This my background. I have a history of getting chest infections, which involve feeling bunged up not being able to or find it very hard to get rid of phlegm. I try an exercise as often as possible usually about 3 or 4 times a week, by running going to gym or lift kettlebells in my home. This year has been the worst for chest infections. just before Christmas day i started to come down with an infection usual symptoms, shortness of breath, not being able to take a full breath, feeling weak, sweating a lot while doing any kind of exertion, unable to bring up phlegm properly in morning feeling bunged up. any phlegm i brought up was greeny colour.
Didnt see doctor for a month as hoped it would go away. Eventually saw nurse practitioner who said she could hear crackling from my lungs and prescribed antibiotics. waited a month didn't clear up saw a different nurse practitioner who said she couldnt hear crackling wouldnt prescribe antibiotics and told me it should clear up by itself. A month later i felt worse managed to get an appointment for an actual doctor who prescribed antibiotics again and it eventually cleared up. During this time I was unable to exercise, lost a lot muscle mass, strength and fitness going from military pressing 50 kg doing 8 reps and 4 sets with reasonable ease to struggling with 30kg. Once I felt up to it i started doing a lot of cardio to regain fitness. I felt i was doing quite well being able to run a mile and a half in about 10 mins ( not record breaking but decent for someone my age and just recovered from a 4 month long chest infection)
So this period of feeling well lasting about maybe 2 months. Then i felt the symptoms again, this time i started to get small pains in my chest went to see the doctor but yet again would have waited for 3 weeks for an appointment or see nurse practitioner, I saw the nurse, She examined me told me i did not have a chest infection said it may be viral not bacterial ?? and it'll prob go away in a few weeks, stated she will not give me antibiotics. But she did arrange a spirometry and rebreather test, she never really explained why, was just short and sharp with me. Sat test 2 weeks later while still feeling like i had a chest infection of some kind. Was told the test showed I did not have asthma or copd. The print out stated my lung age was 22 yrs old. Quite impressive for someone at 37 yrs old and was a smoker for 20 years ( i gave up 4 years ago) makes me doubt the accuracy of these tests! Was told effectively to go on my not so merry way. I complained that i cant take full breaths, i have been told i don't have a chest infection, don't have asthma or copd, so what is it? I need help here, was advised to make an appointment with their breathing specialist, didnt even know they had one, why i wasnt refered to him in the first place, who knows. Although I did feel i could breath easier about an hour later and bring up a reasonable amount of phlegm, may have been the inhaler puffs i tool as part of test? I couldn't tell a difference straight away though.
Made appointment waiting near a month to see him. Still feeling unwell etc. He stated it might be asthma as he cant think of anything else, fair enough gave me a reliever inhaler, advised me to do a peak flow diary. I did notice an improvement in being able to breath easier and able to get rid of phlegm and felt less blocked up. However this is where i'm getting confused. On this blog people are talking about their peak flow is 200,300, 400 etc. Now when i do my peak flow it is usually about 490-540 in morning, after taking my reliever inhaler i can then blow anywhere from 50 to 100 ml more, the max i have had my peak flow with inhaler is 600 ml and without inhaler 560ml.
However in general my peak flow will be about 500 ml in morning and after inhaler going to 570 - 600ml which is a typical morning. Which my peak flow at night typically 530-570 without inhaler. Their is a difference, but still seems kinda high compared to a lot of people on blogs or info online that i have read.
Weird thing is I can feel a bit out of breath and still produce a good reasonable high peak flow, for example I walked home from work the other day felt out of breath but still blew a peak flow of 570. Some days i feel out of breath all day, but still get a high peak flow.
At my next appointment the doctor was just going to keep me on relievers and stated i will prob be put on steroid inhalers in the future eventually. I queried this because I spoke to one of the asthma nurses from this website who told me if im taking my reliver more than 3 or 4 times a week I should be on steroid inhaler. And what i described to her about not being able to bring up phlegm etc she said it sounded like that was a flair up and not sure why doctor not prescribing steroid tablets as they work quicker. I have been using my reliever about 3 times on average a day. When i explained this to the doctor he said it was a fair comment but using a reliever 3 times a day is not anything to be concerned about, so i requested a steroid inhaler just to try it and he agreed but he didnt feel it was necessary and stated when i felt i had a chest infection it may have been a flair up or a chest infection, but i was told before it was not a chest infection, and was sent down the asthma path, its all a bit confusing.
Anyway, I was issued a steroid inhaler Qvar 50mcg and told to take it twice a day i just started 4 days ago, and i have felt like i can take a full deep breath but it seems to feel laboured to do so and will cough a lot after taking the deep breath, but my peak flow is still high. My throat is quite sore and feels a little swollen, this might be because of the steriod inhaler. When i exercise now i take my reliever inhaler before exercising but still feel myself getting out of breath quicker than i really should be. Maybe i'm expecting too much of myself, who knows.
Do i actually have asthma? How long does the steroid inhaler take to work? I have never found myself getting wheezy which is a classic symptom but sometimes i cant catch my breath while exercising and other times i feel fine. I seem to get a lot of chest infections or colds or non chest infections according to the nurse practitioner. And is it normal to be able to get a high peak flow result and still feel a bit breathless.
Any advice would be much appreciated.