I've had "asthma" for the last 20 years. I put it in quotes because my doctor says it's not your typical asthma. My large airways are always at 100%, but my small airways are always between 60-70%. My peakflow meter is always in the green zone since they seem to only read the large airway, and I read my Advair mostly helps the large airways. So is there anything that can be done for the small airways? Right now I use Advair once a day (100/50 is the highest I can tolerate without getting sick), and Singulair once a day. They help, but I always have that heavy chest feeling and breathe pretty shallow.
Do I need to see another type of doctor other than an asthma specialist? I don't have allergies, I've been tested. I think this is more genetic.
Do you use a rescue inhaler like Albuterol? Does it help?
What type of asthma doctor have you been seeing?
I used to go to an asthma/ allergy doc. I have since switched to a Pulmonologist. He did some testing that the other doctor didn't. Also, although I have allergies, my asthma is non-allergic. My allergy/ asthma doc kept treating my asthma as if it was allergy related. Sometimes a doctor with a different approach helps. I would ask around to try to get names of good docs in your area if you look for another opinion. It seems like you may need someone with good experience in treating your particular condition.
I have a rescue inhaler, but I hate using it. I'm very sensitive to steroids, and sometimes even one puff will make me shakey or nauseous.
My doctor is an allergy/asthma doctor. She's run out of suggestions for me and I guess has done all she is trained to do, so going to a Pulmonologist might be what I need to do. I may call her office and get recommendations.
One question though. If I'm already taking the most Advair I can take, as well as Singulair, is there something else a Pulmonologist can do? I guess if they take an x-ray they can see if there's something else causing my small airways to always be partially closed up.
Oh, and I've been tested for acid reflux and it was negative. I've tried OTC meds and they don't really make a difference.
I used Flovent by itself before and it made my throat so hoarse, I almost lost my voice. I always thought you weren't supposed to have to use a rescue inhaler more than once a week. My doctor always said if you have to use it more than that, you're not on the right long term medication.
My issue isn't that I have attacks more often, it's that I normally don't breathe well because my small airways are always at 60-70%. I guess I probably need an x-ray. They may naturally be smaller than normal.
Your asthma sounds just like mine. I was diagnosed at 48 years old and I am now 52. I've always had sinus and allergy problems, but started getting colds and bronchitis more often and short of breath.. I have been to 2 asthma specialists and they both say it's definitely asthma. However, I never wheeze or have asthma attacks. I have just a general shortness of breath most of the time. My spirometry tests always show that my small airways are worse than my large. At one time I was at 32% in my small airways! I increased that number to 56% with Advair. My other percentages were OK, not great, but in the 80% range. I am thinking of going to a pulmonologist also. Have you been yet, Tigger?
No, I haven't seen a pulmonologist yet. I've been fighting thyroid disorders this year and have too many medical bills right now to even think about seeing another doctor. I think the thyroid may be causing some of my breathing problems too.
Have you tried a nebulizer? My GP had me get one when I was not recovering well from a flare up, and it did help. SHe said that it helps the medicine get deeper into the lungs than an inhaler can. It worked pretty well for me. Nebulizers can be pretty inexpensive, and the ampoules of albuterol are on the $4 list at various discount stores--the only low-cost asthma drug out there, once cfc inhalers go away completely.