn't true!!! I have come to find out that those circles can be caused by lack of oxygen in the skin. Even if the pulse oximeter says your oxygen level is good, that doesn't always mean it is. Sometimes we have to do our own detective work. 

  • Shea

    When I first started having asthma attacks I was pregnant and living with my now-ex/childs-father who had cats and dog, and I had to have him give me a ride to the ER because the inhaler that my primary dr prescribed me wasnt doing anything and was scared I wouldnt make it and when I breathed out it made such a whistling wheeze little screaming sound that my ex would laugh at me– I obviously was not amused and pretty much thought I was going to die until the breathing trratments from the ER took affect. They never suggested I have a neb at home. My primary dr never gave me a referral. Usually I was just on taper after taper of prednisone and wondering why I couldnt get off without exasperation. No one seemed to care much. I had 3 of those ER trips while pregnant and after I gave birth, moved out of the ex's home and in with my parents, and had the heart attack from CSS when my son was 3 months old– I was finally diagnosed with CSS and treated properly. But even after that I had attacks either from strong triggers that were very TV like or gradual worsening from tapering. Cat and dog dander on others clothing was a mystery ailment for a period of time causing me to need my medicine and break out in my skin and just get worse all together. When I lower Im especially sensitive and every day was more and more struggle until I had to get prednisone burst again. Now I just treat my asthma as I get more wheeziness and I always have a neb on me and stay on 20mgs of prednisone and I make it through so its been a good resting point for me. But Im definitely not thriving.  

  • Deborah Bartlett

    We always have to remember that an asthma attack can be life threatening. If in doubt or unsure that rescue meds are helping, call 911!

    Always be proactive and avoid triggers at all costs! 

  • Shea

    Yes Debbie! That was the lesson I learned. I used to depend on others a lot for information or what to do– now I know to listen to myself and care about myself and how to do that even when no one else around is. But also, I have gotten better at educating others as well, so that the people in my life are part of my arsenol and can help (not hinder) and Ive gotten goid at voicing myself at appointments so I have a good plan, and the right meds (inhalers, nebulizers, prednisobe) and tools (life alert, med bracelets) on hand to get me through emergencies. 

  • Melissa G

    I feel like someone is sitting on my chest and I am breathing through a straw. Then I feel like I can't focus on anything else but my breathing. 

  • Deborah Bartlett
    Shea posted:

    Yes Debbie! That was the lesson I learned. I used to depend on others a lot for information or what to do– now I know to listen to myself and care about myself and how to do that even when no one else around is. But also, I have gotten better at educating others as well, so that the people in my life are part of my arsenol and can help (not hinder) and Ive gotten goid at voicing myself at appointments so I have a good plan, and the right meds (inhalers, nebulizers, prednisobe) and tools (life alert, med bracelets) on hand to get me through emergencies. 

    Good for you Shea!!! ⭐⭐⭐🌠

    You are managing your health the best way you can! 

  • Emelina

    Do you guys notice a timing to when your asthma symptoms are worse? Lately I’ve noticed my symptoms are worse at night or very early morning. Mornings are usually pretty good (coincidence since that’s when I take prednisone? 🧐), but evenings are just stinky (maybe the body knows it’s time to redose the advair). 

    The body is so interesting … I just wish it came with a manual and maintenance/tune up schedule!

  • Pljohns

    So I started this thread just to see how everyone else felt with their asthma and as I figured, I'm the odd person out.  I have NEVER had the "oh my gosh I can't breathe" thing happen-mine is just short of breath and tight-almost like my lungs are about 1/2 their normal size.  I guess maybe mine is odd because I have no allergies to have a reaction to????  I have no idea but that would be my best guess.  For me, peak flow numbers tank and I just can't breathe-it's walk a few steps and stop to breathe. stairs and shopping are an exercise in futility and the more I talk, the worse it gets.

  • Melissa G

    Emelina, mine tends to be worse in the morning. 

    Lynn, isn't it interesting on how everyone is so different? Of course, that can really complicate things for getting treatment. 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    Yes, Melissa. That is why doctors just cannot prescribe one medication for everyone to treat asthma .Each persons triggers and reactions are all different .Doctors need to keep a close eye on their patients. With weather being the way it is, I believe it really affects our asthma and allergies!