Asthma Is A Matter Of Life And Death

Asthma Is A Matter Of Life And Death

19 May 2017

When Asthma Alarm Bells First Went Off

“I was 12 when the GP diagnosed me with asthma. It started out as wheeziness and shortness of breath at night. The condition soon affected my ability to run around and muck about with my friends during recess and ‘pendidikan jasmani’ (physical education). Those first few months were distressing and upsetting.” “But unlike some others, I did not find it scary. A lot of this was due to the fact that my sister, 8 years older, had gone through what I went through earlier, and I knew that I’ll be okay. She was my pillar of support and strength.  True enough, a few months into being treated by the GP, exercise and physical exertion no longer affected my breathing as much as these activities did at the start. I kept going to the doctor for occasional symptoms, usually brought about by a bad cold or severe weather.”

Taking Asthma In Her Stride

“Fast forward to 25 years later and I am now fit and well. The last time I had needed to use my Ventolin inhaler was 8 years earlier overseas during a particularly bad winter. I can now run 10km marathons without any difficulty. This is quite simply, because I make it a point to follow my asthma action plan and take my preventative inhaler regularly to maintain this healthy and happy condition.” “Life has a way of catching one by surprise though. My sister passed away due to complications brought about by a severe asthma attack at the age of 45. Her condition was not as well-controlled as mine.” “I have seen my sister use her preventer inhaler (salbutamol) as and when necessary – sometimes a few times a day or every few weeks. For the most parts, it did alleviate her asthma. However, as she was not the best at keeping to her asthma action plan and taking her preventer inhaler regularly, I knew the disease would eventually catch up on her.” “It is too little too late now. But in hindsight, I should have insisted that my sister consulted a doctor to examine lungs. As a result, she unfortunately left us, her family and friends, prematurely, and remains beautiful and young in our hearts and minds.”

A Word Of Advice

“To those of you reading this with asthma, especially if you’re just recently diagnosed, do not despair nor worry too much. Asthma can be very well-controlled and with the aid of the correct preventer inhaler, we can lead normal lives. Please do make sure that you seek advice from local GP and specialist regularly. “Asthma is a condition that affects some of us earlier in life and may affect others at later in life. It may affect you slightly like it did me, or greatly, like it did my late sister. Irrespective of its severity, do not struggle in silence and get help early. With good support and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, your asthma will be but a minor afterthought in your daily life as you continue to enjoy the company of loved ones doing all the things that you enjoy.” include migraines, joint pain, eczema, worsening of acne and breathing difficulties. "We still do not pay enough attention to these links in the interaction between allergology and gynaecology." Hormone treatments are also playing an increasing role in transgender medicine and must be borne in mind.