My name is Chris. I just want to start by saying sorry if this post is long, but I want to make sure to be as detailed as possible. I grew up with asthma since I was a baby but had it under control most of my life. I'm currently 30 now and for the last 5 years my health has been very bad and I'm trying to find answers. Any kind of help will be appreciated.
I was diagnosed with breathing problems and asthma when I was 3. I was sent to the ER a number of times in the late 80s before the doctors had me purchase a nebulizer machine and got a rescue inhaler. I had the classic signs of asthma, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing in colder weather. After using medication though I would feel brand new and it would work well. One thing I want to mention and I'm not sure if this will be helpful, is even when I was diagnosed with this at a very young age, I would always, always get good numbers on my peak flow, and would be in green. This would give me a lot of trouble later on by other doctors or professionals thinking I didn't have any asthma related problems because I would do well with it.
I never had much of a problem dealing with my health from then on until my mid 20's. Fast forward to about 5 years ago, and something started happening that I'm still searching for the answer. It's difficult for me to explain but I will try my best with what happens on a regular basis: When I wake up in the morning, my breathing is very shallow. If I try to breath in fully, my lungs will stop me. when I breath out completely, I will have faint wheezing. Using my albuterol inhaler opens up the airway slightly so I can breathe in completely but it doesn't' stop this feeling from going away. I will then cough up yellow mucus through out the morning, and tend to clear my throat a lot. Other symptoms are: coughing more, nose being stuffy, sneezing.
All of this would still be tolerable to me if it wasn't for the worse thing, which is my lungs. When I try to do any physical activity (I have tested this) whether it's doing moderate exercise or just doing 1 set of push ups (so anything that seems to make my lungs work a little bit) my breathing gets significantly worse after about half an hour after I have exerted myself. I will have this incredible fatigue that continues to get worse every hour and will last for about a full day, and my breathing really hurts. I have tried using my inhaler before or after exercise, warming up properly, using a mask indoors to exercise, none of it helps. This will happen to me every single time I do it, no matter what physical activity it is as long as I use my lungs a little bit more than just walking around.
I have been to two different regular physicians and two other pulmonologist during the last 5 years, and nobody can figure out why this is happening to me. Another thing I want to make a point of that is important, is during this 5 year period there are bouts of about 1 to 3 months where my breathing actually goes back to normal, and I can exercise with little to no effort, and I'm not on any medication. I have tried writing all of the times down this happens, but there doesn't seem to be a clear pattern if it's based on allergies or weather, time of year, etc. It just seems random. I also have acid reflux since I was in my early 20's, but I do eat properly and I never change my diet when my health is either fine or doing bad.
Some of the medications I have tried are: Singulair, Advair, Flovent, Spiriva, over the counter allergy meds, and Omeperazole for the acid reflux. I have had the methacholine challenge done and the results say I don't have asthma anymore. It is strange because the feeling I get from difficulty breathing doesn't feel like the classic signs I had as a child. This year I was fine from January through March until I got the flu from work, and then afterwards it hasn't gone back to normal again.
Here are some bullet points for reference:
- My symptoms stay for months but have gone away a few times a year
- breathing is aggravated more so by any physical activity that requires my lungs to work, something I never had a problem with in my early adulthood. fatigue will set in for a full day afterwards
- I have had allergy testing done and I know I am allergic to only cats and dogs, but I don't own either
and my house is very clean.
- I grew up with asthma and medication did help me, but this current feeling of when I'm sick all the time doesn't feel like classic asthma anymore, and albuterol rarely helps.
- My current doctor believes it could be a sign of allergies still or GERD, but has no explanation of why its fine a few times a year for a month or so, when I never changed my surroundings or eating habits.
- I don't drink or smoke
Thank you again everyone for any help that I can get, it means a lot to me. It has affected my quality of life to the point where I'm very depressed these days because I can't get an answer, and when I do feel better for a few months it is so hard to go back to this pattern where I can't exercise anymore and feel terrible. I have tried researching all of this myself online and in books but the main thing I cannot find anywhere is the feeling of my lungs being so fatigued and painful hours and hours after exercise, most reports or articles I've come across say asthmatics are fine after they've taken medication before or after.