Panic attack versus allergic attack? - vs asthma? - followup 4/14

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percycat
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Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/12/2009 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   
 
All,
 
I usually post on the Anxiety/Panic Forum, but I have a question that perhaps you all can answer for me.
 
The situation is that I am developing a phobia about having allergies that will kill me.  I have been tested for many kinds of things (RAST tests all) and am Class 0 on all but ragweed.  I have no food allergies although I feared them for ages and had a phobia of eating nuts, though I can now do so safely.  The symptom that makes me fear allergies is shortness of breath or globus sensation - diagnosed as GERD.  My ENT doctor is quite clear that all my symptoms are extremely consistent with GERD.
 
The latest fear is walking/being in the woods.  
Two weeks ago I went for a short walk in the woods (uphill).  Experienced a little shortness of breath, but it went away and I was able to walk home 10 minutes trhough the woods with no troubles.
 
Last weekend, I met my men folk for a campfire dinner.  While in the woods, I had a brief and frightening sensation of not being able to breath (had been worrieda bout the previous episode).  I stood up, walked about the campsite for a bit, then walked to the restroom 1/4 mile away.  When I returned, I was able to stay at the campsite for another 1-1/2 hours with no difficulty at all.
 
Such episodes - shortness of breath on an uphill hike, but then it goes away and I can walk out (albeit scared) have happened twice before in the past 3 years.
 
Then, Thursday, I had the worst yet - didn't get short of breath until back at the house, reclining (GERD acting up, perhaps), took a puff of albuterol (I've never done that before) and straight back into the woods to fight the phobia.  Turned around about 5 minutes in to go to the ER, felt like I couldn't breathe on the way.  Now during all this time, I was wearing a pulse oximeter and BP cuff.  BP was always high, oximeter reading was alwya s98%.  No wheezing, no difficulty speaking to my hubby, just a sense of not enough air.  I've been tested for asthma, by the way, and I don't have anything like that.
 
Since then, I've been pushing myself to go out to the woods for a walk twice a day, then we drive to the ER waiting room and just sit until I feel safe again.  I haven't had the same terror on any of our last 5-6 little walks in the same woods.
 
Anyhow, here's my question: when you get short of breath from allergies/when you anaphylax, does it just go away all on its own?  My doctors try to reassure me that the fact that I'm not wheezing, my oximeter readings and BP are fine, and that it clears up on its own mean I'm not in danger of having my airway close.
 
Any advice is appreciated, but please try not to scare me any more than I already am.  And thanks for letting me wander over from Anxiety/Panic.
 
percycat


Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac

Post Edited (percycat) : 4/14/2009 2:41:58 PM (GMT-6)


Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 4/12/2009 3:21 PM (GMT -7)   
My answer would be NO, anaphlaxsis is emergency situation and needs medical attention and will not
generally clear up on it own, epi pens are design so you can make it to the ER and get treatment there
from what I've been told...
You might want to get into see a respirtory specialist to find out what might be causing your
shortness of breath, maybe get lung function tests done and these are simple tests,
Are you on any anxiety meds? you might want to consider them...
Just my 2 cents but hope it helps..
Hope you find out whats happening soon and keep us posted...
(((((((((((((((((HUGZ)))))))))))))))))))))))
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/12/2009 5:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Chartreux, so very much.

I have had pulmonary function tests, methacholine challenge, as well as EKGs, stress tests, and chest xrays. All came back fine.

It's a relief to hear a little more confirmation that whatever's going on is not likely to kill me (yes, that's us A/P folks). Of course, I know everyone's story is different, but just hearing from you folks who genuinely do suffer from allergies helps me keep my issues in perspective.

I have a RAST test on Tuesday in preparation for skin testing next month. I also have an appointment with my PCP, and one thing we'll be discussing is anti-anxiety meds.

Thanks again! Every little bit of info about allergies from people who know helps me to be less frightened.

percycat

Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 4/13/2009 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Percycat,
My husband made many trips to the ER for anxiety attacks that feel exactly as you describe. When you have an asthma attack (I am an asthma sufferer) it will NOT go away by itself. It will require a nebulizer treatment, or at least albuterol, if not medical care.

Are you taking xanax or something for your anxiety? It has really helped my husband remain ER trip-free.

It's a good idea to "get back on the horse" after having an anxiety attack in the woods. You don't want to deprive yourself of that pleasure.

Best wishes finding an answer to your problem. Believe me, I know how scary it is.
Denise

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 4/13/2009 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Keep us posted as to how things go with the rast testing..
will be waiting to hear back..
((((((((((((((HUGZ)))))))))))))))))))))
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/14/2009 1:41 PM (GMT -7)   
All, (This is a duplicate post from one I posted in A&P.)

I'm feeling very low in fighting this health anxiety. Today I saw both my new allergist and my PCP. The allergist insists that I will not stop breathing. He does not suspect asthma, as I had a methacholine challenge that was negative just last year and because I am not wheezing and was able to speak during my shortness of breath, with no coughing. My PCP, who knows me much better, is also convinced that I will not die of shortness of breath. He firmly believes that I am suffering only from a (work-seasonal) increase in anxiety. He has told me that so long as my peak-flow meter is above the limit for my age and height (360 is the cut-off), that I am not suffering an asthma attack. My numbers have always been 500-550. I do have a breathing treatment (albuterol) that I can take if a problem arises. So, it seems like I've done what I can to keep myself safe. (PS - for Allergies and Asthma forum folks, I took a puff of albuterol on Thursday before my horrible panic attack - possibly, taking it when I didn't need it exacerbated my anxiety.)

So, friends, I am struggling mightily to believe my doctors, given their clear reasons, and despite my outrageous fears. I am beginning a higher dosage of Paxil for better anxiety control and may also take ativan regularly for a bit instead of just "as needed."

Comfort and encouragement would be very much appreciated - sorry I'm so wrapped up in my own issues that I can't reciprocate so well right now.

Love and healing to all,
percycat

Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac


percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/14/2009 8:52 PM (GMT -7)   
So now it seems it IS an allergy.

I just got back from the ER. I was having a fine evening until the cat came in from the woods and plopped on my desk. Throat starts seizing up, chest gets tight, and putting on my surgical mask and taking a small Benadryl didn't help much. On the way to the ER, throat got tighter and I couldn't swallow at one point. They gave me a steroid shot (decadrone or something) and said I could take Zyrtec daily to help, big Benadryl if this comes on again. Of course, I'll try to see my PCP, and I have skin testing scheudled for next Thursday.

Advice, experiences, even denials, anyone? I'm floundering in a sea of not understanding what's happening to me and would surely appreciate hearing from folks who know allergies and how they react.

percycat

Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac


Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 4/14/2009 11:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Have you been tested for Cat allergy? could've been cause by the cat or something the cat brought in on her fur,
so till you've had your testing done try to remain indoors and away from the cat, you could limit the cat to just one room.
Allergy testing is not definitive and I'm wondering if you had false negatives, and allergies can come about at
any time...
lots of soft hugz...((((((((((((Percycat))))))))))))))
my neurologist thought that I only had migraines until my mri's came back with stuff on them, so keep sticking to your
gut feeling til you can get a doctor to listen, well wishes to you..........
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 4/15/2009 9:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Percycat,
Cat allergy is definitely something you should look into. Also, tree pollen is at a high right now (I can't even go outside), and the cat could be picking that up on its fur.

I was searching the internet for something about the lung problems I am experiencing after the flu, and came upon this question and response, that made me think of you. For what it's worth, I'll past it in this message. If it doesn't fit your experience, just ignore...though it could possibly be of interest to you.
Good Luck!
Denise



I suffer from ANXIETY which manifest itself in emotional and physical symptoms
. The physical symptoms include upper gastric IBS (stomach bloating) and a tension in my thorax/lungs.



The tension in my lungs seems to be responsible for producing mucous, a cough and at times, especially when my stomach feels bloated, I feel breathing distress/panic.



I sometimes cannot catch the top of my in-breath - belch and the breathing problem temporarily diminishes...



[My recent X-Ray was clear and I have a good peak flow].





QUESTIONS:



Q1 Could the breathing distress (occasional mucous and tightness) be the result of an ambient anxiety disorder ?

If not, can you suggest what else it might indicate?



Q2 Do you imagine that the stomach bloating/ distension is likely to make the lung condition seem more pronounced ?



Q3 As a result of my apparent lung sensitivity, I have a fear of catching a cold/ flu/ cough...do you imagine in reality my condition would be manageable under such circumstances and that this might be merely an irrational concern ?



Q4 Can you suggest a course of action/ treatment?



[I am presently taking Omeprazole for my stomach (acid) and Buspar for my anxiety]



Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions...









Doctor's Answer
by National Jewish


, Mar 10, 2004 12:00AM
It is reassuring that you have a clear chest x-ray and a good peak flow.



It is certainly possible for anxiety to cause chest tightness. Stomach bloating and distention can make your lung condition seem more pronounced. When this happens your stomach becomes larger and pushes up on your diaphragm. This leaves less room for you lungs to fully expand when you breathe in. Your condition should be manageable even if you were to have a cough from catching a cold.



Diaphragmatic breathing can help you move more air in and out of your lungs. This is the most efficient way to breathe and may improve your symptoms. Learning this technique will help you to breathe slowly, regularly, gently, and smoothly all of the time. Here are the instructions:

� Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.

� While you breathe in, count 1, 2 and push your stomach out.

� Place your hand on your stomach so you can feel your stomach going out. This promotes the use of your diaphragm and your lower respiratory muscles.

� Breathe out slowly and deeply through your mouth. Imagine that you are breathing out through a straw by �pursing� your lips.

� While you slowly breathe out all the way, count 1, 2, 3, 4 and let your stomach relax. You can feel your stomach going in with your hand.

You often can get help with this type of breathing by taking an introductory yoga class or checking out a videotape on yoga that focuses on breathing and relaxation.

crystal143
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 4/18/2009 6:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I THINK I HAVE THE SAME EXACT THING YOU HAVE!!! BUT IM ONLY 19 AND DONT KNOW HOW TO HANDLE ANY OF THIS. I HANVT BEEN TO SCHOOL AND QUIT MY JOB BECAUSE I DONT WANA LEAVE MY HOUSE. MY FAMILY AND BOYFRIEND ARE ON 24 HOUR WATCH WITH ME BECAUSE THERE SCARED IM GONNA ATOP BREATHING AGAIN.

percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/18/2009 6:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey, crystal, try to hang in there until you can get checked out by a doctor. Either get an appointment with someone who deals with asthma allergies, or lung conditions, or, if you're really concerned during an episode, you can go to the Emergency Room and they'll take care of you.

As scary as my symptoms may sound, I haven't actually stopped breathing at all, and they often settle down a lot on their own while I'm waiting in the ER for a diagnosis, tests, and then finally meds.

It's good that you've got the support of your family.

Others from this forum will probably be along soon to help us both understand the reality of allergies, asthma, and shortness of breath. I suspect that what you and I fear is a lot worse than what really happens.

percycat

Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac


crystal143
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 4/18/2009 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   
thanks for replying.. and sorry about being so graphic about my job title... its just i wanted to put my occupation in there because some of my friends believe its the reason for all this.. could i really have developed asthma from my job and it didnt hit me till later? or did it cause me to have a mess load of mental issues that now i suffer from bad panic attacks that im pointing towards asthma? thats my major issue. and im sick of being ok one day and then other days im battling my mind. i pay attention to every breath i take that i think i actually might be causing my own asthma/anxiety attacks. today is actually the first day i came home to my own home. i started getting paranoid thoughts in my moms house because of my little sister spraying perfumes all the time.and i saw dust. lol i feel crazy but im not embarresed because i know what im going through is serious and i know other people are out there with same thing.
and yeah it makes me feel really safe that my family is watching over me. but the scarey thing is i can never be alone. im afraid im gonna stop breathing as soon as every one is gone. literally 5 seconds of being alone i get shortness of breath and have to call some one to come over.

percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/19/2009 10:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey, crystal, I'm glad you're doing a little better today. I have so many triggers right now too: dust, cat hairs floating in the air. And yet my docs say I'm fine, and I hope yours are treating you well too.

I didn't mean to put down your job - I'm still a little new to moderating and couldn't come up with a good substitute in my groggy state of mind. Do go ahead and mention it, because if you think it's important to what's going on with your health, then it is.

I sure hope you're able to settle into feeling a little safer at home.

percycat

Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac


crystal143
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 4/19/2009 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
yeah day 24 of not going outside. blush i actually read something about gerd today..it made me feel alot better.this guy has alot of the symptoms i have too. like gasping for air when your trying to sleep. do you have that too? and thanks for the support i have a allergy test tuesday. im gonna make an appointment for gi tommorow to rule out any gerd. i have a strong feeling it plays a big role in all of this. also i have another question.. sorry im so curious... wana get to the bottom of this... when do you get the attacks the most? and how long does it last? and when do you feel the best?.. like perfect with no breathing problems or anything? confused

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 4/19/2009 10:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Wanted to wish you both good on the allergy testing and to keep us posted,
I'm still reading your post, okay...
Lots and lots of soft hugz.......
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********

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