May Case Study
“My name is Sinead and I was diagnosed with asthma one year ago. I rang the Asthma Society Adviceline because I was concerned about taking steroids.”
I am 44 and I was diagnosed with asthma about a year ago after a visit to my doctor. I was put on Seretide 250mcgs 1 puff twice a day and Ventolin 1 puff which was to be taken if I felt wheezy. My doctor explained that my Seretide inhaler contains steroid as well as a long acting reliever.
I was a bit reluctant to take a steroid inhaler as I was concerned about the side effects of taking steroids. I rang the Asthma Society Adviceline to speak with a nurse as I noticed that my energy had slumped since I had started taking my medication, I felt tired all the time and had noticed that I had a tendency to put on weight. I wanted to know if I would have to stay on my medication for life.
Firstly the nurse reassured me that the steroid in preventer inhalers is very low dose and is not linked with weight gain. She explained that steroid tablets are linked to an increase in appetite but that I didn’t have anything to worry about. She said there are side effects to taking a steroid preventer inhaler, such as hoarseness, or thrush infections but that these can be avoided by mouth rinsing and gargling after use.
The nurse explained that the steroid works by soothing the breathing tubes, making them less irritable and less sensitive to triggers such as chest infection, exercise, pollen or dust etc. She said that it is very important that I take my preventer inhaler on a regular basis, as prescribed, to maintain control, especially as the two medicines in my inhaler (steroid and long acting reliever) work well together when combined.
I asked about the tiredness and the nurse said this could be because my asthma was not yet under control. Poor asthma control can result in lack of energy or inclination to exercise. She said once I was taking my medicine regularly as prescribed I should notice my energy levels rising and that if I didn’t I should go back to my GP.
The nurse assured me that if my asthma was adequately controlled, in collaboration with my GP, I may be able to reduce or even temporarily stop taking medication but that I also may have to restart or increase the doses if required.
The nurse completely put my mind at ease. I can accept taking medication once I know it is doing me good rather than harm. The nurse explained everything in easy to understand language and was really patient with me. It is hard being diagnosed with an illness once you’re an adult but I feel I have the support and information I need from the Asthma Society of Ireland and my GP.
To speak to our Asthma Nurse call 1850 44 54 64, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am – 1pm.
*Name of Adviceline caller has been changed to protect the Adviceline caller's privacy. Photo featured is of an actor.