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Asthma or Bronchiectatis?

Poppins23 profile image

Hi, I'm new to the community and wondered if anyone else has had a similar problem with their diagnosis. At the age of 50 I was diagnosed with mature onset asthma which proved very difficult to control. I have tried a number of different inhalers and I'm currently on Symbicort 200/6 and Spiriva. I also use ventalin as a reliever. I have postnatal drip and use mometasone furoate for this and take omezoprozle for reflux. So I have virtually all bases covered. Although I get some wheeze my symptoms are predominately that of a productive cough and breathlessness. I get frequent chest infections and am currently on my second course of antibiotics and steroids to clear one. My asthma nurse, who is new, isn't convinced that it is Asthma and thinks that it could be bronchiectasis. This ties with my original GP who referred me to the respiratory team and even had me admitted to hospital in the hope of having further investigations carried out, each time it was deemed to be asthma. My asthma nurse is making another referral to the respiratory team as even now I don't get the relief I should be getting from my inhalers.

14 Replies
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Hi and welcome..and another possibility is it could be both.I have asthma bronchiectasis and asbestos

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Good morning Poppins23. Bronchiectasis is often misdiagnosed as asthma but can also develop from having asthma for a long time. Your medics have been tinkering at the edges. You need a definite diagnosis from a bronchiectasis expert- not a ‘respiratory team’ or a ‘hopeful diagnosis through admittance to A&E’. Bronchiectasis can only be diagnosed by ct scan, interpreted by a bronch expert.

Most GPs know nothing about bronch. Believe me I have had it for 65 years. Our respiratory nurse can’t even say it and most general respiratory consultants are not trained in bronchiectasis but hate to admit it.

So, you really need to take charge here

Look on the internet for a bronchiectasis expert in your area. They are usually at large teaching hospitals. Take the name to your GP and insist on a referral

The consultant should then do the tests to ascertain whether you have it or not.

If you have bronch they should then write to your GP detailing the treatment in drug terms that you will need.

You will need to be seen by a physiotherapist who will teach you clearance techniques to get the mucus which breeds infection out of your lungs on a daily basis.

Much of the control of bronch is down to self management and the right antibiotics in the correct dose for at least 14 days.

This is a complex and sadly often badly treated condition

We have to be our own advocates and vociferous in sourcing the correct treatment.

If it is not bronch hopefully you will find out what is causing the infections.

I hope that helped

Good luck.

Poppins23 profile image
Poppins23 in reply to Hidden

Thankyou for that. I will look into it.

Poppins23 profile image
Poppins23 in reply to Hidden

I'm lucky in that I have a very good asthma nurse. Unfortunately I rarely get to see the same doctor twice, which hinders progress Ias they each have their own ideas. Certainly the reading I have been doing does seem to fit my symptoms. I'm back with the asthma nurse in 2 weeks and I am definitely going to push her to make the referral.

Ceejay65 profile image
Ceejay65 in reply to Hidden

Spot on. I couldn’t have said it any more concisely. Do take littlepom’s advice. I too was diagnosed with asthma when I was around 50 and have never really been convinced it was. However in February this year after many many chest infections and visits to A&E I finally got to see a consultant who specialised in Bronchiectasis and after a CT scan and Bronchoscopy, sure enough Bronchiectasis was diagnosed. The cause was put down to having had 2 bouts of pneumonia in the last two years and on a background of having had asthma long term (I’m 65 now). I still technically have asthma but now I am in full understanding of my Bronchiectasis any asthma symptoms are conspicuous by their absence. I’m treating the Bronchiectasis as littlepom has described after seeing the physiotherapist and having been taught the various postural drainage and breathing techniques. I’m also on a waiting list to go on a pulmonary rehabilitation course to learn more and be given an exercise regime.

Poppins23 profile image
Poppins23 in reply to Ceejay65

Thankyou Ceejay65. I've always had a niggling doubt that it was just asthma. Far too many chest infections and trial and error to find inhalers that worked. I'll have to wait and see how it goes. Thankfully the steroids and antibiotics are kicking in and I am getting some relief.

Your story is almost like mine.. I think mine comes from allergy's over time turned into asthma.then small airway disease ... Plus acid reflux the gases goes up your throat and settles into your lungs giving you lung infections...Medications some give you acid reflux so look into that.... But one does lead to another .. For me that is how I got into this mess long term allergy's afecting my lungs .. Hope your feeling better soon...

Poppins23 profile image
Poppins23 in reply to Clamdigger

Hi. I've never suffered from allergies until this started. My reflux does definitely aggravate it. I just need a definite diagnosis one way or another. I've had a few other things this year which my GP said could be a connective tissue disorder. Again investigations were inconclusive but I know that bronchiectasis can also be linked to this so will have to wait and see. Steroids are kicking in so I am feeling better thankyou.

Clamdigger profile image
Clamdigger in reply to Poppins23

I looked into this last night Allergies turned to asthma by the time your 50 years old in 30% of the population... It can lead to Bronchitis which turns to COPD.. Over the years it affects all of your lungs .. That is what happen to me....Your lungs wear out from lung infections my are full of scars they become weaker more reactive over time ... The more allergies the more problems in controlling your asthma.. My lungs in a mess from this. It is scary dealing with this... I have to get blood work done it might have to do with scarring of the lungs don't know but find out this week .... Plus you can get allergies any time in your life....

Poppins23 profile image
Poppins23 in reply to Clamdigger

Sorry to hear that. Hope your results are better than you are anticipating. My dad had COPD caused by asbestosis and being a long term smoker. He had a significant degree of scarring. My brother-in-law was also recently diagnosed. He is a non-smoker. It can be very frightening and confusing. It sounds like you have a good team looking after you. Good luck with your results.

I too was diagnosed with late onset asthma, almost impossible to control. At the same time I had a chest X-ray because of constant coughing. The X-ray showed a shadow on my lung which was diagnosed as bronchiecstasis. I’m on spirits, ventolin, seretide 500, ciclesonide, montelukast, mometisone, cetrezine, lansprazole and azithromycin as a prophylactic antibiotic. This has given me the best results because I only get about one chest infection each year.

Poppins23 profile image
Poppins23 in reply to helenlw7

I get 3-4 chest infections a year. Usually involving a second course of antibiotics to help clear them. My X-rays always apppear normal. I'm glad to hear that your symptoms are crrently under control.

Clamdigger profile image
Clamdigger in reply to helenlw7

I'm on my third round of predisoine this summer... They got worse every year from ten years ago.. Its rough dealing with this....Now chest infections every summer...

Hi I have also been diagnosed with asthma recently..I also have on spioloto inhaler for bronchitis..when diagnosed with asthma I was put on flixotide inhaler 2puffs twice a works I was wheezing and coughing quite a lot...mabe you could ask your gp about flixotide for your asthma...good luck....

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