Here is some of the common questions people have asked me or I have asked at some point:
(I will continue to update this as time goes on)
Any questions feel free to ask!
Can Asthma kill you?
Yes, asthma can kill you. Every 10 seconds someone in the UK is having a potentially life threatening astma attack. Most people can have asthma attacks, have them treated and get well after. However it’s said that 3 people a day die from asthma attacks and the highest death rate is in the UK. Two thirds of asthma deaths are said to have been preventable with better routine care; taking your medication, having reviews, having an asthma plan etc. If you have a written asthma plan you are FOUR times less likely to end up in hospital due to your asthma. A lot of deaths aren’t caused by sudden attacks, they are in fact actually caused by gradual decline leading to lack of oxygen (Hypoxia) to the brain eventually resulting in death. So there would be time for a lot of them to seek treatment, however so many people leave asthma till it gets worse before getting treatment.
Please see my managing asthma page to learn how to well control your asthma and reduce your chances of severe attacks.
You have asthma, does that mean you can’t run?
No, of course not. How your controlled your asthma is will affect how much you are able to do physically. Asthma doesn’t mean you can or can’t do something just because you have it. Never let asthma say what you can or can’t do. Get your asthma well managed and be as active as your body will allow as being active will help. There are plenty of marathon runners out there with asthma! It’s just about being prepared, carrying your inhaler with you etc. Having to accept there may be days where you have to take it easier. However, that is down to your body and what your body is capable of. Asthma is just the cause. It should never be a reason to stop something. See my exercising with asthma section in my living with asthma page for more information about how exercise can affect asthma and that exercise is good for asthma.
I have Asthma – Does that mean my children will inherit it?
Asthma can be caused by one of two things – hereditory factors and environmental. However just because a family member has it, that doesn’t mean you will get it but you will have a tendency to get it. It’s important that if you do have asthma that you just keep an eye on your children as the earlier it is diagnosed and managed the more chances they have of having controlled asthma and living full normal lives with well managed asthma. Don’t let asthma over run your lives, let your kids be kids and if you ever get concerns over their health then visit your GP.
Do Asthma medicines have side affects?
All medication unforuntately have side affects, some more than others and yet everyone is also different so what one person gets another may not. The best thing to do is discuss with your doctor/pharmacist the common side affects and whether or not you think that is worth the risk… The alternative is you can’t breathe. For me personally I get many side affects, but I can breathe so i take it. It is important to check that your medications are safe to take with other things and that you are on what is right for you personally for example if you have other health problems that may make certain medications unsuitable. I choose to breathe, no side affect is really going to deter me from having a more functional life where breathing is easier. Pharmacists are great for chats about medications though, probably better than doctors. So have a chat with them.
Is it safe to Fast whilst having asthma?
Fasting is willingly avoiding some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time and is often carried out for religious reasons.
There is little to suggest that fasting causes problems if you have asthma. But if when you’re fasting you choose not to take your medicines exactly as prescribed – for example, if you stop using your inhaler(s) because you believe that using an inhaler would break your fast or you use them at different times to the prescribed times, this can cause your symptoms to get worse. In fact, stopping your medicines can cause your asthma symptoms to return and increase your risk of a life-threatening asthma attack. Or if your medication needs taking with food etc.
Speak to your GP or asthma nurse before you stop taking your medicines as they may be able to consider a suitable alternative, such as temporarily switching to a once-a-day dose of your preventer inhaler. (asthma UK, 2016)
Does asthma cause perminant damage to the lungs?
If you have frequent asthma attacks, your airways can become scarred and narrower. This is sometimes called ‘airway remodelling’. If this happens, it means that less air can move through your airways and your symptoms (and asthma attacks) may become worse and/or more frequent.
You are more likely to have frequent asthma attacks if you smoke, if you don’t take your medicines as prescribed and discussed with your GP or asthma nurse, and/or if you don’t seek help as soon as you notice your symptoms getting worse.
The best way to prevent airway remodelling is to give up smoking if you smoke and to take your preventer inhaler and any other medicines you’ve been prescribed. And if you notice your symptoms are getting worse, book an appointment to see your GP or asthma nurse as soon as possible so that you can review your treatment. The longer you leave your asthma and the more you ‘put up with’ the worse the attacks will be later on. (Asthma UK, 2016)