Asthma is something I have coped with my entire adult life. This is my personal health story of how I learned I had severe uncontrolled asthma and steps I took to better control it for a happier and healthier life.
This post about severe asthma was sponsored by Break the Cycle as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
My Asthma Story
If you've been reading Running in a Skirt since the beginning, you know I have asthma and how it's played a major role in my life. My story has a happy ending though, and I'm hoping it will inspire anyone who might be struggling with uncontrolled asthma to reach out for more help.
I want to share a little more of my personal experience with this chronic disease with you. While I had bad allergies as a kid, I actually didn't develop asthma until I was in my 20s when I moved to Asheville. I took one medication that was from my family doctor, but didn't take my asthma seriously, and didn't really understand what it was and how badly it could impact my life. I had occasional experiences where I struggled to breathe, but I fought through it and didn't seek out specialized treatment. I got used to having it and coping with it. Asthma became part of my life.How Asthma Took Control of My Life & 3 Ways I Fought Back Click To Tweet
Years of Poor Health
At that time I was working at WLOS as the morning meteorologist and the grueling schedule of getting up at 2:30 in the morning for a 4:30 AM show started taking a toll on me. After years of working that schedule, my allergies started getting a lot worse, and I got countless sinus infections. At the same time, my asthma became much more severe. My body was so tired and my health started suffering. There was a period of several years that was particularly hard, when just catching a cold would knock me out with labored breathing, coughing, and eventually losing my voice... which was a huge deal when your job required you to speak. I had to take several medical leaves from my job because I couldn't speak.
I was smiling on the outside, but inside I was very sick. After years of illness, I found my way to several specialists including an ENT, allergist, and pulmonologist. I ended up having sinus surgery to help with my allergies and chronic sinus infections and was diagnosed with severe asthma that had been left untreated and undermedicated.
I spent months working with an allergist and a pulmonologist to get my lungs in better shape. I added several medicines to my daily and monthly routine, and eventually started feeling worlds better.
I fought hard to get and stay healthy. Eventually, I worked my way back to working full-time at the tv station and got my asthma under control. Over time I realized that the health toll the morning schedule was taking on my body wasn't worth it in the long run, but I'm grateful I got to make that decision on my own, instead of my asthma and voice struggles forcing me to quit. I've been working from home as a blogger since 2014 and am now a blogger and mom to my dynamic twins.
I still have asthma, take medication, and work with a specialist but it is something that's more under control. I now feel great chasing around this active family daily.
Uncontrolled Severe Asthma is Serious
My story of fighting through uncontrolled severe asthma is not that unique. Nearly 1.3 million people in the US have severe uncontrolled asthma. According to the American Lung Association, uncontrolled asthma is usually defined by how often you have symptoms. Having symptoms or using your rescue inhaler more than twice a week, waking up with symptoms more than twice a month, or refilling your rescue inhaler more than twice a year are all signs you might not have the situation under control.
If you feel like you might also have any of these frequent symptoms, there is a short questionnaire you can complete online to get a better gauge of if you might need further help. It's called AIRQ™ which stands for Asthma Impairment and Risk Questionnaire. Take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire and then talk to your doctor about your results at your next appointment.
BreakTheCycle.com is also a great online resource to help you learn more about this disease. They can help you find care and learn more about your symptoms.
If you are fighting asthma like I was, please know there are ways to help you manage it! I wanted to share a few steps I took that helped me regain control of my health and life
Three Steps I Took to Get Control of My Asthma
Work with Specialists
My journey to finally getting my health back on track started with seeing specialists including my allergist, ENT, and pulmonologist. My doctors worked with me to find a combination of medications that worked for me. I continue to work with those specialists to make sure I keep my asthma in check. I feel so much better now that I do this.
If you don't have a specialist, it's easy to connect with one. Go to BreakTheCycle.com to find one in your area.
Doing Yoga & Breathing Exercises
In addition to careful medical care, I found that yoga and different breathing and stretching exercises help my lungs stay strong. Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting. I worked with a speech pathologist to find what worked for me. Over time I also learned that while I could run a marathon, running shorter distances is better for my lungs and overall health. I'm grateful to run every few days without problems now!
Finding My Triggers
To better manage my severe asthma, I also learned to recognize my asthma triggers and monitor my asthma more carefully. My triggers include allergy flare-ups, trying to exercise in really hot or really cold weather, and getting any sort of cold. With my asthma being better controlled though I can live more with my triggers and don't have to always be afraid of them. I now even garden with the twins!
I also monitor my medicines including my inhaler usage. Propeller is something I wish I knew about sooner. It’s a sensor and mobile app that tracks how often you use your rescue inhaler and helps you learn more about possible triggers.
Getting Control of my Asthma
Having asthma is still a big part of who I am, but I went from having severe asthma controlling my day-to-day life to it being much more manageable. Head over to BreakTheCycle.com to find an asthma specialist in your area and start the journey to finally feeling more like you.
It’s been a long journey and one that I’m still on, but I'm proud to say I’m taking the steps to take back control and working to break my severe asthma cycle. Even with asthma, I can live a happy, full, and healthy life!
How Asthma Took Control of My Life & 3 Ways I Fought Back Click To Tweet
Pin for later...