Initial Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with asthma this afternoon by my GP, though I still need to see an Asthma Nurse in a month, which has been booked.

I've been given a prescription for an inhaler to use. Whilst I haven't been told to I think I'll be making notes when my symptons start & if the inhaler work & how often it is used. Just so that I'll have something to show the nurse, rather than rely on my poor memory which always goes to pot whenever I have to remember things

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  • Hi Crystal and welcome!

    Writing things down is a good idea. Have they given you a peak flow meter and diary so you can check your peak flow readings?

    Feel free to ask any questions on here if your GP/asthma nurse hasn't told you something and you're wondering, or they told you but you can't remember the answer! (My brain goes to pot in appts as well.)

  • No because she because said, give the inhaler ago before you see the clinic. But she did say that they would provide me with one. Considering at the appointment its was around the 200/220 mark

    So far I forgot when she said to use either before or during, but I'm guessing I'll get told that when I pick up my prescription tomorrow.

  • Before or during...? Am surprised they didn't want you to chart how your peak flow is before you start using the inhaler; they generally find that helpful!

    Is it a reliever inhaler (blue, Ventolin)? If so, you use it when you have symptoms (not just really bad ones, it's not for dire emergencies only. I say this because I've seen a few people posting on here who haven't been told how to use it when it was prescribed and thought you should only use it if you're really struggling). But the pharmacist should tell you more when you pick it up - if they don't, ask them! The leaflet should say as well.

  • Is it a reliever inhaler (blue, Ventolin)? If so, you use it when you have symptoms (not just really bad ones, it's not for dire emergencies only. I say this because I've seen a few people posting on here who haven't been told how to use it when it was prescribed and thought you should only use it if you're really struggling).

    Haha I admit to being guilty of this!

    I was only diagnosed in April l, though I've probably always had asthma, and I wasn't given any help on how to use inhalers, when to recognise triggers or symptoms etc. This website turned out to be a godsend, you should definitely check out every page! I was basically diagnosed off a symptom diary so they are really useful to medical staff, and also useful to you. They're a great way of finding out what triggers you and if there's any kind of pattern to what's going on.

    Hope things pick up for you :)

    Rachel

    Also, I only got a pf meter at first because I got free prescriptions, otherwise I would just have been given the preventer straight off!

  • I currently have a cold, and she didn't want the readings to be affected. I got the feeling she felt the diagnosis would be better coming from the clinic, rather than her.

    I think she said it was blue/grey - salbutamol

  • Yeah that's the one!

    If you have a cold that probably would affect the readings, though still would have thought it would be useful, but up to them I guess!

  • In fairness if I actually went to the doctor I'm registered with, I would have been told I was worrying over nothing. Just like what happened when I complained of tiredness. Ended up in hospital with extremely low iron.

    So today I'm just happy I was being listened to. And not have the sympton sweeped under the rug, because I was a former smoker.

  • Yeah the right doctor and being listened to does make a big difference - really glad she listened! Your registered one sounds like one to avoid, definitely.

    Hope your cold goes soon. Never fun, especially not with asthma.

  • He is, luckily our surgery has an online booking system, so I can choose which doctor to see. If you phone up or go in the receptionist books you in to who you are registered with. Except for nurses, so luckily I can now get round that.

    So what things should I make a note of: Time, Date, What I was doing at time of attack, inhalor use. Anything I'm missing.

    BTW: I can be a bit OCD with organisation at times.

  • Hi Crystal , another newly diagnosed here a couple of months ago . I was started on the brown inhaler the 'preventer' Qvar and found I was coughing less after a few weeks.

    It's all a bit scary isn't it

    it's not for dire emergencies only. I say this because I've seen a few people posting on here who haven't been told how to use it when it was prescribed and thought you should only use it if you're really struggling).

    That's interesting Philomela, I have just been prescribed the blue reliever(Ventalin) every four hours while I am ill but with no other instructions, I thought it was for really bad episodes only.

  • Arghh they never do seem to tell you do they? Come to think of it, when this latest period started, about three years ago, they gave me Ventolin with no instructions, but it never occurred to me to ask or only take it in emergencies because I had asthma as a kid so I already knew how to take it! But if I hadn't I wouldn't have known either.

    It is supposed to last four hours but if you need it sooner, or need it more than 4 times a day, don't hold off - take it, if you need it. It won't harm you if you have it more than 4 times a day, but you do need to be aware that this is a sign of poor control and means you need to go back to the dr or nurse asap (or, if it REALLY isn't working, emergency help).

    On the other hand, if you don't feel you need the reliever and are symptom-free - don't take it! You don't have to take it every four hours regardless of symptoms; the preventer is the only one you take regularly. (Sorry if this is really obvious and you knew it already, but it sounded a bit like you'd been told to take Ventolin every 4 hours whether or not you have symptoms.)

    Crystal - re your symptom diary, might be worth also making a brief note of the type of symptom eg cough + tight chest etc. Also re 'what you're doing' - if you notice any environmental triggers eg symptoms come on after you've been close to someone with strong perfume, put that. All briefly of course or they'll have a hard time taking it all in and processing it! You can get apps that will handle all this for you, like AsthmaMD (free for Apple systems, weird PF charting but as you're not doing that it doesn't matter) or AsthmaTrack (about £1.50, better re PF and has options for triggers etc). If you don't use anything Apple-based and eg have an Android phone there are posts on here about it - do a search.

  • Thanks for all the tips.

    I've used the inhaler twice today. This morning when I picked it up from the pharamcy. As I was breathless the pharamist recommended using it, therefore I was walked through using it. Then the 2nd time this afternoon, 1 issue I've discovered all ready is that the 1st puff hits my tongue in full, as I tend to roll it up to the roof of my mouth. I need to get out of that habit. However at the time of typing this my chest does feel a lot freer, than previously.

    I've copied some templates from google, with sleep & day symptoms, breathlessness, trigger & comments. Whilst it does cover 2 A4 sheets. If I make it smaller I wouldn't be able to use it. So fingers crossed I'll be able to give the asthma nurse relative information they need.

  • Thanks for all the tips.

    1 issue I've discovered all ready is that the 1st puff hits my tongue in full, as I tend to roll it up to the roof of my mouth. I need to get out of that habit. However at the time of typing this my chest does feel a lot freer, than previously.

    If you fluff a puff then take another, you need the medicine in your lungs not on your tongue. You can also get spacers or dry powder/breath activated inhalers which are easier to coordinate.

    Hope you're getting to grips with all this. xx

  • Thanks for all the advice.

    RE: Symptom Diary, over the weekend I've been noting down symptoms and have been generally surprized by how often flare-ups occur (not enough for reliever (I think) ), So far I don't like mornings, exercise.

    But I have noticed daily tasks are now easier since the inhaler. Though the most I've used is 4puffs, but today is the 1st day of me exercising since the inhaler, so I'll see if that needs to go up.

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