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Anyone out there please

Hi just diagnosed with asthma today and too scared to go to sleep. How do I know that it is okay to go to sleep. Basically I came back with an inhaler today. A friend showed me how to use it which I did this evening - two puffs in a spacer. I seem to be breathing well enough but very wheezes.

17 Replies

Hello, sorry to hear you've just been diagnosed and finding it hard to get off to sleep. I can be a night owl so thought I'd reply before going to bed myself! Were you diagnosed today? If so you will probably have an inhaler to deal with an attack of asthma (reliever inhaler) and you may have one to prevent asthma. Did your doctor give you an Asthma Action Plan? If you are better and your breathing is okay - see list below from Asthma UK - then sleep with your reliever inhaler nearby so that you can take it if necessary. They suggest if you have an attack at night make sure you sit up and take the reliver (blue) inhaler. Sitting propped up with pillows can help. Adjust the temperature of the room to suit your asthma. Have some water nearby to sip.


Asthma UK have good information on managing an asthma attack. For instance:

"You're having an asthma attack if any of the following happens:

Your reliever isn't helping or lasting over four hours

Your symptoms are getting worse (cough, breathlessness, wheeze or tight chest)

You're too breathless or it's difficult to speak, eat or sleep

Your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can't get your breath in properly.

Don't be afraid of causing a fuss, even at night. It's important that you seek help straight away."


They have advice on what to do if you have an attack.

It helps to know what to do and how your asthma effects you. If your breathing is okay and the wheezing better then a night's sleep will help. It is easy to say try to not get too stressed, but it really can help! If you have any routines for lessening stress then it is good to try them. Make a note of any concerns you have so that you won't forget them. You can phone the Asthma UK nurses tomorrow. They are very well informed and very helpful. Tel: 0300 222 5800

And if you wake in the night feeling worse then phone your GP out of hours service or if severe attack then emergency service / go to A and E.

You maybe asleep by now - sleep well.

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Thank you Strongmouse, for all your good advice. I did fall asleep! I will re-read it all again shortly.

I’m confused. My wheezing on out breaths is dramatic. Like an unruly orchestra.

I don’t think I have had a proper diagnosis. The nurse practitioner at the surgery prescribed the ventolin inhaler and prednisalone. That’s all. Then I found out I should use a spacer and watched videos on how to take it. So no preventer inhaler. Am due to start prednisalone in the morning.

It’s really weird having such a noisy wheeze the whole time. I am sleeping sitting up.

My peak flow normally is 400 but is now 200-250 having dropped from 350 two days ago. The ventolin doesn’t make a difference to these numbers 15 mins after taking the inhaler. Only done inhaler twice so far - at 10pm last night and 3.30am.

Am just saying all this in case there is anything you or anyone else wants to add.

I don’t even really know if I have asthma.

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When I was being diagnosed I was put on Ventolin & my peak flow fell from 350 to 220. The doctor expected it to go up. He told me to make an appointment with the asthma nurse at the surgery & she put me on a Bricanyl reliever inhaler, saying that some people react to the propellant in the Ventolin inhaler. I find dry powder inhalers much better than the aerosol type personally. It might be worth checking with your doctor/asthma nurse. I know it's hard but try not to worry, they'll sort things out for you & as you learn about your asthma you'll get more confidence. I went to bed one night wondering if I'd wake up in the morning as I knew nothing at all about asthma, but I'm still here to tell the tale!


Thank you for those words of experience. Much appreciated. And encouraging.


Glad you managed to get to sleep! How are you today?

I suggest you keep a diary of your symtoms, when you take the ventolin and what if any help it is, including peak flow. Asthma UK have information about taking and recording peak flow (including sample peak flow diary). This is helpful when talking to medical staff and for you to monitor how you are doing. It is confusing at first.

It sounds like you need to talk to GP or asthma nurse to have an Asthma Action Plan in place. You need to monitor how you are so that they can see if you need more medication or further or investigations to manage.

Prenisolone can take a few days to be effective. I'd definitely speak to Asthma UK nurse on Monday if it is the same. On the Asthma UK website information is under "Health Advice" heading including diagnosis. Hope you soon see an improvement and feel better.


Yes, thanks, Journal and arrange follow up appointment for a thorough diagnosis. Will do.


Hi! I am so sorry to hear this. I was diagnosed with asthma about 6 months ago and have been having a really hard time adjusting.

In terms of sleep, I think it's important to remind yourself that your body will do everything it can to help itself SO if you are having serious breathing difficulty, you will wake up! Keep your inhaler right next to your bed so if you do wake up with serious shortness you have your coping mechanism right there! Also, if your reliever is helping, remind yourself that you know it works!

I still often have a hard time falling asleep because of my anxiety surrounding if I will have an episode or attack in the middle of the night, but I am getting better about it slowly.

Did the doctor give you an action plan? If your peak flow has dropped that much, I think it's important to notify the doctor as soon as possible.

I have symptoms almost constantly but my Peak Flow remains the same (around 500), if your peak flow is dropping that dramatically it's best to get some guidance.

ALSO-- Ventolin should help relatively quickly but the preventer will take some time (for me a couple weeks) before noticing a difference.


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Thank you. I’m confused and I think time and proper assessment will help. I seem to swing between being in denial or very worried.


Me too-- I completely understand!


I was diagnosed this year and it came as a real shock. It took ages to get proper treatment because initially the gp insisted it wasn’t asthma. By the time I went back I felt rubbish! Ask for a peak flow meter and diary as this can help show when your asthma isn’t controlled. The best thing I did was bypass the gp and make an appointment with the asthma nurse. She had more time to listen and give advice. Asthma Uk is great too and have a WhatsApp service where you can chat to an asthma nurse. Once I was on the proper treatment it’s amazing how much better you feel. I even started running! Hang in there it does get easier x


Thank you. That is really encouraging. I am going to get an appointment with someone. Not sure if the asthma nurse as I heard she was rather dismissive with a friend. I’ll ask the GP.


You need to relax it is scary but you can control this speak to asthma UK nurse for advise and reassurance.


Thak you! I have turned on my electric blanket and it is soothing!


Hiya see if you get to see an asthma nurse, and get an action plan. Asthma uk is a great website for advice. As well as is this website.

When I was getting diagnosed was never told I couldn't eat or drink before the test, so had to go back, was told had asthma over the phone by the receptionist saying you need an X-ray you have asthma.

Take care xx

Make sure you keep your preventer on you, and let others know around you so there aware of your triggers.

Stay calm, two pillows helps me sleep better at night


Okay. Lots to take in. I feel so appreciative of all this care and wisdom. I wasn’t given a preventer inhaler. I need to understand more about what peak flow really means. I’ve been 250-275 for the last two days. I’m starting to wonder whether having been so tired (puffed) for the last few months or year is because I have been coping with undiagnosed asthma.


I sympathise with you I had a flare up 2016 and was so afraid to sleep incase I stopped breathing. I found this site very helpful. Make an appointment with the asthma nurse and tell them how your feeling and your fears they will be able to help with advice on how to use your inhaler, contact numbers and may help with a plan. There may be groups or support locally where you could meet for support and advice. Its a difficult thing to adjust to but if you seek out support learning to manage and understand your condition how and when to seek help can help put your mind at rest. I use an air purifier in my room at night and practice breathing exercises this helped me. Best wishes to you.


Thank you for the tips and encouragement!


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