April Case Study
“My name is Mary, I’m 41 and I have had asthma ever since I was pregnant with my second child. I called the Asthma Society Adviceline to get some advice on how to manage my asthma.”
Managing your asthma and how active a life you lead are closely linked. Mary’s story is an encouragement for people to take control of their asthma and also a cautionary tale about what can happen if you ignore expert advice.
Mary is 41 and lives with her husband and four children, Alan (15), David (13), Brian (11); and Susan (8). She is a busy mum who spends a lot time taking her children to gaelic, rugby, soccer and ballet. She works two days a week in a newsagent. She is a member of the local swimming club.
Mary was first diagnosed with asthma about 14 years ago while pregnant with her second child. In the third and final trimester of her pregnancy Mary struggled with a chest infection that she could not shake off and was told she had bronchitis. This was when her youngest child was running around. She was admitted to hospital and the doctors talked about inducing the baby. Mary was very anxious as she was very tired, then she was told she had asthma. Mary says that at the time the diagnosis actually came as a relief. “It explained why I was feeling so lousy. I was just low on energy. It was a huge relief.”
“Following the diagnosis it made life harder and it took a little time to get my head around what it was I had and the medications I had to take.”
It may have taken some time for her to adjust but Mary has also always followed good advice. Her asthma has a seasonal aspect to and she has to make sure to take her preventers on a daily basis. She certainly knows the price that you can pay when you don’t take asthma control seriously.
“About five years ago I did not go on my preventer like I should have, and then got a bad chest infection and ended up on oral steroids for two weeks. When on this medication I found it hard to sleep at night. I was advised by a doctor that it would be better to get myself onto a preventer over the winter months than end up on oral steroids because it is so hard on your body (the side effects). I have taken that advice and my asthma has been a lot better for doing so.”
Mary has swum competitively since her days as a student; One of her major concerns was how her swimming would be affected by asthma. Regular exercise is essential for people with asthma, but exercise –induced asthma is undoubtedly a very real problem for10% of Irish people. Mary has continued to compete at the same level since her diagnosis.
“You just have to take one day at a time. I am a fairly organized sort of person; you have to be with kids and everything. So long as you are functioning, you can do things and I feel more confident in the management of my asthma.”
Asthma management –Key Points.
- Use your preventer every day
- Avoid your known triggers example Cigarette Smoke
- If you are using a reliever more than twice a week have your asthma reviewed.
- Have an self- management plan
- Avail of the flu vaccine yearly
*Name of Adviceline caller has been changed to protect the Adviceline caller's privacy. Photo featured is of an actor.