Asthma/Triggers

Hi, I´m new to this forum and also new to asthma - actually new to knowing/realising that I have asthma - and I´m still not convinced that´s what it is.

I seem to be learning more on this forum than I do from the doctors though. A private doctor that I started off with said I have asthma and I have to use an inhaler to keep open my airways, twice a day for the next ......... He is going to do one of those tests next month where you breathe into a machine.

My social security doctor says I dont have any problems with my breathing, he listened to my chest and said it was clear and to only use the inhaler for another month and then stop.

My symptoms at the moment, are that I feel as if I have to keep clearing my throat (although it doesnt actually help at all to do that) and I feel as if I´m struggling slightly for breath, my chest feels a little heavy. I have also just been through a horrendously traumatic bad relationship which has stressed me out no end and have been taking some sort of tranquilisers, although just one a day at bedtime as I´m extremely sensitive to any medications. I have also been having Reiki twice a week which has definitely helped.

So I guess the question is - do I have asthma or not as I´m not convinced that I do? Maybe it is just stress? I realise that I dont want it to be asthma and so I´m hoping to clarify its not but I guess if it is I will just have to face it.

I did have bronchitis once about 10 years ago and that was horrendous but soon went away and when I was a small child I had very bad croup and can remember having a coal tar lamp beside my bed - those were the days!

I would be grateful for your thoughts and your help and advice.

Many thanks

14 Replies

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  • Thank you for your prompt reply.

    I am also wondering if the fact that I had very bad croup as a child in the 50´s which included a coal tar lamp beside my bed and I can well remember even now how panicked I was at not being able to breathe - whether that is anything to do with having asthma now at the age of nearly 60?

  • Hi Faraway. Your name reminds me of reading Enid Blyton stories of the Magic Faraway Tree to my daughter many years ago!! However I digress :)

    The answer to your primary question I think is probably 'perhaps'. Asthma is not straightforward to diagnose & as djc has already said it can come and go and have lots of possible causes and triggers. Your recent stressful experiences might have reignited it but it is impossible to say without the tests.

    Do you have a peak flow meter? If so one thing you can try is to take 3 readings when you feel tight chested, take 2 puffs on your blue inhaler, then after 10 to 15 minutes take another 3 readings. If the difference between the best of each group is significant then that's a pointer for asthma. The machine test you mention is probably spirometry and will measure similar things but in a more sophisticated way. If the difference is marginal or no difference then it may be there's another problem but hopefully when you get the result the doctor can take the time to talk you through it.

    The fact is that lots of things can cause you to have difficulties breathing, asthma being just one of them so it is hard to tell but the tests you are getting will hopefully move you towards the right answer.

  • I agree with peak flow readings. When i was tested with a spirometry i was told i was normal and unlikely to have asthma as levels were average or above average. So the nurse got me to do a three week peak flow, my readings ended up all over the place (and still are a bit) and by these she discovered I had asthma. I'm also wheezy when i have chest infections and am short of breath at the moment so those pointers also assisted the nurse

  • Hi, thanks for your reply. Actually my very favourite book was the "Faraway Tree" when I was little - I would read it for hours on end!

    No, I dont have a peak flow meter. Unfortunately I live in Tenerife now, dont speak very fluent spanish and am finding it all very frightening. Not sure if they issue those here but will certainly ask.

    Yes, it is a spirometry test. I had one last year but I dont think it was very conclusive. I need to be a bit firmer with the consultants now I think and try to nail this down a bit more.

    Kind wishes

    Janet

  • Hi...if you are worried about the language issue you can order them online. The basic ones are only about £5, otherwise if you know what they look like I'd imagine you can pick one up at a pharmacist (Boots stock them here).

    If you aren't sure what you're looking for let me know & I will send you a link to where you can get one.

  • That´s wonderful, thanks for your reply and yes I would like to order one online, my spanish is just not good enough! Are you able to send a link?

    Muchas gracias

  • Actually I just had a look on Amazon and they look incredibly complicated. What do you actually do with it please?

  • I have both asthma and iron deficiency anemia which leaves me breathless. I also seem to sometimes have stress reactions. There is where I can help. Bach Flower Remedy Rescue Remedy really helps with stress. and has no side affects. Good luck. There is good advice from this forum.

  • Thank you for your reply and now you have mentioned it I guess I should have thought of it but when you are in a panic its like being brain dead as well.

    I agree, this forum is very very good. I do feel a lot calmer now I have people to talk to in English - I just wish I could afford to leave here and come home but I seem to be stuck now because of finances, so thats not helping either.

    Thanks once again for your kind understanding.

  • Can't add much to what has already been said. A peak flow meter is a good idea if you can get one. If you are feeling down, tired and stressed other than the break up of your relationship (especially if since then you have not been eating well) you could have become anaemic. People tend to over look this I am not saying you are but if your iron levels are low they can make you breathless. I would imagine you have already been tested for this but worth asking. Once we get on a downward slope lots of things can happen to worsen our health. Asthma is not such a dreadful thing. Like a lot of us here I have lived with it all my life and it has been under control. I have done everything I wanted to do - things that other "healthy" people wouldn't think of like skydiving, parascending, abseiling etc. I go to the gym regularly - exercise is good for us and should not be avoided unless we are having an asthma attack. I do better than a lot of so called healthy people there who are younger than me. So asthma will not necessarily hold you back from doing anything you want to do.

    Let us know how the tests go.

    Love and hugs

    Sian

    Xoxoxox

    PS We re out in Tenerife a few years ago at this time. What lovely weather. Wish I was there now you are lucky.

  • thanks Sian,

    I guess its ok for a holiday but scary when ill on your own and only spanish people living around you. I really wish I could come home but cant so will have to make the best of it.

    I have just ordered the Bach rescue remedy and am looking a the Peak flow thing, although they look confusing.

    Hugs and kisses back

    Janet

  • Hi Janet

    They are pretty straightforward to use once you get the hang of them so don't panic too much!

    This is the type you want to look for (anything that looks roughly like it will do), although make sure you get a 'standard scale' one (the number should go up to about 700...if you top that, trust me you are fine!!).

    homegp.com/006-1473-mini-wr...

    They will come with instructions but basically you just blow hard & fast into it & read the number. If you want to check out a choice then folks on here can check you've got one that's OK for you then when it arrives if you have trouble using it we can help.

    You can also search online for peak flow charts which show the expected value for someone of your age/gender which will assist the doctor to judge what is going on for you.

  • I have severe asthma and regularly take between 5-20mg of Prednisolone steroids everyday, and have being do so for the last 2 1/2 years. However, two weeks ago I cut out all dairy and meat from my diet and what a difference it has made. It is early days yet, but I have only taken 15mg over two weeks when I woul normally take that dose a day. I am certain it is the dairy products that have done this.

    Why not give it a go? It is a small sacrifice to make.

  • I hardly eat any dairy though I have not noticed being worse when I do or better when I don't. Though I know this does work for some people. I actually don't like most dairy type things anyway.

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