GP Frustration and Atypical Asthma

Hi All,

I am new to this forum but not new to asthma. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was two and I am 36 now. I grew up in America but have live in the UK most of my adult life. I've just come out of hospital after a three day stay, my first hospital admission in 17 years (except when I was having my children). It's really made me think how poorly my care has been managed these past eight years, both from the GP and probably myself. The consultant at the hospital was very good and I wonder why I've never seen a consultant before.

Anyway, I went into hospital with a ""chest infection"" and ""norovirus"". When I finally got to see the consultant, she was surprised at my care over the past few years. I suffer at least two ""chest infections"" a year. She said in the current case, my cough was caused by asthma and not so much by the ""chest infection"" (acute bronchitis in this case). The bronchitis was nearly gone by the time I ended up in hospital but the cough was still bad. She was surprised the GP had decided to treat the broncitis by throwing antibiotics at it and not the asthma, which was ignored. This happens every time I get a chest infection. The GP gives me antibiotics and it's at least a week or so later before I get the steriods for the asthma. However, the consultant said that that's not enough. The GP should have referred me to the asthma clinic to make sure my asthma was under control as this happens so often. I'm quite frustrated by that. I clearly remember a conversation over the phone with my GP in February. I could not breath. I already had the antibiotics for a week. He had given me a course of steriods the day before, but I couldn't breath. Still, his response was for me to let the medicine take effect. I started coughing up blood stained mucus the next day and got better antibiotics and my mother came to look after me so I recovered, but it really shouldn't have been like that, should it?

I suppose my main question though is what is Atypical Asthma. That's how the consultant described my asthma. When she listened to my lungs she had her ""assistant"" listen to my lungs because it was unusual. The consultant is referring me to the asthma clinic at the hospital and hopefully I'll get an appointment next week. I guess I'm left feeling frustrated that I've had to suffer so long and no one has felt the need to investigate further until now. Is anyone else frustrated at how they are treated by their GP?

Thanks, Emily

6 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum.

    I think atypical means unusual/not conforming to norms. Chest infections and asthma are not a good combination. I hope you get some more appropriate treatment in the future and some answers from the cons next week.

  • I had frustrations like that with a previous GP I had. He was nearly useless in managing my asthma. I was pretty much the one telling HIM what to prescribe. I love my current doctor.

  • My sons asthma is mostly managed by his consultant at the hospital but because he is so young we have had numerous problems getting repeat prescriptions for the medications first prescribed at the hospital. The GP surgery are reluctant to write a prescription as all of his medications (apart from the ventolin and montelukast granules) are unlicenced for children of his age. Now waiting to see how we are going to get repeat prescriptions of his meds and who from....

  • Hi Emily and welcome!

    Sounds like your consultant is really good which is great as it's harder to change them - but also sounds, as you say, like you should have seen someone before! I hope your appt comes through soon and the consultant's able to get your control a lot better. I'd be really frustrated in your position; my asthma is also atypical which meant that even though I had it as a child it took a couple of years to get properly diagnosed this time round! It just seems to mean that you don't fit the textbook definition, like a lot of people on here (eg not wheezing, having good peak flows when struggling and various other things that some doctors without specialist knowledge or experience may not associate with asthma).

    Personally I've had it the other way round till now (good GPs, not such good consultants to begin with). But I have come across a few rubbish GPs who've been no help at all! Even though you now have a good consultant, I'd look at changing your GP asap as you need someone you can see relatively quickly and who will listen to you and to your consultant. Can you see someone else in the practice, work out who's better? I now know which ones in my practice I'd rather not see and therefore won't make an appt with except for urgent ones where I don't get a choice. There might be one who's supposed to be good with asthma, but tbh anyone who listens and is open-minded would probably be fine.

    Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

  • Thanks for all the advice. I've seen the asthma nurse today and I think I'm finally getting the support I need. Now I just need to go back to the GP to get the prescriptions set up as repeats. Hopefully he'll realise how wrong he's gotten it over the years.

    Thanks again, Emily

  • Glad you're starting to get things sorted. Hopefully GP will come up with the goods

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