Uncontrolled Asthma

Hi people,

Just registered although been looking through the board for a while. Just wondering what people's best recommendations are, because I feel I've not got my asthma under control and it's worrying me a bit.

I had asthma when I was little and went to hospital for it on maybe 10 occasions, it was quite a regular thing, but I grew out of it by the time I was around 14. It came back all of a sudden about 5 years later, I hadn't needed an inhaler or anything in 5 years at this point. Quick trip to the doctors and got a blue inhaler prescribed, all fine - lasted me a year or so. Since then I've needed to use around one inhaler every six months. I've not done peak flows (before my recent incident) since I was about 12, and not had a proper asthma review in this time either. My doctor literally writes the prescription every time I go in with no discussion.

In September, I moved house. I've never successfully identified my triggers, but I think it's mainly dust, I always seem to get it anytime I sleep somewhere that's not home. I had to move a lot of stuff around and go in the dusty cellar as well as doing a lot of cleaning, so I presumed that when it started getting worse that was the cause.

No real problems, just carried on using my blue inhaler as usual, but went through pretty much an entire one in half of September - then one night around 2 weeks ago, I was taking around 6 puffs every hour from 7pm to 1am with it getting worse. At 1am, I used up the inhaler I had and was struggling to breathe and couldn't talk in sentences. I decided it would be best to go to A+E, so I walked (struggling ;)) to the cash machine and then got a taxi from there. Seen reasonably quickly at 1:30am and put on a nebuliser. The symptoms calmed down and I was advised to wait around for a while to see how it went. This was at 3am. At 5am, I had the asthma return and had to have another nebuliser. They then admitted me to the MAU ward where I was kept until 1pm the next day when the discharged me.

I was prescribed a new blue inhaler, a brown inhaler (which I haven't used since childhood) with spacer device, and prednisalone tablets - and also told to keep a peak flow diary.

For the week after that, I used my inhaler maybe once a day, if that, which was a massive improvement. As soon as the weeks course of prednisalone stopped, I started using the reliver again more and more. I've realised today it's practically empty (or the propellant has stopped working, it still seems to have some in when I shake it).

Now I'm going to make an appointment later to see the doctor to get a new prescription, but I can't afford to actually buy the drugs till monday, so I'm hoping to have a good weekend with my asthma.

My big question though, is where do I go from here? The hospital said I'd come back in 6-8 weeks for a respiratory clinic, my own doctors are pretty useless from an asthma point of view. Also, my peak flow is very erratic - my best is 550, but it can fall to around 440 with no visible symptoms and during an attack only drops slightly to 400 - is this a sign of uncontrolled asthma?

Apologies about the length, just felt a bit good to get it all out :-)

4 Replies

  • Go to your Gp and express your concerns. You are meant to go to see the Gp 24 hours after any attack as well. So you definately need to go and chat it through with your Gp.

  • Hi Alex,

    I wouldn't wait to get your medication, beg, steal or borrow to get the money, your health is more important than anything else. Hope you are feeling better


  • Hi Alex

    Like Helen, please don't wait until Monday to get meds, for future reference, if you have to pay for prescriptions, get a prepayment certificate, it is possible to pay for this by direct debit to make it more affordable to those on say a tight budget. Your doctor's practice or local pharmacy should be able to give you details. In future if struggling with Asthma, and in particular if you are on your own, don't go to the cash point for money to get Taxi to A & E, call for Ambulance, I know you probably felt it wasn't necessary to bother the emergency services, but you really put yourself at risk, and Asthma Attacks (don't want to scare you) can suddenly get much worse. I would also suggest you telephone your respiratory consultant's office and ask for they can get one of their respiratory nurses to give you a phone call for further advice or reassurance before appointment, if you don't feel your GP practice is able to help.


    And in the meantime chat to one of the Asthma Nurses at Asthma UK, they will be able to provide you with the medical advice you so need in the meantime as we are not allowed to do this for obvious reasons.

  • Hi Alex,

    Just to add to the other posts - shaking isn't a great indicator of whether an inhaler is empty. One way to keep track of the number of puffs used is to jot down daily use in a diary and replace after using 200 puffs (not counting the first two puffs released before using a new inhaler). Also ask your doctor for a prescription for a second reliever inhaler to keep at home as a spare.

    Best wishes,


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