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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Asthma

Question: Paramedic heal thyself! (possible asthma?)

 bamamedic - Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:51 pm

Hi, I'm a 23 year old female, and I'm concerned about the possibility of asthma. I used to work for an MD and she thought I had asthma or reactive airway disease, but I never had any follow up testing done. Basically, I get SOB upon mild exertion, with a cough, and occasionally some mild wheezing (usually only audible by stethoscope). It usually goes away on it's own, but occasionally requires an albuterol tx. It's exacerbated by perfume and smoke. I also get colds frequently, and they tend to last for a month or so. I'm a paramedic, and I'm pretty reluctant to be seen by a doctor unless it's absolutely medically necessary. My only current medical conditons are chronic excema and ectodermal dysplasia (I'm fortunate enough to be able to sweat!), and the only meds I take are birth control pills. My family hx is positive for asthma, ectodermal dysplasia, MI, cancer, and HTN. My SOB isn't enough to really interfere with my life too much, but when I get out on a call and it requires lifting the patient down some stairs, I will have some respiratory issues, and that's really annoying :(
Anyways, any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for your time!
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:54 pm

User avatar Hello,

It sounds like an asthma is the cause of your symptoms.

Asthma is due to an inflammatory process in the respiratory airway a disease r which esults in spasm of the muscles of the bronchial way and narrowing of the respiratory tract and decreased airflow.

Personal and/or family history of allergies are present in most patients with asthma.

Symptoms are usually periodic and vary in duration, may last from few minutes up to few days.

Wheezing and shortness of breath are the most common presenting symptoms for asthma. The condition usually pericipiates by exposure to certain allergens such as, as moist air, molds, dust mites, pollens and molds.
Symptoms are also exacerbated with exercise. Wheezing usually resolves either spontaneously.

Other patients presents with cough with or without sputum (phlegm), Chronic shortness of breath that is aggravated with exercises and mandate the us of accessory respiratory muscles.

Diagnosis is made by careful history and examination. Auscultation of the chest during the episode shows the very characteristic wheezing sounds. In between attacks the chest is normal on examination.

In between attacks the chest is normal on examination and some Tests may help in the diagnosis:
Lung function tests
•Peak flow measurements
•Chest x-ray
•Allergy skin or blood tests
•Arterial blood gas
•Eosinophil count (a type of white blood cell)

People with mild asthma (infrequent attacks) may use relief medication as needed. Those with persistent asthma should take control medications on a regular basis to prevent symptoms from occurring.

- Cardiac causes should be excluded too.

I advise you to follow up with your doctor for proper management.

Best regards.

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