Another one needing some basic advice

I am in the process of trying to learn to recognise when I have a problem. Recently I got a bad chest infection, but I didn't recognise myself how bad it was. I have since been told by several people that they noticed I could not speak a whole sentence without breathing in the middle, but I didn't notice.....

So, now I am self monitoring, using a peak flow and keeping a record. During said chest infection I doubled my clenil Modulite (once it had dawned on me, and I felt, how much of a problem I had), and since I have been gradually reducing, now back down to one puff twice daily, since perhaps a week or so back.

How long does it take before the good effects of clenil reduces? It seems to me to have gone down already. There is a question mark over whether that level was quite enough before I got so ill, as I easily got breathless on excertion. And also, I now feel quite uncomfortable chest wise quite often, a bit tight, but could live with it. There is some small decreases on my peak flow. Should I just learn to live with this? How do I know whether to increase CM again? I do plan to see the asthma nurse again, and also to ring the asthma helpline for some general advice. At present I hesitate to use ventolin when I feel like that, but when I do it does get a bit better on the whole. So in the last few days I have used it quite a few times, but am I being just a wimp?

I do find all this very, very difficult. I have been used to ignoring, and it never has become a full blown asthma attack, but I have have been heard to wheeze many times, and have heard it myself , too. (By the way I don't think any nurse of doctor have ever heard a wheeze on my lungs, even when they were full of gunk.)

Any words of wisdom are most welcome.

7 Replies

  • I do think you can't go on self-diagnosing and self-medicating like this. You need to see your doctor as soon as possible as you are using a powerful drug and you should be careful. Your PF is not always a guide to what you need - it is more complicated than that. You don't need to live with this tightness and discomfort so get yourself some proper medical advice about how you live as well as how you take your medication.

    You'll be fine once you've got to grips with it - honest!

  • Thank you! Yes, I intend to seek medical advice (and I have had some). When I got my chest infection I WAS advised to increase the cm whenever I was in that siuation (happily a rare event for me). .........However, I am not good at seeking help........I am already working at improving.......

  • As a general rule, if you are needing to use ventolin a number of times a week on top of your preventer inhaler you need to go back to your GP. Asthma is well controlled when you hardly ever need to use your ventolin over a long period. With me (and my asthma is well controlled) the alarm bells start to go if I need to ventolin more than twice in the space of one week.

  • My problem has been, and is, that as this has crept up on me, I have got very used to ignoring symptoms even when some would take action. Clearly I haven't had it to such an extent I have keeled over or anything, but I had a fairly recent experience when I was running for a train, got well out of breath though it wasn't far, took a bit to recover, and my daughter, who is an asthmatic, and whose asthma I looked after as it were, asked me why I wasn't using my inhaler! I have been blaming myself for lack of fitness and putting up with it rather than seeing things as they were, asthma. I would work at getting fitter but it didn't help, but that didn't mean I started using ventolin, except very occasionally. So, for me, if I used ventolin every time I recognised a discomfort as a symptom, rather than somethings not to fuss about, I would have used it far more often. This is what is happening this week: I am now using ventolin when I do feel uncomfortable and thus my usage has gone up. It is apparently not unusual for people like me that we learn to habituate to feeling like this - but it has certainly not helped me in my striving for better fitness, as it always seemed such hard work, as my breathing got so laboured!

    I have just spoken to the Asthma Uk helpline nurse, and she has been immensely helpful!!! One thing I do have to learn is to recognise my physical symptoms and, crucially, take them seriously!

  • Wheezycat, I fully understand why you were in a hurry to reduce your medication. I feel the same way myself but I have found over the years that it's much quicker in the long run if I don't rush it, as I am then less likely to need to increase again. So, I don't start to reduce until my PF is back to its best of around 450 and then I will reduce by 1 puff. My PF drops and then climbs back up again and once it's back to 450 I'll drop another puff. I'm prepared to go back up by 1 puff if symptoms increase and I'm hitting the ventolin. Your lungs have had a hard time and if you decrease your meds too quickly they'll panic and you'll be back where you started so agree a strategy with your asthma nurse and then take your time - it isn't a race!

  • Thank you. That is really helpful. I am just in the process of trying to work out what my pf normally is and where it could potentially be. So yesterday I was my usual 300-330 range, 320 at about 9pm, and then on the advice of the asthma uk nurse used ventolin experimentally, and 20 mins later was up to 375! That is dizzy heights for me! Normal, I am told, for my age is 360.

    But the idea of reducing and then waiting until pf returns to previous standard best is a good suggestion!

    I have now made a GP appointment, which, for various reasons, I think is what I need right now. This is all new and not properly sorted yet.

  • Good luck!

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