examination - what are the options? If any...not sure who to trust

Hi All,

Just been to my gp today and talked about my concerns with having asthma or developing it. Didn't get much advice what I could do to prevent it though...just not smoking :) I'm doing now my peak flow for a month and then I'm booked with Asthma Nurse for a check. If it turns out I do have asthma, doctor said they will do another peak flow test but with the inhalers. I'm not sure about that, on what basis they diagnose you with asthma? Are there any other ways then peak flow? I don't know whether to trust my gp...

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  • Hi akuku

    You've asked some pretty big questions there!

    First of all, if you don't mind me asking, why do you think you have asthma?

    There is not really anything you can do to prevent you getting asthma, all you can do is try to limit how much it bothers you. This will be done through identifying triggers and making sure you are using the correct inhalers and using them properly.

    I was diagnosed with asthma via a peak flow test, though I had been using inhalers for 10 years prior to that and had breathing difficulties as a baby. There is no definitive yes or no test for asthma, it has to be diagnosed on breathing test results results and history. With peak flow they'll be looking for characteristic changes seen in asthmatics, and they are more important that the actual number really. My GP was very concerned that my best pf is 450 when I'm you and very fit and active. Compared to some asthmatics though that's pretty good and not too far off where I should be. When they test you with inhalers all they mean is that you'll go to an appointment and they'll take your pf, ask you to use a salbuatmol inhaler (quick acting reliever) and then take your pf again fter a minute or so to see if it has improved. If it has then the drug has had an effect so it's likely that there was some constriction in your lungs. There are some other tests they can do, such as spirometry, however peak flow is a good place to start as this can be done over a long period of time at home.

    I think you should trust your GP, they seem to be doing everything right. Asthma isn't something you can really diagnose overnight. Is there any reason in particular that you think you can't trust them?

  • Hello Rachel,

    Thank you for your interest in my post.

    I was tested for asthma 2 years ago by peak flow, it was stable, as in didn't change over a month ( didn't go more than 300) so my GP said I was fine - just a really bad reaction to hay fever. I still was prescribed the blue and brown inhaler though and used it till finished, as advised. Then I went back to GP again - but different doctor - and he totally told me off for using the inhalers as I didn't have asthma. He said that I was unnecessarily getting my lungs used to those inhalers. Instead I should take care of it in more holistic way. Try it out and see how I'm going to feel. So I tried and was feeling ok, but since last year wheezing, chest tightness, cough and difficulty in breathing when laying down - all started all over again. I must admit I did neglect it for quite some time but it really started to bother me, most especially when I laugh and then can't catch a breath. My concern now is whether I could do something additionally to any medication to really help the symptoms. I don't want to be taking the medication all the time if I know there is something I can do myself to help. My GP today wasn't really helpful when I asked him about any alternative medicine approach. I thought they are promoting healthy life style etc. not just giving away the prescriptions. On this very stage I guess you are right, and I shouldn't worry too much. I guess is more frustration that doctors now days almost forget about other approaches to medicine and the appointments became rather unpleasant experience, At least for me.

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