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- Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:54 pm
I just recovered from having the flu(the regular flu, not the H1N1.) Breathing has been really hard for the last week or so. At first it was just when I did physical activity. Then it started with when I would lay down. I would wake up and not be able to breathe. I cough all night long and can't even sleep. Now it has started to be all the time that I'm constantly having a hard time breathing. Today I went to a water park because it was the first day that I felt decent enough to go out. I honestly think this was the best thing for me because I hadn't been out of the house in the fresh air in a week, and it got rid of all my symptoms for the most part. I went on this one ride, that was a straight drop where you lay on your back...I got off and had horrible pain because I was trying to breathe. I sat down for a few minutes and was okay but I was very afraid because I couldn't breathe. I'm 19 years old, and I haven't had asthma symptoms since I was a year old. It was very scary. Whenever I take a deep breath, its like shaky.
I want to go to the doctors, but its $25 for me every time, so I'm not too fond of going. I also don't know if in order to diagnose me if they would have to use an MRI or x-ray, or if that would cost more...so I decided to ask here first.
| John Kenyon, CNA
- Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:57 am
Hi there -- Asthma is often triggered for the first time by a respiratory infection like the flu, so this part isn't surprising. You may have had very mild asthma prior to this and not realized it, also.
The simplest way to diagnose many asthmas is by use, in the doctor's office, of a stethascope and an AthsmaCheck device, a little plastic device one blows into as hard as possible, to see what the rough vital capacity is. If you get it up to 350-400 you probably don't have asthma or at least are not in the midst of an episode. No imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI) should be necessary, and you get to keep the AsthmaCheck gizmo to take home and play with or check to see if you may be having actual breathing problems (the symptoms often can be tricky, and the discomfort and trouble breathing don't always match up with your actual ability to breathe effectively).
This shouldn't cost more than your straight office visit, and most doctors can diagnose this without too much extra testing. If there's any strong suggestion of a problem there's an actual pulmonary function test that's uncomplicated that can also be done in the office to help confirm the diagnosis. Rescue inhalers are inexpensive and very useful if you are diagnosed as asthmatic. There are also sample medications available you could try. This doesn't have to be terribly expensive in every case. In any case it does need attention, with a rule-in or rule-out, and appropriate care if you do have some degree of asthma. It sounds like you probably do, by the way.
I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck and please follow up here with us as needed.