Hi. This community was recommended to me by my wife, who swears by the HU Thyroid group.
I'm 48, not terribly fit and was diagnosed with asthma when I was about 11, although it's never really been a big deal for me. In the last few years, though, I've found that any colds I get go to my chest, which had never happened before, and it takes me longer to shift them. I have a blue salbutamol reliever inhaler to use when needed.
A year or so ago, I decided to take up road cycling to try and get a bit healthier. I've joined my local club and have entered a couple of sportives, the most recent being a 70 miler. I find that when I'm out on rides, I can keep up with most people on the flat and can keep going and going, but as soon as there are hills, not even really steep ones, I run out of puff almost immediately, slow right down and find it almost impossible to talk to those cycling with me. I also find myself almost constantly having to clear my throat, which feel congested. I don't feel as though I'm having an attack, as such, I just don't seem to be able to get enough air into my lungs and I feel sapped of energy. I can normally keep going, albeit much slower than everyone else, and once at the top I typically will recover after a minute or so and can carry on at normal pace again. I always take a couple of puffs before setting off on a ride and, depending on how I'm feeling, may take another puff or two while I'm out. What worries me too is that when I analyse my heart rate readings after rides, my average heart rate will be approx 185-190, max-ing out at about 200. This just doesn't feel right and I can often be left with an ache, tight chest for a few days after a long ride. My peak flow is normally between 400 and 450, regardless of how I'm feeling.
I spoke to my GP about this recently and was given an appointment with the asthma nurse at the surgery. After my first visit to the nurse, I was put on a fostair steroid inhaler (2 puffs morning and night) and that did improve the throat clearing when out riding, but hasn't made much of a change to any other symptoms. When I asked the nurse for advice and help on how best to control my breathing and how to breathe properly when exercising, the best she could do was suggest I do a quick google! I have no asthma plan and neither the GP nor the nurse seem too concerned about what I think is an alarmingly high heart rate, especially as it's normally sustained over a period of 4 or 5 hours, both just putting it down to my decreased lung capacity. I have to say that I feel quite let down by my local surgery.
I realise that it may be that I'll never climb hills on the bike like the rest of the guys in the club, but I'd hoped to see some kind of improvement in my ability over time, but things are really no better than they were over a year ago, despite going out 2 or 3 times a week. I want to improve, am prepared to exercise in whatever ways I need to to get better, but I'm struggling to know how to make that difference. I know that many of the top professional cyclists are asthmatic, so my GP and nurse simply telling me that I'll always be at the back and to accept I'm slower doesn't;t feel like very useful advice.
Apologies for the long first post, but I wanted to get this off my chest, no pun intended, and to find out how others have dealt with similar situations.