23yo with asthma really struggling. any advice very welcome

Hi all!

This is my first post on this forum, I have been really struggling with my asthma for about a year now and my symptoms seem to be getting progressively worse, to the point where my daily tasks are becoming a struggle.

After an unsuccessful Drs appointment in October I have finally got another next Wednesday at a different surgery. I'd really appreciate any advice before then regarding how to get my Dr to take this seriously, what sort of medication might be useful in order to get some results. I'm going to make some bullet points to summarise my issues below. It will be quite detailed!

- I was diagnosed with asthma as a child. I am 23 now

- my parents are both smokers and despite their attempts to keep the house as smoke free as possible, prior to leaving for uni at 19 I lived in a smoky house/dusty house with a cat as well I was quite allergic to (made me sneeze after handling, but nothing bad enough to stop me from handling him)

- before I left for uni my asthma was manageable

- I started smoking at university when my asthma symptoms had quelled (3 years ago) I smoked rollies not straights.

- in April 2014 after a chest infection my (AWFUL) Dr accessed my asthma routine, I told him in the past few years I had stopped using my inhalers daily, only using them when my chest was bad. HIS advice was if that was the case I should avoid using them completely. he sends me on my way without anything for my chest infection, I lose all faith in my GP.

- fast forward to April 2015

- I catch the flu, and am bed ridden with a chest infection for nearly a full month. I haven't felt the same since then. Due to my lack of faith in my GP I don't bother making an appointment.

- From April onwards I notice my symptoms get much worse.

- At the time I was working in a badly ventilated charity shop while finishing my degree, I believe all the dust and dander contributed to my worsening condition

- I struggle to breathe on very polleny summer days. Struggling to catch my breath in a packed cinema for example. At outdoor events over the summer. Alcohol makes my allergies worse. I drastically cut down my smoking.

- By October this year, as I start my full time graduate job I am very worried about my condition. I catch some sort of cold again, my nose is red raw from blowing. I have post nasal drip, nearly choking on it at times. I finally build up the courage to visit my Dr again after over two weeks of non stop mucas/breathless frustration.

- My Dr suspects sinisitus, she prescribes antibiotics and ventolin inhalers. I struggle to finish the course of antibiotics as they make me very nauseous, to the point where I throw up at least 4 of them

- I cut down my smoking even more, I am down to 4/5 rollies a day.

- I feel a little better for a month or so, until after my new work christmas do, when I catch another cold.

- Now instead of having issues just in the morning, they persist throughout the day.

- constant heavy wheeze

- I stop wearing perfume. I am very sensitive to anyone who is heavily perfumed

- coughing up thick phlgem and mucas for an hour in the morning

- wet wheezy cough intermittent throughout afternoon

- sensation of being 'choked' in my throat, which I think it due to accumulating phlegm

- difficulty taking deep full breaths

- constantly blocked / stuffy nose

- anxiety over not being able to take full, satisfying breaths

- I am using a preventer once in the morning and a reliver several times a day. I don't feel like they are making much of a difference.

I understand this is a HUGE first post but right now I am really struggling to work my 9-5.30 office job while dealing with all these issues. I don't feel like doing too much after work/ at the weekends now as I am so exhausted from all my symptoms and my full time job. I am terrified of catching another cold during the winter time, I am a freelance office worker and do not get any paid sick leave. If I take another chest infection I might get laid off. This is my first graduate job! I also feel horrible coughing and spluttering in my open plan office all day which is contributing to my anxiety. Any advice would be amazing, what meds could help, what to say to my DR, how to cope with all of this.

NB - I know I NEED to stop smoking but I have drastically cut down my smoking in the past few months and have not seen much of an improvement.

Thanks in advance to anyone who have made their way through this essay!


9 Replies

  • Hi, couldn't scroll past without replying.

    What you NEED is a gp who will listen and take the time with you. Hopefully the one you see next week will help. Take in this bullet point list along with symptoms, what makes it worse etc. It will take time, but hopefully a decent gp will help. If this one is rubbish, try a different one, I've found its very hit and miss! !

  • Thank you for the support Butterfly, I really appreciate it. I totally agree - I NEED a decent DR pronto! Fingers crossed the new DR on Tuesday will help. One of my best friends from school is actually a DR now but i'm too embarrassed to message her about my gross symptoms. I do often feel like because I am young and 'look' healthy my claims of 'barely being able to breathe' have so far gone unnoticed. When I worked in the charity shop many people in their 60's and 70's would comment on how awful my cough was which really hit home how bad it was getting.

    Do you have any other advice for coping with coughing / blocked nose / issues breathing daily? any over the counter meds that might thin my mucus?

  • I was diagnosed when I was in my 20's, 40 years ago. Way back then a lot of doctors treated asthma with Valium as they thought that it was a nervous condition?

    Butterfly has said wise words go with the bullet points and show him/her your conditions and concerns.

    Give up the cigs!

    Not getting treatment for infections when you have a lung condition is not the best way forward. No matter what a luddite the GP may be they will hear the infection when checked and offer a treatment. ( if it is by bleeding then you need to change doctors ;) )

    I would ask to see a specialist as the inhalers and or preventors may not be right for you? Asthma attacks can be worse because of panic breathing. Try to take deep and controlled breaths.

    Good luck with the new GP.

  • All very helpful points - thank you!

    I am from Northern Ireland but moved to Surrey for uni so I had no ties to the DRS that I signed upto. In my past 4 years in Surrey I have went to the GP three times. Twice with chest infections near their end and I was sent home with nothing. I think just ignoring my asthma maintenance for so long has probably lead to my issues now... but up until the past year and a half I hadn't been feeling much different than I did as a teenager with asthma!

    Thank you for your reply!

  • Do you have a peak flow meter to monitor your breathing if not ask the doc for one , I think you may be able to get them from large chemist stores. This will then tell you were your breathing is at. Keep a record of how your symptoms are so the doc will know . . make an appointment to see a nurse to help you give up smoking this is absolutely vital, you don't see much improvement when you first give up smoking as your body is getting rid of the muck. And finally a very warm welcome to the site good luck ♥

  • As many people here have said, you need to quit the roll ups completely - even having five a day will irritate your lungs, so it's not surprising that you are currently not feeling any improvement. Be careful of using e-cigs as a compromise as well - there have been reports on the forum of asthmatics being affected by just being in the close vicinity of one.

    Have you rung the asthmaUK helpline for advice? If not, I recommend you doing so. I can't recall the number, but if you go on the AsthmaUK website you'll find it.

    Good luck

  • Hello swish92,

    welcome to the forums and a belter of a 1st post. From all of the points the one that strikes me, apart from the smoking, is that you are at Uni/post-grad job and the one thing that all of this could be bringing is STRESS. I have recently had a rolling increase in symptoms, much the same as yourself, and they were caused by a number of stress issues. And of course when our asthma gets worse, that causes stress as well. So it can get to be a bit of a spiralling issue. As those have said above you need to get over to the GP the issues, but also consider that stress may not be helping. My GP spotted this and a) reviewed and changed my med's to nail the exacerbation and b) she signed me off work for 7 days to give my lungs a chance to recover. Hoping that you get some improvements soon.


  • Hi Butterfly,

    Yes i ll repeat what everyone said... go to your surgery and get "enrolled" in stop smoking clinic and asthma clinic. The nurses will be so happy to take care of you!!

    I have quit smoking for four months now. I still miss my rollies...(i smoked for 22years non stop so it was a lifestyle for me) and my breating is not even that good because i keep having chest infections.

    Lung specialist i saw this week told me it takes 5 years for your lungs to recover from tobacco abuse. I wish i stopped many years ago when i was younger...anyway if i did it, so can you!!!! It is VERY hard, but possible!

    I hope you feel better soon.

  • Sorry my message was for swish!!!!

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