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Repeated flare ups

Hi I wondered if anyone has any advice. I’m male, asthmatic and aged 45. I used to smoke (I know - seriously stupid and dangerous). Since November I have had monthly, week-long flare ups. Very breathless and often go days without sleeping or even eating. I’ve been to A&E six times. The doctors are getting sick of me and after giving me salbutamol nebuliser they discharge me, still breathless because my oxygen sats are normal. It’s not like asthma I used to encounter. It’s like a fullness (almost like drowning) in my right side. I get an aching and soreness throughout my right lung and back. And it feels like there is a pile of books resting on my right breast. Quite often (like at the time I’m typing) there are loud popping and rattling wheezes, most prominently when laying on my back. There is fluid in there because I often feel a clump of it move, but if I try to cough it up it does nothing. Annoyingly whenever by the time I see a doctor they say they can hear no wheeze - it’s that tight. And as the sats are normal they start to suggest it’s anxiety. It definitely isn’t - I know my own body, because after about six days it usually relaxes in my chest and I spend a day coughing up thick phlegm. Then I have two weeks well and fit and it happens all over again. I’ve had four chest x-rays this year. Many blood tests and everything comes back normal. But I’m so breathless. I’ve lost two jobs through constant sickness periods. I’m on duoresp, ventolin, carbocistiene and montelukast and get a course of prednisone every flare up. I don’t even think the steroids do anything as it takes six days to subside each time. I’m starting to wonder if it’s COPD. It’s so frustrating medics just discharge me cos oxygen sats are fine. It’s seriously like they think I’m a mental case. It doesn’t respond to inhalers or nebulisers and I can’t cough anything up until the day the restriction suddenly eases then I cough up loads of phlegm. It’s ruining my life. I have a respiratory consultant appointment in August but I’m just scared they’ll say they can’t find anything wrong again. I know I can’t come to a forum expecting medical answers, but just wondered if anyone had any similar experiences. I’ve tried to eliminate every trigger I can think of. I’m even starting to think daft things like is it the Covid jabs I had a year or so ago. Any help appreciated. x

  1. - Waiting to see if others chime in across the community to help assist you, friend. But firstly, I want you to know you are not alone in this. It sounds extremely frustrating that you cannot get answers, especially with multiple visits to A&E (ER?). I am glad you made an appt in August to a specialist - is this with a pulmonologist? When reading about your struggle, one of the first things that came to mind is possibly journaling your daily symptoms. And, maybe even recording (video or sound) your bouts with phlegm and cough to take in as evidence, seeing you are afraid it will be calm and/or quiescentthe on the day your appt. Of course you are thinking up "daft" reasons, like Covid immunzn. You are searching for any and all reasons you feel awful. The mind goes there when rational explanations are shot down. Lastly, do not give up. You know your body better than anyone and if you feel in your gut something is wrong get it checked out the best you can. Leaving a link to a helpful article - https://asthma.net/living/specialist-near-me Here is a site if you want to search for the best pulmonologist near you. https://health.usnews.com/doctors/location-index/pulmonologists Hopefully others will have some sites they can reference or some help getting you to the correct specialist for much better answers on your troubling condition. Rebecca (comm advc)

    1. Seems like you may be UK based and I know the process works differently there, yet I would ask for full Lung Function Testing and a CT scan (to rule out other issues like COPD and Bronchiectasis). I have asthma too with a strong mucus component and suspected something worse … got all the testing (all A-OK) and pulmo remains adamant of his asthma diagnosis. Some days are better than others, exercise helps immensely.

      1. I recently had a pulmonary test & was diagnosed with cough variant ashtma I was having shortness of breath wheezing coughing nothing ever came up I would cough til I couldn’t breath & then throw up I’m now using dulera inhaler morning & night it has made the world of difference

        1. Hi CM1068, and thanks for joining in the conversation. We appreciate you sharing the success you're having using this medication (Dulera) to manage this disease.
          We value your input and your feedback.
          Enjoy the holiday weekend!
          Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

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