Bad attack. Prednisolone, low phosphate


Long story. Had pneumonia. Wound up in hospital. Treated with 20 days of antibiotics. Was better from that but not 100% but then got a cold. Then had 4 day asthma

Attack when couldn't talk more than 2 words without gasping for air. Been in and out of hospital and am now on day 12 of 80mg of pred with another 11 to go (now a tapering dose) I don't feel so sore anymore but still completely out of puff from doing easy things like getting dressed!

It turns out my phosphate level is low I can't find much about it other than it may be caused by over breathing so I'm wondering now was I having asthma attack or was I hyperventilating or do the two go hand in hand? I'm new to all this had asthma for a long time but so mild it has never been more than an irritation. I didn't know it could make you feel so dreadful and exhausted permanently! Been 7 weeks now and getting very fed up! Docs not sure what's even going on I don't think as my peak flow is really good yet I can't go more than 3 hrs without ventolin and I'm easily out of breath. Odd.

Also on 4 puffs twice a day of the beclomestone brown inhaler so 800. Anyone got any experience of this or any advice? Worried and just want to feel like my lungs have air in them for a change. Thanks

2 Replies

  • Hello - sounds rough.

    Just quickly, on the low phosphate - it's more often caused by dietary deficiencies - and specifically can happen if you have minimal nutritional intake for 4 or 5 days (or more) or then go back to normal eating, especially if that's a high carb diet. If that's the cause it's called refeeding syndrome. Some antibiotics can also send your electrolytes and minerals whacky. Using a lot of salbutamol can also throw your electrolytes a bit funny.

    If you've got low phosphate then it would be common to also have low magnesium, calcium, potassium and often iron too. All of those things make your muscles work less well, and the low iron makes you feel out of breath. Did they check all of those as well? I'm guessing they probably did - were they ok?

    Don't be afraid to go back to your GP and ask for a more comprehensive check of your general health - if it's anaemia then your brown inhaler won't have much effect on that part. Sometimes in hospital they set the 'normal' limits such that you have to be quite depleted for them to notice it - but if you have been used to having quite a high level then being at the low end of normal can feel pretty rubbish, and some iron tablets or floradix might perk you up a bit.


  • Thanks for your reply. Interesting. I know when I was in for pneumonia they did a full blood test and all was fine then except white blood cells but that makes senses due to the infection. When in with asthma they only tested for a few things I didn't see magnesium or iron or anything on there just something that checks likelihood for a clot. Which was minimal. I'm back at the docs on thurs so will mention it to him. Guess I wasn't eating in my usual patterns hard to when you can't breath interesting thanks. I was given a rather revolting drink of phosphate santos to take 3 times a day for a week so guess they will check to see if the levels are up . Been a bit more spiritely today despite not sleeping more than a couple of hours so hopefully I'm on the mend now finally?! I've got he shakes though a bad headache sore eyes calf muscles that feel like I've had cramp in them and oral thrush going on. Guess these are all side effects of so much pred and brown inhaler? I don't know!

    The doc doesn't seem to like giving a straight answer that's what's bugging me!

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