Reactive airway, not asthma? - Asthma UK communi...

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Reactive airway, not asthma?


Hi, resp cons this week says not asthma he thinks but hyper reactive airways. Given Avamys for daily use but told not to use any regular therapy for any SOB unless e.g. chest infection, for which he gave script for prednisolone to keep at home. Also a script for Symbicort 200 but told this is not for regular use. So I'm really confused!

Peak flow was v good for me when I saw him and I've not taken preventer for ages. But I find peak flow varies hugely throughout the day, from 340 7f if i take it when i feel pretty suddenly breathless to 460 when everything's fine. No real trends, just a bit all over the place - so is that asthma or not? And how wouod using Symbicort occasionally help, that would be using it like a reliever presumably?

3 Replies

I’m not surprised you’re confused - as far as I know, reactive airways is exactly what asthma is! Could the consultant have been referring to disease of the whole airway, with asthma as a component? I think many doctors do view nasal/sinus/lung inflammation as basically the same underlying disease - that’s why it’s generally recommended to treat hayfever and asthma at the same time, as one can affect the other (disclaimer: I am not a doctor!). But that wouldn’t explain why he told you not to take anything for shortness of breath, or why he gave you Symbicort without explaining when to use it. I’d be asking for clarification fairly urgently myself.

in reply to lucia_m

That's very helpful, thank you and to Lysistrata below. Yes, I think I'll book in for a GP appointment to see if they can explain it. My peak flow is right up and down throughout the day usually and I can get tight chested and cough a lot, though no wheeze, for apparently no reason; if I wait it out it tends to resolve over a couple of hours, but i do feel much more comfortable quickly if I take Ventolin.Tends to be worse in the morning and at night. When I saw the cons peak flow was 466 on spirometry and 85% of max so really good for me. But it had been around 350 that morning at home. On those readings cons said not asthma but reactive airway, likely triggered by lots childhood tonsilitis many years ago. Never heard that one before!

Yes this is a bit confusing! I think sometimes cons like to get clever and define what most people would consider subtypes of asthma with different names.

Did he say why he thinks not asthma? Did you have particular tests that came back normal?

I agree with Lucia that this is confusing and not at all helpful. You might want to ask the AUK nurses what they think as they may be able to offer suggestions. The letter you get from the appt may give further details but wouldn't count on it as they are often not very good or helpful! Possibly you could contact cons secretary and say you need further guidance on the Symbicort use etc?

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