Wheezing in asthma

Do you have to wheeze to have asthma only I've one doctor saying I have asthma and a diff doctor who isn't convinced cos he hasn't heard me wheeze. Awaiting more tests now but still can't breathe. I did get a bit better but feel like iam not being listened to now and had enough of being ill. If I can't breathe and blue I feel I can't go A&E cos they may not take me serious as it was an A & E doc that said it. There all confusing me. There all dictating to each other. Mean while months down line I'm exactly the same still struggling.  Cos I don't wheeze they don't wanna know. Does anyone have asthma that doesn't wheeze?

38 Replies

  • Hi

    I don't wheeze very often, only during bad attacks or sometimes infection. I normally just get very short of breath and cough alot, my lung function tests confirm asthma but I still get docs saying chest clear you are fine  even though  I have another lung condition (bronchiectasis)

    do you know what tests you are haiving as its fairly commonc for asthmatics to have normal lung function results if they are not symptomatic when they have the tests. Happened to me a few times in the past, but it doesn't mean the person is not asthmatic.

    Hope you feel better soon


  • Thankyou for your reply. Just waiting on a scan now to see what it is. I blew into the machine but did take my inhalers beforehand so should I have done. My reading was normal the nurse said. So confused.

  • Hi very common symptons of asthma are wheezing and a tight chest.  You might also have a bad cough.   Have you ever had a peak and flow test done and what was the result?  Do you have any inhalers?

    There are loads of breathing exercises online so have a google.   However if you are having real difficulty breathing you must either go to A and E or ring for an ambulance. Ashtma attacks can be dangerous. 

    Anxiety can make things worse too and one thing that helps is to blow into a paper bag.  

    I hope you get some answers soon.  Take care.  x 

  • Got 2 diff Inhalers. Montelaklust. Steroids.  Tight chest yes. Was told my peak flow fine. Lung test fine. 

  • Ok other things that can cause breathing problems - anxiety,  lack of vitamin B12,  thyroid problems etc.  have you had these checked out?  It could also be related to your heart (nothing serious I am sure).  

    I am sure you will get to the bottom of it with the tests.  Good luck x

  • Oh just had a thought if your cough is bad it is possible it is related to dairy foods.  My sister (no lung problems) had a very bad cough so cut out all dairy then reintroduced them 1 at a time.  She found she was allergic to cows milk and ice cream.  When she cut them out of her diet completely her cough immediately stopped.   Could be worth trying.  x

  • Yeah they thought gerd at first but no success. I think I'm an odd one atm tbh.

  • How did they rule out GERD?  You can have silent reflux which is hard to differentiate from other lung conditions.  Reversibility testing with inhalers can be helpful or even FeNO testing.  I'm in a similar position.

  • It is very dangerous to blow into a paper bag it is no longer recommended, it is very difficult to tell what is causing someone to have Breathing problems. And it can cause life threatening problems


  • Thanks Lejaya I googled it and found out that you are right about asthma attacks.  I should have clarified my reply to it is good advice in the event of a panic attack,  as rebreathing the carbon dioxide helps to calm you down.     Not asthma though.   x

  • Hi coughalot

    Breathing into a paper bag is generally no longer recommended as even if the person has symptoms of anxiety they could also have another underlying medical condition, which is why it is so dangerous


  • Thanks for your help. I appreciate it  x 

  • Thanks for your help. I appreciate it. X 

  • Your welcome, feel free to message me if you need any more advice


  • Thankyou x 

  • Often people don't wheeze but professionals are taught that wheeze is a symptom of asthma . I have joked I'll get " I don't wheeze just go quiet" on my chest.  Do you have a peak flow meter? Doing them twice a day and recording along with any symptoms e.g. Tight/ hard to breathe, cough, etc . This will help get the right diagnosis 

  • There all telling me diff things that's why I'm so confused with it all. I'm worse at night and in morn. Coughing 4 too long now. 

  • I had the opposite..A&E doctor said I had asthma, GP said I had COPD..

    The GP 's words were 'What does he know ? An asthma diagnosis can't be made just like that' 

    After waiting a month for a spiromtery test..asthma was confirmed.

  • A&E docs have said they don't think asthma but astham nurse n a diff doc says defo asthama. They all need to treat me with the correct meds cos I'm losing the plot after all these mths in agony.

  • I don't usually wheeze. The only time I have wheezed while with a doctor was when I had pneumonia. I haven't yet had the pleasure of dealing with an A&E doctor about my asthma, but only because I wasn't sure at what point I should go to the hospital. 

  • That's for reply. It's very confusing isn't it. Trouble is u don't want to go but if u can't breathe u need the help. 

  • I've had asthma since I was born. I'm now 27. I have never wheezed! Last time I had a bad attack people on this forum really helped me because I knew I needed prednisalone to get over the attack but the doctor wouldn't listen to me because I don't wheeze. Even though I went in saying none of our family wheeze.

    These are the symptoms of asthma: shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. 

    As with any illness everyone knows you don't nessecarily get alllll the symptoms. 

    Get an appointment with the asthma nurse at your surgery they are the only ones who know what they're talking about. After my last attack I got an appointment with my asthma nurse and we did an action plan, so we all know what needs to be done when I have another flare up.

    Hope this helps! Good luck! I know it's disheartening when no one is listening but you'll get there, just be strong and stick with it.

  • Thankyou for ur reply. I'm just fed up of diff docs n nurses telling me diff things then questioning me askin me like I know what I'm talking abt. If I can't breathe I can't breathe why don't they get tht. 

  • Its all new to me to be honest, I have days when I feel good and days when I feel the pits, I have found my worst trigger is stuffiness in the house so keep my heating low , going upstairs at night where the temperature is colder triggers a coughing fit and leaves me gasping , I have to take deep breaths to calm myself down.

    You need to ask at gp's to see the asthma nurse, she would do a spirometry test , its how mine was diagnosed.

    My peak flow averages 250..my lungs are of an 84 year old :/ but after it was suggested by GP that I could have copd and finding it was asthma I'm happy with my diagnosis.

  • Did that I think where u blow into the machine. Was told it's normal. 

  • Sorry about that Shezxx..

    Start with taking peakflow 3 times a day, best of 3 mind^^ and hold a journal.

    Now night time and early mornings problems are a classic..

    Keep on pressing and go well documented, have a CT scan etc..

    Good luck xxxx

  • Thanks x I will let u know whenever the next tests r etc... let u guys on here know. U all been great. U feel alone when docs aren't listening n u guys always listen n reassure each other so thanks everyone x 

  •  I'm still learning myself.. Do you smoke at all?

    Maybe its just a case of getting the right inhalers?

    I'm not much help sorry :/ 

  • You are helpful thankyou. No I don't smoke never have. They have changed my inhalers now. 

  • You do need to google this. There are loads of complaints online about asthma with no wheeze and you need to be firm in telling doctors that this condition is perfectly possible and if they don't believe you to research it when they go home.

    However, it is true that your breathing problems could be due to something else and in A&E they must do all tests possible to find out why you are in this state.  It is a sad fact that you have to fight to get the right diagnosis and then the right treatment, but I'm afraid that too often, you do. Make sure you have someone with you who can keep on when you get too tired/breathless to do this.

    Don't give up. If you are worried again, call the nurse at Asthma UK but they are closed until Tues and the new website doesn't even give you the number until they are back at work!

  • Thankyou for your reply.  I am really struggling. Admitting last 2 nights should have gone A&E but with them saying not asthma I didn't go. Struggling to breathe and coughing for mths is really taking its toll. I'm too tired now. I will b ok soon as I get a diagnosis n on the right meds. 

  • I am asthmatic. Have been all my life(now 60) . I rarely wheeze . I am so annoyed and frustrated when I am told I am fine( when I am not) just because I am not wheezy. I am a mainly cough variant asthmatic. A and E tried to send me home during an attack with. A very low peak flow based. On lack of wheeze . Unbelievable and this point comes up regularly here too. Grrr!  Potentially dangerous . 

  • Yeah I understand exactly.  You feel like there not listening don't you. Thing is we know our bodies better. Thanks for your reply.  ☺

  • I have had asthma since I was two.  I used to wheeze with asthma, but now that I am older, I just tend to feel tight chested, like I am breathing into rock, the air goes in but doesn't get very far and doesn't absorb.  I ended up in hospital a few years ago which got me in to see the specialist who said I definitely still have asthma.  However, on several occasions since, A&E doctors have said that my asthma must not be very bad because they can't hear the wheeze and my peak flows are good (peak flow being my other bug bear!).  Anyway, I continue to see the asthma nurse who works under the consultant and hope that she doesn't discharge me as I am afraid my treatment might suffer.  Good luck and I hope you get answers soon.

  • Hi. I don't  wheeze anymore either .My chest always sounds  clear. Good peakflow but the chest will be tight  and i have to use the reliever.I 

  • From being a small child I had chest problems I was treated for bronchitis loads of antibiotics but I still coughed and coughed missed loads of school, thank goodness mum was a teacher and my uncle so my education didn't suffer too much, at forty three I saw specialist who diagnosed asthma he was an older man who told me when he trained they were taught cough was bronchitis wheeze was asthma I never wheezed just coughed. he said I had asthma and the treatment worked wonders I still have asthma and get chest infections at the drop of a hat then I have antibiotics but when I think of nearly forty years of unessesary antibiotics I could city. As I have got older I do wheeze a little but as I am seventy four I suppose my tubes are not as flexible as they were. Going from one room to another or outside brings on a coughing fit due to the change in temperature I cover my nose and mouth when I go outside as it is so damp and cold and if I don't I cough for hours. Lat week leaving the hospital my husband went to get the car as all disabled places were full and the nearest he could get was at the far side of the car park. While waiting I started to cough really badly so used my inhaler and pulled my scarfe closer, an off duty nurse came over to see if I was alright I assured her I was o.k and would be fine when I got in the warmth of the car but she stayed with me until my husband came with the car, she was so kind and I did appreciate her care. Rosabeth

  • I hope you all realised I meant cry not city I usually check before I send but that one slipped through. Take care  Rosabeth

  • Yeah I did :-) 

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