When is it time to see the doc?

Hi all,

Just wondering what others do in this situation.

Like many of you, I have had an almost continual cold / cough for about 6 weeks now and the current cold spell isn't helping. I saw my GP a little over a week ago and he said my chest sounded clear but he was concerned that my PF was low - around 80% of normal. It had been down to 70% during my cold but I ignored it because I knew it would recover. Anyway, he prescribed a week's pred and antibiotics and said that my PF should pick up pretty quickly, but if it dips again at the end of the course, I should return as my normal medication needs reviewing.

My PF has now dropped back to the 80% mark & my chest feels like it's burning so I am trying to get an appointment (next available is 2 weeks away). I'm just wondering if it's anything to be concerned about and try to get in sooner - would anyone else be overly concerned? I don't want to make a fuss!

Does anyone else manage to do things as normal when their asthma is under control? Mine never seems to be and at every review with the nurse I say it stops me doing sport and she ticks the box and moves on to the next question... am I being stupid here? Should I be able to exercise as normal most of the time? It'd be nice to know so that I can press for some better treatment if it's available.



7 Replies

  • hi. i would ring docs up and say your asthma not to good and need to be seen today and hope they get you in.Have u a walk in centre near by also to try ?xxx

  • Ah thanks Glynis. I have got a walk in centre - good idea! I'll pop in tomorrow.

    Hope you're keeping well.


  • Hi MichelleA. Im not to bad at the mo Thankyou x

  • get immunity in balance using better breathing

    I used to suffer the same complaint (constant colds and they all went to my chest for 6-8 wks) for all my old mouth breathing life (up to 7 years ago).

    I changed the way i breathed at all times. I went from exclsuively mouth breathing to exclusively nose breathing and it took about 3 weeks to overcome this lifelong habit (but very intense hard trying work at the time).Since then i have had to do about 3 months of exercises over the last 7 years to maintain it and i also reattended the breathing class i went to. By incorporating my breathing exercises into my lifestyle then i do not need to do exercises specifically for my breathing.

    Whereas before if i had a chest cold it completely restricted my ability to do anything (walking was strenuous for my lungs) now i can play sport to a high level even having a chest cold (and i catch far less of them). The cold duration is now back to regular health people and i would describe my health as regular and healthy as long as my breathing is.

    For exercise it is your breathing not your fitness holding you back. This is something you can retrain yourself in. When you walk (now as you cannot do more exercise) then walk only at the rate where you can maintain nose breathing (in and out) all the time. If too much then slow down or stop. Build this up (it will build up quickly enough). This prevents feeling worse when you exercise as your nose warms the air and moistens it so you do not feel the cold in your lungs which your lungs hate). WHen you get back on the bike do the same and build up your exercise tolerance of nasal breathing. Within 6-8 or max 12 weeks yuo should be going as fast as you were when mouth breathing but your lungs will finally be gaining the benefit of your exercise which as an asthmatic you are losing out on all the benefit through poor breathing while doing everything.

    An example of this is the italian lady swimmer Pellegrini who withdrew from the pool citing panic yesterday at the short course euro championships. Inspite of super fitness when she pushes herself when racing her breathing goes out of control. With a low CP then the symptoms of asthma and panic are very closely related, so in spite of swimming probably 2o km a week she had to pull out 150m into a race and the coach cites mental problems as they cannot explain it. Very obvious to me just reading about it. Many people even very fit sports people get their breathing all wrong, Ditto premiership footballers, olympic athletes, etc etc. Alot of them suffer insomnia, anxiety and other issues which comeout in their social lives and impact very badly on them.

    Edited out alot of ""teh""s!

  • Asthma should not stop you leading a full sporting life. See the doc.

  • Michelle,

    Never be afraid of making a fuss with asthma. Two weeks is a little long to wait.

    Also at your next asthma nurse review, ask about what other preventers you could try which would enable you to do more excersize. Also ask your GP this too!

    It seems that you may have room for improvement on the preventer front.

    You only seem to be on a steroid preventer and the ventolin. There are quite a few other options such as a long acting bronchodilator - Seretide ( Serevent & Flixotide together in one inhaler).

    If you can't get seen ASAP by GP try the walk in centres as suggested.

    Hope this helps.

    Jay, yes, Asthma in most people is controlable and the majority people can lead normal and active sporting lives ( eg Paula Ratcliffe, Ian Botham etc) But there are quite a few severe asthmatics here where the basic act of walking, getting up in the morning leaves us breathless despite tonnes of medication.


  • Fix your breathing and maintain lower levels of medication and far less symptoms.

    Hi Michelle

    I would agree with Kate Moss that you appear to be underdosed with preventer.

    Personally i would steer away from the long acting dilators and work on your breathing instead.

    You may need more preventer medication to reduce inflammation and to reduce your rate of breathing (this is when we no longer wheeze or feel tight chest).

    You can achieve amazing results through carefully calming your breathing when you think about it. The buteyko method returns your breathing to lower healthier levels (works on minute volume of breathing and ensuring its in and out through your nose). You should ask your nurse/gp what they would advise but learn from a practitioner, its worth the small expense to learn it correctly and to have the exercises fitted to you and your current levels of breathing and medication as well as general health.

    In relation to exercise among elite athletes (Paula R)and sportspeople (i Botham), they will find that the exercise keeps their symptoms largely under control with a low level of medication. If they stop their exercise then their symptoms will increase as their bad breathing habit is not kept under control. Their medication will then increase unless they learn to correct their breathing.

    Among those who struggle severely with basic movement (as kate mentioned the basic act of walking, getting up in the morning leaves some breathless despite tonnes of medication - as i used to when suffering chest colds for my pre-buteyko life) they should be taught how to breathe correctly while doing the exercise. People should slow down (and ignore the embarrassment it may cause to be so slow) and only nasal breathe while walking. This will build up very slowly but over time your lungs will become accustomed to warmer moister air through your nose and the breathlessness while exercising will diminish and stop. That is why many people have difficulty with the cold weather. Your nose will warm the air to body temperature today (about -3 degrees here) through your nose but only by a few degrees through your mouth. A buff helps marginally over the mouth but the effect is only partial. Your sinuses also produce nitric oxide which is also a natural bronchodilator which helps to slightly expand your airways. CO2 is the other natural borchodilator and when mouth breathing our co2 levels fall and our airways tighten thus causing symptoms. Some people cannot breathe at all through their nose (i couldnt for 32 years) and they need to learn how to support this through learning from an experienced practitioner. Although the buteyko method has been contra-indicated for some people there are more and mroe studies that suggest that every one would gain benefit from healthier breathing techniques. There has been a recent (2010) UK study involving type 1 diabetics that will be published next year apparently with amazing results and no side-effects.

    As a very minimum, people with very severe symptoms should be taught how to relax. This reduces the breathing volume and heart rate safely.

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