Bad experience with GP!


As I posted on the peak flow topic, I had very bad asthma while I was on holiday which has gradually improved since I returned home a few days ago. I think I may had a reaction to some sort of pollen there as I was fine before I went and something similar happened when I went abroad a few years ago. However I'm still getting bouts of breathlessness, despite my peak flow being normal, as it was when I was on holiday too. I went back to the doctor's today and he basically said it was all in my mind, because I had a problem with anxiety a few years ago (which I am free of now) and he thinks that's the reason for all this. He said my chest sounded fine, but I said I was feeling ok at the moment and the breathlessness was coming on quite suddenly at night and in the morning. I also keep getting tingling in my face and feeling dizzy when I'm breathless and he said ""people with asthma don't get that"". He said my peak flow would be down if I was having asthma symptoms. I told him peak flow didn't always correlate with people's asthma and also that I'd spoken to one of the nurses from Asthma UK who said something similar. He said ""Rubbish!"" and I got pretty annoyed with him then, as I know for a fact this isn't rubbish and I know for a fact this is not a panic attack or anxiety but asthma. I've had asthma for 25 years, I know full well what asthma feels like! I told him I wanted a spirometry test and he has told me to go back next week while the nurse does it. I just couldn't believe the arrogance of this guy - just because I had some symptoms he couldn't understand he thought it was in my mind. I've have felt a bit better today but i've had to cancel another holiday next week as I still don't feel well enough. But hey, it's just all in my mind I guess!!

3 Replies

  • Hi Marko,

    I'm sorry to hear that you've had a bad experience with your GP. Is there someone else at the same practice that you can see who you might get on better with?

    Of course, it's not possible - or safe - to try to make a diagnosis over the internet, but tingling in your face and dizziness with the breathlessness are suggestive of inappropriate hyperventilation (over-breathing/breathing too rapidly), which can occur due to anxiety or as a learnt behaviour in response to feeling tight or wheezy. It is very common for asthmatics to have an element of hyperventilation.

    I've bumped up an old thread entitled 'Panic attacks' in which I've posted at length about this topic.

    Hope this helps

    Em H

  • Hi Em

    Thanks for your reply. I do normally see another GP as the one I saw today is known for his strange diagnoses - he's misdiagnosed my parents a few times saying certain illnesses were just symptoms of stress, which were later shown on referral as legitimate illnesses. The doctor I saw a few days ago who prescribed me Singular was very helpful and was open to referring me for a more thorough investigation, but unfortunatly he is leaving the practice in a few weeks. I am seeing the practice nurse for my spirometry test but I am thinking of switching to another GP soon.

    I did suspect there was an element of hyperventilation in my symptoms, as I know feeling tingly is a feature of that, but what I objected to was his diagnosis that this was just an anxiety attack and not a response to feeling breathless. I have had a few panic attacks in the past and I know what they feel like - in fact I was referred for cognitive behavioral therapy which was very successful as I haven't had a panic attack for 2 years - but this felt like asthma. For example, during a panic attack I've never even thought about using my Salbutamol as I know it's just anxiety, it's hard to say but I can just tell, whereas I have needed to take Salbutamol in response to this chest tightness. If it was anxiety, how could he explain why I felt worse in the night or early morning, or why I felt worse after moving around, which are both typical symptoms of asthma? He didn't address those issues, it seemed to be a case of ""your peak flow is fine, end of story"".

  • Hi marco

    I have had a similar experience to you this week too..My Gp is away from the practice atm and had to see another one...Usually i can talk to my usual GP about anything and how I am feeling with my asthma etc and feel that she listens and wants to help etc. But this one I saw the other day, i felt was really rude...I spoke to her because I am feeling really unwell at the moment and suffereing from the side effects ( I think) from all the meds i am on at present and one of my concerns were that I was unable to sleep at night because I am getting awful palpatations after I had finished taking my last lot of meds for the night and they were keeping me up all night, and all his doc said to me was maybe your breathing too fast, thats what it will be..And thats all she said. She also told me that I didn't need to see a doc again unless I am unwell. I had an appointment the day after with the nurse and she said that because my asthma is poorly controlled at the moment, i need monitoring and have to stick with my weekly appointments with my own Gp....So i got told basically the same thing, I was breathing too fast, when I know i am not....

    Hope you get it sorted soon..


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