Surely I am far too old to still have Asthma

Ok so I am now 21 and have asthma ever since I remember. As I grew up I was told it was something I would probably grow out of. Every winter I get a bad chest and end up having attacks even though I use a preventer. Surely I should have grown out of it by now! For the last two nights I have been woken up by my partner who has been concerned about the fact that I am wheezing really badly whilst sleeping. Each time he wakes me up I am on the verge of having a very bad attack. He’s so good and finds my inhaler which I normally manage to have lost and helps me prevent a full blown attack. He sits up against me and warms my back up, as for some reason whenever this happens my back is stone cold, this has never happened before and the rest of me is warm enough. This has happened 5 times over the last two nights. And my chest today is sooo painful. I really don’t want to go to the doctor as I really don’t want to admit that my asthma is getting bad again and yet I am far too old now to still be having it. I take my preventer twice a day and yet am finding I need to use my reliever at least 8 times a day. Has anyone else found that they get a stone cold back when an attack is on its way? Does anyone have any advice about stopping attacks without going back to the doctors?

9 Replies

  • It sounds to me like you need to go back to your gp. It may be something simple like a diff inhaler or an add on of another med that may help. Quit a few of us are struggling at the mo as we get the colder weather. As for growing out of it I think I grew into it at 32. Please go back to your gp and let us know how you get on.

  • We have members of this message board with asthma who are *much* older than you, Jeneffa! (No disrespect to any other members intended!) As Katherine has said, a fair few of them have only been diagnosed with asthma at an older age, whereas others have had asthma for a long time and show no signs of ""growing out"" of it. It is, unfortunately, a complete myth that asthma is a ""childhood disease"".

    It seems to me that your current medications are not up to the job of controlling your asthma - if you are only on one inhaler (I'm guessing this from your profile) then there are lots of options for your GP to use, and there's a good chance that with the right meds you'd be able to get your asthma well under control.

    Please, go and see your GP. There's no other advice we can offer you on this message board; you need a face-to-face consultation with a doctor.


    (Mods hat now has festive tinsel trim - stylish!)

  • Jeneffa79 I would really recommend going to see your GP, it sounds like maybe you need to try some different medicines to get it under control. Your GP will be able to listen to your chest and measure your peak flows etc and decide on the best course of action for you.

    I know it's a pain but some people never do grow out of asthma and as Steve has said, many people aren't diagnosed until they are much older. I am also 21 and was not diagnosed until I was 18. My consultant has said she doesn't think I will grow out of it but we have found the right combination of medication for me and I am able to lead a full and active life!

    Please take care and let us know how you get on

    Best wishes

    Sparkly Fairy

  • Thanks to both of you. Yeh I thought that was going to be the case that I would have to go back to GP and I suppose as I am now with a new one I they may not tell me I am too old to have asthma which is what my old one used to tell me. I am on two inhalers, maybe I do need a stronger dosage…I am one of those tricky patients who doctors hate as they had to go through loads of inhalers until they found on that actually suited me. I am using bricanyl and pulmicort turbohalers. I have been on them ever since I was young and they finally found that this seemed to be the only inhalers that I didn’t have a reaction to. I am sure I had a green one and a red one too at one point and I think there was a purple one too but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were and why I had them (I only remember this as my mum would put them in rainbow order for me to try and make me not hate them so much when I was small and associated them with me being ill lol). Now I just have the brown and blue ones. So I guess my only option is to go to the doctors and admit that my asthma isn’t under control anymore.

    Thanks for the responses.

    Jenn X

  • sore and embarrassed!!

    Ok so I went to my surgery yesterday and saw the asthma nurse who listened to my chest and then asked a doctor to come listen to me. He pointed out I have a heart murmer but said that I wasn't wheezing and that my chest sounded clear. I was told that I wasnt fully expanding my lungs and that was why I was short of breath but I explained In was breathing as deeply as I could and it hurts when I breathe in. Anyway so I was told to take co-codamol to stop the pain and was given a new prescription for my preventer. Extremely embarrassed for wasting their time, I came home and got ready to go to my signing class but was told by my partner and his family that I wasn't to go out as they could hear me wheezing badly and the fact that I could only get about 5 words out before gasping for another breath made them quite worried. So yesterday evening I sat around writing christmas cards taking my reliever about every half an hour but hardly able to speak. I was up several times in the night struggling to breathe. I have taken pain killers but it still hurts when I breathe and I literally cannot take a deep enough breathe even though I try my hardest to and its not the pain thats stopping me I just cant breathe deep enough.

    I feel like I've been repeatedly hit with a base ball bat in the chest and still not breathing normally. This is like a mild attack that has gone on now for 14 hours! And yet I really dont want to go back to the doctors as I dont want to waste their time.

    I am going to go to work where I am surrounded by doctors so I know if it gets any worse I have enough people around me to look after me but I a so embarrassed to have this condition and to know that I dont have it bad, or so i was told by the doctor yesterday, and yet I just cant breathe.


  • ohhhhhhhhhhh what chance do I have?? lolol ..I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 26 and I've just had my 53rd birthday!! have a feeling I'm not going to ""grow out of it"" lol..just take care of yourself and if in doubt about the severity of your attacks during the night..please don't hesitate to call 999 for an ambulance..I was reluctant to ever do that but was reminded by a consultant that if my husband kept driving me into A&E one of these times I could have a severe attack in the car and what would my hubby do then??? at least paramedics are equipped to deal with most problems remember that :)

  • Hi Jeneffa,

    Welcome to Asthma UK; I hope you find that these boards are a good source of support and advice, please don't hesitate to ask if you have any more questions.

    Sorry to hear that you are struggling so much. As PeakSteve says, it is a complete myth that asthma is a childhood illness; some people do develop it as children and grow out of it or improve, but others remain the same or get worse as adults and others don't develop it until they are older.

    The good news, though, is that the vast vast majority of asthma can be controlled with minimal symptoms or interferance with day to day life once the right combination of medication is found. If you are continuing to get symptoms, please do persist in going back to your doctor and asking for more treatment - I see from your profile that you are currently on inhalers only, so there is plenty of potential for additional treatments to be added if your control is difficult. It's worth keeping a diary of your peak flows, symptoms, interferance with sleep, activities and reliever inhaler use - this may go some way towards persuading your doctor that there is a problem, even if you don't happen to be wheezing when he/she sees you. Asthma is, almost by definition, an episodic condition, so it is not an altogether uncommon experience to have been really struggling but then to be relatively well when you actually visit the doctor - this can make it hard for them to judge how bad you are when just seeing you once.

    In the mean time, if you experience another episode where you are struggling to talk in sentences or are having to use your reliever inhaler as frequently as half hourly, please seek medical attention URGENTLY, by calling 999 if necessary. These are signs of a serious and potentially dangerous attack which may not necessarily resolve with your reliever alone next time. Asthma is a condition which should not be underestimated. I know it is embarrassing to go to your doctor and feel that you are being dismissed, and I am sorry that you have had to go through that, but please do seek help again if in doubt - the potential consequences of ignoring a bad attack are far worse.

    Take care

    Em H

  • I have found myself saying this a lot over the past few weeks (mainly to mums of young children with coughs and colds, but it still holds true!) - as doctors, we would MUCH rather see you, examine you and make sure everything is ok (or at least be aware of the situation if it's not), than see you as an emergency when everything has gone 'orribly wrong.

    Please, as Em says, go back to see your GP again. You're not wasting anyone's time.

  • I didn't even start getting asthma till my mid 20's and it went a few years undiagnosed till I found the right GP as well.

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