Asthma UK community forum

I have no idea if I have asthma????

Well after quitting smoking a year ago I have repeated bad chests (I thought this may of been just healing after smoking)-after repeat doctors visits confirming they are not chest infections I'm starting to think it may be mild asthma. My brother has it and I also suffer from coeliac disease/underactive thyroid/eczema (controlled by not eating gluten)/hayfever/allergies/low vitamin D and B12. However after 3 months of chest being 'bad' -wheezing worse at night/worse after lying down/ feeling like not having a 'full' breath/full feeling in chest/dry cough. I mean I don't feel like I cant breathe nothing extreme but wanted advice from people that know more about asthma than me. Any advice would be appreciated thanks

10 Replies

It sounds like you have a highly complicated lung 'history' so may need a specialist to work it all out.

In terms of the basics though; how have they 'proved' it isn't an infection? Have they done x-rays & taken sputum samples? If not, they probably should.

With regards to asthma, the most common way that it would be diagnosed would be via spirometry. You could probably make an appointment with a practice nurse to get that done (it's a simple 10-minute breathing test).

Do you take any inhalers? If so, check your peak flow before & after use; again an improvement in peak flow would be an indicator of asthma - in effect that's a simplified, DIY version of spirometry.

However, from your description, I feel that you probably need to speak to a specialist who can do an array of tests to get to the bottom of things for you, so perhaps push for a referral.


Hi I thought the definitive test for asthma was the peak and flow? Isn't spirometry usually used to test for copd?

Not questioning what you are saying but I am confused now! x


Spirometry is used for all lung disease. It helps to map a profile of your breathing. The force, flow and length of a breath. Along with other data .

However the spirometry profile of someone with asthma is quite different to that of copd even if symptoms are similar

Also copd is more common in people over 40. Copd does not get better whereas asthma can get better. Hence reversibility tests.

A peak flow meter just measures the force of your breath at its strongest.

A simple peak flow meter is what most people have at home. Mine is electronic and links to an app on my phone. It is a pretty basic evaluation but easy to do and useful for monitoring


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I think that the diagnostic spirometry test for asthma would generally use a before & after inhaler test, so they can see what impact taking several puffs of ventolin has on the results.


I was diagnosed with asthma around 30 years ago and they only ever used the peak and flow test. When the nurse thought it could now be copd as well she did the reversibility test then.

I do have the spirometry done now at every review but never had the reversibility one done again. x


An update- my peak flow was low- been given a peak flow to measure for week and an inhaler to use when needed. Thanks


It may be asthma, it may be copd. A quick test you can do at home which would tell you if it is more likely to be asthma is the following. In fact your doctor should do this as a first test for asthma. Asthma is reversible with reliever medication.

You need a Blue Reliever inhaler and a peak flow meter.

Step 1. Take 3 peak flow readings, write down the best one.

Step 2. Take 2 puffs of Reliever inhaler

Step 3 wait 15 minutes

Step 4 Take 3 peak flow readings, write down the best one.

If the difference between the Step 1 and step 4 is 15% or more it is very likely asthma. If there is no difference it is more likely to be copd.

This test is not definitive, it is better done with a nurse or in a doctors office as they can give you a higher dose of broncodillator and carry out the test on a few occasions as well as doing spirometry.

Hope this helps.


Hi sorry your feeling bad and hopefully you will improve.

I gave up smoking 20 years this coming November. 3 months later I got a lot of allergies and one evening driving home from work steTed feeling like I couldn't breath. I thought it must be a panic attack. Then at night I woke up with the same. I went to the Drs who gave me a blue inhaler. He said when I feel like this use it. When I went back 2 weeks later and told him it relieved it he said I had asthma. It was later discovered that I did and it had been smoking related. I thought I should of just carried on smoking but was told if I did it would turn to emphysema so probably best thing I did. Go get checks done arh our gp. And don't leave until your satisfied as mine is now under control. Also find out what triggers your difficulties. Hope it helps.


Have you a chest infection? There is a lot of coughs going around which last a long time.


The couple of times I've been to gps they tell me u haven't got one- but guna be but more persistent when go this week


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