3 Questions

When I was growing up I used to always get out of breatrh very easily & they put it down to being unfit although I went swimming every week. When I was doing my GCSE's at school we did an experiment in biology to determine the relationship between heartbeat & exercise, this was my first asthma attack. I went to the doctors who did a peak flow & got 125 so they put me on the blue bricanyl turbohaler, which I would take when my chest feels tight & I feel the other symptoms. Recently my asthma has worsened & I have no been put on the purple accuhaler twice a day (am & pm) & the blue bricanyl turbohaler as needed. I have some questions though:

1) Should the purple accuhaler give you a sore throat?

2) What is the correct procedure for using it as I am registered blind & cannot see the small print idiot sheet?

3) I recently had a peak flow of 250 (I'm 5 foot 8 inches tall) but my family claim that I am not asthmatic even though the doctors at my GP's think so as well as the asthma nurse, should I listen to my family?



3 Replies

  • hi gemma - louise,

    im going to try and answer all three of your qustions again (my mobile deleted my last reply - so frustrating!!!)

    Firstly - yes steroid inhalers like your purple inhaler can cause sore throats - the main reason for this is usually oral thrush. The leaflet that comes with your medication usually warns of this side effect but i understand your difficulties in reading this leaflet of information. With steroid inhelers it is recommended that if your device is a spray devise you should take these doses through a spacer or volumatic chamber - these are readily available on prescription if you ask your GP for one (although i think your devise is a dry powder version of the inhaler which cannot be used with a spacer devise.) If you inhaler is (as i think it is) a dry powder inhaler then you can minimise the risk of getting oral thrush by rinsing your mouth out with water after taking it . If you are currently suffering from oral thrush you can get some good mouthwashes from your GP on prescription two I have used and find very good are Difflam and Niastatin mouthwashes. Hope this helps.

    Secondly - The spray inhalers as i said earlier should be used through a spacer devise though I think you inhaler devise is a round disc like powder inhaler (If i am wrong somone will be able to correct me - i do not use accuhalers so i am unsure as to which inhaler this is hopefully the information i am giving you is correct and i apologise if it isnt.) If your inhaler is the disc shaped powder inhaler there is a slide ;'button' on the side of the devise which you press down till it clicks - once it clicks it is ready to use - you should then inhale the powder and try to hold your breath for up to 10 seconds. Holding your breath helps to get the medicine into your lungs better (apparently). you should then ideally wait 1 or 2 minutes between each dose and repeat the cycle till all doses have been taken - and then obviously rinse your mouth with water after you have taken the inhaler to try and reduce the risk of getting sore throats, oral thrush and hoarse voice etc.

    Thirdly - from the symptoms you have discribed and the fact that your doctor has prescribed you a steroid inhaler and reliever it sounds like you do have asthma. Please dont struggle with asthma symptoms just because your family dont think the diagnosis is correct. If your doctor has given you this medication its because he or she thinks that you do have asthma and that this medication will help. You stated that your peak flow was 250 which for your height sounds quite low. I am considereably shorter than you and my predicted peak flow is 450 though my personal best is much higher than this when i can get it!!!

    It is better to work out what your own personal best peak flow is rather than relying on predicted best. The way to work out your own personal best if you havent already is to monitor your peak flows for around a month taking readings morning and evening when you are relitively free of symptoms. After a month or so you should be able to get a rough idea of the normal variability in your peak flows and also what your best value is. This best value can then be used to give you a better indication of when your asthma control is declining. As a rough guide 75% and more of your best is your green or safe zone which indicates good control of your asthma, 50 - 75% is the amber zone which indicates a decline in control and warns you to seek advice for your worsening symptoms and less than 50% of your best value is the red zone which indicates that you need to seek help right away. anything less than 33% is classed as potentially life threatening asthma and needs very prompt and urgent help right away. This system is the traffic lights system which most asthmatics use as part of their own personal action plan. Once you know your personal best peak flow this is something that can be discussed with your GP or consultant (if you have one) to give you a guide to follow and helps you to monitor any small changes in your asthma control. Saying all this 250 may be ok for you but if you are having any symptoms i would urge you to see your doctor as soon as you can. If you do have symptoms which alongside a low peak flow can indicate poor asthma control, there are add on therapies that your doctor can add on to your current treatment plan in order for you to gain back that control. Most asthmatics can achieve good control of their symptoms so that they do not need to use their reliever inhaler much at all - this is what we all strive to achieve.

    If i can be of any further help then please feel free to send me a private message and I will help you further if i can or try to refer you to someone who can if I cant. There are some good webpages that can work out your predicted best peak flow for you to give you a value to work with till you have worked out your own personal best. As a rough guide i would think that it would be around 450 ish like mine is but it could be higher given that you are considerably taller than i am. Anyways I hope that my ramblings have helped in someway.

    Take care of yourself and do seek help if you are struggling with your symptoms or your peak flow gets any lower.

    Lotsa lv Kat Xxx

  • Hi Kit-Kat!

    Thanks for the speedy reply of useful information :) I use my Nokia N95 8GB & It does the same to me, must be a phone thing!

    Yes you are right mine is a disc shaped inhaler that gives out a powder. I still get a sore throat after I have rinsed my mouth out unless this is part of getting used to it. Thanks for the tips on mouthwashes :)

    I tried the method you said & it worked, I got the dose of the inhaler that I needed :)

    They have said all along I'm not asthmatic & I'm just unfit when I swim & do Taekwondo, which both cause tightness in my chest & breathlessness.

    I have not been asked to check my peak flow at home yet although I am expecting that to come to make sure that the purple inhaler is the right one for me.

    Thanks, the same goes for you too :) Yes they have thanks :D Take care!


  • hi gemma-louise

    I use the same mobile phone make as you so maybe a mobile model thing lol!

    I would ask your doctor for a peak flow meter-all asthmatics should have access to one at home really so that they can spot any deterioration in your condition and seek the appropriate help as and when necessary.

    As for your family not believing it is asthma and you 'just being unfit' this is a common problem which most of us have faced at one point or another with either family or friends and it is all just down to a lack of understanding of the condition. You could try using the straw theory to explain to them what it is like. I say that when i for example walk up the stairs find it difficult to get my breath and get rather wheezy. I explain to 'normal' people that is those without asthma that its like them running till they feel tired and then breathing in and out thro a straw to get their breath back- thick mc donalds straws for mild symptoms and the thin small drinks straws for more severe symptoms. I once made my friend try it out as she still didnt get it, she managed for 10 seconds till she gasped and gave up with the straw! Something that they can do-you cant with asthma. When i said see its difficult isn't it you removed the straw but when your suffering with asthma you cant just remove the straw etc she replied with the comment how on earth do you cope? My answer was simply - i dont have any other choice! It maybe that your family need to 'see' what its like via this sort of demonstration in order to fully appreciate your difficulties.

    As for the mouth problems and sore throat issues then stick with the mouth rinsing and then possibly see your doctor for some mouth wash aswell in the week if your still struggling. You can get milder versions over the counter in the chemists just ask for an oral thrush treatment. Hope this helps. Take care and stay wrapped up warm. Lotsa lv kat Xx

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