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Diagnosed with Asthma

Hi. I have been diagnosed with asthma by my G.P this afternoon. I saw him last week because I was suffering a third episode of wheezing, coughing, a pinpoint chest tightness and breathlessness. He had previously prescribed me a blue relief inhaler but on my previous appointment he prescribed me a brown preventative inhaler as he could hear phlegm in my airways. Over the past week I've noticed a big difference by using the preventative inhaler. I have to go back to see him in a month. But I have come out of the appointment feeling a bit shell shocked and a bit confused to have an asthma diagnosis. I'm hoping that by continuing with the preventative inhaler my symptoms will completely clear up - I still have the cough but it has subsided considerably, I only wheeze occasionally whereas I did have a constant wheeze. I just feel confused what to expect and wondered if asthma is normally treated by the G.P or should I be asking for a referral? Thank you.

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My GP diagnosed me and i was not referred to any one else . Hopefully as long as you use your meds as prescribed you should be able to live a normal life. Of course you are going to feel shocked but if you have the slightest worry ask there are people on here who have an extensive knowledge of asthma and we are a friendly bunch. Good luck 😘

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Thank you x

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Hi bubble30

Sorry to hear you've been diagnosed. It must be scary and confusing especially knowing what to do next and figuring how asthma will impact your day to day life. It's great you've noticed a positive change from using the preventer inhaler.

When you’re first diagnosed, you may need to see your GP or asthma nurse a few times to check how you’re feeling and monitor your treatment. One of the most important things you can do during this time is to download a written asthma action plan and fill it in with your GP or asthma nurse. You're four times less likely to need to go to hospital with asthma if you have one. Once you’ve filled it in, you can then take it to each appointment so it’s always up-to-date. Here's a link

bit.ly/2rswbf0

Once you feel as though you’re on top of your symptoms and you’re in a good routine with your medicines, it’s important to book an asthma review at least once a year – even if your symptoms are well managed and you’re feeling well. This is so your GP or asthma nurse can check your medicines in case the doses need to be changed. It’s also a chance to talk about your triggers, lifestyle and any other factors that may affect your asthma, such as hay fever.

You'd be referred if you have difficult-to-control asthma (not being on top of your symptoms) after consultation with your GP as you start to manage your asthma

If you’re worried about anything to do with your diagnosis, speak to your GP, asthma nurse or pharmacist. You can also call our Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (9am – 5pm; Monday - Friday) and ask our asthma nurse specialists anything about your symptoms or treatment, your lifestyle or the way you’re managing your asthma.

Take care,

Dita

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Thank you. How do I know when my blue inhaler is running out. My GP prescribed it a few weeks ago to use 2 puffs twice a day but I needed to use it more prior to getting the preventative inhaler but forgot to tell my GP that. Just wondering how you can tell it is running low so I can go back and ask for another. Thank you x

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My technique is simply to shake the capsule & listen. You will notice the noise changes, & as it gets low, there simply sounds to be less in it. You'll work that out, but at first if you're concerned, just keep a tally chart.

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Just to add to the advice above about listening, there's no counter but ventolin has about 200 puffs so if you keep a tally, you'll know when you're nearing the end of it.

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Dita's answer pretty much says it all. Asthma can be frightening at times, but also something that you can take control of, & with care & knowledge it need not interfere too much.

Please fire away with any questions - we have a range of different experiences so someone will always understand anything you're going through.

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Thank you xxx

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How old are you? It's more unusual to be first diagnosed with asthma older than 20. The way you are describing the medications and the effect the have it sure sounds like asthma, but it seems to have been brought on by some other infection.

You should know that the blue inhaler (Ventolin) is short acting (15-30 minutes) and taking it will not effect things long term. The brown one (I'm assuming Qvar) has to be taken regularly and over 1-2 weeks it will prevent you needing the blue one as much (which is why people call it a preventer). It is actually an Inhaled Corticosteroid (ICS) called beclomethasone and some of us have been taking it on and off for 40 years.

Once the phlegm and coughing have completely cleared up check back with your GP - they will probably recommend you gradually reduce the brown dose over a couple week period and you might be able to come off it.

Since you are new to this it is good to ask questions of doctor/nurse and call in if you are unsure. They should show you how to use it and watch you take a couple of puffs to make sure you are doing it right - it takes some time to get the hang of the timing of the puff and breath. Try a spacer as well.

I sense you are unhappy with the GP because they are short of time and not explaining much. It's hard to tell if you need a specialist yet, I think you will get more out of a specialist once you've given it time to see if the current round of meds work. There are stronger preventers out there so don't be alarmed, they usually start a moderate dose to see how it works and adjust.

Hard for us on the interweb to put you more at ease because none of us can predict the outcome (including the GP). But the way you describe it and the meds you are on (and the fact they are working right away) leads me to expect that you have it mild and maybe once the infection clears you won't need preventers regularly and you might be clear for long periods with a few minor flair ups now and then you can easily handle. Mild does not mean it's not alarming to you but just on the larger scale of asthma it sounds mild.

Definitely be diligent about taking your brown inhaler (maybe write down when you take it). Show the GP you have been diligent and then ask your top 3 questions at the start of the next appointment, write them down so you don't forget (I always forget one it seems). A lot of patients forget to take it or just stop. If GP sees you are motivated they sometimes try a little harder to help IMHO.

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Thank you x

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Hello again - another question! Can asthma cause exhaustion? I took my children out for the day yesterday to a big park - lots of walking involved and I had few problems except just a little bit of breathlessness but today I've woken feeling completely exhausted and feel like I need a day of just resting up and wondering if this could be because of the asthma? Thanks x

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Hi Bubble,

To my knowledge asthma shouldn't cause exhaustion. Sometimes if I am coming down with something or have an infection then I can feel tired.

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