Does anyone kind of seize up during an attack?

This is the strangest thing that happens to me, apart from the colour changing scar, but during a bad attack i sort of sieze up, my ribs and back feel like theyre being ripped off and its painful to draw breath, let alone fold laundry.

Also theres the light headedness that has been there since i took the seretide down on cons orders, still in the 270-310 riegon which is my Zone 2....

strange, but does anyone else get any of this?

12 Replies

  • During a acute attack can get light headed and cramps due to high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood as your airways so narrow your dont breath out enough to get rid of this waste product so it builds up causing nasty effects, you can slso get tense if hyperventilating? or panicking, but you tell me one asthmatic that doesnt panic to some degree?

    Andrea xx

  • thanks for that, i thought i was losing my marbles, or id banged myself.

    so no panicing

  • Can you get light headed because of too much carbon dioxide but your sats still be very good (98-99%)? The last time I went to A and E I felt really rough, tired and light headed but my sats were 98 and after a nebuliser I started to feel much better.


  • I meant to respond to this a few days ago but we've had a few tecchy problems which have prevented me from logging in properly. Sorted now thanks to The Team!

    Anyhoo, what I was going to say is that Andrea is almost right, but there's a little bit more to it (apologies if this gets a bit technical). Early in an attack, your respiratory rate rises so you get a relative hyperventilation - this has an effect of increasing your oxygen levels, but actually decreasing your carbon dioxide levels. Carbon dioxide is actually the important one, cos it plays a significant role in regulating the acid/alkaline balance in your blood. If you have too little, your blood goes alkaline; too much, and you go acidotic. Early in an attack, or in a milder attack, when your carbon dioxide levels go down, changes in the acidity of your blood cause changes in the calcium levels of your blood; calcium plays an important role in muscle function, and if the levels change, you can get muscle cramps. This may explain the feeling of seizing up. The lightheaded feeling that Beth describes may be due to a relative hypocapnoea (low carbon dioxide), rather than too much carbon dioxide.

    Later in an attack, or in a more severe attack, because the respiratory function is compromised and likewise gas exchange, you get hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and hypercapnoea (high carbon dioxide levels). This is a very serious situation.

  • Cathbear,

    Thanks for that, it really helped. I googled the term and I found it listed my other symptoms of twitching and pins and needles! Very interesting as I'd put those down to stress.


  • that is really interesting. i often freak out during attacks and hyperventilate/take a panc attack on top of the asthma attack and my hands and feet go numb, i go very dizzy and lightheaded and its always been put down to me panicing and stressing but its never been explained.

    i often fall right over during attacks as well i never know if its caused by the asthma or me panicing, its always suggested its me panicing, if i'm having an attack i want to get somewhere safe and somewhere where tere is not lots of people and it can sometimes make things worse.

  • thanks for this everyone, guess its been so long since i had a proper attack that it quite frightens me lol, think i might go back to the doc and argue that the consultant who thought it funny to take my seretide down was actually wrong.

    nearly collapsed on my way to college yesterday and was very lethargic all day, not too bad now though, just tired

  • were you ok yesterday? the amount of times i have almost collapsed or completely falling over at my work i have lost count. i think though even if attacks are frequent this still happens - attacks are just so scary that they will always scare you, or they do me and its something other sufferers do not understand. depending on who is about when i take attacks at work i occassionally get mixed responses like, why are you panicing? there is no need? its happened before its nothing to wory about yet i get a fright everytime and i'm sure most other peoe do as well. it is hard to explain to a non sufferer as they have never been through it so do not understand.

  • yeah i was ok after a while, but when i got to college, i just took it easy and rode the easy and quick way home, my evening was spent in bed with my laptop

    hope everyone else is ok

  • just in response to what Cath has been saying about oxygen levels...i was admitted by 999 ambulance on monday evening due to an attack..spent 10 hours in an A&E cubicle being very well looked after by medics and nurses..stats on going in were 97 but these fell to 91..the hospital was beds.but was told on several occasions that i was 2nd in line for a bed..cardiac consultant appears on the scene at 10am and whizzes through the cubicles discharging people and saying everything is ok...had a look at my charts and said my stats were very good when i came in and nebs had helped get my peak flow up to 200 (normal peak flow is 350) off i go home still coughing and wheezing..have to attend my asthma nurse and gp later that day as an emergency and am given oxygen and more nebs..sent to hospital and admitted later that night by the doc who was on casualty duty and who told me i was 2nd in line for the bed...he said ""what are you doing here?"" told him i had been sent home by the cardiac consultant and he was astonished...told by a ward sister that this young doc then proceeded to write notes on my case notes in RED ink in no uncertain manner setting out his thoughts on my discharge from casualty..he said in his opinion i shouldnt have been sent home when my stats at that time were 91% on oxygen..husband is considering taking the matter further...does he have a case?

  • that is awful. thats what scares me about going to hospital, its you never know what kind of doctor you are going to get and how they are going to act. thats one of he reasons i refuse to go. my work have noticed i actually get worse if they mention hospital or ambulance so they leave it to me wheich i won't admit i need help.

    I would def phone up and query being sent home like that though as its dangerous.

  • Hi Scottishmum

    I got your message the other day and I tried to reply but your profile is set not to receive messages, but you can ask me any questions you want, and what happened to you at the hospital was really bad and I definatley think you should complain. one time I was sent home without prenisolone and the next day I couldn't even walk had to make an emergency appointment to see my doc.

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