Living with asthma


I am 35 yrs of age and 4 months ago suddenly started experiencing fairly bad asthma. I'd been sleeping unbeknownst to me next to a wall covered in black mold for three months, breathing it in every night. I have since dealt with the cause of the problem and thoroughly sterilised and cleaned my room. But 4 months have passed and I am still suffering from a constant irritation, coughing, and asthma attacks. If I walk for more than 10 minutes in cold air outside I have an asthma attack. My lungs seize up and I can't breathe. I have been to the doctors several times, but each time it was a different doctor. Each one has sent me away with new things to try. First time it was the flow charts, then the blue inhaler, then the brown one. Now I'm trying a course of antibiotics called Keflex. Nothing seems to be working. I have stopped exercising because the irritation and coughing and tightness afterwards though not life threatening are unremitting. I am getting extremely miserable about it. It just won't go away. I feel oppressed and trapped by it. The inhalers provide temporary relief but no real freedom from discomfort. They wear off very quickly and the pressure in my lungs come back and I start coughing again. The brown one was supposed to give me major releif, that hasn't happened at all. I am sick to death of it. It is four in the morning here and I can't sleep cause I feel so angry and helpless. I read asthmatics are able to live normal lives and exercise and do stuff. I can't do that. Now I'm not exercising at all I'm putting on weight and feeling lethargic and unfit. What the hell is going on?? Last year I ran the London marathon. Not one problem with my breathing. Never had breathing problems. Is this what living with asthma is like?? Cause it's a constant struggle and you never feel comfortable. It's awful. Sorry for this morbid post but as I said it's very early in the morning and I haven't slept. That's all I want to know - is this what its like living with asthma? Cause it's frankly a miserable way to live

9 Replies

  • Hi Joe365 and welcome to the forum,

    You don't need to apologise for your post, we all get frustrated and want to vent, especially in the early hours!

    Your aim is right to have controlled asthma but your airways are probably very sensitive right now after several months of exposure to mould and you may have other triggers going on whilst they are sensitive. How long have you been on the brown inhaler as it does take time to work and it may take time to calm your airways down. And how long does your blue inhaler last? If it doesn't last as long as 4 hours I would go back to your GP.

    You may need to not push yourself physically for a while as your body is using it's energy to breathe so you may need to rest up at regular intervals, just listen to your body and right now don't push yourself. If 10 minutes is all you can manage, do just 10 minutes. If cold air is a trigger, wear a scarf around your mouth and nose until you have warmed up.

    It is worth looking around the Asthma UK site to learn about triggers, My triggers appear when I am having a flare up but can disappear when things are calm. It is just about learning about your asthma.

    Many of us have rung the free number on here to speak to the nurses, they are fabulous and can advise you on what to say at your next appt etc.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you will find better control, it just takes time. There is only a small percentage of people with asthma who don't get full control. But it is a variable condition so it is all about learning about your own asthma.

    Hope this helps.

  • Hi Joe

    I had q similar issue with the brown inhaler in that it just did nothing. I was told to give it 6 months. At the end of that time, I moved health centre (as I started uni) and they told me it should only take 2 weeks for the full effect to become apparent. They prescribed me symbicort instead, which worked wonders! I still notice days when I forget to use it, and I did lose control completely a few weeks ago. However, increasing how much I used has helped.

    If you've been using the brown one for more than 2 weeks and you've had no benefit you should go back. Everyone responds differently to different drugs, so it might be that that isn't one which works, or it just isn't strong enough right now.

    I know how you feel about the exercise. I used to spend an hour in the gym everyday, now I can only just manage 10 mins if I really push myself! It's so frustrating. I've found that doing exercises like Pilates and yoga are quite useful as they give intense workouts but don't.get me out of breath. There are loads of great videos on YouTube if you fancy giving it a try.

    Hope things start to get better soon :)

  • Hi i have had asthma about 4 years i am also on brown puffer clenil & blue puffer salbutamol asthma being fantastic until 2 weeks ago

    when for no reason a short hobble from toilet to living room you would have thought i had run 50 miles,

    croaky voice,coughing,wheezing flem brought up,i went to drs he took bloods put me on 250mgs penacilline & 5mgs x 3 preds after breakfast but they do not seem to be working still suffering as much & to give you an idea we live in a bungalow toilet is oppasite the living room.

    like you i hope soon get us sorted out, thinking of you ((((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))))))))

  • So he put you on 15mg a day of pred - thats a very strange dose, any particular reason he went for that dose? Might be worth going back if its not helping at such a low dose!! Hopefully a good whack of steroids (if you can have them) might sort you out! Deffo worth going back to GP, it might even be worth stepping up to a combination inhaler for a week or so to get your breathing back under control!

  • Big thanks to everyone who has replied. I'll be honest I was getting slightly suicidal the other night cause these chronic symptoms won't go away. Then I read somewhere that steroids can provoke wild mood swings and make you feel suicidal, so I've stopped taking it (Brown inhaler). I don't want to have to rely on steroids anyway. This problem came after a sustained period of mold exposure in my bedroom. I think the doctors are just throwing meds at it like darts. One doc was actively ignoring my insistence that it is mold induced. The latest one has given me antibiotics which I suspect will do nothing at all. I'm thinking of just radically overhauling my diet and trying the starve the mold out of my system. I don't want to rely on steroids for the rest of my life. They only manage the symptoms, they don't deal with the underlying problem, which in my case is that I've been allergically sensitised to mold and have an overreactive immune system. I was just really worried I'm stuck with this shit and won't get my lungs back. I'm praying I can find a solution to it so I can actually exercise again and breathe normally. Thanks again for all your replies. Good health to you all!

    p.s. If above comes across as me being slightly in denial, yes I am!! I don't want asthma!! I will try a short course of steroid tablets and see what happens. But in the meantime I'm upping my Fish Oils, Vit D, Garlic, and Probiotic yoghurts. No more gluten or wheat for me :D

  • Hello Joe

    It can really drag you down, Im pretty sure most of us on this forum have felt very low indeed!

    If your lungs have been aggravated it can take a couple of months to calm them down again.

    Yes it is frustrating and can make you angry, especially if your GP is not a listener.

    My last flare up was due to mould (I knew that, my husband knew that my own Mother knew it!) I can spot damp mould a mile off because my lungs start to scream!

    The docs were not interested!



    making sure I inhaled my doses effectively

    I found cutting out all diary helped me ..Also strong black , fresh coffee helped (i have no idea why!)

    Red wine aggravated my symptoms so did brandy??????

    Be patient with your body, and your mind (I get very aggressive with the whole world when i cant breath)


  • Hi Joe,

    The inhaled steroids do treat the underlying cause, inflammation in the airways. It may be that you don't need to be on them all of the time, just until your airways calm down. Also, using a spacer with your brown inhaler would mean more reached your lungs and less in your throat. I do agree try all other things but would probably not stop the brown inhaler too as your asthma could get even worse than it is now.

  • Hi Joe

    I have recently been diagnosed with asthma and I have exactly the same problem. I can't stop coughing, my chest is very sore, I am drained all the time and I wake up most nights with coughing fits. I was given antibiotics to see if this worked. Sadly i t hasn't. My peak flow is pretty poor and have also been advised to do no strenuous exercise. I have had to take a few days off work, but I can't keep doing this. Rest does help, so does Ivey drinks. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but I think I may investigate more on this. I am pretty down, and like yourself I don't want this condition to take over my life, but at the minute, I feel like I am 84.... not48!. any advic would be great. This site has been A great help, and found out some useful info. I am back at the doctors tomorrow,so fingers crossed they can prescribe me something that may help.

  • I have been asthmatic for 21 years, I understand how you all feel it can be come very frustrating when it flares up, especially if you were very active be4 hand.

    I very recently had a flare up which resulted in my being rushed to hospital 2x in the space of 3 days. During this time I didn't show the one typical sign of a flare up being the wheezing but I was struggling to breath and found my inhalers were not working.

    During this time I was placed on a course of prednisolone ( can't spell it) this was 30mg a day. They also increased my salbutomol inhaler to 5x every hour as well as my serevent inhaler to 4x twice a day instead of 2x twice a day. I have found this helps a little, aswell as this they have re referred me to an asthma nurse as they are unsure as to what has caused this, as I have had not had a serious flare up 4 8 yrs

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