Asthma UK community forum

just a quick question

Hi, I'm a new user to this forum. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was a kid and up to about 5 years ago, it was pretty well controlled to the extent of hardly ever needing my brown inhaler. Anyway, over the past 5 years I've had more and more chest infections (for example, I had bronchitis twice last year and about 3 other chest infections, all treated with steroids) and over the past 6 months I seem to be short of breath most days. Today I used my ventolin inhaler on about 5 seperate occasions. I feel really bad wasting my GPs time, I mean I'm a student and an auxiliary nurse and outside of those 2 things pretty active and always doing something, but I'm beginning to worry a little. I went to see him on Tuesday, and all he said was everyone has times when they think they won't ever get better, and I've probably just had something viral that I can't shake off. I'm wondering whether I should go back to see him again, if there is any point? Like I said, I don't want to make a fuss but I'm not sure what else to do (I've been managing my asthma with becotide for the past 2 years now and I keep to it).



3 Replies

Hello Flowerfairy, welcome, I am sorry you are not feeling so well at the moment. You really need to go and see your GP again and if you get any worse I would contact your out of hours dr for advice, you are not wasting anyone's time you doing all the right things in seeking help and advice!

Finally if you get very breathless, if your inhaler is not working at all or if you are struggling to complete sentences or can't talk at all because of your asthma you must seek urgent medical attention as in 999.



Hi Flowerfairy,

Welcome to Asthma UK, I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with your asthma. I hope you'll find us a good source of information and support.

Firstly, something which I say to all new members. This board has a disproportionate number of members who have asthma at the severe end of the spectrum - you might read accounts of poor control, multiple medications, hospital admissions and even Intensive Care admissions. Please do not be frightened or put off by reading about such things. Whilst experiences like this are unfortunately common on this board, they are rare in asthma as a whole. The vast majority of people with asthma - perhaps 95% - can be completely or almost completely controlled, with little or no interferance with their day-to-day lives, once the right combination of medication is found.

This is what the goal of treatment should be for you - to be able to get on with your life and do what you want without being limited by your asthma. It is common to have bad phases, where you get a run of infections and have to have courses of oral steroids, and to an extent there is nothing that can be done to avoid these - it is just bad luck. However, if you are finding that you have been short of breath most days, for the last six months, and are using your reliever inhaler several times a day, that suggests more than just a run of infections - it suggests that your underlying asthma control is not as good as it could be. This will also mean that your response to infections, in terms of the effect on your asthma, will be more severe and you are therefore more likely to need a course of pred when you get a cold or chest infection.

Do you measure your peak flows at home? You can get a peak flow meter on prescription from your doctor, or you can buy one in a chemist. You should check it three times a day, and when you have symptoms and before and after using your reliever inhaler. Measuring your peak flow is a really good way of helping your GP to see how your asthma is affecting you, and how it deteriorates when you get an infection. By measuring it over a few weeks, you can build up a picture of how things are for you.

Once you have done this, you need to go back to your GP and say that you are not happy with your asthma control, and that you feel that it is more than just a bad run of infections. In terms of the treatment you are on, just salbutamol (Ventolin) and beclometasone (Becotide) - this is a fairly basic level of treatment, and there are lots of other things that could be added in to help improve your control. Asthma is treated, according to the British Thoracic Society guidelines, in a stepwise fashion (see for a copy of the guideline - copy and paste into your browser and then delete any spaces the forum software has put in). You are on Step 2 out of 5, so there is plenty of potential for improvement, and your symptoms and use of your reliever inhaler certainly suggest you should be stepped up.

If you feel that you will have problems making your feelings clear to your GP, it can help to take a friend or relative along, for moral support. Do go back, though - you are not being a nuisance or making a fuss, you deserve better control than this, and there is no reason to think that you will not get it with some simple adjustments in medication.

Hope this helps, do let us know how you get on.

Take care

Em H


thanks for your advice, i've started recording peak flows now, and plan to go back to my GP in a week or so.



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