Asthma and Extreme Tiredness

Hi, this is the first time I have posted on a forum. I have only had asthma properly for 2 years.

During this winter and last I have experienced a tightness in my chest nearly every day as the cold really affects my asthma. The weather is getting a bit warmer now meaning the chest tightness is easing up (cold is not my only trigger but it is a big one). However now I am experiencing tiredness all of the time. I do not wake up feeling refreshed and as the day goes on it is getting harder and harder to concentrate and to do things. I do not know anyone with asthma so I do not know if this is normal. It is affecting most everything in my life. If it is not the tight chest, its the constant tiredness. I get 10 hours of sleep on average, eat extremely well, I am usually a very active girl but for past few months I have not been able to do any exercise. I have had anemia, thyroid and all other tests done that doctor could think of.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

7 Replies

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  • its possible for asthma to cause tiredness, either if you are experiencing lots of symptoms throughout the day (which would mean that essentially in order to breathe you are having to exercise) or if you think you are getting 10hrs sleep a night but actually are waking up a lot with difficulty breathing. I know i often dream asthma dreams (things like being on oxygen or having nebs in my dreams usually mean i am having difficulty but not waking up) i often get really tired if i have been struggling in my sleep!

  • Hi UniGirl and welcome!

    Basically what Soph said! Asthma can definitely be tiring; it took me a while to get diagnosed and before I had any effective medication I used to get really tired with the simplest things and it had a big effect on me and what I was able to do (even just something like walking up and down the corridor a few too many times at work, or a short shopping trip, could wipe me out). Finding asthma medication that worked definitely made a difference. Recently I've been having a bit of a flare and again, found that I get tired very easily.

    I'd agree with Soph that the amount of sleep you're actually getting may not be nearly as much as you think if your asthma is playing up. Some people do find asthma keeps them 'actively' awake and I've sometimes found this is what drs/nurses mean if they ask about sleep (they often ask 'what time did you wake up?' - I don't know, I just know I can't stay awake in the day!), but I (and others on here from what I've read) have found that asthma can affect your sleep without you being aware at the time. What I get is waking up in the morning after hours in bed and feeling exhausted and like I've not had much sleep (if it's bad, the next day feels like after a uni all-nighter!) - or I'll half wake but not enough to know what time it is, or what's going on, or actually take my inhaler which might improve my sleep!

    It makes sense that they tested you for those other things but since they seem to be ok which is good, I would definitely say go back to the doctor and tell them your asthma is really affecting you. You don't say what you're on for asthma but whatever it is doesn't seem to be doing the trick right now so they need to look at what the options are eg increasing strength of steroid inhaler, adding something extra.

  • I would defo agree with Soph and Philomela. Also it is possible you may be suffering from sleep apnea as often the main symptom of this is waking up tired. Maybe you could mention this when you explain the situation to your docs.

    Hoping you feel better soon.

    Rose xx

  • Thanks everyone this makes sense. I have also had dreams where I am finding it tough to breath and can't move because of it(in my sleep). It's good to know I'm not the only one. I am currently on Qvar and Seretide for steroid inhalers and doctors think that I shouldnt be on any more than this. However I am going to a specialist at the hospital on 14th so this should help me get better advice and the GP does not seem worried even though I have mentioned numerous times about the tiredness.

    Rose, I am not too sure what sleep apnea is but I will research and mention this to the specialist too.

  • Sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder in wwich one does not breathe for extended periods of time in sleep.

  • Unigirl, some good advice given already, certainly have a good look around the forum and in particular the Asthma UK information available on the main website We cannot give specific medical help so please do go to your doctor or mention this to the specialist. It may well be they change your medication to help control symptoms and thus feel less tired.

  • Glad you're getting to see a specialist Unigirl and I hope they can help - good luck on the 14th and let us know how it goes.

    It's good that your GP's referred you and presumably they've listened to some extent hence the tests, but if they aren't always listening to your concerns and you don't feel like you're getting anywhere, try seeing another one in the practice? I've found it's important to have a supportive GP who keeps on top of things even if you're under a consultant, but it can sometimes take a bit of time while you keep going back and not really getting anywhere.

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