Posted 6/2/2014 8:26 PM (GMT -7)
I wasn't sure where to post this topic, as I do not actually think I have Reactive Airway Disease, but have heard it is very similar to asthma. Anyway.
Two days ago I went to the ER because I have been experiencing worsening chest pain, solely on the left side of the chest, and always within a few inches of my left breast.
This pain began after I bought an e-cigarette. I am a smoker and thought it would help me quit. I was wrong. The very next day my chest felt very heavy, very tight, and didn't quite hurt but something sure felt wrong. I decided not to smoke it again, and within a few days I began feeling better.
So recently, for the past two to three weeks, every time I would smoke marijuana (I have now quit, please do not judge) my heart would start racing, my chest would start hurting, I would become very dizzy and very weak. I would have to get up and move around to prevent myself from blacking out. It took me a couple weeks to figure out that it was, indeed, the marijuana making me feel this way so I discontinued use. Unfortunately, my chest pain did not go away. I have felt everything from burning, stinging, dull, achy, and sharp in this time, and noticed that it gets markedly worse as the day goes on. Side note, I do smoke a pack of cigarettes a day.
Back to my ER visit, I checked myself in with complaints of chest pain, and they ran an EKG and several blood tests. Both of these showed nothing, yet my doctor immediately concluded that I have Reactive Airway Disease and prescribed me with a ventolin hfa inhaler and a round of prednisone.
After researching RAD substantially, I found that I really didn't have any of the symptoms, checking over a vast multitude of sites.
"Reactive airway disease (RAD) is a reversible narrowing of the airways. RAD is sometimes called bronchospasm.
RAD is not a diagnosis. It is a term used until a more specific diagnosis can be made. If the condition lasts more than 6 months, it may be called asthma."
The most common symptom is, obviously, air passages closing up and difficulty breathing. I feel as though I've never felt my airways closing, though I have had some difficulty breathing, but it never felt very prominent; just a little after smoking. I figure that's somewhat normal considering the horrible things you're putting in your body.
Anyway, the most popular symptoms are as follows:
Tightness in the chest
Shortness of breath
I have coughing, sure. Its certainly a smoker's cough, very wet and phlegmy. The doctor told me that DRY cough is associated with RAD.
Tightness in chest occurs only after I had smoked marijuana, which I am no longer doing.
Wheezing? The only time I've ever wheezed was when I had an upper respiratory infection, and not since.
Shortness of breath? Not exactly. I can still breath pretty deeply, pretty consistently.
Difficulty breathing? To an extent, but it usually goes away twenty-or-so minutes after a cigarette, and I've never felt threatened by it.
I am, however, feeling increasingly threatened by this chest pain. It has not gone away and is continuing to get worse.
I have tried the Ventolin inhaler, and I didn't notice much difference in the way I felt after I took it. (Except that, four hours later on the dot I feel as though I suddenly need it, when I didn't feel that way before).
It's the prednisone that I'm scared of. It seems like an incredibly dangerous drug, and the side effects terrify me. I've been previously diagnosed with depression, general anxiety disorder, and gastroesphogeal reflux (which, honestly, never bothered me; I never really had the symptoms of that either, and the omeprazole I was prescribed made me feel sick and, since I had no symptoms, I felt no kind of relief.)
Prednisone is commonly associated with increased anxiety, face swelling, lowering of the immune system (mine isn't so great), mood swings, depression, hallucinations... If I listed them all here, it would be pages. It seems like this drug can have any and every side effect ever recorded, and that terrifies me, because I am not fully confident that I have RAD and do not, do not, do not want to start this medication until I am 1000% sure. I also have a tooth abscess, and one of the side effects is that it can make infections even worse.
Ventolin claims it can give you chest pain (like, seriously? That's what I went to have treated in the first place! Also, chest pain is not a symptom of RAD!), headache, cough, nervousness, tremors, so on.
Also, on the prescription information that was included, it says I need to contact my doctor immediately if I experience chest pain, decreased coordination, fast breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, pounding in chest, severe or consistent headaches, dizziness, sluggishness...
I cannot stress this enough, I went to the ER for CHEST PAIN. Both of these medications are going to MAKE IT WORSE. I have NO text book symptoms of RAD. EKG and blood tests show NOTHING!
Please, someone help me. I have no idea what to do. This chest pain is seriously driving me crazy, and it's scaring me. These medications are scaring me, too. What do I do? I really need input. I am uninsured/unemployed, and I cannot afford to keep going to the doctor for possible misdiagnoses, and I definitely cannot afford to keep paying for medications I may not need. Any advice? And suggestions? Any ideas of what I'm actually going through, or is this in fact some crazy form of RAD?