I went to the doc three weeks ago after failing to shift a cough/wheeze for 6 months despite antibiotics. A test revealed there was no bacterial infection. The cough gets worse when I lay down, when I gt up or when I start walking. The doc suspected heart failure (given that my ankles were also swollen) and sent me for a chest x-ray. That came back clear so she then suggested asthma after doing peak flow test - 350 instead of predicted 600. Better than heart failure but still a bolt from the blue.
I've since been doing ""reversibility"" PF tests - one test without the inhaler (blue - Salbutamol) in the morning, then a before-and-after test in the afternoon. Morning reading is usually about 340, the pre-inhaler afternoon reading about 370 but the post-inhaler one is only about 400 - my personal best is 420. Question - how much difference should an inhaler make to the reading? Is a mere 30-point average increase normal?
Second question if I may - when I said I did a morning reading, I do it when I've been up for an hour and got myself together. The last two mornings, however, I have woken up breathless - very disconcerting - and did the PF immediately I woke. It was about 220, massively below my ""normal"" morning reading. Should this give cause for concern?
Finally, I'm confused by the idea of a steroid inhaler to get rid of the severe coughing and wheezing. The Asthma UK leaflet says they are harmless. The nurse at my GP surgery said they are anything but harmless, and that they can lead to thinning of the skin amongst other things and should be considered a last resort, though the GP herself indicated she would prescribe one if she diagnosed asthma. I was supposed to make an appointment to go back last week but with the differing advice and my own uncertainties, below, I've not taken the plunge and gone back yet.
I'm still not sure whether my symptoms could be down to me just being unfit (overweight) and with a poor immunity system (long-term alcoholic) rather than asthma, in which case would steriods even be appropriate?
Any and all advice appreciated - thanks in advance!!