11 doctors weighed in:
If you're an asthmatic, how do you tell the difference between an asthma attack and a panic attack?
11 doctors weighed in

Dr. Louis Grenzer
Internal Medicine - Cardiology
7 doctors agree
In brief: Not easy
It can certainly result in a feeling of panic if you cannot breathe because of an asthma attack.
So it is important to have a doctor examine you during an attack. By the exam or by testing it can be determined which came first. For instance, with asthma the doctor would probably hear wheezing during your attack. The oxygen level in your blood might be low.

In brief: Not easy
It can certainly result in a feeling of panic if you cannot breathe because of an asthma attack.
So it is important to have a doctor examine you during an attack. By the exam or by testing it can be determined which came first. For instance, with asthma the doctor would probably hear wheezing during your attack. The oxygen level in your blood might be low.
Dr. Louis Grenzer
Dr. Louis Grenzer
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Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine
In brief: Evaluation
At the time of symptoms, a physician examination can reveal the etiology.
For example, if you are wheezing and desating during the symptoms, it is likely asthma. If your lungs are clear and your oxygen sat is normal, it is likely anxiety. Pulmonary function testing while the symptoms are present can also be useful in telling the difference.

In brief: Evaluation
At the time of symptoms, a physician examination can reveal the etiology.
For example, if you are wheezing and desating during the symptoms, it is likely asthma. If your lungs are clear and your oxygen sat is normal, it is likely anxiety. Pulmonary function testing while the symptoms are present can also be useful in telling the difference.
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Dr. Sue Ferranti
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In brief: With panic attack...
...People usually take deep, rapid breaths.
In an asthma attack, breathing out is slowed down by the obstruction; it looks like trying to breathe through a straw.

In brief: With panic attack...
...People usually take deep, rapid breaths.
In an asthma attack, breathing out is slowed down by the obstruction; it looks like trying to breathe through a straw.
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
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Dr. Kevin Windisch
Pediatrics
In brief: Peak flows
Measuring your peak flows will help.
In an asthma attack your peak flows will be affected but they won't be affected in a panic attack.

In brief: Peak flows
Measuring your peak flows will help.
In an asthma attack your peak flows will be affected but they won't be affected in a panic attack.
Dr. Kevin Windisch
Dr. Kevin Windisch
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