Autism and diagnostics


Categories: Personal Autism

Apparently I have asthma. No, not adult-onset asthma. The thing where, if I run or breathe cold air, I have horrible coughing fits? Asthma.

You might wonder how this would go undiagnosed, especially given that I’ve seen doctors about the coughing fits several times. Well, a friend of mine has had the same experience, and what I think we have in common is this:

A lot of diagnostic criteria refer to things like “excessive” coughing. I don’t know how to identify “excessive” coughing. I mean, if you breathe in a bunch of smoke (and you’re not a habitual smoker) you cough, right? And if you have a cough, you cough. And if you run a lot and breathe really hard, you cough. And so on… And it turns out, one of these is apparently not all that common. But lots of people cough some after exercise. It’s just that maybe I cough more.

I have problems like this all of the time. People ask whether I have “unusual” X, or “excessive” Y, or whether something is “abnormal”, and I don’t know.

What I wonder is whether non-autistic people actually know these things, or whether they’re also unreliable at them and the difference is just that they notice less. :)

(EDIT: Additional information has come to light: I was on lisinopril for blood pressure at the time, and this often causes mild coughing – but appears to cause mild coughing which can trigger asthma. Off that medication, I am back to only occasionally having horrible coughing fits, and now I can treat them.)

Comments [archived]

From: Peter Newman
Date: 2011-12-05 21:13:59 -0600

I think non-autistic people actually have the reverse issue – everything is excessive. A single cough? Onset of pneumonia. OK, I exaggerate, but I think that average people apply more import to things that happen to them (so what they’d call “some” for others is “excess” for themselves) and never question this bias.

I understand that doctors tend to half (or otherwise reduce) everything a patient reports about themselves due to this.

From: seebs
Date: 2011-12-05 21:37:44 -0600

When the doc asked me how much I’d been using my inhaler, I showed him the counter. Why on earth would I guess at the number when I have a very carefully designed exact count?

… This is probably why I am Not Real People. :P