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Can you have an asthma attack and still have a normal oxygen level?
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An_189938 posted:
I recently had an asthma attack and was sent to ER for treatment; however, my oxygen levels were high but I had an uncontrollable cough, with shortness of breathe, chest pain, dizziness, shaking, and the inability to speak very well.
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sgbl88 responded:
Hello and welcome to the community.

Yes, you can have a major asthma attack and not have your O2 levels drop. O2 levels dropping is a late stage very serious sign of an asthma attack.

I hope that helps you. Any more questions?

Take care and God bless.
Sonya
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end... Ye shall seek me, and find [me]
 
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cwille responded:
hi,
i have the same exact problem, i have been in the hospital twice in the last 6 months. and i have the same problem , oxygen level is normal , everything else is bad. I really hate it when the nurses and doc look at you like your crazy. But i have learned that your oxygen level can be normal and you still can have an asthma attack. oh well good luck.
 
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G8rgirl77 replied to cwille's response:
I, too have been hospitalized recently with horrible shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing with an O2 saturation of 97%. When they triaged me in the ER, one nurse shook his head and told the Head Nurse "she's got a sat of 97." The Head Nurse told him in no uncertain terms that you don't have to have low oxygen levels to be having severe asthma and shortness of breath.

So let them scoff. We know better!
Good luck and God bless.
 
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wezziegirl responded:
I have had lots of asthma attack in the last two years too many to count but I always have good oxygen levels even when I have stayed several days in the hospital always 97- 98 but I think they know so well now that they don't question that anymore like they did at first. It does make you feel like they don't believe you at first.
 
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Asthma101Questions replied to sgbl88's response:
Thank-you everyone for your replies.
 
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BABYHUEY1010 replied to wezziegirl's response:
I too had this recent with a oxygen level of 98. They did not give me a breathing treatment since my levels were so good. I had shortness of breath and a cough. I have been having breathing problems all month but this was too bad so I drove myself to the ER. Thank you as I thought maybe I was having anxiety attacks or something else. I do have asthma though so I guess this can happen but no breathing and people looking at you like you are fine makes one start to wonder.
 
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Martha425 replied to BABYHUEY1010's response:
I had to go to the ER last week for shortness of breath and chest tightness too. I've been having trouble all month too. My O2 was at like 91 in triage, but they still waited before they gave me a breathing treatment. They listened to my lungs and said "you sound clear" as I'm huffing and puffing, trying to stay calm and get in air. My rescue inhaler wasn't working, so I went in. They gave me O2, IV steroids and fluids, and a chest Xray (which was clear), and then gave me a breathing treatment and sent me on my way with a scrip for prednisone and some cough syrup with codeine to stop the bronchospasms. The doc said "well there's something going on," but the nurses and respiratory staff were questionable at first and made me feel like I was crazy. Not cool. When you can't breathe, it's really not something to fake...
 
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Laura0711 replied to Martha425's response:
I always have the problem with my sats being high and they don't belive that I'm having an attack because I don't wheeze when I'm having one. I just get really tight. I just went to the Dr. on Friday because I've been having problems and she put me on an antibotic and said to keep doing what I'm doing which is nebs every 2 hours and sleeping in a recliner. My PCP and Pulmo won't give me a action plan so it is hard to know when to go in for problems My PCP doesn't want to give pred. because I Avascular Necrosis in my hips from all the pred I've been on in the past. so it is hard to treat me I get really bad in the winter and when ever I get a URI I'm so frustated right now with how I'm feeling and that people don't understand how I feel. I always feel worse at night.

Sorry complaing so much I just need to get it off my chest and it helps talking to people who understand how I feel and what I'm going through.

Thanks for listening,

Laura
 
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BABYHUEY1010 replied to Laura0711's response:
Laura I do not wheeze either and I feel they think its more anxiety related then asthma. Which yes I do have anxiety when I can not breath! The problem I have is the past month I have been so out of breath doing normal activites like walking the dog. Im usually on very little asthma meds. My pulmonary Dr says I do not need a neb cause the abulteral inhalers should work just as well as a neb. Hmm Maybe for some they do but Id like to try a neb for at home to see what works better for me. I had a cup of black coffee today and hot peppers on my sandwich and that helped to open me up a bit. I really was happy about that. Not sure my stomach will be later on. LOL
 
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BABYHUEY1010 replied to Martha425's response:
Martha I so agree!! We are not nuts. I had a scare last night I woke up to sudden coughing/choking spell and sat up for a minute or two then could breath again. This was at 2am! I believe that was a bronchospasm and it really woke me up fast! Now I had normal oxygen levels in the ER but still had chest tightness and short of breath. They now have me on Singulair and nasnex for a few weeks to see how I do. Also Im on Advair 250/50. I have resorted to coffee and hot peppers on my sandwich for lunch today. It really seemed to help with my breathing for awhile. This is all so scary at times. Nice to talk with others that have the same problems.
 
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Martha425 replied to BABYHUEY1010's response:
Agreed. Of course I feel anxious when I can't breathe. That doesn't mean it's "all in my head" like various people have insinuated to me. It is so frustrating. I have not been wheezing a lot either, so when I go to get checked out, and I say my chest is tight and walking down the hall is enough to make me SOB, they look at me like I am making it up. WHY would I do that? In what world is it fun to drop 100s of dollars on an ER visit, not to mention all the time it takes there? I'm on a ton of meds right now, including too much prednisone, so now I have those side effects as well, although not near to the extent you are describing, Laura. That sounds scary. I just want to get straightened out and not get looks from medical "professionals" that lead me to feel that I am making it up or crazy.

Laura, no worries about complaining. I feel like I have to vent somewhere as well, and the medical people are not hearing me. I think it's weird that they won't they get you an action plan. It seems like that is one of the basic steps right now in asthma control and management (although mine remains "uncontrolled"). Good luck with your docs! BabyHuey I hope the meds work out for you! I thought Singulair was helpful initially, but I'm on a different leukotriene med now.
 
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medicpeds responded:

I have been in that same position. My O2 sats were reading 100%. I was clearly in distress. No lung sounds, I was struggling to get my breath, I was glad they took me seriously.
Next time that happens say this "are you going to treat numbers or are you going to treat me."
O2 sats is only a tool they use. It isn't accurate if your hands are cold or you have nail polish on. My motto when I treat patients is...
Treat the patient not the machine.
It burns me up when docs treat the machine.
Hope you are feeling better now,
 
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Martha425 replied to medicpeds's response:
I'll have to use that, medicpeds. Good point. I really don't care what your numbers say, when I feel like I can't breathe.

I'm happy to report that I got a call tonight for a survey about my treatment at my last ER visit, when they said "you sound clear" and I clearly wasn't okay. I told them that it would be helpful for nursing and respiratory (etc.) to be more understanding and aware of the signs and symptoms of asthma attacks, clarifying specifically that just because O2 sats are okay, I'm not wheezing or my lungs sound clear, that this does not mean that I am okay, that I feel okay or my breathing is in any way acceptable. I said that I have had a handful of ER visits when I was told they thought it was anxiety and not asthma, and when I felt nursing, respiratory, or even the doc treated me as if I were "crazy" or making it up when the numbers looked fine. I was calm and assertive, not rude or upset, so hopefully they will listen, but who knows. But I'm glad I said something, that I advocated for myself and for others like me. I think that's what it is going to take--advocacy from patients, and lots of it, to better educate people who do not seem to "get it," even if those people are medical professionals.
 
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beekergirl81 replied to Martha425's response:
Right now I am having some breathing problems. My chest is tight, a little wheezing and some coughing once in awhile. I had a fever yesterday. IDK what to do, our ER sucks here in our town so IDK if I should wait it out and just go to the dr tomorrow. My inhaler and nebs dont seem to be giving me any releif.


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