Asthma UK community forum

Hyperventilating/Panic Attacks & Asthma attacks.

Hi all :)

In the past week I have had three asthma attacks, one I have been able to get myself to the surgery and the other by ambulance.

The second attack I had, I felt faint and was being sick, however, when I arrived at hospital, nobody seemed concerned by this. I then had an appointment with my asthma nurse the day after at the hospital and she told me these were classic signs of a panic attack/hyperventilating.

The third attack was yesterday, also rushed in by ambulance. I had three nebs in the space of an hour. While in hospital, the nebs took effect, but then my breathing became extremely shallow, and I became unresponsive. I couldn't move my legs, nor speak, the only way I could communicate was by crying slightly. I felt very 'spaced out' and not with it. Again, the Dr didn't seem at all bothered.

I got home, and after half an hour, felt very ill, faint, sleepy, dizzy etc. Again, I found myself staring into space and my hand eye co-ordination went, not being able to hold a glass of water or anything. My mum called NHS Direct to get some advice and she said it sounded like a viral infection. We visited the emergency Dr, and he seemed to think that I had also suffered another panic attack in the evening, and that I haven't got a viral infection.

Has anybody else had an experience such as this and is it likely that as well as having an asthma attack, you can also hyperventilate/have a panic attack?

Would be great to hear from you as I have never suffered panic attacks before! Thank you :)

2 Replies
oldestnewest

You can definitly have both an asthma attack and a panic attack/hyperventilation at the same time and it is very common. Its a natural response to panic if you can't breathe properly, which often leads to rapid breathing and which often makes asthma worse, so it can become a bit of a vicious cycle.

What your descrbing doesn't sound like a 'normal' panic attack, but like anything they can come in many differnt forms so i'd defnitly see your GP for futher advice. Generally with a panic attacks/hyperventilation you'll breathe faster, may have heart palpatations, sweating, hot flushes, trembling and other symptoms similar to that. Though the spaced out effect could be becuase of anxiety, i'd definitly see your GP to check its nothing more serious.

Good luck x

Reply

hyperventilation and asthma

Hi SJ

Good luck with your asthma, as the other reply pointed out, its fully possible to experience an asthma attack and panic attack at the same time. When your breathing rate increases, instead of increasing oxygen supply to your body the effect is quite the opposite due to a little known effect discovered by Bohr. The reduced levels of CO2 (during hyperventilation) increase the oxygen attraction to teh haemoglobin in your blood thus reducing teh supply to the body. the bodies response is to further restrict your lungs through chest tightening and constriction of the airways along with increased mucus production. This is a self-perpetuating cycle where the symptoms feed each other resulting in what you are experiencing.

You should talk to your doctor/ asthma team about the specific benefits of learning the buteyko breathing method from a trained instructor which is suitable for all levels of asthmatics (different exercises depending on severity) though people have other conditions that preclude them from breath retraining. buteyko may allow you to avoid the spiral of your increased breathing provoking your asthma and resultant attacks (asthma and panic). When i feel symptoms coming on it is a reminder to me to regulate my breathing. I take time out and calm myself down (very important to remain relaxed and in control) through a series of breathing exercises which allow me to control and eliminate my symptoms.

Reply

You may also like...