Introduction/Quick Question

Hi there, Health Unlockeders!! {Hmm, is that even a word?!} My name is Adelyn & I'm 22. I've had asthma & allergies/hayfever most of my life.

I have a quick question for you all, although I'm not sure l'll be able to ask it in a way that actually makes sense, so if you all look at me with a face displaying utter confusion, I'll know that it didn't make any sense whatsoever hehe! Here goes! So, at the beginning of my asthma attacks, when my chest starts to tighten, it feels sort of tickly, and as though it's a lot harder to breathe out, but I can still seem to breathe in fairly fine, I just breathe a lot faster. I usually cough a lot, and as it worsens, it feels like air isn't getting out at all, and then I also have a lot more trouble breathing in, due to the coughing etc. I'm just going to note here, that I never, ever, ever wheeze. Well, maybe once or twice, but hardly ever, that I can hear/feel at least. Anyway, it gets to the point where I can't get any air out, and I can't get any in, although I'm sure that's mostly due to the fact that there's no room left in there. My main question is, does this sound like a typical attack, as I know a lot of the time, people say that they feel like they can't get air in when their chest tightens, but getting it out is fine?? Whereas, for me, the coughing makes it extremely hard to breathe in, but breathing out feels almost impossible, not so much the breathing in.

Ahh, very sorry for the huge ramble!! This is something I have wondered about for a while, and thought that this might be the place to ask. Hopefully my question does somewhat make sense, and once again, I apologize for the essay of a question!! Very much looking forward to meeting you all!! xx

35 Replies
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Sounds like your thinking about your breathing to much .. am guessing when you do fall asleep you sleep ok.

We have two breathing patterns ONE when awake we can nacker up by stress anxiety that can causes you to hypervetalate.

The other is when we are asleep we have no control over.

As to coughing YES you can strain weaken stomach muscles so will hurt when you cough and be hard to do so.

Can google stuff that shows you how to cough help clear your lungs when your stomach muscles are weak using crossed arms when stood up pressing on your stomach on exhalation when you want to cough.

Hi JeffAjaxSmith, thank you so much for your helpful message. I must admit, when I first start to feel my chest get a little tight, I probably do panic a little bit, which I'm guessing is contributing to the cycle? Do you think that some/a lot of the problem might be brain related, as in, anxiety, stress, etc? I also think I should explain something I didn't word very well in the above message. I meant to say that as the attack worsens, I cough a lot more, I didn't mean to say that I cough on a permanent basis. Sorry about that, I don't think I worded it quite like I meant to. 😝

Sorry, I forgot to answer your question above- I do often have asthma attacks at night, or early in the morning, so I'm not sure if that has something to do with the anxiety/hyperventilating you mentioned? Thanks again!!

Hi Adelyn I would not worry bout getting words mixed up comes with territory .. As to ya BRAIN well what can I say seems fine to me so ad not worry bout that.

I don't think it's right you should be coughing all the time DO you smoke AND if it's just started .. Don't forget it's allergy session and the say spring is when most bugs get imported to countries.

Have you tried siping water when you feel it coming on.

ALSO Histamine hay fever meds might help BUT if your using inhaler a lot I would go and see your doctor.

WHEN I cough a lot it's usually infection SO someone as young as your self should not be feeling way you are.

I would go see my doc gp really as asthma is not not to be taken lightly

No, I don't smoke. Never have, never will πŸ˜‰ My husband doesn't smoke either, so I don't have to worry about that, which is great. I usually have to use the Ventolin a couple times a day, more if I'm sick. But my doctor says I should only have to use it once every few weeks or so?! I can't fathom that??!! Is it even possible for someone to get to the point they're using it that little??

I have lungs like cheese and I only use mine twice a day.

I would go doctors .. Ask for xray or more test say it's disturbing your sleep

Thank you so much for all your help! I really appreciate it. Will make another doctors appointment!

O have you just given birth or out as that can squash ya guts lungs

Only asking given age

No, I haven't

O .. I would go see doctors as I said earlier as I don't think the managing your asthma very well give issues your having with your condition.

Hope ya get it sorted

Thank so much! Your help is much appreciated! ☺

I would try siping water .. Did help me and uk schools are apost to let kids with asthma do same in lesions.

Thanks, will bear that in mind

Hi this sounds like maybe carbon monoxide is getting trapped in your lungs and stopping you breathing in so well. If you look online you will see lots of breathing exercises especially for asthma which should help. You also might need your meds either changing or upping so maybe a trip to the doctor is in order.

This site is of course for all lung diseases including asthma, but you might some answers on the Asthma site. x

Hi coughalot2, thank you so much for your reply! It was extremely helpful. I'll definitely have a look online! The carbon monoxide getting trapped, would that happen if I'm not breathing out very well/enough? Is that a common occurrence with asthma, or is there something else possibly involved that causes that? Just as a side note, I'm taking Seretide 250/25 as my usual preventer, but it doesn't always help as much as my doctor thinks it should, so I probably am due for a trip back to the doctor to see what she says 😜 Once again, thank you so much, and I do apologize if I posted this question in the wrong place! 😢

Hi cal.....just to say it's carbon dioxide not monoxide...that we breathe out. I have a carbon monoxide detector as that gas can kill.

Ah thanks knitter, I did wonder if it was as I always get confused between the 2! Sorry Adelyn x

Hi no you haven't posted this in the wrong place at all as this is a lung site for all lung diseases including asthma. I am suggesting you join the Asthma site as well as you are likely to get a lot of help there. A few of us do have asthma but nearly all of us have another lung disease as well such as copd. It can be hard to distinguish between asthma and copd so I don't know how helpful we can be.

The asthma site is just for asthmatics and they seem pretty good there. I am on it too. To find it just go into 'My communities' at the top. click on browse communities and type in asthma in the search box. Being in both sites gives you a better chance of finding some answers. x

Aha, thank you so much! Just had a search and found some more communities to have a look at! 😊

Stay with us as well coz we have a lot of knowledge between us and are a very supportive crowd. x

To answer your question sometimes carbon dioxide can get trapped in the bottom of your lungs which means there is less room to breathe in or out. To help clear it and to keep you breathing better exercises are the way to go.

I do this one. Breathe in through your nose or mouth for a count of 4 seconds, hold it for 4 then breathe out fairly fast as long as you can like you are doing the peak and flow test. The one where you end up making funny noises! Do this half a dozen times and see if it helps. It usually helps me breathe better but then I have copd as well as asthma.

Do you have an oxyimeter? This is what you put on your finger to measure your oxygen level (sats). Your level should be higher than 90 and ideally quite a bit higher. You can buy these for around Β£20 from Amazon. x

Thank you so much, I've already learnt some things I didn't know!! Will definitely try the exercises 😊 No, I don't have one of those. My doctor has never mentioned getting one. Would it be useful to have?

I think it would be as it would show the oxygen level in your blood. If it was low for example then you would be aware of it and it can be a sign of an exacerbation brewing.

Your doctor or asthma nurse should have given you a peak and flow meter for use at home so you can keep an eye on your breathing. You should also have an action plan ie if your pf falls below a certain number then you would need to see your nurse/doctor etc. x

I have had an action plan in the past, but never with any info about peak flow on it, and I've never been given, or told to use a peak flow meter at home either? Is that more for those with severe asthma? My doctor has never been very helpful, she never gives much information when I go in to see her with questions either, which has frustrated me a bit. I recently saw a different doctor to pick up my prescription, and she was even less interactive/helpful 😩

Hi I only have mild asthma and I was given a pf meter. Mind you it was 30 years ago so maybe they don't now for mild cases.

Don't you have access to an asthma nurse? I used to have an annual check up with mine and always found her very helpful.

Oh also have a look on the Asthma Uk site. You can ring a nurse there who is an asthma expert. x

Hmm, maybe they don't now. I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask though.

I have only been to the asthma nurse a few times, otherwise, my doctor handles everything. I definitely find the nurse to be more helpful than my doctor though. I'm supposed to have yearly check ups with her, but missed the last one, and nothing has been said about it since I had to switch doctors.

Also, I'm in Australia, maybe that makes a difference?

Probably Adelyn. Over in the UK now because of the pressures and time restraints of our doctors many of them now (including mine) bung you to the nurse with asthma and mild copd on the principle that they know more and are the experts...

Trouble is the nurses at my surgery are always booked solid so I usually have to resort to a phone call only or I ask my pharmacist. x

Hi Adelyn,

Welcome to our site.

I have had chronic hay fever and asthma from a most of my life, bronchetasis got into the act in my early thirties and copd felt lonely so joined in, in my early sixties.

My asthma attacks start very much like yours, except I get very wheezy as well. I have a Ventolin Inhaler for when I have an attack and these days I also use ventolin in a nebuliser if my puffer is not strong enough. I have Seratide 500 as my preventative and I take 2 different antihistamines a day 7/52.

Do you have an asthma clinic your doctor's as I have regular check ups just to make sure my medication is still working for me.

The only thing I do now is when that out breath (I think of it as a sort or herrr breath) happens but nothing seems to come out I take my ventolin puffer right away, Breathing techniques can also help to calm down that panicky feeling there are some on Facebook.



Hi Sue, thank you so much for the warm welcome!! Your message made perfect sense to me, and I must admit, it is a relief to know that someone experiences similar things during an attack. I have asked my doctor if it's normal that I never wheeze- she just says that different people have different symptoms, and that my coughing is sort of "in place of" the wheezing, though I'm not sure if that sounds quite accurate haha 😝 Thank you for your tips! I have an asthma nurse at my doctors surgery, but I haven't been to see her in quite a while. I do try to take the Ventolin as soon as I feel like that, but, it seems as though the coughing gets in the way a bit, if that makes sense, and breathing in the Ventolin is hard, I seem to cough again before it gets all the way in there and has time to work. The spacer doesn't seem to help much in those instances, so I just keep taking it until it's fixed it up, which was the doctors recommendation. I have read/heard a lot of people say you should really only need 1-2 puffs to fix it all up, but I usually end up taking more than that. Sorry for all my questions!! I've had a hard time getting my doctor to answer questions, and I'm so relieved that there are so many people on here willing to help! Thank you again!

Morning Adelyn

What you describe about being increasingly unable breathe out is classic for asthmatic air-trapping. The constriction in your upper airways means that air is trapped 'downstream' as it were. With asthma β€” in theory β€” it should be possible by using your inhalers to dilate your bronchial tubes and then, gradually, the air is released. I have had asthma since I was a child. Bizarrely, since all the other stuff happened six years ago, (view my profile to see what that is, if you are interested) my asthma has scarpered. I was taught good breathing techniques as a child. This concentrates on gently increasing the exhalation. Not thinking or bothering about inhaling at all β€” that will look after itself, just very small, short, gentle breaths in, and long slow, gentle breaths out. Not forced or urgent just really gentle. Imagine you are making a candle flame flicker.

And welcome to this brilliant site. It is hugely supportive and friendly.

All the best and let us know what develops.

Kate xxx

Hi Kate, thank you so much for your message!! Your reply made absolute, perfect sense to me. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain it to me like that. I think that is about the simplest way I've heard it put, and I think I finally understand it! Once again, thank you so much! 😊

Hi adelyn ...I am asthmatic and so are my three adult daughters, and my late mother was as well.

I have had problems with some inhalers in the past....Serevent was one of them, that's the bronchiodilator part of Seretide.

My advice would be to ring the BLF helpline for advice ...and I have found Asthma UK good as well.

I would also make an appointment to see your GP or asthma nurse

Hi knitter, thank you for your message! It's interesting you should mentiom that about the Seretide. I've heard of quite a lot of people having various problems with it, which is interesting. My biggest issues with it (really nothing to worry about, comlared to be able to breathe better!!) are extremely painful and frequent leg cramps, which seem common, and a huge downhill slide of my classically trained soprano singing voice haha. That frustrates me a little, but I certainly much prefer being able to breathe! πŸ˜‰ What problems, if you feel comfortable sharing, have you had with it? I've noticed recently that it doesn't seem to be working as well for me as it was.

Hello Adelyn

I've had Asthma for 47years - onset at puberty (relevant apparently re hormones)

I don't believe there's any such thing as an 'attack' The condition never goes away it just lessens or worsens and is dependant on whatever irritants or other elements make your individual lungs flare up.

If experts disagree I'll stand corrected.

I'm not an expert but I've lots of experience and know my own asthma best. I don't attend my GPs Asthma nurse as quite honestly I know more about my own lungs than she does ! If she insists on seeing how good or bad my 'inhaler technique' is I'll go mad - if I haven't perfected it by now I'd be dead !!!!! She's just ticking boxes and of no use to me whatsoever !

I do sometimes go to my GP if my lungs get into bother though .

I should say too that I've multiple other serious health problems - not asthma related yet my lungs sometimes flare up with anxiety !

If you're taking your preventative inhalers you should be stable and if you're not stable you should see your doctor to up your dose or maybe have a dose of oral steroids to get you going again.

If you're using your relieving inhaler too often it means your preventative inhaler isn't enough and your lungs are protesting!

Re your Q about breathing - the most important is the OUT breath and you should have been given a peak flow measuring instrument for you to take readings of your expiration (out breaths) I do this once a week if I'm ok and every day if I'm not.

A low peak flow reading can anticipate a problem a couple of days in advance......and you can up your preventative inhaler to help keep a problem at bay !

All this should be with your GP or Asthma Nurse approval of course. With years of experience and pro activity I'm able to control it myself .....except when it's really bad and then I bypass my GP and ask my Chest Consultants advice. It's probably best to say I also have Bronchiectasis so it's double trouble.

The best advice I can give is to know your own condition really well, research all you can (selectively) to make yourself confident enough to respond but not react (badly) to breathing problems . Ask for a peak flow meter and arm yourself with more confidence by using it ....daily at first if necessary !!

AND ..... most important of all strengthen your lungs (they are muscles) by learning how to do breathing exercises .....and know the importance of practising this. GPs and Asthma nurses treat symptoms and are reactive rather than proactive ! They haven't time for anything more and it's such an individual thing anyway. Discover yourself what triggers your difficult breathing - there are lots of websites from which you can gain lots of info !

I'm guessing if you've got that cough too your asthma is an allergic type ....?

Try yoga and meditation breathing techniques to reduce any breathing related anxiety. It's fair to say ALL of this will help your confidence in dealing with YOUR own lungs.

Keep a big eye on the OUT BREATH it's the most important indicator of the state of your lungs - here's a good one to start with

Breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11. I can't get to 11 - usually only 8 or 9 .....but that because my lungs are scarred after years of asthma related problems!

If you practise now you'll be a lot better off - I so wish I'd been taught all this long ago but there was no alternative advice then ....just "take these inhalers you've got asthma" !!!

Self help takes time and confidence but your Asthma isn't going to disappear so 'roll with it' don't fight with it ......and don't be tempted to become a victim !

Get involved with people your age who have asthma - you'll soon find out who are the victims and who are the positive thinking asthmatics.

Best regards .....and a hug 😊


I've only just realised you already had so many other helpful answers !

Duh ! I didn't read that far down πŸ™„

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