New to asthma and scared


I have recently been diagnosed with asthma only about 2 weeks ago at age 39. It all started just about a month and half ago....I was sitting on the sofa watching tv when all of a sudden i couldnt get a full breath this only lasted a coulpe of seconds but it terrified me. The next day it did it again very short in duration. then a couple of days later it hit me hard and i was fighting to suck anough air in. I got a taxi to AE and they put me on a heart monitor all night incase it was a suspected heart attack. They told me my heart was fine but i asked why im struggling to breath still so they game me an xray and took blood from my wrist to check oxygen levels...all fine. They listened to my chest and it was clear but still had short breath. they sent me home without ever giving me anything to breath such as nebuliser or an inhaler so i went to my doctors 2 days later. they game me another ECG and said i was fine but when i asked for an inhaler or some help breathing they refused as they said you dont need one! Anyway i swore at the receptionist after being told there is no more appointments so she gave in and eventualy was seen by an advanced nurse who gave my Ventolin inhaler until i could get into see the asthma nurse. i was given clenil 200 aswell two puffs a day and for about 2 weeks it worked i didnt need my blue inhaler. But then i had i (presume an attack) another attack really bad and i was using my blue inhaer up to 20 times and it wasnt helping. i went back to AE as the receptionist gave me a 3 week timescale for an appointment at doctors. At AE i was there 3 half hours and no nebulizer that i was promised in the end i was breathing better by my self although still shallow. I got into the docs next day as asthma nurse was fully booked and doctor changed my base inhaler to seritide 100 from the advise off the asthma nurse. I was out of breath again really bad nothing workin and in the end i was so exhausted from trying to breath i think i fell asleep for a while. I woke up and was a little better but still couldnt fill that last bit of lung up no matter what i tried. Yesterday and today i have been better (maybe the seritide is now starting to kick in) but now and again all of a sudden i cant get that deep breath and i get that most of the time with little bits of respite of full breaths in between. I have a appiontment with the asthma nurse on the 7th so will see how i get on and see whats going on but 2 days ago i thought i was going to die and im not being a drama queen i really felt like any minute im going to stop breathing all together. Its just that after only being diagnosed only two weeks nearly and ive gone up a scale already its scaring me like crazy. I keep thinking its not asthma. If i had a gun by my side the other day i would of shot myself as the feeling of not being able to breath and eventually stopping breathing is too much to handle.

Note: also when im just dropping off to sleep i jerk awake as if im gasping.

11 Replies


  • Hi Scott. So sorry you're having a bad time at the moment and I hope it helps to know that many of us have been through similar experiences so you're not alone.

    Modine is right, a chat with the AUK nurses can be very helpful and informative. The other advice is that if you're feeling that you're getting worse or that your meds aren't helping, go back to your GP.

    It will all get easier as you start to understand how your asthma behaves and what sets you off, and I'm sure you'll find lots of support and information here.

    Good luck.

  • Thankyou and hello Annista/ Modine,

    I have tried to get to my doctors to see about my meds working or not or any other problem but it takes about 3 weeks for a appiontment, when you say its a bit of an emergency they just say ""Go to hospital then"". I have managed a appiontment the 7th june instead of the 12th with my asthma nurse but thats the best they can offer.

    Regarding managing my asthma its too new for me as i have no personal asthma plan or PF meter nothin but noticing my blue inhaler is not working. They only thing they said was to look at what might be the trigger. it could be anything....We have a dusty house if we hoover in the morning its dusty again by the afternoon also we have a dog, a yorkie terrier. I told them it was a fairly new dog and we had him about july last year and the doctor said on the records on computer i was complaining of shortness of breath last August so could it be the dog? I cant just sell the family dog only to find its not him, is there a test you can get done for allergies to dogs? I feel lots better today and i got work tomorow as a postman so i hope ill be fine tomorow fingers crossed. Saying that i feel better i still cant fill my lungs completely there is always a little more i could take in if it would let me is this normal, should i take a puff on my ventolin or ignore these small problems? if i was to take a puff every time i felt a bit short i would never be off my inhaler. Also its hard to remember ever feeling brilliant anymore but im sure ive had this small problem of not being able to fill my lungs completely for a while before the attack, perhaps ive had asthma a while and it has suddenly gone mad...who knows...

    Ps. thanks for reading and replying

  • Thankyou and hello Annista/ Modine,

    I have tried to get to my doctors to see about my meds working or not or any other problem but it takes about 3 weeks for a appiontment, when you say its a bit of an emergency they just say ""Go to hospital then"".

    It may sound a bit obvious, but have you considered changing your surgery. You shouldn't have to wait 3 weeks for an appointment.

  • Hi Scott,

    I understand your confusion, it's a lot to take in and being SOB is a horrible feeling that I think some doctors don't always appreciate (I get very annoyed when they seem to be dismissive and say 'just put up with it and get on with things' - do they not realise how nasty it is and how it's pretty hard to get on with stuff and ignore when your breathing is messed up, whatever the cause?!)

    I'd second talking to the AUK nurses - you'll have a lot more time without feeling pressured and they're very good at listening; they also tend to know things, being experts in asthma, that a GP or practice nurse may not, and they can advise on things you may want to ask in your appointment.

    Re the dog: yes you can get skin prick allergy tests to see if that's a problem for you. It might be worth thinking and perhaps writing down before you see the nurse any patterns you've noticed (eg is it better when you're away from home, when you're at work (if it's worse when you're outside pollen could be responsible), when it's hot/cold, when you have a cold etc) - and what had you done just before the attacks, if you can remember? Also if anyone in your family has or had asthma, eczema or hayfever as asthma can be hereditary - not always, but if your relatives have any of these I think the chances of you having asthma are higher.

    I definitely think you should ask the nurse if you can have a peak flow meter and diary so you can record symptoms and peak flow for a bit and see if there's a pattern - they may suggest it, and I would have thought they'd find that helpful.

    Oh and re the 'chest is clear but I'm still short of breath' - don't let anyone tell you you have to wheeze with asthma! There are plenty of people on here who don't and it is a fact that not all asthmatics wheeze, but there are still drs and nurses who insist a wheeze is necessary and if you don't have that you're fine.

  • Hi Scott and welcome! :-)

    The suggestion to call the asthma uk nurses is probably one of the best bits of advice you can get in my opinion, they're fantastic and full of knowledge and a great listening ear.

    You van be tested for pet allergies with a simple blood test, rast I think they're called.

    The feeling of not being qble to take a full breath is probably because your airways qre in spasm still where your asthma is not under control yet, at least this is what happens to me.

    Take care. X

  • Hi there, I understand your frustration and your concerns, I found it all very overwhelming when I was diagnosed 2 years ago and was sent on my way with nothing more than an inhaler.

    The discussion boards are a great way to find out more information (although note that everyones asthma is personal and doesn't mean you'll have the same problems as the next person).

    As said previously, the nurses on here are a massive help, they've helped me recently from an emotional point of view following a severe and out of the blue, flare up.

    The best way to know if you need your inhaler or not, is to use it, you'll soon get the hang of when your symptoms can be relieved by the inhaler, and bare in mind, if you had a headache you'd take a painkiller, so why suffer with your asthma symptoms if a puff or two of ventolin will relieve it.

    Finally, it can take time to find medication that works for you, unfortunately it's trial and error, believe me I've had a whole host of different coloured inhalers over the past 2 years, but you will get there.

    Good luck with it xxx

  • Thankyou so much, im still SOB after reading posts and replies to my posts lol..but feel loads better in my mind cheers for the advise. I have had a right game gettin my mrs and her family to understand, her family have said im being stupid and making it up and tellin lies as i want to get rid of the dog (which they paid for) and they said its unfair on my daughter to get rid of her dog but ive got a place to come and read and share so well chuffed...By the way where do i get this dog allergy test done never heard of it?

  • I think all of us come here as people on here really do get what it's like - even the most understanding of families don't always, plus some people prefer not to talk about it too much with friends/family.

    I had my allergy tests at the hospital but that was because the consultant ordered them - as far as I know you can get the blood test and the skin prick tests (whichever is considered more suitable) at your GP's surgery - ask the asthma nurse about allergy tests, say the doctor has raised the possibility of its being related to your dog. They'll probably test for more than just dog allergies and it would be helpful to know what else could be setting your lungs off.

  • hello Philomela,

    Thats a damn good idea ill try that when i go to my appointment next week lol

  • I'm sorry you're having such a bad time with your asthma - being diagnosed with a new illness is a scary thing, and health professionals aren't always great at remembering that.

    I take daily antihistamines in the summer as the pollen plays havoc with my lungs, so that could be worth a try.

    There is a product you can get called Petalcleanse which I've heard is very good for people with pet allergies. I haven't used it myself as I have no need, so I can't offer a personal recommendation. It's a thing that you apply to the pet's coat and I think it removes the dander (which causes the allergies, it isn't the fur in itself). It isn't cheap though, and as I said, I've only heard anecdotal evidence about its success.

    I hope you feel better soon x

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