Lung Lingo

Yes it's true, we asthmatics have a language all our own.  

Here’s my current list. Please feel free to add new words and definitions to it .


Yellow Zoning When someone is stuck in their yellow breathing zone.
Cradle Asthmatic A person who has had asthma since earlier childhood or birth.
asthma slang for hospital and/or Intensive Care Unit. Also known as ” The slammer”, 'The pokey”
CostaWhat our UK friends call the Hospital
Getting Tired:
Asthma Lingo meaning…”Are your lungs tiring out?” “Are you getting too tired to breath? Would you like to be intubated?
Battle Scars:
Bruises and holes in my body from all the IVs and lines
A catch all term for anyone with chronic obstructive lung disease i.e. Chronic Asthma , Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, etc.
An asthmatic who has been intubated multiple times, is steroid depended or at risk for an NFA
Short of breath
Feeling tight:
When your breathing passages start constricting or narrowing
Roided out:
High or burnt out on steroids
Tired Wired:
Similar to “roided out”, but refers specifically to prednisone induced insomnia
Buying a tube:
Will probably need Intubation
Having a plastic tube about 12 inches long and the diameter of your index finger tube shoved down your windpipe. After the tube is inserted, they can connect you to a machine that will breath for you…ie a Ventilator.
Ventilator- A machine that breaths for you…i.e life support equipment
Stands for “Peak Flows” . A measurement of how fast you can exhale
General term for Pulmonary function tests
Stands for “Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second” ie. How much air you can expel from your lungs in 1 second. Expressed in liters or as percentage of normal. An indicator of how severe your lung disease is.
Oxygen saturation- expressed as a percentage
Air Trapping:
Inability to exhale completely…aka “Asthma Purgatory” , or the medical term..Dynamic hyperinflation
Evil Candy:
The Intensive Care Unit
An increase or worsening of breathing symptoms
Full blown attack
In Status:
i.e. Status Athmaticus or refractory asthma. A nasty asthma attack that doesn't respond to medications or therapy
When an Asthmatic or COPDers carbon dioxide levels start creeping up
Asthma Purgatory:
When your Peak Flows are near normal,but you still feel very short of breath. You feel miserable, but not sick enough to warrant emergency care. ( usually a result of prolonged bouts of air-trapping)
Stands for “Near Fatal Asthma” attack.
Backsliding :
(also known as “rebounding”), is when you're asthma symptoms flare-up during a prednisone taper ( usually from tapering too fast). Sometimes these flare-ups can be more severe than the original exacerbation that lead to taking prednisone in the first place.
Green Meanies What our UK friends call paramedics

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