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How Did You Know You Had Asthma?

Asthma does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or geographical location. Anyone can be diagnosed with asthma at any stage of life. There is also a multitude of signs, symptoms, and tests that can let you know you have asthma, too. In that case, where do we begin?

We asked our advocates, “How did you know that you had asthma?” Here’s what they told us.

“How did you know that you had asthma?”

Early asthma symptoms

Response from John Bottrell

I developed asthma at a very young age. Mom says I would breathe heavily and always seem to have a cold. She says I was given the asthma diagnosis when I was 2-years-old. I have memories of my eyes swelling shut, my nose becoming stuffy, and my chest getting tight, and (of course) feeling short of breath (and overall feeling miserable) from an early age.

To me, it was just a part of life, as I knew no other way. Although, I was aware that my brothers didn't experience the same miserable feelings I did. So, no, it did not come as a surprise to me. It grew up with me.

I knew I had asthma from birth

Response from Samuel Taylor

I have known that I have asthma for as long as I can remember. While doctors told my parents that I was born with asthma, I had my first asthma attack at the age of about two. Out of sheer luck, my older sister came into my room to wake me up when she saw that I was blue in the face and unconscious. After weeks in the hospital, I was released with an official diagnosis, some medications, and lots of challenges to come.

I struggled to breathe as a child

Response from Kyky Knight

I was diagnosed with childhood asthma, and I knew because I was put on breathing treatments all the time as a child and would struggle to breathe. I experienced a lot of late-night pediatric care visits. As I got older, I developed the language to describe the tightness in my chest, shallow breaths, and all of the fear and anxiety that came with my early diagnosis.

Then in adulthood, I began to really realize that this thing was not just going to go away in my case, so that was one thing that surprised me. Through asthma and migraine I first learned that we have a way to go with medicine and healthcare---as a child I just kind of assumed anything could be fixed eventually at the hospital. So I started to learn about management and digging into living with asthma, as opposed to 'waiting for it to go away' like I did as a child.

Early accommodations

Response from Becky Greiner

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was about a year old, so I grew up knowing that I had it and never experienced life without needing to accommodate that into my daily life. My older brother also had asthma, so by the time I started showing symptoms as a baby, my parents understood what it was and had me diagnosed early on.

I felt like I could barely breathe

Response from Leon Lebowitz

In my early teens, our family physician (a holocaust survivor) used to make house calls for emergencies. Typically, my parents would take me to his office but on this one occasion, I had been complaining about 'not being able to breathe' and, when the doctor was called, he said he would be right over!

Once he saw and examined me, he gave me 'a shot,' which we were told was adrenaline (an epinephrine injection). My labored breathing immediately subsided and, when he sat and spoke with my parents, they were told this was an asthma attack. And that is how my diagnosis of asthma began.

My mom suspected I had asthma

Response from Nicola Saunders

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 4 years old. My mama suspected that I had asthma as each time I was suffering with a cold, I would be left gasping for air if I was running around playing. The doctor would always tell my mama that there was nothing wrong and it was just due to the cold. So she decided that one day she would make me run all the way from our home to the doctor's surgery. That day I was diagnosed with asthma, received my first inhalers and some antibiotics.

How did you know you had asthma?

Each person with asthma has their own diagnosis story. We would love to hear yours. Please feel free to share your story or leave a comment below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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