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What does an asthma attack feel like?

I have uncontrollable coughing to the point of gagging and throwing up while having severe difficulty breathing …. is this an asthma attack?
I do use the inhaler at this point it helps for a short while…. then I’m back at every single day many times a day … my ribs are sore from coughing so much and I’m totally exhausted all the time.


Community Answers
  • mlsjc22
    4 months ago

    I feel like I’m having a heart attack. I recently had to go to the ER and was hospitalized for several days. I get short of breath, then get crushing pain in my chest. I was diagnosed with Adult Onset Asthma. It started with a cough I could not get rid of about 4 years ago. I’m struggling at this point, it’s been 2 weeks since my hospitalization. If I do to much my symptoms return.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi mlsjc22 and thanks for this post. I’m sorry to hear of your hospitalization – now that you’ve been out for 2 weeks, I was concerned if, while you were in the hospital, were you seen by a cardiologist? For you to have ‘felt’ like you were having a heart attack, I would think this would have been addressed appropriately.
    Sometimes, and please remember that everyone is different, it can take weeks for you to return to ‘normal’ following discharge from a significant exacerbation. Have you had a follow-up visit with your physician yet?
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Shellzoo
    10 months ago

    I don’t think I always noticed I was having asthma issues but, after being diagnosed and treated, I realized the chest tightness, coughing so much I could hardly talk, wheezing, feeling out of breath doing fairly easy activities and waking up feeling short of breath where all asthma. I blamed all that on working too much, being tired, being sick, being out of shape, being too sensitive etc. I used to have respiratory infections all the time. I once woke up feeling like I could not move air and my lungs were being squeezed shut. I thought it was an allergy to a pain med for some dental work I had. I have no doubt about the allergy but that experience made me feel like I had to feel that bad if I had asthma. At my last appointment I was told I might have some permanent damage to my airway because I likely had asthma for a long time. So I think looking back, if I suspected I was having asthma issues (flare or attack), I would get medical care. I feel bad because I work in healthcare but completely underrated my own symptoms.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    10 months ago

    Hi Alexandra and thanks for this excellent question. Asthma attacks can feel different for different people. Sometimes the exacerbation can be different from one attack to another for the same person. I thought this article on that very topic might provide you with some additional insight for your concern: https://asthma.net/living/what-does-an-attack-feel-like/. I hope you find it to be helpful. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

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