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My family has a long history of allergies, especially on my mothers side. My father's grandfather had asthma. When I was 12 years old I started getting this bad chronic cough. It was dry and deep, and when I'd cough hard, my chest would feel like it was "popping". I kept "catching" these bad coughs, and finally when I was 14, the doctor said I might have "cough varient asthma". She prescribed advair, but that made me worse. (Later I would read that inhaled steroids can actually make cough varient asthma worsen). From the way the inhaler worked, it looked like I did. However, when I went to a pulminary specialist, he said I did not have asthma because my test was normal (but I remember the nurse being surprised at how little I could blow). Then they did an allergy test. There were two bumps: one that is always there, the "control", and another, a bit smaller, lower, next to the control. I asked what the allergy was. The doctor said, "Oh it's nothing". Throughout the whole time, he denied that I had asthma, and he never listened to the symptoms I was describing...not well at least. I now don't think he is a good doctor, since I have read, and heard, that cough varient asthma doesn't usually show up on tests.

Following this, I continued on, but often got tightness in my chest, but nothing too bad.

Well, about a year later, I came down with bronchitis. After that, my cough was having trouble going away, even though my lungs sounded clear again, and I was having some slight difficulty breathing on my trampoline. I felt like I couldn't get air in my chest as well. I went to the doctor and once again, they suspected athsma. They gave me some asthma medications, and while they helped, they didn't help as well or as often. Only sometimes.

Now recently, this May, I was at the gym working out. I was competing with a friend who was also receiving personal training. However, on this machine I started going too fast. I wanted to beat her in the "race". Unfortunately I lost. I first started having a bit of trouble breathing, then I started getting extremely short of breath. I tried to tell my friend that we needed to stop, but all I could get out was her name, as I started gasping for air. The trainers immediately took me off, and took me outside where I gasped for a few minutes. It stopped briefly, but kept coming back. Eventually my finger-tips were tingling and I was light headed, and when I got home, my mother had to interupt a client and sit with me and get me to actually BREATHE. I took my inhaler, and we did some recomended breathing exercises, breathing in with the nose, out through the mouth. This was hard at first, but eventually (took two hours) it calmed down, and for the most part stopped. I managed somehow not to go to the hospital!

The next morning I woke up early and wanted to jump on my trampoline. So I went and started to jump slowly, then with more intensity. The gasping started again. I had to go to my mother, wake her up, and she had to help me breathe again. The rest of the day I felt short of breath, but was okay.

I went to the doctor soon after, maybe a week later, and she said I definitely have asthma. She scolded me about going out on a hot day, and pushing myself too hard. She said not to exercise too much on very hot days, and not too much on very cold.

It was actually surprising how much like a panic attack it felt, except for the fact that I didn't feel too much anxiety at all. I didn't feel like anything bad was going to happen. My doctor said that that is the difference between asthma and anxiety, otherwise, they really both feel exactly the same.

Now to answer your questions:

1.) Yes, of course. I have researched this alot, and I used to have asthma like this. You don't have to wheeze to have asthma. I still don't really wheeze, not often at least, and when I do it's kind of between a cough and a wheeze.

2.) I don't know about damaging the lungs...I haven't heard of that...though I have heard of asthma worsening because of not using medicine.

3.) I am not sure on this one. I only use one at a time, but then again, I can't use too much as I have high blood pressure and this can make that worse. You might want to ask your doctor about why you have to take two.

4.) Sometimes asthma can cause an increased production of mucus. You might be experiencing that. I also have found that certain inhalers, such as proventil dry out the throat easily. Or, it could just be additional allergies that you are experiencing.

5.) Talk to your doctor about the garden thing, I am sure you can work out a plan. They can probably put you on a good allergy medicine and help balance that with your inhaler.

6.) Yes, if that is your daily puffer. I used to have asthma worsen in winter, and not so much with allergens, so I stopped using my daily inhaler in the summer, and thus started having much more severe attacks like the one I described above. The daily puffer prevents asthma from getting out of hand. The other inhaler is a "rescue" inhaler, meaning that you take it only when you feel symptoms, or before exercise. It is short lasting, while the daily last longer.

Any more question? Happy to answer ;)

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