Newbie struggling

Hi,

I'm new and, as the title suggests, struggling. I first remember experiencing breathlessness as a late teen and it has gradually gotten worse over the years. I would get a right chest and struggle to get deep breaths but no coughing or wheezing. I was first diadiagnosed 3 years ago after a particularly bad year and given beclometasone and ventolin. I don't think they worked but as it was mild, I left it and really doubted I had Asthma. I even had a course of oral steroids the year before last which didn't help but my inhaler doses were not changed and I now know they were extremely low doses.

This year has been a whole new ball game with a painfully tight chest, breathlessness that stops me being able to do much, coughing and excessive use of my reliever and it was all day long. I have been back on the beclometasone for 2 weeks and for the first week it really helped. Then I started to deteriorate again and after speaking an Asthma UK nurse, I went back to the Drs as an emergency as they had me on a tiny dose of preventer. The GP doubled it on Tuesday. Wednesday was a bit better but yesterday and today it's deteriorated again. I can feel how inflamed my lungs are. My daughter is ill but I think I'm going to end up with an emergency appointment again.

I've never had wheezing or had an attack which made me doubt my diagnosis but I don't doubt it anymore. Is there anyone else with a similar type to mine? Have you ever then developed wheezing or had an attack? I've never been fearful of having attacks until year.

I've been keeping a symptom diary too to try and work out what's triggering it but it seems to have no rhyme or reason, other than its seasonal. They've tried me on montelkaust but that didn't work and my peak flow varies between 480 and 570.

Many thanks,

Friars :-)

8 Replies

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  • Hi friars,

    Sorry to hear you are having trouble with your asthma. The preventer inhalers take time to build up their effect, I don't know for sure but I think it's a week or so before they're fully effective, so keep at it!

    I am similar in that I don't wheeze (except when I have a chest infection but even then, not always.) And for a long time I questioned my diagnosis and didn't think I'd ever have an actual asthma attack, but trust me, ALWAYS be prepared and have your reliever with you because it can still happen. Even when I have am attack I still don't wheeze. I too don't really know what triggers my asthma, I know cut grass, viral infections and exercise do, but then other times it kicks off for no known reason.

    I would suggest going back to your gp if things don't improve, it might be that you need a long acting reliever adding to your me scaring, or even a short course of steroids.

    Take care and remember to rest!

  • Hi Butterfly,

    Thank you for getting back to me. It's really helped you letting me know that I am still at risk of Asthma attacks. I've not wanted to be dramatic but this year it has gotten significantly worse and I a taking it much more seriously.

    I was prescribed steroids on Friday but I had been feeling better so I didn't take them. I've still got a painful chest at times, which hurts when I laugh, cough or raise my arms up. My lungs are clearly still inflamed and tonight i've been getting short of breath again but my kids have had a virus and I've got it a bit so that might be what's causing it tonight.

    I'm not sure whether to take the steroids or not for the inflammation and chest pain. I hate taking steroids, they gave me awful pain in my legs last time and I'm not sure if just increasing my preventer would be better. Any advice gratefully received! I've been feeling really tired and still getting out of breath easily but i'm not struggling to take deep breaths like I was. It's frustrating not being able to do what I normally do in a day.

    Friars

  • Hi friars,

    I think if you're still struggling to function at a normal rate then it's probably best to take the steriods even if it's just a few days. Much better to take a smaller, shorter dose than end up taking more because your lungs are so inflamed. If your peak flow is low (dropping below 10-20%) that's another indicator to take the steriods. The preventer inhaler probably won't help in the short term as, like Butterfly says, it can take a few weeks to really start working. I know it can be hard to judge what to do at times as asthma can be so unpredictable. A small cold virus can either just be a cold for a few days or turn into a chest infection!

    Like you I rarely wheeze so it can make you doubt the severity of the situation. I've found my peak flow very handy in knowing how to treat myself especially when I'm wondering if it's more muscle pain or tight chest that needs addressing. I have learnt this year that asthma attacks can be sudden and life threatening so it is ALWAYS good to have your reliever to hand. Like you I generally used to get a tight, heavy chest and struggle to function but, even though I often ended up needing a nebuliser at times, I never had the kind of sudden attack until this year when the cold wind took my breath away and my work place had to call me an ambulance. I tried montekulast too but it didn't seem to do much apart from keep me awake.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    Bex

  • Hi Bex,

    My peak flow rarely tends to vary much. The lowest i've had is 480 and the higest 570 and it doesn't really correlate with when i'm having symptoms. It got quite bad on Tuesday night and I was struggling to get to sleep with not being able to breath properly but then struggled to sleep from the palpitations of having so much ventolin. I finally conked out about 3.30. Then last night, the virus was a bit worse but I fell asleep about 1.30 but repeatedly woke up not being able to breath and by 4 it was so bad that I was wide awake and it's the first time i've gotten frightened that it took so long for the reliever to work. Needless to say I was awake for a while then and carried on waking up, having nightmares of being suffocated and feeling ill on top o it all.I am hearing the start f a wheeze too. It was a horrible night so I started the steroids this morning, doubled my preventer and stayed in bed as much as possible to fight off this virus. Fingers crossed tonight is better and the steroids do more than make my legs unbearably painful!

    Thank you for the support. This has been a very different year afters years of mild symptoms and I am taking it VERY seriously now. Isn't it amazing how little you know about a condition until you get it or someone you love does and you find it's so much more complex than you'd ever known or heard about before?

    I can assure you I go nowhere without my inhaler now. I have an asthma review booked for a week today anyway and unless it gets worse, I'll wait to see the nurse rather than keep having different approaches and opinions thrown at me.

    Friars

  • Hi Friars,

    Sorry to hear you had a rough night but glad to hear your taking the meds, hopefully they'll kick in soon. I've heard that drinking plenty of water may help with muscle pain when taking pred? Maybe worth a go. :)

    It is true that conditions can change and it's not always easy to self-assess or medicate yourself. I often don't realize how bad I am until I come out the other side! I've got better at judging my asthma over the 8 year period I've had it but this last year has surprised me too with how my symptoms can vary. It's good to have the support and this forum has been great for asking questions or just venting!

    I hope the nurse is helpful and can work out the right meds for you next week.

    Best of luck,

    Bex

  • After a day of deteriorating breathing yesterday and developing a slight wheeze, I was getting a bit worried. It got to 10.30pm and my heart was racing, I felt hot and anxious and my reliever was not working at all. I called 111 and they called an ambulance. I waited 1 hour and 25 minutes as it was getting any worse, it just wasn't getting any better. I had a nebuliser with salbutamol but that didn't really help so I had another one with meds usually used on COPD patients. My oxygen was 100% and my peak flow was ok, despite being at an all time low yesterday morning. My chest got a little better and my halyard rate and temperature came down. They decided to do an ECG as they were a bit worried that it hadn't gotten much better but that was ok. They gave me the option to go in but they weren't sure what else could really be done. I slept ok and was ok this morning but I was back to being breathless and exhausted this afternoon. It's making me so grumpy and fed-up. I've got to get an emergency appointment tomorrow but there's not going g to be a quick fix. It's been weeks now and it's starting to drive me a little bit crazy :-(

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  • I have been asthmatic my whole life(59) and rarely wheeze. As a child I coughed a lot,especially at night,but rarely now. Take qvar(beclomethsone) and montelukast with ventolin occasionally as required. I also find steam helps me.

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