Asthma UK community forum

New - a bit scared

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum & would really appreciate some advice... I'm 22 & for the last 6 months or so have been havin problems breathing, not severely but every day am aware that breathing requires more effort than it used to and especially when I'm sittin still I sometimes have to take a really deep breath to feel that I'm gettin enough air in... weird thing is I'm really active, do lots of sport and never have any trouble during/after excercise, also I never get cough/wheezing/tight chest that seem to be common asthma symptoms....

I finally went to doctors today and he made me do a peak flow reading, the best I got was 360 & he looked horrified, said that for someone my age/height (I'm 5'8 and in good shape) it should be about 490... this really scared me... he prescribed me a peak flow meter to ""practise"" with at home and said that the ""poor"" readings were probably due to lack of practise, but I've tried several times since I got home and never got above 350, now before going to sleep its 320.... in all honesty, is this really a low pf for a tall, healthy 22 year old or is he overreacting??

Doctor said that it didn't seem like asthma due to lack of any other real symptoms, and has sent me for an ""emergency"" chest x-ray tomorrow, thing is he didn't give me any clue as to what it could be instead... so I'm really scared!!

Sorry to have gone on & on, and if I've posted in the forum despite probably not having asthma, I just really wanted some advice from people who seem to know what thy're talkin about.


3 Replies

Sounds like your docs bedside manner needs looking at...

Peak flows are notorious around these parts! Yes, there are ""average"" values based on gender and height, but these are not gospel and are certainly not a target - your doctor seems to need to brush up on this aspect. Their real value is when you compare your own peak flow at any given time with the best peak flow you've managed. You can then see how controlled your condition - be it asthma or not - is.

So, if your best peak flow is 360 and it drops of as the day goes on (thus you only get 320 at night) then that would seem to suggest that general tiredness is affecting whatever condition you have.

But ""only"" getting a max peak flow of 360 is in itself not a concern.


Hi there,

I know its easy for me to say... but do try not to be scared.

Your breathing problems could be for a number of reasons, not just asthma of course. Even things that are realatively easy to sort out, such as a chest infection.

Wait until you have had your chest xray and see what they say after that.

Just one thing though... If you are worried about your breathing and they try and fob you off and send you home with no help, do make sure you stand up for yourself and ask your gp for a second opinion.

In my case (34) I was only diagnosed with asthma a couple of years ago after having nasty chest infection after nasty chest infection. I am quite fit and active, and best ever peak flow is 460. At the moment I have another infection and am struggling to make 330/350, and I feel like I can't breathe.... basically I know how you feel! It is scary and really awful, especially in the middle of the night. (I know a lot of souls on asthma uk unfortunately cannot even get into the 300's, and I really do sympathise).

Try to sleep sort of sitting up rather than lying down in bed, and see if that makes a difference to you. I know sleeping sitting up is horrible, but might be worth giving a go in the short-term.

I am thinking of you and hope you are able to get sorted out and back to normal. Let us all know how you get on.

Kindest Regards,

Chelsea xx


It does get better! I was 55 when I was diagnosed 18 months ago and I have always been fit and active. My diagnosis came after a really scary attack which required emergency treatment. I have had bronchitis 3 times in the last 18 months having previously never had it . At first I felt pretty overwhelmed but I have got used to managing my asthma and most of the time it has no impact on my daily life.


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