I just stumbled across this forum and everyone here seems so supportive, lovely and helpful that I thought I'd like to join. I'm just going to write a little introduction and my story. I'm not originally from the UK so apologies for any errors and lack of obvious knowledge of the NHS!
When I was little my family moved around a lot due to my parents' jobs, including a stint in south-east Asia. It was brilliant but I often wonder if it made any underlying health issues worse! I used to get really bad chest infections, usually in the winter, which were diagnosed as asthmatic bronchitis and treated with a mix of antibiotics and ventolin. They became less and less frequent as I grew older, until they just disappeared altogther, especially after we moved back to Europe.
About 2 years ago, when we had a really cold winter, I noticed that when it was really cold, especially when I was outside, I constantly felt like I couldn't breathe or couldn't fill my lungs up all the way. My chest felt tight and it was stressing me out a lot. The GP listened to my lungs and said it sounded fine but that it was probably asthma, he prescribed me a blue (salbutamol) inhaler and sent me on my way. After some prodding at the surgery it transpired I could make an appointment with the asthma nurse, she was quite annoyed that the GP had just given me an inhaler without any guidance on how to use it, and hadn't tried anything else to diagnose me. She made me keep a peak flow chart for two weeks which showed minor fluctuations and she confirmed my diagnosis with this. I sort of.. ignored it all, because I hardly had symptoms unless it was cold or I exercised. In the past year it's gotten worse though and I've been put on clenil and my reliever's been switched to turbutaline because the salbutamol gave me really bad shakes and increased heart rate.
I've recently had a cold, been off work yesterday but back in today, unfortunately I had an asthma attack on my way in this morning. It's one of the worst I've had to date and it really shook me up a bit. I took my reliever and it's been a few hours now so I've calmed down a bit but still not feeling very happy. I'm sure it's the cold that did it but should I be going to my doctor after having such a (for my doing) severe attack?
Which brings me to my other question. I really don't like seeing my GP... He makes me feel like a hypochondriac weirdo! Some things he's done in the past have really upset me e.g. he said asthmatic bronchitis didn't exist so I couldn't have had it, even though I double-checked with my parents before the appointment and that's what they were told by medical professionals at the time; when I first had chest pains and tachycardia he laughed it off basically, luckily he still listened to my heart and said it was OK but he said I was too young to worry about heart problems. I mean, OK, I'm only 24 but it's better to be safe than sorry, right? I'd never been told that you can pull your muscles in your chest, back and arms during an attack causing scary pains. This happens to me quite a lot and it still scares me! So my second question is, how easy is it to make an appointment with another doctor? Can I just ring and ask for an appointment with anyone other than Doctor ____ or will that get me put down as even more of a problem patient? One of my friends suggested I go to A&E in the middle of an attack next time I have one so they can do proper tests and find out what is happening exactly but if I do this will this really happen or will I just be wasting their time?
Woah, sorry for such a wall of text, I guess I've been bottling up these issues for a while. Lots of thanks for everyone who's managed to read all of this!!!