I've been having trouble breathing for the last 6 months. Had a PFT done then, slightly abnormal, but the student health center at my school (I'm in college) blew me off and said that since I wasn't wheezing at that instant in time even though I said I felt tight, there was no way I could have asthma, or anything else wrong with my lungs. I just saw my endocrinologist about 2 weeks ago, and she referred me to a pulmonologist. My FEV-1 was 74% this time, and he sent me in for a methacholine challenge. My FEV-1 started at 70% today, and dropped to 47% as soon as I took the first dose. The Albuterol brought me back up to 68%, and I left the office. My question is this: I was an athlete for 6 years (until I had to stop due to injuries and health problems), I eat mostly organic and healthy foods, I've never had any allergies or breathing problems before, no frequent infections, never smoked, no smoking, allergies, or lung problems much less asthma in ANY of my family members. Where did this come from? The technician said that in her 3 years of doing this, I am the only one in my age group (15-35) that she has ever seen with new-onset asthma. The pulmnologist is supposed to be calling me in the next few days, and I'll ask him then, but thought I would throw this out there. And, just another quick question. When I had the PFT, my FEV-1 was 74%, yet I felt like I had no trouble breathing. Does this just mean that my body has adjusted to being that low, but that I was/am still in all technicality in an asthma attack? And with these numbers, does 2 puffs of Advair 250/50 a day sound like enough? Or should I be on more. I know I just started, but I've had to take Albuterol 4 times in 3 1/2 days.
First off, the technician you talked to must have a fairly limited exposure to adult asthma patients because adult-onset asthma is fairly common. One Massachusetts study I found showed that adult-onset asthma affected 5.3% of the HMO patients they surveyed (and was more common than childhood-onset asthma which only affected 3.9% of the patients they surveyed) - it's more common in women than in men and is often diagnosed when people are in their 20s.
Speaking from my own experience, I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 26 and was an active triathlete, with no previous health issues of any kind - there's just no way to predict who it will affect or what triggers it (in many cases it is triggered by allergies but it can be triggered by other environmental factors, viral infections, or even acid reflux).
As for your breathing and meds, it will take the Advair some time to have its full effect so you should continue to see some improvement, and hopefully will have to use the Albuterol less over the next few days. You may have to work with the pulmonologist for a few months to get everything under control, so be patient but don't settle for asthma that is out of control.
You may also want to consider getting tested for allergies (which also commonly show up in adulthood) and making sure that you don't have acid reflux or heartburn that is contributing to the asthma.