Have I really got asthma?

Have had some strange experiences over the last 7 to 8 weeks but, more severely, over the past couple of weeks only which have been preliminary diagnosed as asthma (first time I've ever been ill in 45 years with something that couldn't be easily cured by OTC remedies bought at the Pharmacy).

My first (& worst) adverse experience started whilst I was away visiting relatives. Slept as normal and, just as I was about to get up I start coughing violently and bringing up lots of clear mucous phlegm stuff - I was using tissues like they were going out of fashion. This left me extremely short of breath and, naturally, quite concerned at what was happening to me so, mainly as a precaution, I called out paramedics who were with me within 6 minutes (I was able to make the call myself although the operator had difficulty understanding what I was saying and I had to repeat the address I was at a couple of times too).

Ambulance paramedics checked me over and put me on a nebuliser with oxygen and both atrovent and salbutamol on the basis that they thought I was reacting badly to a severe chest infection of some sort. They also made me an immediate appt. with local hospital to be seen by doc. there - doc. prescribed 2 antibiotics on basis he also thought I had a chest infection.

Over the course of the next 7 days, and whilst taking the anti-biotics, I had several further attacks with identical series of symptoms, i.e. cough, mucous, eventually vomiting to clear the mucous and anything else still in my stomach at that time and a recovery period of anything up to 2 hours for my breathing to settle down anywhere near normal again.

I made an appt. to see the GP (something I have never had to do in over 12 years and never for anything like this in my life before) - during the waiting period in between my first attack and GP appt. I had another moderate attack so, this time, decided that once I had recovered sufficiently, I would take myself off down to A&E which, thankfully, is only a mile or so away from where I live.

A&E Nurse immediately checked Blood pressure, respiratory rate and pulse (both normal, unlike during first attack when pulse went up to 102 and then dropped back to 94 once I had been nebulised and RR was as high as 28 breaths per minute with slightly higher BP than normal as well).

AT A & E I was given a cocktail of some 4 or 5 different tablets to take - not sure what they were (maybe prednisolone was one of them?) which made me extremely thirsty and put on nebulised salbutamol once more for 10 mins. - no improvement - after a further wait of approx. 20 mins. just on normal air 2 passing docs. saw me and recommended a further 10 min. period of Salbutamol and, after than, a chest x-ray (which, once more, came back clear/normal) so I went home, or on to work actually assured by the presence of a ""Salbamol"" metered dose inhaler/reliever medicine and a prescription for a ""preventer"" medicine inhaler and a 3-day course of prednisolone. Unfortunately, however, it was not explained to me that I had to collect that prescription from the Hospital Pharmacy so some 13 or so days later I still have neither, just the Salbumol reliever inhaler I was given whilst at A&£ (which I have not felt I needed to use but did once or twice to begin with just to get the hang of using it more than anything - can't say I noticed much improvement/change in my breathing afterwards either). No more problems since, thankfully.

I told GP all of this history when I saw him a week ago and his diagnosis was not a chest infection but asthma with a recommendation to start off using the reliever inhaler only should the symptoms return (which, as I say above, they haven't) and to come back and see him in 3 weeks/2 weeks left to go now. He gave me a further prescription though - this time for a Peak Flow Meter and a spacer device - have got and tried using the PF Meter but cannot get a decent reading on it whereas anyone else I've shown it to can, including the GP himself on the identical device he had in his surgery when he demonstrated how it should be used. My readings are barely above 200 mostly and never above 300-310 whereas I understand a healthy person should manage 425 plus (female) and 500 plus (male). Now this is starting to annoy me as I feel such a fraud on the one hand and a little worried on the other that something is still not quite right with my respiratory system which may mean more tests and/or steroid medication being prescribed ultimately, combined with the fact that if it really is asthma all this is going to play havoc with my daily routine and life in general. Having never been ill before I am simply dreading having to always carry an inhaler (or two) just in case - or worse, what might happen if I don't/forget to/run out of medicine unexpectedly.

What do others think though? Have I really got asthma do you think or is this sounding like something else such as anxiety/stress or a panic attack maybe? Having never suffered/been diagnosed like that either before I have nothing to compare it with so am only guessing here.

2 Replies

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  • HI Cornish Scot.

    welcome,it sounds like asthma but you will know more over the next few months has you will

    probably be sent for lung function tests etc.

    I also never was ill till got asthma at 44 and oh boy did it change!

    Ive had 3 lung function tests and now more tests and yes mine is asthma.

    Goodluck and in time you will get sorted.

    love Glynis xxx

  • hey!

    Its asthma. You be be sorted soon and does take time for things to settle. I know only too well. I was first diagnosed with asthma when I was 13. I grew out of it and didnt need my inhalers anymore. Then discovered after a period of being unwell ie viruses and flu in summer that my asthma had come back. It worse now than when I was a kid. I've had many bad patches of being unwell and it does get better when they find what works for you x

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