Asthma UK community forum
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Hi. I'm new here. I just got told this week that I have asthma.

I have been fit and active all my life, going horse riding, cycling, hiking, swimming, etc. since childhood. Nowadays I just go hiking and do a bit of gardening, but I do have a fairly physically active job. I am 50yrs old. I was very ill at the beginning of May, with what was probably flu, then what I thought was bronchitis but seems to have been pneumonia. GP had me on antibiotics for several weeks, also some steroids as well as an inhaler. While on the pills I had begun feeling better again but every time I finished the courses of pills I began having trouble with the coughing and wheezing again. This week I went for a follow up appointment at the hospital to see how I was after the pneumonia, which is when I got told I had asthma. I am to go to the gp in 2 weeks by which time they will have got his letter, and I will get a different type of inhaler.

He also mentioned something about the fact that I had smoked before getting ill (I stopped because of the breathing issues and decided I should quit permanently which I have now done). Smoking inhibits the asthma apparently, and now I have stopped smoking I have got asthma.

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Also, I have just been doing a bit of reading, following links to this and that on line, as you do, and I came across Breath Easy Support Groups. Great, I thought, there's some just a few miles from me; until I clicked onto the more info bit... they all meet in the middle of the day during the week, while I am working... I guess you don't need support if you are capable of functioning enough to hold down a job. I suppose they cater for those who need to use them most, I just feel a little disappointed that there doesn't seem to be anything like that which I can attend out of normal work hours.

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You could always think about setting up your own group. Don't have to be loads of people just a few to start. Could meet up in a cafe could even think about meeting up on a saturday

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Good idea. smiler. I will look into doing that.

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Yes I know I feel that way too. Though I do go to a Breathe Easy Group as I gave up work to look after elderly relatives. I too thought that we are missing out people who can manage to work however, if you look at the other side of the coin there are a lot of people who come to our group who would not want to come out at night time - especially in the winter as we are in a generally rural area - got to say I would think twice about going during winter time if the group met at night. It is a good suggestion to start your own group - maybe you could be affiliated to your local group. Check with them and BLF.

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Would you not go during winter because of the coldness, which I recall from my dad can set off asthma, or because its difficult travel-wise?

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No just travelling 13 miles in the cold and rain in the dark at night would do it! No, honestly if the meeting was in the evenings it would be fine for me but older people would not want to travel any distance on the roads around this area in the dark. If you live in the town where the meeting is all well and good but 13 miles on what is for about half the way a narrow B road - sometimes no more than a track for someone of maybe 70 maybe a bit too much of an ask.

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Also not many buses around lots of rural areas. Here we have 3 a day and the last one is 6pm

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Ah, ok, now I understand.

It is unfortunate that some people live in areas which are not so easy for access by car or public transport.

I guess there are benefits and drawbacks to living in rural areas.

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Unfortunately this will be a start of trial and error on which inhaler suits you best.

There are prevention and reliever inhalers taken separately or the combination inhalers which have both components in one. I myself am on combination inhaler symbicort but they're are so many out there.

I would ask about allergy tests which they are not keen to do but usual triggers animal fur and dander, dust mites, mould or fungal spores types of food like eggs, dairy, soya, everyone is different, no two people with asthma have exactly the same symtoms but a various range of symptoms.

Keep a diary of when breathing is worse and what u were doing, where you are, what had you eaten etc. I used to eat eggs but reacted the next day. Also could be pollen from grass and trees.

Best wishes and hope you find am inhaler that works for you quite quickly.

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The respiratory doc at the hospital last week had me take a blood test and I was looking at the boxes he ticked while I was waiting..that included allergies and vitamin D, I cant recall what the others were, should've taken a snap shot with my phone if I'd thought at the time.

I've had pets all my adult life - 30 odd years - but when the kids grew older and the last pet died I said I wouldnt have any more at least for a while as I am now free to do more and have looked after kids and pets all these years, its nice to not be tied down to the responsibilities for a while.

Good idea about noting down what sets me off. I'll definitely give that a go.

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Hi Erica - i feel for you, having gone through a similar process this year. I am relieved ( pun not intended) to say that my endless coughing has been stopped, and my life transformed back to near normal, with a brown inhaler. I use the blue one before moderate exercise ( now i have learned what works with me) and i can get through most days and nights cough free. I hope you also find a solution that works well.

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Don't feel too down about this. Most people with asthma live with the condition and learn how to keep it well controlled. It is true that you will be able to do less, but you can expect to have a good life once you have made a few adjustments. It is a matter or trial and error at the beginning, but things will settle down before long.

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It is known by many medical consultants that asthma can occur for the first time following cold or flu. I have suspicions that the asthma developing has less to do with irritant than loss of fine movement control by the brain. There are quite a few mechanisms whereby posture and poor muscle usage can create conditions ripe for asthma.

It is worth seeing an Alexander Technique teacher who can help with posture and muscle coordination. Re-learning muscle coordination skills if they have been lost by the cold/flu attack could give a better outcome than medication.

Hope this helps

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I'm all for natural remedies wherever possible; I will look into that, thanks for the info.

Has anyone else here had success using this technique???

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I have heard good and bad reports about using the Alexander Technique so again it obviously suits some people and not others. Anything is worth a try.

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Hi Ericat

I found your post very interesting as your story is pretty similar to mine. Like you, I have always been very active, horses since childhood although for the past six years since my divorce, I no longer have my own. I also work full time and am 53 years old. I gave up smoking 4 years ago as I had a couple of bouts of bronchitis. Then last October, I had flu, which developed into ongoing wheeziness, not much coughing and at the time I had an 'abnormal' chest xray from which they mentioned possible early copd, possible asthma and then when a second xray was clear earlier this year, they said I had likely had pneumonia. Whatever it was, was awful, raised heart rate for weeks and breathlessness with a wheeze. After a CT scan last year for an unrelated matter, I was told that there showed signs of early emphysema, although to be honest, had I never had that CT scan, they would be telling me that I do not have any sign of COPD. My spirometry is normal and my PEF is slightly above average for my age, and resting pulse back down to the late 50's early 60's.

I am now being told that the main component of mine is asthma, and I have had periods this year when I have had a week of feeling wheezy, sore lungs and very tired. (see my past posts) Currently feeling fine again, but I think that I am reacting to a number of foods and I definitely react to some hair products, heavy oil based styling products cause a rash around my neck, face and chest and I think wheeziness. I now think that sugar based sweets like jelly babies (!) cause my throat and chest to quickly become sore and for some years I have avoided gluten due to bloating, tiredness and breathlessness.

For the past few weeks I have been eating very organically, and cut out nearly all processed foods. This week, I feel very well, all the breathlessness is gone, I am blowing high PEF without the use of ventolin and doing a daily 1-2 hour fast woods and fields walk with my dog very easily. Earlier today at work I ate 2 chocolate brazils and around five minutes later, my upper chest and throat felt a bit sore.

I understand that the onset of allergies and adult onset asthma is more common during the menopause too. Two months after my flu type illness, I really did think I would never be well again and the myriad of different opinions was confusing. I cannot dispute the CT scan but am guessing that a good proportion of ex smokers would have some sign of damage, however minimal, if they were to have a CT scan. If you were feeling pretty well prior to your illness, then hopefully you will return to feeling that way again, and possibly even better now you have given up smoking. Your description of your last couple of months was so similar to my October - January, and I wanted to reassure you that this week I am feeling better than I ever imagined feeling a few months ago. Apparently it can take quite a prolonged time to get over pneumonia and also the benefits of giving up smoking can take several months too. Take care and hope you feel better soon XX

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I did wonder as you say about former smokers showing these damage signs.

The food and other allergies has also been going through my mind recently... when I was first ill with the pneumonia I went right off everything except for fresh fruit and veg.

As I got better I started drinking tea, which I never usually do, being a coffee addict before and since.

I didnt like the taste of bread, something I ate a fair amount of before.

And meat and processed meals was completely off for me.

These are now things which all could be setting off the coughing I have noticed, when I have them now.

I always liked to cook meals from scratch before anyway, more than a lot of people I know, but it is convenient to have some ready meals and packet foods in the cupboard. Think I will have to be changing my habits again.

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