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British Lung Foundation
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Do I really have Asthma

Hi. I am in very good physical shape. I have been told by Lung Dr. that I have Asthma. My basic problem is indoor allergy. I one or 2 incidentes a year when I need medical help to get better from wheezing and feeling exhausted. Because my health is basically excellent (am will be 67 soon) I usually wait to seek help. When this happen I end up with one injection of prednisone a hard core antibiotic (Levofloxacin) for 10 days, a couple of weeks of the standard 10mg prednisone and Symbicort or similar inhaler. A soon as I feel better I stop using the inhaler. I consider the side effect of the medical cocktail a health risk. My question is how long should a person like me use Symbicort? Please reply

7 Replies

I suggest you should be using Symbicort as prescribed by your doctor.


I agree with Toci


I took Symbicort for some years. I don't recall being able to take it when I felt I needed it.

In my opinion preventive inhalers should be taken regularly,. As Toci says, do as your doctor tells you.

I'm happy to be taking Fostair now which offers the wonderful opportunity to take the lowest dose when well and up it when I'm not so well (like now when I have a virus).

Having asthma I wouldn't dream of missing out my Fostair. I absolutely hate steroids and avoid them like the plague.

The BLF helpline is useful for queries like yours


Endorse the above: Symbicort is a preventative and you should keep taking it. Unless you choose to keep your cycle of wheezing, wheezing getting worse, then having to have the pred injection and ABs. Symbicort should stop that, it's not called a preventer for nothing.

If it's indoor pollution, you need to tackle any dust sources - if you can, get rid of carpets (hoovering them just tends to spread the dust around), get a dust extractor, air your space very regularly so that any formaldehyde fumes from MDF, carpets etc is removed, and avoid open fires.

Most drugs are a health risk but we take them because the risk of not doing so is greater.

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Yes, absolutely right. We have to balance the risks agains benefits.

I'm very pleased with my recent change to Fostair, taken much less ventolin, it can also be used as a rescue. Don't know what changes it'll make to my skin - seretide already wrecked that - but that my choice. I'd rather be able to breath easily, keep my airways open avoiding infections taking hold. I've found tubigrip (S) on my arms a brilliant help for protection. Not a single cut or bruise from recent sailing hol. Good for DIY & gardening too.

P xx

PS Lucy, I take Montelukast for the allergy aspect of asthma. Hospital allergy tests showed mould & aspergillis to be my main allergies. Another asthma tip is to use your peak flow meter, if your flow drops from your 'normal' then it's a good indicator that an infection is likely or you need something to keep airways open. P

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I was told for years that I had asthma but I didn't believe them. I finally had a scan which proved I was right - I had bronchiectasis. There are, I believe, two 'tests' for asthma. 1. Peak Flow. My PF never varied, irrespective of how much activity I did - it was always about 500. 2. Ventolin (Salbutamol). I got no help from ventolin, ever! I recently had a lung function test which included seeing what effect ventolin had - 'No significant reversibility was observed'!

Hope this is helpful; for anyone who has been told they have asthma.

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@Lucy1949 : Your symbicort is a long acting bronchodilator with a steroid included in it. It is a quite strong treatment for asthma. If you can do without it when feeling well, but eventually get caught out, I suspect you should ask to try a weaker steroid inhaler (preventer) like Clenil Modulite used twice daily even when well, with Ventolin rescue inhaler for use as required, and see how that goes.

Maybe you've been there already as I think it unlikely you'd be started & kept on symbicort after an initial asthma diagnosis. Or they don't think its asthma, but likely COPD. Have you been a smoker?

You might try taking an antihistamine regularly, too - cetirizine or the like (cheap OTC, but free for you on prescription).


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