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How do doctors treat asthma in Japan? 2019/9/29 15:46
Hello there.

I had bad experience with the doctors here in Japan. I don't know if they really know what asthma is.

DOCTOR 1 (first week)
It all started in May 2019 when I had a moderate asthma attack. I went to the doctor (during work hours) but the doctor said it wasn't asthma because IT HAS NO WHEEZING. I told her that wheezing is not the only symptom of asthma. I also told her that I just used my rescue inhaler earlier so maybe it's the reason why she didn't hear any wheezing. Also, I know myself, I have asthma since I was a kid. I was so sure that it was asthma. Anyway, she gave me meds that are not related to asthma (cough supressant, etc). I was soo frustrated. She did not even put me on a nebulizer when that time I was already feeling chest tightness.

DOCTOR 2 (2nd week)
So I bought my own portable nebulizer through Amazon. I went to another doctor with my nebulizer, asked them if they have Salbutamol nebules because that's what I needed. I showed them pictures of what it looks like. Unfortunately, they don't know it. I also showed them my nebulizer, and to my horror, they don't know how to use it. One nurse said "let's read the instructions (in Japanese)" to which I quickly replied "It's okay, I know how to use it".

DOCTOR 3 (3rd week)
I went to St. Luke's Emergency because of my daily on-and-off breathlessness. I felt that it's getting worse already. There, the doctor gave me antibiotics because of my green phlegm. Then he prescribed me the same Ventolin rescue inhaler I use. My condition got better, I think because of the antibiotics. My coughing frequency declined but my shortness of breathing was still present. Fortunately, I have a friend who went back to the Philippines that time so I asked her to buy me Salbutamol nebules. My asthma went away after using the Salbutamol nebules for several days.

*My asthma was gone in the last week of June until 3rd week of August.
*On August 25, my asthma began again.

DOCTOR 4 (August 25)
I went to St Lukes Tokyo Emergency and for the first time, they put me on a nebulizer. Then the doctor prescribed Symbicort Turbuhaler and urged me to visit a Pulmonologist which I gladly obliged.

DOCTOR 5 (August 27)
I went to the Pulmonologist but he just told me to continue taking Symbicort. He also ordered a series of lab tests and then asked me to come back on September 10. Yes I had to wait for 2 weeks with my breathing condition getting worse.

On August 31, I decided to fly back to the Philippines because I wasn't getting any better. I felt like my asthma needed an urgent medication or else, I might have a permanent lung damage. So I went to the Philippines on September 1. My doctor there was so good. He asked me to exhale strongly many times while listening to his stethoscope. He heard my wheezing which ALL THE DOCTORS I WENT TO IN JAPAN didn't hear because they didn't ask me to blow strong during expiration. Anyway, my Filipino doctor gave me a combination of meds along with Symbicort Turbuhaler (Mepresone for 5 days, Doxofylline 2x a day, Montelukast 1x a day, and Ipratropium Salbutamol nebules 3x a day). He also ordered a series of lab tests. Found out that I have bacteria in my sputum. My IgE is insanely high. PFT is normal, etc. Through the meds, my health condition improved within 1 week. I started breathing normally. I even had the time to see my friends.


Then I went back to Japan but my asthma returned, tho not as worse as before, maybe because of the meds I received in the Philippines. If only I were in the PH right now, I would go to my doctor again and he would prescribe me stronger meds that will surely cure my asthma and help me live a normal life again. But since I was already here in Japan, I had no choice but to go back to my pulmonologist at St Lukes Tokyo. So I went there, and I told my doctor everything about the meds I took in the Philippines, etc.. I also gave him my lab tests from the PH. Then I showed him my wheezing through strong exhalation. He was shocked to hear my wheezing. So maybe that time he realized that my asthma is really serious so he gave me a new controller ADOAIR 500/50 which he said is stronger than Symbicort Turbuhaler.

Currently, I still have asthma. I don't know what to do. I ran out of my meds from the Philippines already. So I only depend on ADOAIR now which I think is not enough.

Just a little background: This is my first time to have asthma in Japan since I started living here in January 2017. For my two years of living in Japan, I'd never used my Ventolin rescue inhaler until I had it again this year. Also, when I was a kid until high school, I had severe asthma exacerbation many times but I always get cured after 2 weeks of medication (we had a nebulizer at home which I would always use every 4 hours + some oral meds, of course with the doctor's prescription). But this time is different - it is mild but I have it for more than a month now despite all the medication I'm taking. I'm thinking of flying home again because I trust the doctors there more than the doctors here now. Also, in the Philippines, the doctors use a combination of meds unlike here in Japan, it seems like they only rely on controllers all the time.
by Frances (guest)  

Re: How do doctors treat asthma in Japan? 2019/9/29 19:52
You have more than just asthma. Something else is going on. You don't have an attack last 14 days. Especially using relievers. And you are not a severe asthma sufferer as you have had months and/or years between major issues.

And you have hinted that on one occasion you had green phlegm present. I'd suggest you have bronchitis or similar virus affecting your oesophagus. Which in turn triggers your asthma. Asthma treatments will ease the issues. But if the virus isn't solved, then it returns and triggers your asthma again.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

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