Came across this site whilst sat at home from work yesterday and can't believe how much helpful info I've already found.
I'm 31, not really sure if I've ever had an official diagnosis of asthma but am treated as if i have it. Really healthy and physically fit, never smoked or had any chest infections or breathing problems in my life until pneumonia hit 3 years ago out of the blue. Ended up in A&E, turning blue, only able to get one work out at a time. 4 months off work later and apparently no longer having pneumonia (although still feeling very rubbish) - problems continued with chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing with things like smoke, perfume/aftershave, cleaning chemicals, pollen setting me off.
GP refused to send me for post pneumonia x-ray which radiologist had written to me to ask me to get arranged - said it wasn't necessay as my chest sounded clear. Also said I would have asthma type problems for up to 6 months after pneumonia so not to worry it would all settle down - gave me brown inhaler and a blue one to use. Got fed up after 3 months of using the brown one as did not seem to be working, blue one gave short periods of relief. Went back to a different GP who put me on fostair to try - amazing - worked instantly felt so much better.
Had a review after 2 months where GP told me to come off inhalers as I had rarely needed the blue one and symptoms had decreased and I didn't have asthma. Big mistake - after a week felt rubbish again, tight chested, not sleeping, coughing - went back, GP says ' I think you may have asthma you have excema and hayfever and these things often come together'. So I asked about pneumonia and how this was all linked and he said it was likely I was going to get asthma anyway and the pneumonia just set it off not sure how he knew this as had never been with any chest related problems before!).
So back on the inhalers, managed to get myself back to a reasonable level although still not to pre-pneumonia functioning. 6 months later (had the odd use of blue inhaler between times for triggers like smoke/perfume), woke up with agonising chest pain and shortness of breath, couldn't sit up or lift my arms above my head (just like when I had pneumonia) got someone to drive me to A&E - Dr assessed me, I told him about inhalers I was on and that Dr said he thinks I have asthma, listened to my chest, said it was clear, put me on a nebuliser for 2 hours (which really really helped - was like I'd momentary been given new lungs) then told me it wasn't asthma and that I'd pulled a muscle in my back but sent me home with a prescription of prednisone not being very asthma savvy at this point I didn't really question this and thought it was for the pulled muscle until I read the leaflet). Next day the pain had significantly decreased (not like a pulled muscle which lasts a few days).
Following this, took ages to get things back to a normal level where i could walk up the stairs in my house without getting breathless. Kept going back to the GP who would always say my chest is clear despite coughing up green stuff, and that I have no wheezing (never have wheezed). Got told I needed see the asthma nurse in my surgery who introduced me to peak flow and monitoring things more closely. Kept a diary of symptom and realised that they got worse the 10 days before my period - told the nurse this and she looked at me like I was mad and said she'd never heard of anything like that so it probably wasn't linked (have since read different on here).
So bit of a mixed year so far, 2 chest infections both cleared by upping inhaler use and antibiotics, even though dr's said chest was clear at the appoinment, and a summer or relatively good breathing, a small cold at the beginning of october seems to have spiralled me out of control, coming to a head last thursday. Woke up with the pneumonia feeling again, really painful upper back and chest, coughing lots, lower peak flow (65% of normal), went to Dr's told me to up my inhalers and gave me prednisone again - but this time feeling like rubbish (have no cold remaining) and also unable to lay down in bed which is causing sleepless nights and lots of coughing can feel stuff in my chest but its not coming up. Dr didnt even listen to chest! So sat at home waiting for something to feel a bit better.
A few questions - how often are you supposed to have a review with the asthma nurse - I had 1 and a follow up a few weeks later to look at peak flow readings about 18 months ago but nothing since?
This is all very new to me still and it scares me how breathless and tight chested I feel sometimes but always seem to get fobbed off by Dr's who always tell me to up my preventer until it improves and use extra reliever, that my chest is always clear and that I don't wheeze - they say I should be able to self manage this (i felt like I was wasting their time). Knowing no one with asthma I don't know what to expect or how to know when things are getting serious which is kind of why I'm asking here as you guys seem very knowledgeabe and friendly.
I'm going to be moving house soon and changing GP and I want to make sure I go armed with the right questions and knowledge this time from the outset so any guidance would be much appreciated.