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Respiratory Therapist/Asthma/Post Nasal Drip



I'm 22, female, just over a year ago I was diagnosed with asthma. I went to the doctors mostly because of coughing. My Dad is asthmatic and I have ecxema and dark circles under my eyes so he thought allergies. He couldn't hear any wheezing but because of the coughing, tightness in the chest and variable peak flow he diagnosed asthma.

I am now wondering if maybe he got it wrong - not due to his fault I probably didn't give the right information. I always have to clear my throat hundreds of times a day, often very loudly and in many different ways to try and get rid of the feeling, as soon as I've cleared it it feels like I need to again. Recently I've been concentrating more and its the feeling in my throat that causes me to cough, I think, rather than my lungs. Usually my lungs only feel tight when I've been coughing a lot. Any dificulty breathing I get or the feeling that I can't breathe feels more like my throat is closed up rather than my lungs, unless I've been coughing a lot. I often have the feeling of mucus being at the bottom of my nose although my nose is rarely clogged up. I swallow an awful lot often trying to swallow down the mucus. As embarassing as it is I think I have bad breath, especially in the morning. Some other probably irrelevant information is I have a white tongue, I'm underweight but find it impossible to gain weight, I spit out a lot of phlegm after brushing my teeth, drinking and eating seem to increse the amount of mucus and I'm often very tired.

I'm not sure if you are the right expert to ask, but hopefully you can offer your opinion of whether I may have been midiagnosed, whether you think I may have post nasal drip or any other thoughts you might have.I know you can't tell me definately and only my doctor can do that but I don't want to waste his time.
Many Thanks, J.

ANSWER: Hi Mary,

All excellent questions. One thought I have is that PFT tests usually do not lie. But, I think your best bet is to see and ENT doctor. In addition to potentially having a chronic sinusitis or drainage, it is also worth a peak to have a doctor examine your tonsils and adenoids, if you still have them... if they are irritated, they can give you a chronic "dry speck in the throat" need to cough. I had this issue for years, and an ENT fixed me up. I hope this helps.

Best of health to you,

Larry, RRT

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thank you for your response.

ENT being Ear Nose and Thoat? I live in the UK so I think I would go to my GP and he would refer me if needed. I do still have my tonsils and adenoids. Can I just ask another question; what happens if I don't go to my doctor, will it just get worse and worse? Or could it clear up on its own? Could these things be caused by a food allergy?

I don't want to be bothering my doctor when there are people far worse off than me! I always feel a bit silly going to my doctor for "little" things..

Thanks again.

Hello there,

Yes, ENT stands for Ear, Nose and Throad physicians. These are docs that are very specially trained with patient's "upper airway" anatomy, including the throat, trachea, tonsils/adenoids, etc. There is no way for me to say what will "happen" if you do not have this checked out. I guess my question to you is, what will happen if you go get it checked out and there is nothing wrong? ;-) If there is nothing wrong, then "Yay!", now you know. But if you DON'T get it checked out and there IS something wrong, well, the answer there is kind of evident, yeah?  :-)

Best of Health,

Larry, RRT

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators ("Respirators") - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

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Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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