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Asthma attacks and hyperventilating

Hi my son had a asthma attack on Friday morning and has had lots since he was seen by the doctors in A and E he was given steroids for three days too. We was told his chest and lugs are clear his oxygen levels was fine and so was his blood pressure he had no wheeze. He had to go back Saturday night and Sunday night wher the doctor thought it was a asthma attack and also hyperventilation too so he was told to do some breathing for this. He has been doing well then finished the steroids yesterday had a attack this morning the doctor came out and said he doesn't need more steroids chest clear and she don't thinknits asthma as there is no wheeze. I'm very worried as my son takes his blue inhaler when he has the attack which helps but why are they not helping him the doctors. My son says when it happens he can breathe in but not breathe out. And he has a chest pain tightness. Anybody have this. Also we have noticed he has had a viral cough for a few weeks and when he is asleep he wakes up coughing then has the attack wondered if anyone else can help thanks

4 Replies

Hi Pen,

This is a problem I have had in a & e a few times due to the fact my chest is often clear and my oxygen levels tend to drop very suddenly. Saying that I have had some occasions where ABGs show a tendency towards hyperventilation (usually when I have been finding it hard to breathe for a few days rather than a sudden attack. One of the problems I have found is that some doctors appear to think wheeze is the only symptom of asthma. I was told once that it couldn't be asthma if I wasn't wheezing and 12 hours later I was in ITU with an asthma attack. On another occasion, I was kept in for hyperventilation and told not to take my inhaler. Luckily I was seen by a respiratory nurse very soon after who was very cross at that! My advice there would definitely be persistent if you and your son think it is asthma seek help in the usual way.

After several months of this, I got quite upset/cross and said to the doctors that something needed to be done as the problem was continuing. I put it to them that if this was hyperventilation then I needed some treatment for it and explained the impact it had on my life. I was then referred to a physio who did an assessment which concluded that I have a tendency to breathe quicker/hyperventilate when I am struggling to breathe. We did some breathing techniques which have been useful too. I have also been to a difficult asthma clinc to be assessed and was confirmed that asthma was at the root of everything. My understanding is that asthma can cause you to breathe quicker and therefore hyperventilate slightly but the cause is still asthma.

I hope that makes sense. I am not a doctor or anything and it is just my personal experience but I can relate to what you are saying. The adviceline was really helpful for me when I was having difficulty with getting doctors to help so maybe give them a ring too.


Hey thanks for getting back to me. Same as my son everything is always ok when the ambulance comes and the doctor. I was peeved today when the doctor said to me he couldn't have any more steroids and I had just not long rang the asthma uk and they was the ones who told me to ask for more as he needed them. It seems to be that no one will help the doctor also said that it isn't ashma as he doesn't have a wheeze. But I no that all asmatics don't alwys have a wheeze. My son is 16 already has a lot o problems and don't need no more he is scared to go to sleep now. I'm totally not happy at all so do you think if I ring the ashma uk to tommorw they could help me and advise me further?


I have always found that the helpline have given me very good pratical advice so if things have changed you cold try them again.

Is this typical for your son's asthma? If it is, I sometimes find starting with ""I'm not a wheezy asthmatic helps"" or anything else along those lines.

Does he do a peak flow? is that normal?

Is it possible for you to see another doctor and explain everything you have put on here?

If he is scared (and not being able to breathe is scary) then he is more likely to hyperventilate. I would show an open minded view of hyperventilating (in terms of breathing too quickly but reiterate all the signs that point to asthma).

Let us know how you get on.


My sons ashma has never been this bad he has had few attacks before but nothing like this. I did ask today for a peak flow meter and a spacer too as advised from asthma uk the doctor said well if he needs it the asthma nurse will give him them on Thursday at his checkup. He has the asthma nurse Thursday I have to take him to the surgery as they don't do home visits. My son is agrephobic and doesn't leave the house so the doctors normally come out. I think I am going to ring asthma line tommoro again and ask for advice I could ask for a second opion from another doctor too I guess. The ambulance man said this women do not hesitate to ring 999 if he has another attack. It's just so upsetting seeing him like this and nobody doing anything it really worries me that something bad will happen. When my son had his peak flow done at A n E Friday it was 300 the highest is 500 I guess if it is just panic attacks he will continue to do his breathing exercises. But today it just didn't help after having his blue inhaler for 8 puffs that worked he could breathe again. So if it isn't asthma why does that work


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