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What's the best type of Doctor to see to diagnose asthma? Some asthma questions...

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Old 10-12-2008, 05:51 PM   #1
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What's the best type of Doctor to see to diagnose asthma? Some asthma questions...

I have had mild/moderate asthma and severe allergies all my life. I've never sought treatment for either and just lived with the wheeze/allergy symptoms when they came on or took OTC meds. Now at 41, I've been having a lot of wheezing upon exhalation, and I've had this now for a few months. It's draining me physically. I feel tired, winded, and irritable a lot. I care for my 4 year old daughter and my husband has just been diagnosed with Epstein Barr, so I'm also doing a lot for him, so as you can probably guess, I need to feel 100% most of the time, or at least be able to breathe normally again. I now have an awful cold that has gone straight to my chest, and all I've been doing is coughing and wheezing for the last two days. I've had enough!! I saw a pulmonolgist a few months ago, and he listened to my chest, heard no wheeze, but said I definitely have asthma by my other symptoms. He started to suggest a whole bunch of meds and inhalers to me, wanted to do a breathing test, etc., which I never had done. I also had a chest x-ray(at my request) to rule out anything serious like lung cancer or nodules, and it was perfectly clear and negative. I wasn't crazy about him and did not go back to him after getting negative chest x-ray results.

I saw an allergist last week, who is treating my daughter for food allergies. He is very nice, and has a wonderful bedside manner. I mentioned my asthma and wheezing to him, and told him maybe he could do some testing on me in the Spring. He told me absolutely NOT to wait until Spring, that chronic wheezing is not good for the lungs, and to make an appointment with him ASAP for a breathing test and other allergy testing. I set up the appointment for early November. So my original question is this-Is it better to see an allergist, pulmonolgist or regular MD to diagnose asthma? Who of the three is the most experienced? And what inhalers are the best with the least side effects? My worry is that the side effects from these inhalers are worse than living with the wheeze and cough that I get a lot, so I want to be sure I'm seeing the right type of Doctor to treat this.

Sorry for the long post-hopefully someone can give me some advice on a lot of the questions I asked here. I'm just tired of living with wheezing and sinus drainage for 10 months out of the year, and I hope to finally maybe get on some meds that can help clear my lungs so I can breath again!

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Old 10-12-2008, 08:29 PM   #2
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Re: What's the best type of Doctor to see to diagnose asthma? Some asthma questions..

In my opinion, the best doctor to see for your asthma is a good doctor. Typically a Pulmonologist is my first choice for this. An allergy and asthma specialist is my second choice. A knowledgeable PCP is my third choice. I also get some support from my ENT who also runs an allergy clinic.

My current Pulmonologist did a thorough history and did some testing to put me on an accurate asthma plan, even though I wasn't having asthma symptoms at the time my appointment came around (I had a four month wait for my first appointment). Based on his questions and the conversations we had, I really left with full confidence in him. My Pulmonologist is also working closely with my Gastroenterologist because he found through testing that I had some reflux triggering my asthma at times.

Prior to this Pulmonologist, I spent a couple years receiving treatment through my PCP. She was excellent. She encouraged me to come in whenever I felt my asthma wasn't in control and she required me to come in every 3 months for basic follow-up for my asthma. She was patient and I was really upset when she moved to a practice that didn't take my insurance.

I went to an allergy and asthma clinic when I was first diagnosed by my PCP. I had already been going there for my allergies. They did well for my allergies and first series of immunotherapy shots, but I was really disappointed in their treatment of my asthma. I went to a specialty doc at this clinic for 6 years and when I stopped going there, he still didn't know who I was. He was abrupt and didn't take much time to talk to me. I just got the feeling he was out to see how many patients he could see in a day regardless of their needs.

I do agree that you should get your asthma under control sooner than later. You never know when your asthma can take a serious turn and that is more likely if you don't have it under control. Based on my experience, I also just plain feel better when my asthma is under control.

Good luck.

Old 10-13-2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: What's the best type of Doctor to see to diagnose asthma? Some asthma questions..

OUt of the 3 i can tell you who you shouldnt go to and that is the primary care. Not that all PC doctors are bad, but i had a bad experience with mine. For about 2 years i thought i had asthma and all mine did was check to see if i was wheezing which i wasnt and even after mentioning to him if i may have it said no. It wasnt until this May when i finally couldnt breath and saw and allergy specialist for testing that it was finally diagnosed. Thank god for her or i may be dead by now. Even after telling my PC physician about the finding, he actually had the nerve to smirk and say "oh those breathing tests can be off", no i dont think so since i could barely breath or have the energy to do anything for the longest time.

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