Hi: Hi All, Diagnosed with late on set... - Asthma UK communi...

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Hi All,

Diagnosed with late on set asthma at 60. Prior to this had been told my upper respiratory congestion was due to post nasal drip. But things got worse, climbing hills, any rapid change of pace etc. I am a survivor of breast cancer in my 40s, when I had lots of chemo and radio therapy to left side of chest and clavicle nodes, plus mastectomy and left side axilla clearance, so I'm not sure if problems relate to longer term damage from treatment. Had chest X Ray and all was clear, but just back from a holiday abroad where I had Ventolin inhaler with me, things got really hairy, terrible thick mucus, that I couldn't get up, inability to get my breath at night etc etc. Got home and was in A&E with low blood oxygen levels, peak flow below 150. Put on nebuliser, given ECG, blood work etc and set away with brown inhaler. Saw GP yesterday and she's added oral steroid, which I have twice before with antibiotics for what they thought was chest infection, but now think was earlier flare ups, to calm things down and waiting to see asthma nurse for spiral test. Major trigger for breath tightening seems to be city traffic fumes. Also had building work in the house, which GP thinks may have "switched on" the asthma. Had really bad hay fever as a child, and my paternal grandmother was a chronic asthmatic who died before I was born.

I have always been a fit and active person, so finding it quite difficult to adjust. Just want to try and get things under control a bit better. Any advice on how to help achieve this would be welcome. Thank you.

4 Replies

When in bed, sleep propped up on as many pillows as you can. I find the air gets stuffy so open a window a crack if you can. It is early days. The Asthma Nurse will be able to help, (sometimes more than the GP). Ask for a copy of your spirometry test, and ask her to explain to you what the figures on the test mean. When you are short of breath, have a fan gently wafting air near your face also can help. There are loads of new medication around. How about allergy tests as allergies can change.

Remove any scented candles of any scents that affect you. Don't use aerosols as you will find that will bother you as well. Are you going back to see the Respiratory Team, or the Asthma Clinic at the hospital?

Keep taking whatever meds they recommend, even when you feel well.

There are loads of friendly people on this site who will be glad to offer advice based on their experiences.

in reply to WheezyAnne

Thanks WheezyAnne - I bought a wedge pillow and that has helped, although I do slide down it a times. The hospital are writing to my GP to suggest I be referred to Resp Team, but the letter hadn't come through when I saw her. But I'll ask asthma nurse if it's arrived when I see her. I've already clocked that aerosol sprays aren't good for me, so try to avoid them. And I got an air purifier for beside my bed, which def helps, though it is noisy according to my other half. Thanks for letting me know it's spirometry, for some reason the name won't stick! :)

I hope you are feeling better. My first thought for you is diet. I suggest you read "The 3 Season Diet" by John Douillard. A lot of foods create mucus. My second thought is deep breathing exercises. I suggest you try some deep breathing exercises when you are feeling better. Go on the web and type in PeacefulWarrior.com. The Peaceful Warrior workout turned things around for me. These deep breathing exercises reduced my asthma symptoms considerably. You and your doctor could decide if this workout is right for you.

It takes five minutes a day and probably will not make you sweat. If you want to read about

how an active and fit person deals with asthma, you could read my book, "Running with Asthma: An Asthmatic Runner's Memoir," available onamazon.com. There are many strategies in the book on how to exercise with asthma. One thing I need to emphasize. Exercise and asthma go together once the asthma is under control. Try to get the asthma under control first. Then start an exercise program that you and your doctor agree on.

I hope this helps. John Douillard's book, "Body, Mind and Sport" is another good one to read.

Yours for better breathing,

John Terry McConnell

Hi John, thanks for replying. My diet is good. I'm actually gluten free since post chemo as it caused IBS. Also try to avoid too much dairy and eat lots of fresh veg and fruit, some of which I grow. I'm feeling a lot better, wheeze has gone and I can walk a good distance with dog and work in the garden with tightening up. Will see what tomorrow's spirometer tests show and take it from there. Will look up your suggestions re breathing exercises. I sing in a choir and I try to do our choir warm up each morning, which includes breathing exercises.

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