World Asthma Day 2011

….Tuesday May 3rd 2011 is WORLD ASTHMA DAY….

So what is World Asthma Day?

World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
This year’s theme, “You Can Control Your Asthma” will focus on how asthma control can reduce visits to the hospital.

My Thoughts on this Year’s theme “You Can Control Your Asthma”

  • You are in charge of yourself and your medications. Never leave anything to chance.
  • Do not expect too much. Aim for the best possible control, ie the least possible symptoms.
  • Never be hit and miss about your medication. Take your controller inhaler/medication even when you are apparently well.
  • See your Asthma Nurse/Doctor if your asthma control is worsening.
  • Always be upbeat about your lungs and above all, truthful, never say you’re ok when actually you’re struggling.
  • Avoid your triggers if you possibly can.
  • Find what plan of campaign works for you and action it to achieve your best possible control.
Wow, how positive is this word  ‘Control‘. How wonderful that this years’s WAD them has a positive outlook.
Although, for some Doctors, controlled asthma means never using a rescue inhaler. For other medics controlled asthma means waking only 3 nights in a week. I think the Global Initiative probably ought to come up with a more clear cut guideline, something a bit more cut and dry like the British Guideline on the Management of Asthma.
Ok, so my story is a little different. My asthma is not typical of the little blue inhaler brigade and does not follow a text book definition. I have severe, difficult to control fixed asthma, as diagnosed by the Royal Brompton Hospital.
Firstly, for me, Control means I’m up and about and pottering around the house and although short of breath, I can walk up the stairs, maybe pausing a couple of times, but I can’t talk to you whilst doing it!
Secondly, I am very often Out of control and am most probably sitting bolt upright in bed unable to function even around the house.
Thirdly, Losing any semblance of Control is something I aim day by day to avoid happening, as this means I’m in hospital on IVs and BiPap.
The word control in asthma is therefore a very personal thing.

At the time of writing this, Tuesday May 3rd, 2011, I have semi stable asthma but an uncontrolled chest infection. How complicated is that?!
Yes, I am currently on maximum asthma medications, and have bumped up to 40mg oral prednisolone and am now entering a 3rd week on anti biotics. For some asthmatics this might be unheard of. Pred is something of a nightmare threat that luckily for them they’ve only had to take once or twice in their whole lives. But steroids keep me controlled and alive! So my  “You can control your asthma” bar is just set a whole lot higher-with the help of bucket loads of drugs and inhalation therapies, oxygen and nebulizers, I am upright and pottering in my house so I am probably, almost controlled.
Makes a bit of a mockery of the Doctors who say that control is never using a blue inhaler. Oh dear.
Have a great WAD folks-try and wear something grey to show your support. Terribly gloomy colour, I know. Asthma doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Asthmatics should be able to live life to the full with the help of good technique, good action plans and good inhaled medications.
….How about you use the comments below to tell me how controlled you think your asthma is….


4 Responses to World Asthma Day 2011

  1. James says:

    Great WAD write-up!!!

    Hmmm…Do I have controlled asthma? Yes, I have moderate control over this disease (inhaling a whole lot of meds). I am sure not going to let it stop me from being an athlete. I do get frustrated though, it is my dream to do an ultra-marathon but I don’t think realistically my lungs could take it. Other than my athletic aspirations, I do not let asthma rule my life when it comes to the big picture. Although, I do have my moments when this is not the case.

  2. Thanks , James.
    I think you have the emotional balance right in that if you are half able to do what you want to achieve, physically, or in your case with your marathon running, then you have some degree of control. And hopefully therefore, although it is a wretched interference, your asthma doesn’t have to rule your life!
    Keep up the good work xx

  3. Elisheva says:

    Great post, Sus! I like the picture of the lungs being squeezed tight. Hah. Hope you had a nice WAD! BTW, my WAD party post is up now 🙂

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