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Not completely sure I have asthma but coughing loads

(21 Posts)
drspouse Fri 17-Jun-16 20:23:54

I am often coughing a lot - after/during exercise, if I have a cold I have a horrible hacking cough that goes on for weeks, and just randomly.
I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma a few years ago but my peak flow readings were never that low, however the blue inhaler does help if I take it before running/swimming etc, in that I don't cough as much. I rarely feel wheezy and it's hard to tell if I'm actually sort of breath as I just cough so much I can't tell!
I've got a cough now, which comes on even with fast walking/pushing the buggy/going up hill. Plus a lot of other random times. Nurse says no chest infection but thought it could be my asthma. Again peak flow is not very low, I have taken it regularly today, I wasn't exercising, but I also skipped my inhaler.
She's given me a brown one and I'm going to try several peak flow readings with blue inhaler tomorrow then brown the next (trying to be scientific).

Can this still be asthma if my peak flow is normal? The blue inhaler does help my cough normally but normally I only have to take it before serious exercise. At the moment a brisk walk to the shops sets it off.

LIZS Fri 17-Jun-16 20:26:44

Mine presents similarly. I'm on one inhaler which can be used as a preventer and when it starts.

drspouse Fri 17-Jun-16 20:34:56

Do you have low/clinical levels of peak flow? Or vaguely normal most of the time?

AYD2MITalkTalk Fri 17-Jun-16 20:36:17

How old are you, and have you ever smoked? It might be COPD.

drspouse Fri 17-Jun-16 21:51:30

Late 40s, and never (well, about twice in my teens. Literally about 2 cigarettes ever).

AYD2MITalkTalk Fri 17-Jun-16 22:17:09

Could it be pollen-induced?

drspouse Fri 17-Jun-16 22:19:24

I think this particular episode is post-viral but there's certainly something in early May each year that makes me bad.
But I get this in the winter too.

DottyGiraffe Sat 18-Jun-16 07:45:46

The brown inhaler won't work immediately so testing peak flow like that won't really help. It takes a couple of weeks of regular use for the preventor inhaler (brown) to me most effective. I'd suggest doing your peak flow twice a day, morning and night, during that time and taking the results to the nurse afterwards. But the brown inhaler must be taken regularly even when you're well. It isn't effective as an ad hoc thing. There's no harm in doing the odd extra peak flow reading if you feel rubbish, perhaps before using the blue inhaler and 15 mins afterwards, but it will be the general pattern they'll look at at this stage I suspect.
Hope the brown inhaler helps to settle things.

Clarella Sat 18-Jun-16 08:42:35


I did not know I had asthma but have always had issues with coughs and smoke.

I've had terrible coughs since having my son and twice very mild pneumonia (just a deep lung infection) The second time it was cleared quickly with abs but the hacking cough and what I now know as mild asthmatic episodes continued for 3 months, only abating when on oral steroids.

I was diagnosed with asthma (a slow process!) abd only recently got my head round it. I know think I've had it mildly always as you say but just thought it normal. I pushed through coughing tightness when exercising which now know helped. But - it's never been that bad.

When we started a peak flow monitor and I started the brown inhaler my peak flow never went that low, but the daily improvement was enough to say asthma (they work out a percentage increase). However, the level of inflammation was still there enough to make me very weak. My rbc had even raised slightly out of range to accommodate a low level lack of oxygen (this was over a couple of years).

Like you I don't wheeze much at all; it's coughing and I know recognise a strangling crushing feeling (I was too used to it to realise). My best peak flow is 440, usually 400-420 but I'm 'bad' at 370, lowest is 350.

I've read about cough variant asthma and I feel this fits very well with me. I have no allergies (pets, hay fever etc) so it's only irritants such as coughs and smoke. I think hormones and change in seasons affect it too. But it's treated the same.

I found asthma uk very helpful indeed.

The brown will take 5-10 days or even 2 weeks to have a full effect. But worth tracking peak flow and puffs on both brown and blue. Eventually you should t need blue at all.

drspouse Sat 18-Jun-16 12:59:32

Thanks all. My "poor" levels are also about 380, only occasionally lower.
I'll bear that in mind about the brown inhaler. I know to wait 15 mins after the blue one to see an improvement so I was kind of thinking the brown one would be a day or so.

pinkstarsarefalling Sat 18-Jun-16 14:50:28

Apparently in cough variant asthma the peak flow doesn't go very low, but the inflammation and reaction (mainly coughing) can still be difficult to cope with.

pinkstarsarefalling Sat 18-Jun-16 14:52:26

(As far as I've worked out!)

I noticed a bit of a difference after 5 days but the best was after 10. I was taking the blue about 4 times a day as a matter of course to help, until I noticed a reliable change in the peak flow, so about 10 days.

But best to be talked through with an asthma nurse or asthma uk.

Get well soon!

drspouse Mon 20-Jun-16 13:09:13

I've had 5 doses of the brown inhaler now - seems a tiny bit better but I still had to go out of a meeting to use my blue one this morning confused

pinkstarsarefalling Mon 20-Jun-16 14:49:41

I was told to keep using my blue each 4 hours to help keep under control whilst the brown one built up its levels. I think it could take a few more days yet. Get well soon

drspouse Mon 20-Jun-16 17:27:27

Yes I'd forgotten to take the blue one this morning - I've been keeping on with it in general.

londonhols Sat 02-Jul-16 09:06:37

About two weeks in and my cough is much much better. I'm on a family holiday and have also been trying to adjust my walking pace to toddler level too. So technically I'm not back to normal (it would be helpful to be able to walk at an adult pace) but I'm not coughing all the time either.

DottyGiraffe Sat 02-Jul-16 11:42:52

Good to hear! Enjoy your holiday smile

drspouse Thu 14-Jul-16 13:13:48

Cough still continues to be better, but now my mouth and teeth are really bothering me. I worked out I need to brush my teeth after using the inhaler, and the listed side effects say the spacer will help, but I already had a problem with a tooth on one side and the next tooth to the one that was fixed is now hurting.
Mouth tastes awful too and I can't work out whether I should have spicy foods (mask the taste) or not (may make mouth more painful). Seems like I shouldn't have sugar though. Oops.

cherrytree63 Fri 15-Jul-16 07:14:11

I had whooping cough followed by several chest infections and was coughing for over six months, and I was diagnosed with adult onset asthma last year.
However, I saw the consultant last month as a follow up to some lung function and sleep apnoea tests, only to be told that I don't have asthma. It's my GERD and possible hiatus hernia that's inflaming everything, but I also have hypersensitive airways from the coughing and infections I had last year.
Just thought I'd mention that as you have a bad taste in your mouth, which may not all be down to your inhaler

sashh Fri 15-Jul-16 07:38:54

Mine only presents as a morning cough and a bit of breathlessness. Occasionally laughing will change in to coughing too.

If I hadn't worked in cardiorespiratory I doubt it would have been picked up - once you hear an asthmatic cough it is unmistakable.

Badders123 Fri 15-Jul-16 07:47:16

Do brush your teeth after using the O healer or you may end up with oral thrush bitter experience

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