Diagnosed With Asthma in My Late Teens
Last updated: April 2022
Hi, so I'm new to the community. I thought I would tell the story of how I came to be diagnosed with asthma. I was the kind of kid who would get sick with anything that came my way, but it wouldn't slow me down a ton, and I'm also autistic so I didn't really know how to communicate something wasn't right. I would get bronchitis once a year ever since I was 4. Since 2016, every time I would get a dry cough, it would always lead to bronchitis.
I ended up not getting a break from being sick when I was 16 and 17. I had constant colds, I developed a really bad upper respiratory infection that required strong antibiotics in 2019. At the end of 2019, I got bronchitis twice back to back, and after that, COVID hit the US and I got a lot healthier because of quarantine.
I ended up getting bronchitis again in March of last year and I had a night where I was kept up cause I couldn't breathe. After that was over and done with I thought I would be fine, but then I woke up in the middle of the night a few months after that resolved last year. We thought I had a heart problem because the only symptoms I had were chest tightness and shortness of breath, I could talk fine for the most part, but it was kinda hard. I wasn't coughing or wheezing like I did when I was sick. And my heart did show an arrhythmia every time I would breathe, respiratory sinus arrhythmia is very common in people my age and an irregular heart rate is common in those with asthma.
My visit to the ER
I got asked if I had a history of asthma in the ER, I said no. They asked me if I had been sick recently, I said no. They referred me to a cardiologist. I saw the cardiologist and she heard diminished breath sounds when she listened to my lungs. So, she said "I think you have reactive airway disease or asthma." and I was like "What? a friend of mine said the same thing." I told her my history of respiratory infections and how they would affect me but how I would never seek treatment for them because I was fine for the most part and I kinda thought it was normal to struggle with them that much. I never complained about it, so nobody really thought it was an issue either. So, my cardiologist advised me to see an allergist. I did.
Seeing an allergist
I saw an allergist and my testing for asthma kinda came back inconclusive because all they did was a spirometry before and after a bronchodilator and a FeNO test. They still gave me a rescue inhaler for my episodic breathing problems. It works wonders for me!
My severity classification would be mild intermittent asthma. It mostly flares up when I'm exercising or in cold weather. Cold weather makes my lungs burn. Anyway, this is my lengthy story of how I got diagnosed with I was 19. Now I'm almost 20 and I'm breathing better. So, yay happy endings.
How often do you find time to focus on yourself?
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