asthma complications

I am a 54 year old female. I was diagnosed with asthma in my early Thirties. I'm posting to ask for if anyone else has experienced what I'm currently experiencing and hoping that I can get some support. Ive had a flare up of asthma symptoms since early spring. My symptoms at present are: severely altered sense of taste, throat pain and heartburn, coughing, congestion, breathlessness and tiredness. Ive been backwards and forwards to the Doctor, and have been treated for aural thrush, heartburn, had antihistamines, and prednisolone. None of which have been succesfull. My sense of taste is still pretty much altered and I've recently returned from a two week holiday abroad, having had all the above symptoms while I was there. I was using my preventer and releiver inhaler ++ Im going back to the Doctor this week to ask to be referred as I don't understand why this throat, and taste problem is persisting.Im also still experiencing days when Im really tired, despite up till recently being a very fit and active person always. I was wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar, and could give any advice as to where to go next on this. I've researched endlessly on the internet and am currently trying increasing my zinc levels and using steam inhallation to try to ease the chest congestion. Any advice/ similar experiences would be appreciated.

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  • Hello Northernlight,

    No, you are not alone.

    Like you I'm a female in my early fifties - I've been asthmatic since I was three. Like you I have had problems with heartburn, indigestion, breathlessness and tiredness. I got this back in 2012 and eventually, in desperation, I went to the docs; nothing seemed to be working! The pattern of breathlessness was, however, atypical for me. I found that eating made it worse, whilst exercise actually helped. I did not see my usual doc, I got to see a locum, but he noticed that I had previous history of gastroparesis and suggested that my stomach and reflux might be to blame (reflux can cause irritation in the trachea, resulting in asthma like symptoms). I was put on lansoprazole for a month - problem solved.

    The one thing I did not have - nor have ever had - was oral thrush. However, just over a year ago I was found to have oesophageal thrush. This wasn't causing asthma like symptoms, but it was causing a lot of digestive issues. By the time the diagnosis was made I was clinically underweight and had had a minor scare after having a problem with swallowing one morning. The consultant who made the diagnosis suspected that my asthma medication was to blame; a consultant in respiratory medicine was not so sure - largely because there was no history of oral or pharyngeal thrush. However, the latter did point out that my rinsing out technique after using my inhaler (teeth cleaning) was inadequate. Now I use my inhaler, gargle, clean teeth and then gargle again. I was also told to rinse out after using my reliever inhaler, which was something I had never been told before. Fluconazole cleared the thrush, but it has recurred. I'm currently enjoying a period where I haven't had a problem for five months, so I'm hopeful that at last things may have been sorted out.

    So there are some similarities. Out of interest, what asthma medication are you on?

  • Thank you for your reply Maggie. Im glad that you are at present symptom free. I'm on seretide and ventolin, for asthma, sertraline for anxiety, Im also taking a strong antihistamine: fexofenadine. I was prescribed Lansaprazole but found it made no difference. How long did you find it took to have an effect? I gave up after about a week, I'm wondering if I should have persevered. My throat and stomach problems have settled down quite a bit now, but Im still not right with sense of taste, a salty taste in my mouth and trouble swallowing. The tiredness is worse on windy days, presumably as it blows the pollen around and I love to sit out on my patio at this time of year, so am breathing it all in. Thank you again for your support.

  • I think it took more than a week to really kick in. The only warning I would give you is that if you take it for around a month you have to be careful when you come off it. Lanzoprazole works by reducing the amount of acid produced by your stomach, coming off it quickly can result in a stomach, which has got used to having a lesser amount of acid, suddenly having to cope with more normal amounts and that can be uncomfortable. In my case I had to wean myself off it, taking one every other day for a week, then one every three days, then every four days, then off.

    There are other things you can do, however, in particular be careful with what you eat. Caffeine is well known to cause problems with heartburn and reflux but so can the tanin found in tea or red wine. Spicy and fatty foods likewise. The other two pieces of advice I would give you is to stay upright for an hour or so after eating; tempting though it is to flop after a good meal, it is actually much better to keep sitting up straight, and finally do not eat late in the evening. As a general rule you need to allow three hours (minimum) between eating your evening meal and going to bed.

    Have you been back to your doctor yet? I think you certainly need to discuss with him/her the fact that you are having problems swallowing. The change of taste is trickier. You say you are fifty four. Is there any chance that that could be down to changes in hormone levels?

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