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Having wheezing and breathlessness during winter season. Suffer cough and congestion and yellow phlegm. Suggest treatment?

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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist
Practicing since : 1983
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I am British and registered with the NHS. I have ongoing respiratory problems, mainly when weather is wet or cold it seems - during the winter. This is wheezing most of the time, breathlessness sometimes so severe I cannot sleep and cannot walk easily or climb any steps; cough from the chest, congestion and yellow phlegm. If someone sniffs on public transport I immediately get a fever and severe breathlessness. I am not happy with the service from my GP - this illness started three years ago when I had pneumonia, it took the nurse two weeks to realise something was wrong and I was immediately sent to hospital and given oxygen for most of my stay. Afterwards I continued to complain of my symptoms and was given no advice. Eventually one doctor prescribed antibiotics which helped a lot and an inhaler which nobody explained to me how to use. On another occasion, after my breathlessness had forced me to sit outside in the garden half the night, a doctor told me it was probably a panic attack. They give me the breathing into a tube test and accuse me of not trying. They send me for chest xrays but they never show anything. The last time I visited in May (before the summer) after I had been off sick and unable to sleep because of breathing difficulties for three nights the nurse said I was not an emergency. At my insistence she prescribed antibiotics and a new inhaler which I have now found out how to use. In the summer I had a private consultation with a private health company which reported to me that I am at stage 2 of GOLD COPD standard. Once again I am ill, worried about having to have time off work and really not knowing what to do when the breathlessness starts. Changing my GP isn't really an option I think and making a complaint won't help but is there somewhere I can get proper advice and treatment for a condition that isn't improving and seems to get worse please.
Posted Thu, 3 Oct 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Seek referral to specialist centre.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for using Healthcare Magic.
You clearly have a complex chronic respiratory disease that appears not to have been fully diagnosed so that you have been unable to receive appropriate treatment.
I suggest you consider discussing with your GP the possibility of referral to a tertiary (specialist)centre for complex respiratory conditions. I note where you live and therefore I would expect that a large centre would be relatively accessible to you.
It appears that you have tried all first line management of your condition with no long-lasting improvement.
It would be impossible to offer detailed suggestions for your care on a forum such as this as it would be important to carry out a physical examination and various investigations before making worthwhile suggestions. I assume you have been investigated for chronic obstructive sleep apnoea. Your symptoms do not exactly fit this condition but there are some similarities.
I hope this has been of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr K A Pottinger,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having wheezing and breathlessness during winter season. Suffer cough and congestion and yellow phlegm. Suggest treatment? 54 minutes later
Thank you for your advice and I understand that I need further investigation. I think my concern is if the doctor (the GP) still fails to take my condition seriously, is there some sort of specialist that I could locate privately? I mean in general terms only as I am in the UK/Europe.
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 20 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Some suggestions.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for your further question.
There are a number of routes to access private healthcare. If you are wishing to contact a private GP then an internet search for your area will provide results. Alternatively, some private hospitals have GPs associated with them. Contact your favoured private hospital to make enquiries. I cannot recommend any particular hospital in this circumstance.
You could also consider contacting a respiratory specialist in the same way via your local private hospital. You would book an appointment through the relevant secretary.
A different doctor looking at your case from the start could be what would be best for you in the long-term.
I hope this has answered your question. If you need further advice, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr K A Pottinger
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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