Asthma without wheezing: I've never... - Asthma UK communi...

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Asthma without wheezing

emptyskies13 profile image

I've never wheezed but I've had some pretty severe asthma attacks. Unfortunately most of the nurses I've seen at hospital only take you seriously if your o2 sats are really low and you wheeze. So I'm usually left sitting in the emergency room for hours before being seen even though I'm obviously struggling to breathe 😒 as a result I hate to go to hospital and I tend to ignore my asthma symptoms.

So I'm curious how many of us on here have asthma attacks and have never wheezed. How have your experiences in emergency rooms been?

7 Replies
Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador

Another one here like you! As well as no wheeze and often good sats, my peak flow doesn't necessarily drop either.

This means that yep I have been left waiting and/or sent home despite having an attack. It hasn't happened as much as I might have expected though- I definitely have had drs who don't get it but also I am often pretty SOB by the time I get there and just look a bit crap so a number of times I have just gone straight into resus or majors. If drs know what they are doing I also tend to have silent patches as well which does show something is going on! One time they were actually happy to hear a wheeze after a lack of noise! I also may have ABGs that are different from sats monitor, plus a very high heart rate and clearly working hard to breathe.

I admit it makes me reluctant to go when I should and also to call an ambulance as their protocol says asthma is wheeze plus low sats - I still have got nebs out of them and many are able to look past that but I feel wary and can't rely on it.

Sometimes I get shoved in a side room with one neb (if lucky) - sometimes, depending on the second dr who sees me, this has resulted in a lot more treatment because I get worse, but there are drs who will see me during a brief improvement after a neb, or won't listen re no wheeze and peak flow, and will chuck me out when I can barely walk. Not happened often thankfully but awful when it does and then I have to go back in a bit and hope for a different Dr!

It is very frustrating when you can barely talk and they still don't listen. My 'summary' document which I put together about my asthma and treatment does help. I have an official version now too from my specialist clinic.

No how you feel. I often don't wheeze. My peak flows are high normally so even when they are lower, they still look high. My sats are usually in the 90's. I have had some bad experiences in A&E and even on the ward with a different consultant. Once, a consultant tried to tell me that I had anxiety instead of asthma. I have had asthma since I was two and have ben hospitalised several times. My doctor and my normal consultant do not think it's anything else! Fortunately, my doctor and consultant are quite good. My doctor gives me a lot of leeway to control my own symptoms. While I had a good winter on the new regime, I still ended up in hospital with a bad case of flu. I think what helped in A&E the last few times is that my heart rate was high so they were more worried about that than my asthma symptoms.

Anyway, keep plugging away at your doctor, asthma nurse or consultant. Ask them how to deal with an attack. Use Asthma UK nurses for advice, Try to stand up for yourself. I know it is hard, but hopefully things improve. Good luck. xxx

I don’t always wheeze and generally have pretty decent sats until I’m utterly exhausted too!

But I have been pretty lucky with a&e attendances and am normally rushed through - although I think it’s because I tend to present with quite a dramatic sounding barking cough and unable to speak which tends to freak them out a bit!

Although I was often told I was just anxious etc before they properly understood my asthma

I don’t wheeze and my peak flow doesn’t always drop. I’m not sure about my sats because I tend to just stay and home and hope I get better 🤷🏻‍♀️ last time I went to A&E they left me sitting for about 15 minutes during which time I used my ventolin 5 more times. By the time I saw the nurse I was doing a bit better so I got sent home and asked to return to an out of hours appointment.

Once I've been heard wheezing..that was bad... the other 5 times no wheeze but very bad muscle tension and low pf

🙋‍♀️ generally no wheeze, good sats and sometimes good PF here too.

My asthma changed from wheezing to non wheezing and no cough, now I lose my voice and feel like I have a belt around my chest. I got to see a specialist asthma nurse as I refused my annual check up and she explained about all the different types of asthma and wrote a note on my notes so the GP’s could see it as you rarely see the same one twice, I’ve had 5 attacks like this so far this year resulting in about 9 weeks off work! I’ve changed my inhaler and the ventolin rarely helps so at a lose to know what to do next.

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