I am a 46 year old male and recently been diagnosed with asthma!
I have always been an active and sports orientated individual. As a youth was involved in the harriers and ran at a high level and was picked for English schools and was a County Champion. The events which I excelled at were short anaerobic events such as 100m, 200m, 400m 800m I was still strong at but anything further I was not competitive at all. I have never given this a great deal of thought until I was recently diagnosed with asthma and this has given me time to ponder and look back at my history over many years to try and help with my treatment and control my symptoms so to be able to enjoy a full and active life once again. After my teenage years of running I went into my 20s reducing my cardio and concentrating more on resistance and weight lifting eventually turning into bodybuilding with cardio and boxing to maintain some level of fitness. However I did miss the fast competiveness of physically pushing myself during cardio sessions, not to mention the feeling of satisfaction after a long hard workout releasing those magical endorphins and putting me on a high. So I took up cycling lost a lot of weight, trained hard and within 3 to 4 years was riding at a competitive level and begun racing.
That is a brief description of my active past and looking back now a lot has come to mind and who knows rightly or wrongly self diagnostic of my asthma. Like I have mentioned I always excelled at the short burst sports, i.e. sprinting weights etc. although I did compete at long distance and cross-country events to build up my aerobic capacity over the winter months. During these events and during long winter training I was far from competitive but during this time and during events I would run out with the pack and be quite comfortable for a short time. When Glycogen levels began to deplete in my muscles and then my body begun to rely on the next phase of aerobic needs to fuel my journey is when things become a little clear. When this phase kicked in and my body begun to rely more on oxygen is when I now look back at my breathing pattern. I would begin to gasp for breath, meaning take deep hard breaths constantly trying to fuel my muscles with the much needed oxygen. Whilst doing so rarely could I seem to get enough onto my lungs or could not seem to get a deep enough breathe to do so. (Yawning has always seemed to give me that deep breath I craved for). So this in turn I am guessing made my body one again turn to my glycogen reserves depleting and fatiguing me more and in turn have me gasping more for oxygen. So to get my body needs have to reduce my intensity so I am able to reduce my heart rate and allow my body to comfortably convert oxygen for energy. I know this is the usual cycle but my lack of ability to achieve a full deep breath at short periods into exertion are making me wonder if my asthma as been something I have been living with unknowingly for many years! Until now I just thought it was my genetics and wasn’t built for aerobic events. To some extent this will be true but my thoughts are leaning to the contribution of asthma. To this day I still have the same problems although getting worse over the years. To add to the symptoms of shortness of breath and chest tightness are coughing and wheezing and mucus to try and clear the path to a good breath. My thoughts are not only do I have asthma but could this also be a case of exercise induced asthma?
To add to my symptoms, as long as I can remember I have had problems with my sinuses and find when I contract a cold/flu my sinuses always get a battering then leading onto my chest causing wheezing and chronic coughing with added bonus of bring up copious amounts of phlegm and mucus, lasting anything from weeks to months. In the past I am thinking what was wrongly diagnosed as chest infections when in reality has been the underlying menace asthma.
When I was diagnosed two weeks ago I was hoping to start my treatment straight away as I had then been suffering with quite server symptoms for 4/5 months. This was not the case and had to wait another week before my doctor got the letter and administered my medication. Rightly or wrongly a work colleague also suffers from asthma and takes a inhaler Easy breathe containing Beclometasone Dipropionate. So rightly of wrongly and eager to start treatment that the NHS were slow to administer I took and started taking this inhaler, two puffs in the morning and two puffs in the evening. This surprisingly reduced nearly stopped the wheezing at nights trying to sleep, the daily cough and morning cough and also reduced the amount of mucus produced. Then after 6 days of using this I got my prescribed medicine. The drug Duoresp Spiromax 160mg/4.5mcg The instant I took this inhaler I began to wheeze then the cough returned. Now 8 days in I find the wheezing has worsened the mucus has returned and brought with it the continuing cough, tremors ranging from shaking hands to tummy and muscle tremors, headaches and sinus problems and also enjoying the odd bought of cramp. Sometimes leaving me feeling anxious and far removed from where I should be.
Is this the preferred drug for asthma patients and is this a cheaper drug that is on test than the similar drug given, Symbicort? If so can we look at changing my controlling drug to something that works without the side effects that exacerbates my asthma symptoms?
If I do suffer from exercise induced asthma, is there a different medication I can start asap to relieve and control my symptoms?
I do sometimes feel that I have been wrongly diagnosed as it seems to be taking some controlling. Also this is now beginning to become a worry.
I would love to hear any advice as this is very new to me and feel as frustrated as a blind lesbian in a fish factory.