I'm new on here and still not 100% sure if I even have asthma; I'm waiting for an appt with consultant (which it's taken them nearly three weeks and many nagging phone calls from me just to try and book, still don't know when it will be but apparently could be 2-3 months - arrghh!)
My question is whether there's any way to tell, objectively, how severe asthma is if your peak flow is consistently not just normal but better than expected even when you can't breathe properly.
Of course, this might mean I don't have asthma at all; I also haven't responded to Ventolin, Serevent, Clenil, Symbicort or Bricanyl.
I started getting breathless (again, had very mild childhood asthma) in 2009 after I had what I'm pretty sure was swine flu. GPs thought maybe asthma, puzzled, ended up with lots of hospital appts and tests, excellent spirometry (I have been singing since I was 6 and playing the oboe since I was 8 which GP thinks could explain this), normal X-ray, ECG, echo, VQ scan etc. They thought it was hyperventilation and discharged me with a couple of physio sessions.
In October of last year (2010) I got a cold. Basically lots of coughing, and I haven't stopped since. Also have feeling like I have a chest infection a lot of the time - it feels irritated, and sometimes like I've just breathed in cold air, but no chest infection and it sounds normal apparently (been given antibiotics, do nothing). And the breathlessness, which was ok if not pleasant before, has got way worse over the last month or two.
Given what people have said on this forum and elsewhere, I can see I'm luckier than many - I can still work, sing, walk at a reasonable pace (all of them make me breathless, but I am some kind of masochist and at least I can do them). However, stairs really get me out of breath, as can getting dressed, housework (can do it, just about) pulling the bin (binmen keep leaving it at end of street, grrr) and often just sitting doing nothing. I only usually wheeze in the evenings and at night though, so of course unhelpfully never when I've been to the doctor's.
Basically I was wondering if there is any way to tell how bad it is when your peak flow doesn't help. As I said, might not be asthma, but given what I've read I think it's at least a possibility. Given that I've been fortunate and haven't had to stay at home or give up work, even though it's massively uncomfortable, I'm worried that they'll decide it's 'routine' and shove me in in a couple of months. I can see that there are people who have it worse, but I'm worried simply because I have no way of telling if it's just unpleasant or could be serious, or how I might know if it's getting worse and what to do (short of a really severe attack which I would probably notice) - if it is asthma, I have no way to either monitor or control it at the moment.
I'm sure there is an element of hyperventilation in what I experience but given the cough and the chest irritation lasting for 4 months, I refuse to believe that's all.
Anyway, sorry for such a massively long first post! Any advice welcomed.