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im not sure whats wrong with my asthma

Im a 200lb blk male, 6'1, age 31, non smoker , lives in Michigan. No other health issues but asthma. diagnosed with asthma as a kid.I went a year without having to use my albuterol inhaler. 3 months ago I started having sudden shortness of breath. It happened once a week and as weeks passed im now having to use the inhaler 3 times a day. I went to the doctor and he sent me to take a pulmonary test. The 3 part test had me breathing into a machine. It came back I had chronic asthma which I already knew because I had it since a child. The weird thing is, there's no wheezing or coughing. When the shortness of breath happens I use the inhaler or nebulizer and it clears up. Nurses say my lungs are clear and no fever or sickness. When the nurses test my lungs by breathing into the tester thingy I blow 350. After using the breathing machine, I blow 500. I received a steroid shot and was sent home with prednisone 10 mg tabs. I have 4 days left on them. They seem to work a little bit but not really. I'm really lost and don't know what to do. Please help. I never had this issue before.

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  • Marie E Natzke

    WHOME1 sorry your having problems. Asthma is funny it can be dormant for a while and then show itself. I wheezed as a child. As an adult I do not wheeze. Just feel my chest tighten up and breaths get shallow. Keep up with your Dr appointment and tests. If your not happy with your Dr find a new one.I've heard said our bodies change every 7 years as we age. Sometimes asthma for no reason returns. 

  • Shea

    Hi Whome1, 

    I am sorry to hear your asthma started acting up after a pretty long hiatus. I have been on this forum a while because I developed a chronic allergic disease in my late 20s and asthma is one of the symptoms (my other organs are affected as well)… But asthma is the worse part because, well, breathing is important! My asthma is triggered by allergies and a lot of adthma is, so one thing you could do is see an allergist and find out by doing a skin prick test (they will test you for common allergens based on where you live and also things like dust and dander). Air pollution and chemicals can also affect asthma– sometimes people will come on here after a pest spraying was done. 

    Once asthma is flared it can take a bit to get the inflammation knocked out. I personally think 10mg is low for a prednisone burst with taper– I usually get a shot in the butt and start at 60mgs (that is because I take 20mg daily for my allergic condition when I am not having a flareup) but I think 40mgs pred is usually more typical to start from what I have heard from others, at then wean lower and lower on a schedule.

    The main thing is to communicate back to your doctors office– even a primary care doctor if you have difficulty getting back in with the specialist as often is the case– and let them know the 10mg prednisone isnt helping much, that you still need your rescue inhaler x amount of times a day, and any other symptoms (and if its the primary care doc let them know if youve contacted the soecialist and if you need sonething to hold you over until you see him or her). 

    Rescue inhalers (albuterol) can help with immediately opening airways but they do not take care of the inflammation like other types of inhalers (inhaled steroids), and so you can ask your doctor about trying one of those (along with the albuterol inhaler) because they often have less side effects than the pill prednisone and go right to the trouble spot because they are inhaled. You probably know about them if youve had asthma before– I use Flovent.  For me, once I get the inflammation under control I am not AS sensitive to triggers– whether it be chemical, smoke, or allergy, so I will need my rescue inhaler less often when using inhaled steroids for a while. 

    I know it is the weekend, but you can call an on call doctor or go to a walkin if you are struggling to breathe– or the ER worst case scenario– I have a nebulizer at hime becayse sonetines if I am really flared up the rescue inhaler wont be enough and Ill need a breathing treatment. 

    I hope this info helped and that you feel better soon! Let us know how it goes!

  • Melissa G

    Hi Whome1! Welcome to AAFA!  So glad that you found us! 

    I am so sorry you are struggling! This has to be very frustrating for you. 

    Do you know what your  are? Do you have an  Also, here is our  It ranks the top 100 cities for the worst place to live with fall allergies. Could fall allergies be aggravating your asthma?

    You can also check out this free on-line course for . It may have some helpful information for you. 

  • K8sMom2002

    @whome1, Welcome — wish you didn't need to be here, but so glad you found this support! I hope you're doing some better. Like Shea pointed out, once your lungs get "twitchy," they tend to take awhile to settle down.

    Are you seeing an allergist or a pulmonologist? An allergist can really help you get your asthma under control. Here's a link to a quick video:

  • Debbie Alves

    WhoMe1, that must be really scary.  I've had severe asthma all my life, and it can still be scary.

    I agree with the others, you need to get back in to see the doctor ASAP.  Start writing down everything — when symptoms start, when they ease, when you take your different meds, what seems to make breathing better/harder, where you feel better. Journals with that detail — as much as possible — can really make a huge difference in figuring out what's happening. (I keep mine in my calendar/notes on my phone so it's always with me, in case I have to go to the ER.)

    What seems to trigger your shortness of breath?  Are you exposed to secondhand smoke?  What kind of work do you do and what is the air quality like there?  Try to think of this like a mystery you have to solve and collect all the information you possibly can.

    But ALWAYS, if medication doesn't seem to be helping within 24-48 hours (ask the physician when it's prescribed how long before any improvement), go back and see them again.  You may need stronger or different meds/combos.

    Also, do you meditate?  Learning to practice controlling your breathing is really helpful for asthmatics (and for whenever you a feeling scared or overwhelmed).  I recently learned pursed-lip breathing, which helps with my shortness of breath (caused by a complication to my asthma). You can find videos explaining how to do it on YouTube — basically breathe in through your nose as deeply as you can and count how long it takes – 6, 8, whatever.  But then exhale by slowly breathing out through pursed lips (like if you were breathing out through a straw) and try to do so longer than you breathed in.  If your inhalation was 6, try to exhale for 8, or 10. Just keep trying to get them to be just a little longer than the inhalations.  I cannot explain it, but doing this actually changes the biomechanics of your breathing, and helps you gradually exhale more.  It also helps you calm down and not be so anxious during the episodes.

    Let us know how you are doing, okay?

  • whome1

     

    Thank you all for your help and support i really appreciate it. Unfortunately I'm in a bad situation where I'm only allowed to see a nurse practitioner once a month and the only drugs to treat asthma is : theophylline, alvesco(had a bad reaction to) and the infamous airduo respiclick. which none are working. I don't know what to do.I have been keeping a journal since August. I do mediate, that seems to help a bit.Other than using my rescue inhaler and practicing breathing exercises. Im a fish without water. Before I came into the limited situation im in, I used advair but now I'm being refused it.

  • Debbie Alves

    This is really bad. There are programs that can help you get the right medication for free or very low-cost, but they will require a doctor’s assistance in applying. 

    Just to clarify, these restrictions are due to the insurance you have? Are you in a major city, with a medical school?  

    Did you complete your prednisone course?  Did you have any relapses? Was the prednisone prescribed by your prinary care physician or a pulmonologist?

    if you still aren’t feeling well, you need to return to see that prescribing physician. If necessary, go to the ER (this is a drastic situation, but going to the ER opens additional possibilities for you, with access to specialists).  If you are worried about paying for them, you can plead poverty and work out a payment plan, even if it’s $5 a month.

    There should be a medical/healthcare ombudsman  either in your mayor’s office, or your department of health. Call them for help applying to your insurance company for reconsideration of any limitations, or help applying for additional help, like with the meds. 

    We’ll keep thinking to see if we come up with other ideas. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm with Debbie — that IS frustrating for you! I'd like to better understand where those limits are coming from as well. 

    We're definitely here for you as you try to figure this out!