Clueless newbie: Heres my story. Hope... - Asthma UK communi...

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Clueless newbie

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Heres my story. Hope someone can help. Been having chest pains, shortness of breath and palpatations for over a year. Seen several different doctors. All said my chest sounds fine. Been put on antibiotics a couple times. Cream from muscle pain and anti acids and nothing worked. Theres asthma in my family so i bought a peak flow. Tried the peak flow out a few times over a few days and my reading were always low at 250. Booked to see my gp and told her. Done a peak flow in the surgery and same results, so she put me on a brown inhaler and an easi breather. Well since starting the inhalers ive had a really bad time on them. My chest has gotten worse than its ever been and my throat feels like its closing up. I feel like i cant breath. Never felt like this, before the inhalers. Went back to the doctors and she gave me antihistamine to see if that would help my symptoms. No joy yet. Now this is the bit im worried about. A couple days ago i watched a video on youtube on how to use a peak flow. Well i havent been blowing out on it as well as i could have been. Tried it after watching the video and my peak flow reading jumped up to 400/415. So now im thinking maybe i dont even have asthma and the inhalers are just making me worse. Any ideas? Or shouldnt i worrie too much about the peak flow reading? Its all a bit confusing :/

13 Replies

Hi your peak flow depends on lots of factors including your age, weight, height, age and sex etc. If you look online you will find charts explaining all this. You will see then whether your peak and flow is normal for you.

I wonder if you are not using your inhalers correctly as well as your meter previously? Either go back and make an appointment with the asthma nurse or you can ask the pharmacist to check your technique. There are also demos on Youtube.

I hope this helps a bit. x

Howie1 profile image
Howie1 in reply to

I saw online that the peak flow meter for my age, weight ect should be around 400-420. I dont always hit that. I do hit lower but i have hit it. Just thinking that i have no need for the inhalers.

I also been to see the pharmacist and she showed me how to use my asthma pump correctly. I know it takes a while to get into my system. Im just feeling worse than i ever had and feel like its not needed and maybe something else is wrong that has caused my chest pain for so long and its not asthma. I dont have an asthma nurse but im going to give it a few more days and if i still dont feel any better, ill book another appointment with the doctor

Thanks anyway

in reply to Howie1

You are welcome Howie. I hope you didn't think I was talking down to you or anything. I didn't know what steps you had taken to sort it so covered all the options!

It's very sensible to go back to your doctor. You will find though that your surgery will have an asthma nurse coz they all do, so the receptionist may well book you an appointment with them instead. They know more about it than doctors anyway.... x

Hi I have been asthmatic all my life I'm 65. If you done the peak flow at your doctors she would have known wether you had blown into it proberley ? It could be that the meds she gave you are working which could be why your peak flow has improved .

When i do the peak flow like in the doctors i get the same result of 250 everytime. When i do it how they done it on the youtube video i watch i get over 400. Its the way i done it.. will have to tell her when i see her next. I have no improvement on the inhalers. I think if i had asthma my chest would feel much better by now, but it doesnt.

in reply to Howie1

Hi. Have you ever had ecg ? As I said before I'm asthmatic and I kept getting shortness of breath that was different from my asthma. I also got dizzy spells and cheast pain now and again. I was tired all the time as well. I have a lot of other medical problems so thought it was to do with one off them. Anyway went to docs last week and she called ambalance and it turns out I have Artirial fibulation my heart was racing at 159 instead of 70. I'm now on warfarin and digoxin. I have to have more treatment and tests. So it would be wise to see if doctor could give you ecg. X

You can have asthma with relatively normal peak flow.

In my case with Cough Variant Asthma- the peak flows were normal!

You could try the methacholine challenge, where they give you allergens while testing the flow. (Though I think it can be scary- I never did it myself, I went by symptoms).

What you are experiencing could be Bronchospasms. A reaction to some allergen. Dust, Pollen, Smoke, Perfume, Stomach Acid.

However, since Inhalers her not helping- it could be something else.

You may need to do an X-ray, check your heart- an ECG and Echo etc.

Agree with all that's been said so far. I'm surprised you were given a brown inhaler when it's not clear you have asthma or any other breathing problem. The blue inhaler is innocuous enough, but I've had problems with brown inhalers increasing chest pain, possibly due to the propellant used in them (currently trying a dry powder one). One thing not mentioned so far is that anxiety can cause a lot of the symptoms you describe, and I had an ecg for chest pain some years ago which turned out to be stress (I had another chronic illness which was giving problems, on top of the usual stresses and strains of work and raising a family!). However, the chest pain I get from stress seems to be different from the chest tightness I get from asthma/COPD, but you'll be able to tell the difference, I'm sure. Also, peak flow is not a good indicator of symptoms: some people, like me, have few symptoms despite low peak flows, whereas others get problems with quite reasonable flows. Think it's best for you to be referred to a respiratory clinic where they can do some proper testing. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Ive had an ecg a few times, and one done 2 weeks before she gave me the inhalers and they have all come back normal. Had a chest xray done about 4 months ago when my chest was playing up and again everything was fine. I was supprised that she gave me an inhaler without doing more tests but she said with my symptoms she wants to put me on an inhaler even before doing a lung function test. I dont think its anxiety. I have nothing to be anxious from. Other than now that my throat feels tight, but only since ive started using the inhaler. This feeling was there before i even realised i had used the peak flow wrong and before i even questioned if i really had asthma or not. Also my glands are soo swollen and around my kneck is slightly swollen. Dont know if thats a side effect or a reaction from the brown inhalers. Going to give it until the end of the week and then book an appointment. Thanks for all the feedback though :)

Hi, I have similar symptoms. Doctor had given me Escitalopram ( 5 mg) , which treats anxiety. It helped a lot and I was alright from last 5 years. However If I try to taper this drug , symptoms will come back. Hope this helps.

I'm definitely not a dr, but have you had your thyroid checked? Swollen neck can be a symptom of overactive thyroid I think, as can racing heart. It can be difficult to get a diagnosis sometimes - my dad had overactive thyroid for years and had issues that were brushed off as anxiety by dr.

Hyperthyroidism - apparently it can make you feel short of breath too?

Yes ive had my thyroid checked twice and all is clear. I phoned and spoke to the asthma nurse and she told me to use my blue inhaler more often until the brown inhaler kicks in. If i still experience bad side effects to go back to the doctor. She told me its trial and error as there is no actual test that says if you have asthma or not. Its just treatment and to see what works and what doesnt. I could have something else but i wont know until i try the inhalers out for a bit. I also get a cough after using the inhalers? Dont know if this is a comman side effect or not :/

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