New and trying to learn

I've just started getting asthma, at 48, and I'm still trying to learn how I will need to manage it. I've learned a lot from reading here, but one thing I've seen is how different individuals are.

So far my asthma hasn't been bad - my PEF has been 500-550 (I'm female and 5' 2"") and doesn't seem to vary between the days I feel bad and the days I feel good. I started seeing the GP in June and was given Salbutamol, which helped a bit, but I was still getting some symptoms most of the time, so added inhaled steroid. Then increased the dose of both, then last week added LABA. My GPs have been very good, have never made me feel I shouldn't be there, and even though I have good peak flow and no wheezing, have never suggested there's nothing wrong.

Compared with the difficulties some of you face, I feel as if I'm fussing about nothing, but my GP says that the aim is to have no symptoms, and so far that doesn't seem to be happening. I feel shaky and have a sore throat and croaky voice from the inhalers, and still my chest feels cold when I breathe in, the coughing hasn't quite gone away and it always seems to get worse when I lie down to go to sleep. The GP told me to see the asthma nurse from now on (unless there's a problem), and the next available appointment is in six weeks.

Can anybody give me a bit of idea how long it might typically take to find a drug regime that works, and if it's realistic to expect to have no symptoms most of the time?

2 Replies

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  • Hi Felix,

    I'd say your PEF rate was very good, and way more stable than some, especially mine. Do give it time for the Seretide to work, you will notice an improvement in a few days, but over the next 4-6 weeks things will (should ) really settle down.

    As to the sore throat, use a volumatic spacer, they reduce the large particles that get stuck in the throat, and also increase the effectiveness of the meds as well.

    Your waiting list for the nurse sounds like mine, 6 weeks, but thats fine, i would assume with the change that an appointment was made for then as a review, and hopefully that will show things are working. If you are really struggling then your GP will see you, just as mine does, but do give it time for the meds to work.

    Chris

  • Thank you for your reply, Chris. I don't think anything is bad enough to need an extra doctor's visit at the moment, but I get frustrated sometimes when it seems I'm just swapping symptoms for side-effects. Rationally, I know it takes time to sort through it all, but a few years ago when my husband had asthma, they gave him an inhaler, it worked, with no side effects, then after a while he stopped using it and has been fine since then. I suppose I expected it would be like that for me, but it hasn't been quite that simple.

    I'll ask about spacers next time I see somebody.

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