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Old 03-07-2012, 11:47 AM   #1
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Asthma "attack" and questions

I have "cough variant" asthma, so I never have those "wheezing attacks" you see in the movies and on t.v. I usually just cough (or as my husband affectioniately describes it, I "hack up a lung"). Since childhood I've had the symptoms of exercise induced asthma (mostly a dry, hacking cough with exertion), in addition to the "trigger" asthma, but I don't have those problems anymore with my usual exercise "routine".

Today I had my first ever real "asthma attack".

I decided to add some high intensity "sprints" to my regular exercise routine. Now, to start with, I'm a wimp! My exercise "routine" is a 1 or 2 mile Leslie Sansone walk at home DVD with resistance (weights and resistance bands). I decided to intersperse these 20 second "run in place as fast as you can" into the 1 mile walk when I was well warmed up.

Immediately I felt the usual dry cough with the first sprint. Note to self: use the fast acting inhaler before exercising if I'm going to do these sprints. Second one: wheeze cough, slight tightness in chest. Third one: like the second but more intense. I finished the DVD 1 mile walk and did some simple tai chi to finish the cool down.

Then WHAMMO!!!! Wheezing, coughing, can't get my breath! I used my fast acting inhaler and still my chest is tight and I can feel that deep rattle.

It is windy and everything is blooming. I probably have some mild seasonal allergies, too, though I'm taking Singulair and Claritin daily for that. And I use my Advair twice daily, even though it's been nearly a year since I last had asthma symptoms to speak of.

So I learned that I MUST use my inhaler before attempting any more high intensity sprints.

But (sorry to be so long-winded!) here's my question: Can this exercise induced "attack" become a trigger for a full blown asthmatic bronchitis? In other words, is it self-limiting, or is there a chance I'll go into the full-cycle and end up with a bout of bronchitis? I'll know more later today when my chest clears up (or doesn't), but what I'm really asking (even if this clears up quickly) is how bad is it to my body to let this occur--can it cause bigger problems? Should I work extra hard to avoid exercise induced attacks or is it no big deal in the scheme of things? I tend to minimize the import of things like this, but that has gotten me in trouble asthma-wise in the past.

I tend to ignore my asthma as much as possible. Most of the time I have no symptoms, especially since I've been getting my diet and exercise under control in the past year. I have been good about using the Advair religiously after some bad bouts of bronchitis, and I have Prednisone at home that I'm supposed to use if something starts to develop in my chest--to head it off ASAP.

I sure hope the little sprints don't cause me big problems!
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janknitz View Post
I have "cough variant" asthma, so I never have those "wheezing attacks" you see in the movies and on t.v. I usually just cough (or as my husband affectioniately describes it, I "hack up a lung"). Since childhood I've had the symptoms of exercise induced asthma (mostly a dry, hacking cough with exertion), in addition to the "trigger" asthma, but I don't have those problems anymore with my usual exercise "routine".

Today I had my first ever real "asthma attack".

I decided to add some high intensity "sprints" to my regular exercise routine. Now, to start with, I'm a wimp! My exercise "routine" is a 1 or 2 mile Leslie Sansone walk at home DVD with resistance (weights and resistance bands). I decided to intersperse these 20 second "run in place as fast as you can" into the 1 mile walk when I was well warmed up.

Immediately I felt the usual dry cough with the first sprint. Note to self: use the fast acting inhaler before exercising if I'm going to do these sprints. Second one: wheeze cough, slight tightness in chest. Third one: like the second but more intense. I finished the DVD 1 mile walk and did some simple tai chi to finish the cool down.

Then WHAMMO!!!! Wheezing, coughing, can't get my breath! I used my fast acting inhaler and still my chest is tight and I can feel that deep rattle.

It is windy and everything is blooming. I probably have some mild seasonal allergies, too, though I'm taking Singulair and Claritin daily for that. And I use my Advair twice daily, even though it's been nearly a year since I last had asthma symptoms to speak of.

So I learned that I MUST use my inhaler before attempting any more high intensity sprints.

But (sorry to be so long-winded!) here's my question: Can this exercise induced "attack" become a trigger for a full blown asthmatic bronchitis? In other words, is it self-limiting, or is there a chance I'll go into the full-cycle and end up with a bout of bronchitis? I'll know more later today when my chest clears up (or doesn't), but what I'm really asking (even if this clears up quickly) is how bad is it to my body to let this occur--can it cause bigger problems? Should I work extra hard to avoid exercise induced attacks or is it no big deal in the scheme of things? I tend to minimize the import of things like this, but that has gotten me in trouble asthma-wise in the past.

I tend to ignore my asthma as much as possible. Most of the time I have no symptoms, especially since I've been getting my diet and exercise under control in the past year. I have been good about using the Advair religiously after some bad bouts of bronchitis, and I have Prednisone at home that I'm supposed to use if something starts to develop in my chest--to head it off ASAP.

I sure hope the little sprints don't cause me big problems!
Call you Dr and ask him about DUO NEB , it's an inhalation medice that is a treatment , YOU might want to do a treatment before starting out. I know most mornings I have had to use a treatment before I can even get out of bed
When I am going shopping I take a treatment so hopefully I won't have to use the fast acting
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:02 AM   #3
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Hi Janknitz,

I am a respiratory therapist (and asthmatic) and I am not familiar with a "cough variant" form of asthma. Coughing alone is not a true symptom of asthma, although it does sound as if your lungs are comprimised in some fashion. Becasue your condition has been with you so long, I would venture to say you have some form of COPD; most likely reactive airway disease with an mild case of underlying asthma.

To answer your question, I would not let the excersise worry you about having an episode of bronchitis. In order for that to happen there are many variables involved and excersise is the least to worry about. Smoking and exposure to toxins, allergens and other environmental factors are what you should be mostly concerned with. For example: jogging in a room full of smokers would be worse than just walking through a room full of smokers. So, the answer is: don't be around smokers; jog outside. See where I am going with this?

Most importantly, stay on your regular maintenance meds, avoid environments and elements that trigger your attacks and please be careful with the prednisone! Steroids are not to be messed with. Over use of those things will lower your body's resistance to infection and make things much, much worse.

Good Luck,

-Brian
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:10 PM   #4
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Brian, it is not unusual for asthma to take the form of a cough rather than a wheeze. "Cough variant" is a description rather than a standard medical term; however, it is a description of something real, and even moderately common in some areas.

I am asthmatic, and many years ago, after I moved to this part of the country, it started happening that I would not wheeze, and would cough instead. Any treatment for cough just made it worse. My doctors at that time sent me to a pulmonologist, who quickly diagnosed the coughing as just another symptom of asthma. He gave me Flovent and told me, whenever I got that sort of a coughing fit, I should use my albuterol inhaler. The cough cleared up pretty much right away. It comes back from time-to-time, whenever my body feels like coughing instead of wheezing.

That fact is, coughing is a protective measure for an asthmatic. If you cannot get air out of your lungs, it can't come back in. And conversely, whenever air is forced out of the lungs, they will pull new air back in. (That's why chest-compression-only CPR is effective.) A cough forces air out. So then, automatically some little bit of new air does flow back in. IF an asthmatic's body learns this trick, they are quite likely to cough more than wheeze whenever they have a sudden-onset attack. (That's what happens to me!)

I hate to see anyone write that coughing alone cannot be a true symptom of asthma, because someone out there might think that they (or worse, the child or other person in their care) do Not have asthma, when they do.

When coughing is caused by asthma, cough medicines don't help, or if they do they can make things a lot worse & more dangerous. But the standard asthma treatments will resolve an asthmatic cough! (Because, now you can breathe.)

Last edited by fiddlejen; 07-20-2012 at 09:23 PM..
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:15 PM   #5
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This may not apply to your case but you may want to look at the JUDDD diet. In his
book Dr. Johnson says that asthma ofton responds verry well to this plan of eating.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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I've had asthma you could call "cough variant" for many years. The only time I wheeze is when I have a URI. Even a common cold will go straight to my chest and end up in asthmatic bronchitis. If the asthma is the least bit out of control, I will cough. I've never had what could be described as an "attack".
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlejen View Post
Brian, it is not unusual for asthma to take the form of a cough rather than a wheeze. "Cough variant" is a description rather than a standard medical term; however, it is a description of something real, and even moderately common in some areas.

I am asthmatic, and many years ago, after I moved to this part of the country, it started happening that I would not wheeze, and would cough instead. Any treatment for cough just made it worse. My doctors at that time sent me to a pulmonologist, who quickly diagnosed the coughing as just another symptom of asthma. He gave me Flovent and told me, whenever I got that sort of a coughing fit, I should use my albuterol inhaler. The cough cleared up pretty much right away. It comes back from time-to-time, whenever my body feels like coughing instead of wheezing.

That fact is, coughing is a protective measure for an asthmatic. If you cannot get air out of your lungs, it can't come back in. And conversely, whenever air is forced out of the lungs, they will pull new air back in. (That's why chest-compression-only CPR is effective.) A cough forces air out. So then, automatically some little bit of new air does flow back in. IF an asthmatic's body learns this trick, they are quite likely to cough more than wheeze whenever they have a sudden-onset attack. (That's what happens to me!)

I hate to see anyone write that coughing alone cannot be a true symptom of asthma, because someone out there might think that they (or worse, the child or other person in their care) do Not have asthma, when they do.

When coughing is caused by asthma, cough medicines don't help, or if they do they can make things a lot worse & more dangerous. But the standard asthma treatments will resolve an asthmatic cough! (Because, now you can breathe.)
This describes exactly the way my asthma acts and the way I control it. I even have a nebulizer to use when I get the tightness feeling in my chest and the cough.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:19 AM   #8
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Two of my kids have cough variant asthama. My daughter just kept a nagging cough that would not go away over the Spring. Her inhaler really helps. She is also on a preventantive. (sorry about spelling)
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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I found out I had asthma about a yr ago. I asked for the test b/c I had a cough that would not leave me alone-for yrs. It would get better but not completely go away-if it did it would always come back. If I did not have a cough I wouldn't have known i had asthma.
I have 2 inhalers-one for maintenance and one for attacks. I still have this cough. As of right now it's better but not gone away and I want it gone completely. I haven't been told I have cough variant asthma though.
Does anyone use a spacer? Does it really make a difference? I'm thinking this may be a factor. IDK
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:37 PM   #10
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my spacer really makes a difference.

I have ashtma and have coughed for years. I've actually never heard of cough asthma...I wonder why no doctors told me about this. I have had bad luck with doctors and my ashtma, they never seem to actually do much that will help me.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janknitz View Post
Then WHAMMO!!!! Wheezing, coughing, can't get my breath! I used my fast acting inhaler and still my chest is tight and I can feel that deep rattle.

It is windy and everything is blooming. I probably have some mild seasonal allergies, too, though I'm taking Singulair and Claritin daily for that. And I use my Advair twice daily, even though it's been nearly a year since I last had asthma symptoms to speak of.

So I learned that I MUST use my inhaler before attempting any more high intensity sprints.

But (sorry to be so long-winded!) here's my question: Can this exercise induced "attack" become a trigger for a full blown asthmatic bronchitis? In other words, is it self-limiting, or is there a chance I'll go into the full-cycle and end up with a bout of bronchitis? I'll know more later today when my chest clears up (or doesn't), but what I'm really asking (even if this clears up quickly) is how bad is it to my body to let this occur--can it cause bigger problems? Should I work extra hard to avoid exercise induced attacks or is it no big deal in the scheme of things? I tend to minimize the import of things like this, but that has gotten me in trouble asthma-wise in the past.

I tend to ignore my asthma as much as possible. Most of the time I have no symptoms, especially since I've been getting my diet and exercise under control in the past year. I have been good about using the Advair religiously after some bad bouts of bronchitis, and I have Prednisone at home that I'm supposed to use if something starts to develop in my chest--to head it off ASAP.

I sure hope the little sprints don't cause me big problems!
Quote:
It is windy and everything is blooming. I probably have some mild seasonal allergies, too, though I'm taking Singulair and Claritin daily for that. And I use my Advair twice daily, even though it's been nearly a year since I last had asthma symptoms to speak of.
You wrote this about a year ago. Wondering how you've been since then... more specifically, wondering if it's happening again? I notice that you mention Singulair and Claritin, and thought I might mention that personally I find Claritin very effective for hay-fever sinus-type allergy symptoms, but not so much for pulmonary symptoms. I have to use Zyrtec for asthma-type allergies.

Also I wanted to mention, I always thought I had "exercise-induced" asthma, until I moved to a different, more pulmonary-friendly area. Anytime I go back to visit, or whenever it's high allergy season here, then I again have "exercise-induced" asthma. It turns out, it's actually a permanent low-grade asthma which means the body is not able to get quite enough oxygen to quickly switch to a sprint. So that's when you feel the asthma, and then attempting to breathe in more quickly & deeply you tighten up & etc, vicious circle and you have an asthma "attack." But the point is, if it's "exercise-induced," there was probably already a low-grade asthma going on anyway.

So IF as it appears, this is your time of year for asthma, and IF you're able to tolerate antihistamines, you might want to take Zyrtec and/or talk to your doctor about increasing your maintenance meds at this time of the year.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:35 AM   #12
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Singulair is supposed to be very good for exercise-induced asthma. I used to take it but found it ineffective, it doesn't work for everyone. Are you on a steroid preventative inhaler? I use symbicort and it's very good, plus I keep ventolin with me just in case.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:05 AM   #13
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I have had asthma for over 45 years. It has been reasonably controlled with 2x day use of Advair and Ventolin when required.

I started JUDDD on January 25th. Since the first week in February I have not used the Advair at all and very rarely the Ventolin.

It is amazing how much better I am with the intermittent fasting. While I am thrilled to be down 35 pounds, the other health benefits that it provides far outweigh the weight loss.

Kimmie
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