Taking my breath for granted

Breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out.

It’s such a normal action we don’t register that we are doing it, until the moment we struggle.

Asthma is something that has played a big part in my life for nearly 16 years and if I’m honest maybe more. I remember being at school running the 1500 metres and wondering why I just couldn’t catch a breath. I was incredibly fit but at times it required real effort to control my breathing. Yet it was when I was pregnant with my eldest the real problems began, it seems my lungs didn’t have the strength to work for two people, without extra help.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When a person with asthma comes into contact with an asthma trigger, the muscle around the walls of the airways tightens so that the airway becomes narrower. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Often sticky mucus or phlegm is produced. All these reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated – leading to the symptoms of asthma.

My asthma has a few triggers, stress being a big one. But also a simple cold can bring on an attack.

It’s strange the fear that an attack can breed. One moment I’m fine the next I’m fighting for a breath. I’ve been hospitalised due to asthma but thankfully it’s been under control for a while.

Until yesterday, maybe I should have been expecting it a few warning signs had been about. Pain in my chest, the walk up the stairs feeling like a mountain climb .

Yet I was still surprised when eating dinner I couldn’t catch a breath, I tried to control the breathing, staying calm, breathing in deep but no the attack was in full battle mode.

For what seemed a long time I struggled, my husband was making plans for a hospital visit, my daughters in tears with worry. When finally the inhaler started to take effect the breathing began to slow and become easier.

I was so exhausted, I fell into a deep sleep, only to be woken a few hours later with chest pains.

Let’s just say the night was long and the doctors appointment booked.

So many of us take breathing for granted yet the number of people with asthma is rising.

5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).

There were 1,131 deaths from asthma in the UK in 2009 (12 were children aged 14 years or under).

On average, 3 people per day or 1 person every 8 hours dies from asthma.

These Statistics are frightening and also a great wake up call for me to sort out an asthma review.

Last night scared me.

All my information and statistics were found here asthmaUK

It’s a great site for more information.

It won’t stop you.

I took my daughter ice skating this morning. As I watched her skate I could see something wasn’t right, she was far from the focussed individual she normally is.

As she left the ice after her lesson she called me over. The reason I found for her struggling was the fact that her chest was tight.

Eden, Brodie and I are all asthmatics and to be perfectly honest I was rather cross. The reality is that she does know better and she is aware of the need to manage her condition.

I asked her why she hadn’t come off the ice and used her inhaler, her answer “Ice skaters shouldn’t have asthma”

This really surprised me that this had been mind; her asthma is well-managed and rarely causes her any problems. Yet she still believes that asthma would stop her from achieving her dreams.

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.

  • 5.4m people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
  • 1.1m children in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
  • There is a person with asthma in one in five households in the UK.

Asthma is an incurable illness. However, with good treatment and management there is no reason why a person with asthma cannot live a normal and active life.

This afternoon I did some research to prove to Eden that many asthmatics have gone on to achieve their sporting goals.

Paula Radcliffe – world record holder marathon

Dennis Rodman – professional basketball player

The one that really helped me get the point across:-

Kristi Yamaguchi – Olympic medalist, figure skating (one of Eden’s heroes)

Asthma isn’t the best thing to have happened to us, but we cannot and will not let it limit our lives. Yes asthma is something to be taken seriously as it can be fatal but as I quoted above with good management you can live a normal life.

Thankfully Eden has seen that asthma won’t stand in the way of her dreams.

If you are affected by asthma or would like to learn more about it check out http://www.asthma.org.uk/index.html for professional and helpful advice.