Extended Asthma Issues: Hello everyone... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

18,242 members22,518 posts

Extended Asthma Issues

Catman92 profile image

Hello everyone, recently I've been havng issues with my asthma, and would like some advice from some like minded people if that's alright. I've already set up an appointment at the doctor's, but honestly I'm just trying to find a little peace of mind from others who might have an idea of what might be going on.

For about the last 2 weeks or so, I've been having issues with my asthma, which include a pain around my shoulders and slight chest pressure. I also had a somewhat severe asthma attack Sunday night which led me to coughing up a light yellow mucus (I apoligize for those who are squemish). After this attack my lungs felt oddly clearer and not in so much distress.

However, recently I've felt like something is "stuck" in my chest for a couple days and I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm not having coughing fits, however coughing does help relieve the tension of the area at times. The cough is dry most of the time I should add. All of this has affected my work recently as well, since I work a very labor intensive job that frequently makes my shoulders, back, and other areas sore, which adds to the overall problem as well. For example, my symptoms calm down when I'm at rest or coming down from doing work. However, once I start working (usually moving heavy objects) my back and chest start to feel tight and my lungs feel like they're in a vice. I'm at a loss as to what to do honestly. I'm not exactly sure if I pulled a muscle and it strained my back, causing the deeper muscles in my body to react as well, if something changed in me recently, I'm honestly quite clueless. I've had asthma all my life and I've not felt quite like this before.

I did recently adopt a new cat, however during my initial time with him over the last month, I didn't have any allergy flares or asthma problems with him here. I have also recently burned my esophagus , that being last week. I've mostly felt that I've healed from it, however I'm not sure if its compounding onto my current problem.

I apoligize for all the information, and I know its just advice here and not medical help, but any peace of mind to my current situation would be lovely. I hope you all have a wonderful day.

13 Replies

You say you have a Labour intensive job, do you work outside or in the cold?... I only ask because there are a lot of asthmatics me included that start to struggle (more so than usual) when the weather turns cold

I've currently got like a stabbing pain in my left shoulder but have also been struggling with like a tightness across my shoulders.... that also happens to co inside with my pf being lower than normal

Chip

Catman92 profile image
Catman92 in reply to Chip_y2kuk

Luckily enough I don't have to work out in the cold. However it is quite cold in my trailer, though I'm having someone turn on the heat tomorrow to solve that.

Your pain is somewhat similiar to mine, however mine is on the right shoulder/shoulderblade instead. I'll have to check my pf since I haven't in quite a while.

Thankfully I have been feeling better little by little as I rest at home, and hopefully I can be back to normal in the near future.

I have very similar symptoms to you, I worked out mine wasn't asthma related by buying a peak flow meter (they are very cheap online).

I checked it regularly, when I was feeling breathless and when resting and feeling ok, and it hardly changed, plus my reliever inhaler didnt work as well as normally.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to

Just wanted to add to this reply: for some people the peak flow is a really good indicator for their asthma but not so much for others. Mine is not so sensitive to changes in asthma so I hsve learned that it not dropping does not mean symptoms are not asthma!

Catman92, may still be worth measuring peak flow if you don't already, before you see the doctor. The response to your reliever inhaler may be useful to see (that is something that I do find useful personally - even if numbers are ok to start with how do they respond to reliever?) It may also be useful to do it for a few weeks to work out your best when you are ok, if you don't know it already. If you have a very physical job and you're used to being active, your personal best might be higher than predicted and that is a good thing to know and to tell GP when you see them.

May also be worth ringing the AUK nurses before you see the GP - they are very helpful and should be able to give some suggestions and guidance plus things to ask in your appointment.

in reply to Lysistrata

For the vast majority ( but not all) asthmatics, peak flow is a close correlation to how bad the attack is and we all know everyones peak flow range is different.

I wonder what the mechanism is that peak flow isnt dropping but your asthma is getting worse?

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to

It’s usually because the asthmatic knows how to ‘cheat’ it.

If you’ve ever trained in a wind instrument or do a lot of singing (or a ‘anaerobic’ sport where breathing out has to be as fast as possible) you learn and practice how to force air out quickly even under stress.

This then transfers to your PF technique (hard and fast) - unless you’re on deaths door you can get a good score.

When I’m ill and do a PF thinking about my training I’ll usually get 100+ higher than I would without the training - it almost feels like the air ‘angles’ differently through my throat 🤷‍♀️. I can get 80% PF when I really try whilst obviously wheezy and SoB (and with low sats too!). I’ve learned how to ‘switch off’ my training so it gives a PF that actually reflects my condition.

Spirometery would be the best measure for these asthmatics cause that also the tail end of the breath which is really affected by a narrow windpipe and the diaphragm isn’t as involved (hard, fast but hold breath) - you can’t cheat this one!

Hopefully this makes sense! 😅

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to EmmaF91

I have never considered I might be cheating accidentally on peak flow! But for the same reasons as you, I may be. I got used to demonstrate to some nurses this time in hospital- glad asthma nurse only said that afterwards lol or I'd have got performance nerves.

I'm evidently not managing it on FEV1 - perhaps this is part of the reason I have such a gap between them. At the same time, my FEV1 is so persistently crap even when I am sort of ok that I've tuned it out, even though I think it's probably accurate.

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to Lysistrata

My consultant wanted me to demo to other patients in the ward how to do a PF properly (ie stand up, deep breath and BLOW) cause I have a ‘good technique’ for it - I was like haha - NO! 😂. I did demo for the junior doc/student nurses this time (and taught the SN how to do obs on a resp patient... she really couldn’t count breaths 😂 I did 16 she got 23 😂😅

Yeah you can cheat large airways but not small (was what I meant when I apparently said ‘narrow windpipe’ 😂 - blame the pred 🤫) and that’s what FEV1 measures more, so you should probs pay more attention too it 😅.

It you’re only sort of ok, then it’ll still be crap - you need to do it when you’re brilliant (ie after a lot of drugs and asymptomatic 🤪) x

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to

I'm assuming that range has already been taken into account ie measuring against your own best, not the predicted as far as possible.

Given that, I still wouldn't agree that for the vast majority there is a close correlation between severity and peak flow, though it is certainly useful for some people. Overall - and I don't want to derail the OP or turn this into a mass of links - my impression and the literature says that peak flow/FEV1 do not necessarily correlate with severity and should be taken in context. Clearly individuals can learn what their own pattern is: you've found it does appear to correlate well with your asthma. I have found my FEV1 is better for me but not perfect (most people don't measure it at home for asthma) and my peak flow is less than ideal as a number but better in terms of response to reliever.

I have had a peak flow above 50% sitting in resus with some ABGs they weren't too happy about - may not be the most common scenario, but if it can happen then good to be aware. Asthma UK is pretty clear on not assuming peak flow being ok means

symptoms are not asthma:

asthma.org.uk/advice/manage...

There

can also be a timing issue - some people *can* drop later on, but peak

flow is one of the last things to drop and if you wait for that then you

may be in real trouble. I have been told by AUK nurses that it's measuring the larger airways and may not always drop immediately/consistently.

A quick look on pubmed shows that both symptom- and peak-flow-based personalised action plans can be equally effective ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/116..., and that peak flow may be better in people who are less good at perceiving symptoms - otherwise they might not notice they're getting worse: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/108...

Catman92 profile image
Catman92 in reply to Lysistrata

I'll definitely have to take a closer look into the peak flow content that you guys have been talking about, and that Lysistrata has provided. I honestly haven't had a peak flow measurement in such a long time since my asthma has been under control. I'm also able to cheat the peak flow myself, though I try to keep it as accurate as possible to my current situation haha. I can usually guage when I'm starting to get pretty bad with my asthma, and take action to make sure that I'll be alright. Over the past couple days my asthma lung wise has been improving, but my chest tightness has kind of stayed. The "stuck" feeling in my chest has finally gone away, which is a relief for me.

At this point I honestly think the problem is steming from elsewhere, so I've been trying to relax my muscles. I do have a slight anxiety disorder, and honestly it dosen't help at all with my asthma.

All I can say is that for some people, asthma changes very unpredictably and you can develop allergies/infections and so on at any time. If you get no joy from your GP, insist on seeing a consultant. You burned your oesophagus?? That must have had an impact on your health generally. Good luck!

Hey everyone, just updating on my situation since its been a while. I went to a clinic and found out the bronchi in my upper respiratory were totally inflamed. I've been put on some steroids, given another rescue inhaler, and some 250/50 advair. So far I've felt a lot better and I should be well soon.

I also took a precaution as well. I've read that some cat litters can flare up asthma, so I've changed that out to see how it works. Apparently some cheaper litters can kick up dust, which can get in my airway. I had actually changed my cat's litter around the same time that I started to show symptoms, so I'm seeing if the litter is to blame in the next couple days. Thank you everyone who commented and tried to help me out, you're all wonderful with trying to help those who come on here, truly.

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to Catman92

I’m glad you’ve been seen to and are starting to feel better! X

You may also like...