Asthma UK community forum

Scary incident

I've just come on here tonight after a scary incident this morning.

I don't have asthma - well, I didn't think I had.

I had quite a bad chest infection back in February which took a while to clear up and even after it had gone, I suddenly found that things irritated my chest far more so than ever before. For instance sitting outside in a restaurant, where all the smokers now go, makes me wheeze and I usually have to leave.

I keep fit and run regularly. Usually about 40 miles a week.

This morning I was on my long run - 15 miles. For long runs I run at a very slow pace - so that I don't even feel out of breath. I must confess, i feel quite stressed at the moment about something, but decided conqerring my 15 miles this morning would make me feel better.

All was going well for the first 7 miles, then suddenly I started to struggle. So much so, I quit at 8 miles. Just didn't seem to have any fight in me. But then I realised it was just a mind thing - physically I wasn't tired, so I then decided to get on with it and run the last 7 miles. All a sudden, at the 10 mile mark, I couldn't breathe. I managed to stop the treadmill and crawl off. It felt like a belt was tightening over my chest and like I was trying to breathe through a small straw. I was wheezing very noisily and starting to panic. Even in that state, although I was really scared, my head was telling me that I must be having an asthma attack. My husband, who is a school teacher and sees a lot of attacks, was also in no doubt, although neither of us knew what to do about it. Gradually I managed to calm myself down and breathing returned to normal after 10 minutes.

With it being bank holiday weekend, I can't get to a doctor until Tuesday at the earliest. I won't run again before then. But now I'm starting to worry myself again. Will it happen again? And the more I think about, I worry about other things that have happened lately. I've had lots of pins and needles and also have felt fatigued and lethargic over the last couple of months.

What ever it was, I feel as though stress brought on the attack this morning. I was feeling particularly upset about something and was trying to run off my frustration.

In one way I'm worried I might be wasting a GPs time but in another I'm worried I might have a worse attack.

Any advice anyone?

6 Replies


I think you would definitely not be wasting a GP's time! You've had this attack, which sounds like asthma is at the very least a possibility, plus the other symptoms - certainly worth going to GP asap then if it is asthma at least you've got something to control it.

Obviously if it happens again and you really feel things are getting bad OOH doctor or ambulance indicated, but otherwise I'd get down to the GP when things open again.

Not trying to scare you, just think you need to get it sorted so it doesn't happen again! Hope you do, let us know how you get on.


Hi there, I was diagnosed with asthma only a few months ago, so I know how scary it can be. It sounds a lot like asthma, and you shouldn't hesitate to call an out of hours gp or dial 999 if you get more symptoms. if you are experiencing extreme anxiety, it could be a panic attack, you may like I did, find that one can trigger the other. Deep breathing exercises in a quiet room tend to help slow my breathing and if I can hear wheezing then I know to take more of my inhaler. You really should see someone sooner rather than later. Good luck, and although my breathing isn't great tonight I have to say it did get a lot easier after the initial diagnosis.


Thanks for that re-assurance. I must confess, until tonight I haven't really thought too much about asthma, but reading all your posts makes me realise how difficult it must be to live with. I know how it feels to push myself and get really exhausted and out of breath...................but this is something very different and horrible, and even in a very small way, I'm starting to understand and appreciate what a difficult condition a lot of you have to live with from day to day.

I know my little incident must seem quite insignificant, but yes, you are right, it was something and I have the right to a few moments of a gp's time.



Just meant to say hope I didn't scare you! Mine is more persistent rather than in attacks like that so I've never had quite the same thing (I""m glad to say) but it sounds pretty scary. Obviously it may happen again even if you do have a proper diagnosis and treatment but at least you'll know what to do if it does.

Good luck getting it sorted!


Well - I got to the GP today.

He thinks that it's either exercise induced asthma, but thinks it unlikely because surely it would have happened before now, or it was a panic attack. Peak flow was a little low. BP was unexpectedly high!

He has given me an inhaler and spacer to put by my treadmill. If it happens again then I am to take the inhaler, then obviously visit him again.

But he thinks it was more likely a panic attack.

I still have my doubts - I wasn't hyperventilating when it happened. I was definitely wheezing and couldn't get air in or out of my lungs.

I asked him if perhaps it was an asthma attack brought on by a panic attack and he said it was unlikely.

After I posted on Saturday night I continued with the most awful headache for another 24 hours.

Anyway - I have the inhaler now, so if it happens again, I know I should be OK.

Thanks for your help. If it turns out to be asthma I'll be coming back here regularly!



I just wanted to say you should trust your gut about what's wrong. You're doctor after all wasn't there. Also you can get asthma at any age, including exercise induced asthma. I've actually had a friend who got EIA after having a bad chest infection.

The other thing I wanted to say is I know that it is scary (especially at first), but the way we all get through it is having support, and having a plan of what to do when things get scary. So if you focus on the plan step by step, it's helpful and reassuring. So definitely take the inhaler if you have any idea that you're having trouble. I know for myself that I went without treatment for so long, that when I finally got an inhaler, I was surprised by how much it did help.

By the way a lot of people are diagnosed with chest infections, when if they're reoccuring it actually is asthma.



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