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Am I suffering from asthma?

Q: I am 22 years old male and I had asthma in my childhood because my trachea was too narrow. But 12 years back, it was treated. For the last three months, I have had episodes of cold accompanied with coughing (up to an hour) along with mucus. Sometimes my lungs feel so tight that I feel light headed. The doctor has prescribed Azithral for three days, then Urclair for five days, then Clindamycin drug (900 mg) for five days and now, Augmentin 1000 - twice a day and Glevo 500. He has also prescribed anti-allergic - Romistal for a month and Lorfast. But I think that I am suffering from asthma and I am worried about being overdosed on antibiotics. Am I suffering from asthma?

A:Your description of symptoms suggests as you rightly point out that you may have asthma. However there are other conditions that can mimic asthma. One possibility is bronchiectasis especially if you are having a lot of foul smelling mucus. Sinusitis can also cause a postnasal drip causing cough from the mucus draining to the back of the throat from the back of the nose. Asthma is a reversible inflammation of the air passages and the main treatment is to avoid the trigger agent such as dust, smoke, pets and also take medications to control the inflammation and relax the constricted muscles in the airways.

Typically this involves using an inhaled steroid medicine to decrease the inflammation in the air passage and an inhaled bronchodilator medicine that will open up the air passages. I think you can have your primary doctor consider obtaining a chest xray, sending your sputum for microbiology culture to look for any resistant bacterial infection and you should consider the inhaled therapies I have mentioned above.

You could also seek the advice of a lung specialist who has specialized training to treat the conditions you have mentioned. I agree with you that you have been on numerous antibiotics and it may not be a good idea if there is no true infection to be on so many courses of antibiotics. Sometimes difficult to control asthma requires steroid by mouth like prednisone as well as anti allergy medications like singulair which you have taken before. I hope this information is helpful and you find some relief soon. Thank you for writing to us and kindly share this information with your primary doctor.

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