3 years ago, I had some serious breathing problems and heart palpitations begin. They still occur today, sometimes more often than other times, but always with specific circumstances. A Chest X-Ray recently showed I have Air Trapping in my lungs, and an A&E visit saw my O2 levels briefly dropping to 84% sometimes, but this info was withheld from me until just recently. We trialled a blue Albuterol/Ventolin inhaler and saw mild improvement. I really, absolutely do NOT want asthma! If I have it, my dream career is over, and I have to live with my one phobia in life - a chronic illness that may strike/maybe even kill anytime. I have some questions in that regard:
- There's no doubt my blue Ventolin inhaler helps, but it only helps for an hour or two tops. Are there conditions besides COPD/Asthma that it can help? Everyone keeps saying anxiety is possible, and there's no doubt I'm a severe hypochondriac, but would bronchodilators help that? (Tried CBT/Hypnotherapy/Mindfullness/Medications to no effect)
- I can't get the technique right with a Volumatic spacer. I have to use an Aerochamber Plus instead. Am I missing out on too much medication using this kind of spacer?
- Yesterday I had the worst of my attacks to date. It felt like my throat closed over, I couldn't feel the cool of the air running down it. My heart raced even though I was at rest and each time I tried to inhale it got worse. Yet I never cough, wheeze, whistle or get a tight chest. Even my GP says this is unorthodox. We know it isn't Vocal Chord Dysfunction because the techniques don't work for me. Could Panic/anxiety cause asthma-like symptoms without actually influencing or triggering pre-exisiting asthma? (Just so you know, it is NOT hyperventilation, we have sufficiently proven that)
- The only thing that helps me besides blue inhalers is to put tension in my shoulders/lower and upper back/neck. For example, if I hunch over at a laptop, the tightness makes me feel better. To that end, showers as an example make me worse, because the tension is lost and when my body relaxes, I have immediate difficulty again. And I do mean immediate. Is it right for symptoms like this to come and go with small changes in posture/tension?
- I also have LPR Reflux; how would I know if this is the cause of my breathing difficulty? And if it is, would inhalers still help it anyway? In the past I have also had severe eczema.
- My family is extremely unsupportive, leaving me behind when I struggle to walk during attacks, telling me its all in my head, and that I "haven't died yet, therefore it's not asthma." My history of hypochondria doesn't help either. What can I do about it?
Thank you for any help and answers you can offer. I'm only 24, and I'm terrified of having a disease like this for life when it's so debilitating that sometimes I can't even stand up, speak, eat, or walk.