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is it asthma

cricri86 profile image

new here

sorry in advance this might be a long one.

i need help/advice.

in July i had some breathing problems and palpitations and ended up in a&e they sent me to docs who gave me an inhaler (blue)

taking of the blue inhaler as had no effect so back to docs and they gave me the brown one to use daily in conjunction with blue if needed ...

still no better so back to docs and now i'm on fostair 100/6 with pink lid

it was great for about 3 days i could breathe again (stopped snoring at night bonus for my wife)

but didn't last long ..i haven't been tested for asthma or any other lung problems because of covid , they are just assuming it is ....now here's my problem

i don't think it is asthma...do you? i don't cough at all i don't rattle when i breathe but have the occasional wheeze ..my spo2 level is constantly set between 84 % and 92% even after taking the fostair and blue inhaler ,they do nothing but make my chest feel tighter. most days i'm sat with what feels like a tight band around my lungs and every few minutes i have to take a deep gasp for air but its not a constant.

also as i started fostair i started with cramps, i'm getting them where i never thought you could get cramps lol...is this common? i spoke to a nurse (not an asthma nurse)about it and she had no clue

i just feel like i'm being pushed under the rug because its not covid .and i'm worried it could be something more serious

thank you for any insight

17 Replies

Generally speaking if it's asthma then asthma medications help, so the blue inhaler should help quickly (after about 15 mins) and last at least 4 hours. The brown inhaler should have improved things more long term and the pink should do a bit of both as it contains a steroid like the brown and a long-acting version of the blue. So symptom wise they should help. Do you do your peak flow? If not it would be good to do so because the blue should increase your peak flow when symptomatic (doing it before the blue and again 15 mins after), and over time regular morning and evening readings should improve with the brown or pink inhalers.

If symptoms and peak flow are not changed at all, it might indicate it's not asthma, or not only asthma.

This post explains peak flow in detail should you be new to that....

healthunlocked.com/asthmauk...

I will find Emma's recent post about inhalers and post it below.

However, a concern would be your oxygen levels. If it's solely asthma at play then your oxygen levels should be 94% or above. Below that would be time to seek medical attention. While home oximeters are not always reliable (and not really advised in asthma because not everyone's levels drop), does your GP know that's what yours sit at all the time?

cricri86 profile image
cricri86 in reply to twinkly29

thank you for your response the peak flow meter doesn't change when i've done them and on occasion got worse after blue inhaler. it sits between 300-400 im 34 yr old 5 ft 10 female.

i've spoke to my doctor several times and just keeps putting me on stronger stuff or more dose of the same stuff.

i have had to use an at home oximeter (one that has been approved by nhs) because since my visit in july i have not physically seen a doctor as they won't see anyone because of covid . when i tell my doc that it sits at those levels,he says go a&e but i surely can't go to a&e everyday ? and all they do is say see a doc ..feel like im being passed from pillar to post

Js706 profile image
Js706 in reply to cricri86

If your oxygen levels are that low and you're only 34 then you do need to go to A&E to be seen. Have you been to A&E more than once because from your original post it looks like you only went the one time, so they may have a different response if you go again (particularly if your O2 levels are low)

cricri86 profile image
cricri86 in reply to Js706

no just the once for the initial time ..i'm one of those don't want to waste hospital staffs time so only do a&e if its a must and although i know my spo2 is quite low i find can manage the breathlesness and chest tightenings...this is why i dont feel i have asthma .i may be clueless to it all as ive not had anything explained or even seen an asthma nurse but my understanding is and was that with an asthma attack your struggling for your life .

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to cricri86

You're not wasting their time time though. None of is want to go but sometimes it's necessary. Asthma can kill. Many asthma deaths are caused by prolonged untreated or under treated asthma. It may or may not be asthma but it needs looking at. Many people aren't being seen by GPs in person, that's just how it is at the moment. But with sats that low there is no way you are wasting their time. Sorry if that sounds dramatic but it's the reality.

With your peak flow, the readings are only important relative to you.....but it's odd they don't really ever change. So if asked and they say oh it's good they don't drop, it might be useful to say quite clearly that they don't improve with meds either.

Hi sorry to hear you’ve been poorly. I haven’t got very much advice regarding asthma as I’m new here too (not diagnosed formally but suspected) but with working in the NHS I do know that your oxygen sats are definitely low if they are at that level you describe. I hope you are feeling a bit better, and I’m sure the others will have some advice for you, but I would definitely be seen again by medical staff, take care,LeiLey

cricri86 profile image
cricri86 in reply to LeiLey

i'm not officially diagnosed either just a you've pobably got it but wont test you because of covid

ive not long taken my fostair (about half hour ago)currently

spo2 93/94 (wont last for long)

i think i dont get too stessed about it when its low because i was told if i was struggling or having an asthma attack my heartrate would be high and it doesnt go abouve 100 at resting

my breathing health has been on a rapid decline since june/july gone fgrom running around with my gets to getting out of breath just sat there tickling them

LeiLey profile image
LeiLey in reply to cricri86

From what I have heard on here about asthma is that it can be different for everyone and also be very variable but there are different types of asthma also I believe. There’s lots to learn isn’t there! The first priority I think is to get checked out with those oxygen sats being low, as you say there might also be other things going on as well as asthma. As twinkly said as well, ring the asthma nurses on the number as they are really knowledgeable.

LeiLey profile image
LeiLey in reply to LeiLey

Bless you been poorly for so long.

The inhalers post

healthunlocked.com/asthmauk...

Another thought is that they don't actually need to do the spirometry to diagnose asthma. Often it's not helpful anyway as it's a momentary thing - asthma can be very variable. However, they can use symptoms (actual symptoms and response to medications) and peak flow (response to relief medications and the improvement over time when on an inhaler like Fostair) to diagnose. If nothing has changed both symptoms and peak flow then I would maybe query the asthma diagnosis. It may well still be asthma - but it's something to think about of nothing is actually changing things as they should. Ok someone night need a higher level of treatment but they'd normally see some ray of light with the initial offerings.

The Asthma UK nurses are very good and might be able to help. Their number is 0300 2225800 M-F 9-5.

cricri86 profile image
cricri86 in reply to twinkly29

thank you . i will check those out and hopefully get some help and will take my sats more seriously i think . i finally after 2 weeks of trying ,got an appointment with an asthma nurse for the first time on the 22nd of dec so fingers crossed i will get somewhere

Js706 profile image
Js706 in reply to cricri86

I'm glad that you have an appointment with the asthma nurse coming up but again if your sats are dropping as you describe then you need to seek help before then.

Hey, glad you've got appointment I would also still ring asthma uk nurses as they can prep you for appointment so you get best out of it.

But yes I also work in NHS and generally speaking someone with those sats we would be treating.

Also as twinkly and others have said asthma is a minefield... it's so varied for people and is not what the textbook states! Asthma quite often can come with different things for company! Good luck

I have asthma and l never cough. Mine is shortness of breath mostly. You have to request to do spirometry test, this will ascertain if is asthma or not. Also, where do you get the cramps? Because if you are getting abdominal cramps then that is GERD which some of us get as asthmatics. My cramps comes mostly after eating so l try to eat less...but l still get them anyway which sucks. I use Fostair 100 but it doesn't give me cramps but we are all different. Have you done the Covid test?

Hello! I'm sorry you're having such a horrible time and feel so unwell. I've read through the replies and notice that you mention that sometimes your tightness gets worse after using the blue Ventolin inhaler. Are you on aerosol inhalers or dry powder inhalers? It's a long shot, but if you're on the aerosol inhalers you may be sensitive to the propellant, if so, it could make things worse. This is related to a sensitivity to aspirin and ibuprofen. If you have no other symptoms, such as pains or water retention in the ankle and legs, it could well be adult onset asthma. But asthma comes in several forms and can be allergy prompted or not. Unfortunately, due to covid usual testing and appointments are non existent. Relying on your response to treatment is basic and if the inhalers aren't giving you relief and good oxygen stats then definitely contact your GP. There are some face to face appointments available and it may be possible to arrange one so that spirometry tests can be carried out as well as other checks, including ECG and bloods.

All the best.

Hi cricri86 - no clue as to diagnosis but just wanted to say that muscle cramps and spasms are a common side effect of brochodilators. Well when I say "common", not so common that all GP's/asthma nurses have heard of it - frustratingly. I'm told the symptoms almost always settle (they haven't with me, but I think that's rare...) so don't let that put you off.

Meanwhile, keep on at your GP - I am having a similar experience in that my GP - who is brilliant, but who is just not managing to get on top of my treatment - has been REALLY reluctant to refer me on to a specialist because she thinks they will all be busy due to covid. That might well be true but id rather have my name on the list than not, so insisted on referral.

Anyway, good luck, I hope you find some resolution.

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