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Just wanted to post a thread throwing this out there. I've been suffering asthma attacks for the last 2-1/2 years, starting at age 44. First once every 6-9 months, then constantly for the last 7 months. My primary care doc diagnosed asthma and started me on maintenance inhalers. From the start, it seemed that being on them, initial and then upped dosage, had no effect on the frequency or severity of my attacks. Only Prednisone would get me back to normal breathing.

Over the next 2 years, my doc prescribed 6 different maintenance inhalers: Qvar, Fluticasone, Atrovent, Breo, Symbicort and Spiriva. The latter heavy hitters gave me some temporary relief, but none "maintained" me. Sometimes, mostly middle of the night or early morning, it would take 8-10 puffs of Albuterol to be able to breathe. I've spent over $5,000 on inhalers.

Finally I saw an ENT. I described my symptoms and was crushed to hear his first words: "if its asthma I can't help you." Then I told him I'd had sinus surgery when I was 18 years old. "Oh, you could be a special case then." I had CT scans of my sinuses, turns out 4 of my 8 sinus passages are blocked. I have been getting sinus infections repeatedly because of these blocked passages, with nasty stuff dropping post-nasally onto my larynx and into my lungs, causing my breathing difficulty. The inhalers had not affected this issue, thus did nothing to help me.

I'm now seeing an ENT surgeon and hopefully will be scheduled for another sinus surgery soon. I just wanted to put this out there - if nothing has helped and you've been miserable, maybe its something beside "typical" asthma. I went through hell the last 7 months when nothing would allow me to breathe but Prednisone - and my doctor was too worried about side effects to prescribe any more for me. Best of luck to all.
Yes, I should have covered that. I saw a "critical care" pulmonologist who simply put me on another inhaler (Breo). 8 other people were in the waiting room, they all got Breo. The Breo sales rep was also there, putting up a cardboard display in the lobby. Breo did not maintain my symptoms.

I also saw a specialty asthma + allergy clinic with a PA fresh out of Cornell and Yale, did peak flow testing and the allergy ***** test x50. They put me on Spiriva. When that did not improve my condition, they said "we've done all we can do for you. See someone else."

Edit/Add: I had an appointment with a second Otolaryngologist (ENT), who reviewed my sinus CT scans. He's diagnosed me with "Airway Reactive Disease" which basically means something is affecting my breathing - in this case post nasal drip from obstructed sinus passages. Trying three weeks of penicillin to clear me up, then I may be scheduled for sinus surgery. Again, just wanted to put this out there for people who have been suffering for years, when asthma inhalers & medications have not helped - it may be something else.

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