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Asthma UK community forum
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Is It Possible to Fake an Asthma Attack?

Don't worry...I'm not about to start faking bronchospasm (sp?), nor do I know anyone who has!

This was just a little ponder...wondering if anyone here could shed some light on it! I was merely wondering if it was actually possible to fake an asthma attack as there have been some conflicting opinions!

Thanks,

R x

18 Replies
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HI Rachel 1.

Not sure,but would be a silly thing to do and we all know what happens to

someone who cries wolf.

love Glynis x

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Don't worry Glynis...I wasn't about to go down that road!

The reason that I was wondering was just because I know I have, and others probably have, been accused at various times of faking asthma. Also (and this is especially true on the KA forums) we know many people who fake their asthma as an excuse!!

I definitely would not want to fake one myself!

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I don't think accusing people of faking asthma attacks is particularly helpful - on the KA forums you have no idea if someone if faking their asthma or not.

Secondly, if someone is faking asthma attacks then there is probably a reason behind it and they need help and not criticism.

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Hello Rachel,

I'm sure it is very possible to ""fake"" the symptoms of an asthma attack, but it would certainly not be possible to fake the signs, i.e. wheeze on the chest, low oxygen levels, high CO2 levels, etc.

I'm concerned you feel there are people on the KA boards who ""fake"" asthma. Can you substantiate these claims? People who post there may be rather upset that you have made this comment.

CathBear

(Moderator)

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I live with her, one minute she loses her voice. 5 minutes later she is good to go. Still trying to get attention like a child at 47yo?

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Hi Glendon,

I have no idea concerning the person you are talking about but I have silent asthma at the moment and it can come on quickly ( particularly climbing stairs or laughing or even if I am busy and neglect to take the Ventolin early enough ) and can be close to life threatening at that moment if I don't immediately get Ventolin. I carry Ventolin with me everywhere and after a few puffs (sometimes more then a few) I also am then good to go. Once my airways are clear, I'm fine .... until the next time.

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I don't know why anyone would want to ""fake"" being asthmatic or having an asthma attack. You can pretend you have it, there are to many tests to prove a person has asthma or is having an attack.

This post is very bizarre and it worries me. To think that anyone could possible ""fake"" it is beyond me. Why would anyone want to do such a thing with a life threatening illness? This shed doubt over alot of people whether they are sufferers, medical professionals, families of sufferers.

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Hello Ails,

You are right, there are a lot of tests - but none of them are failsafe, and you will find many tales on here of people who are symptomatic with relatively normal peak flows, no wheeze on the chest etc (indeed, there was a huge thread on the ""No Wheeze"" phenomenon relatively recently). Asthma is such a variable and individual phenomenon, it's almost more of a syndrome than a well-defined entity. The difficulties generally arise (on a medical profession front) from black and white thinking. Most people will fit into the box in some way, but some won't - however just because they don't tick the right boxes doesn't mean they don't have asthma.

CathBear

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Hello Rachel,

I suppose it is possible to fake an asthma attack, but should you be taken to A&E they would suss out a fake attack because your SATS and blood gases would be okay. I am very wheezy even when not having an attack and sometimes it panics people and they think I am having an attack when I'm not - i'm just wheezy sometimes.

My friends have asked me to fake an asthma attack to get them out of a boring meeting! - I haven't done that, I found out by accident that if I do a certain action then it makes me much wheezier - it makes my wheeze much louder. I did this once by mistake - following a relaxation/Butkeyo technique, but I wouldn't do it again to fake an attack because it might change to a real one and then I would be in dire straits.

Asthma is quite a scary illness with varying degrees of severity, it takes time to come to terms with it and it can take a while for the reality of it being a life threatening illness to kick in. So its probably not a good idea to fake asthma because it could trigger a real attack and if you got found out it could cause the crying wolf problem, but yes i would say it is possible to fake an asthma attack. Take good care, Lois

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I suppose you could fake it to some point but i think as soon as you got to a&e they'd know, i dont really think its possible to make a 'wheeze' without having one (believe me my friends have tried and failed to imitate me on a number of times, though all in good spirit!) and then upon listening to your chest doctors would be able to tell theres air flow is fine.

Also one other thing which is quite a big diagnostic tool is lung function. With peak flow you could make it as low as you want but lung function looks at the pattern of your breath. And i believe im right in saying (please correct me if im wrong) that an asthmatic tends to have a graph which kind of concaves in the middle as opposed to a straight line and im pretty sure that'd be impossible to immitate.

Just wondering again why did you want to know?

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There was two weekends in a row where I had to be taken to A&E the first time I was put onto a monitor in ambulance. This showed respitory difficulty and was on neb and blue lights all the way.

The next weekend the ambulance people thought I was taking a panic attack and dispelled the asthma completely. They didn't put me on monitor that time or gave me neb. They made me walk to the ambulance. When I arrived it was same doctor as previous and they got repremanded for it. The reason they gave was they thought I was ""faking"" it. I was having another bad attack and it took longer to control as I didn't get care I needed straight away. I was 14 years old when this happened.

Maybe what happened to me would help people think twice about faking an asthma attack. It could cost innocent people their lives.

Well done for resisting the peer pressure to ""fake"" one.

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I'm so sorry, there seems to have been a misunderstanding.

What I meant was that, on the KA forums, the posters themselves sometimes make comments about people they know personally who sometimes fake asthma. I would never dream of making those kind of accusations and I feel absolutely terrible, I hope I haven't upset anyone!

I'm really, really sorry for the confusion - I do hope that no one has been offended.

EDIT: Another apology: I'm really sorry if anyone has been worried/upset/offended by this post. It was honestly just an innocent question. I didn't have an ulterior motive and I definitely do not want to fake any asthma symptoms. I am really sorry for all the chaos this has caused.

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Oooops. Fair enough, Rachel, sorry for mis-interpreting your comments! :) Just shows how easy it is to misread/mis-write stuff on an online message board, it's far too easy for people to read it a different way to which it was intended!

However, it seems to have brought out some interesting - if saddening - stories for discussion, so it's been worth it perhaps just for that.

CathBear

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I know this isnt classed as faking but people can bring on an asthma attack by panicing... and having a mild attack that leads to panicing. And I have seen some people thinking they have an asthma attack but its just panicing or need to just chill for a bit.

It is diffucult to diagnose for certain its an asthma attack. Using CRP is a good sign however cant rely on SATS (mine are oke until I am about to crash!) and high C02 on gasses can be due to hyperventilation. Peak flow during an attack for me is a good sign. I think thats why ED's have a step wise approach so dont go on to the strong drugs until all other things have failed of serious Blood gases/SATs or they are used to you

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Don't worry Cathbear - it was probably my lack of eloquence!

It is very true though how things can be misinterpreted when typed...merely because the tone in your voice can't be conveyed!

I will try and be more careful next time!

R x

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(sorry...just need to write another post so it's not at 13 any more - damn this superstition!!)

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My sister does, just for attention. I mean I have never in my life met such crazy ass in my life.

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I really think so because I just tried to do it and it worked and I actually have asthma so yeah and I had a fight with my 15 year old sister about her cleaning her room but now she forgives me for having that fake asthma attack

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