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Severe Asthma & tiredness

Blueberry37 profile image

Hi all, I am diagnosed with severe asthma and am on a treatment plan with 4 regular medications + a reliever. The last few months I've been feeling incredible tired and finding it harder and harder to manage more than a few hours of activity each day. By activity I mean every day living stuff.

It's starting to feel so delibitating. My consultant did a full blood works and only found raised white blood cells so was put on another course of antibiotics (2 so far). I felt fine when on it and now after 2 weeks off it I'm back again feeling so unwell. I get a lot of cold sweats as well.

I'm at a loss what to do. Is this common amongst others who have severe asthma?

16 Replies

I have bad chronic fatigue, and at the moment with the severity/frequency of my attacks my fatigue is more severe than I'm used to. I'd say it's related definitely, but for me not the entire thing.

The exhaustion of just functioning is definitely debilitating! It also definitely can be related but also can be other things and it's such a minefield. I don't know how raised your WBC was but I think being slightly raised can be caused by steroids so it can be normal if one is on or has been on steroids - that may not be relevant though for you.

This is what my consultant said last time but once I got the anitbiotcs I felt better. I think I'm going to go back to the GP instead and go from there because maybe it's not related to the asthma .

Have you had your B12 levels checked. Just an idea

Also forgot to say I was told having asthma is like running s marathon a day

I am diagnosed with severe asthma but cope with most things on a daily basis. I’m on Xolair which makes me very tired after I’ve had the injection for a couple of days and then I’m fine again. Daily exercise should help. Keep pushing through. You will get there. Good and bad days but always keep positive. Good luck

sorry to hear your so unwell blueberry next time you go your doctors ask can you have a ca125 blood test this test shows up a lot of thing that doctors don't consider until the last resort as for being fatigue i thing it goes along with asthma some times i find it hard to do anything due to exhaustion but have just had my all my results back and have a small collapse on my bronchi and another lung disease on the small lobes stay positive and take

There's more than one type of white blood cell but asthmatics can have raised cell count due to steroid treatment and/or some type of infection (bacterial, viral or fungal). But as you're also experiencing fatigue and cold sweats then your doctor will want to rule out other causes other than infection. Sometimes it's difficult to determine what the infection is, but symptoms should help the investigation.

Having said that, nothing I've had has been diagnosed promptly - symptoms can represent different illnesses and unless your doctor is Sherlock Holmes it can take time to arrive at the right conclusion. It's definitely difficult when asthma gets in the way, at first any new symptoms can be put down to asthma or medication side effects. Definitely look at any newer medications and their side effects, just in case.

Knowing what white cell type is raised will be a good start and maybe some hormone checks. And definitely get your doctor to rule out adrenal fatigue and check your adrenal health.

Anselm198 profile image
Anselm198 in reply to Poobah

Hi there.Just to say you need to ask about Adrenal Insufficiency. Adrenal Fatigue is not recognised so it is important to ask for the right thing. I have Secondary AI due to 40 years on Prednisolone

Poobah profile image
Poobah in reply to Poobah

Adrenal fatigue isn't linked to steroid use but to an overworked Adrenal system, say stress, anxiety or illness. If we're constantly stressed etc then our cortisol levels will be high for long periods of time and this can exhaust the system leading to its fatigue and in turn we too become tired and can experience sweats. It's very easy to test.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to Poobah

Poobah, I'm wondering about your source for adrenal fatigue? Endocrinologists don't currently view it as a real concept or syndrome, since there isn't good quality evidence for it.

Not research but a good start as an overview:

This article (not original research but a good overview) points out that adrenal fatigue as a concept doesn't fit with how the adrenal glands work. It does emphasise that the symptoms should be taken seriously as there may be something else going on (eg related to hormone levels). Saliva tests for cortisol, which seem to be quite common when people are told they have adrenal fatigue, are not especially accurate and aren't recommended - you really need blood tests taken at the right time of day, and potentially an ACTH stimulation test (often referred to as a 'short synacthen test').

This literature review finds no evidence for adrenal fatigue - there isn't currently good evidence to support it, and a lot of the current research appears to be contradictory and/or poor quality. Of course, absence of evidence isn't necessarily evidence of absence, but the current research isn't convincing that adrenal fatigue exists. bmcendocrdisord.biomedcentr...

Blueberry - you might still have adrenal insufficiency, especially if you have needed frequent courses of oral steroids or came off a longer course. This post might be helpful on that topic:

I hope you find an answer and a solution as it's rubbish feeling tired all the time!

Hi Blueberry. Is it possible that you are picking up various cold viruses one after the other?

Night sweats and fatigue are classic signs of NTM disease.If you are producing Sputum ask your Consultant to test for this.

Thanks everyone for your replies. I have an appointment next week but she asked me to contact the GP as well because the tiredness and cold/hot sweats are not down to my severe asthma according to her. I'm so frustrated. I'll speak to the GP aswell.

Would definitely second the comments made about adrenal insufficiency - prednisolone can suppress your cortisol levels making you feel very tired and not all consultants check for it. It can be checked through your GP via a blood test.

I find that Montelukast makes me really tired through the day. Is that one of the meds you’re on?

I also felt like you’re describing after having repeated flare ups and loads of courses of pred. Then after I’d weaned off the pred I felt achy, with extreme tiredness and not much energy for quite a while afterwards.

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