Since you’re reading this post, Im assuming that you’re either living with asthma yourself, or you know someone else who is.
If you’ve been to my site before, then you probably know that I blog extensively about my asthma and the impact it’s had on my life. Ah, but except for a few who have left comments, I know virtually nothing about the vast majority who have visited here and how this disease affects their lives. So I thought it would be interesting to turn the tables and ask my readers about their asthma.
If this applies to you, I’m very curious on how you deal with your asthma symptoms, and how those symptoms manifest themselves. This is not a scientific survey and I assure you your answers are confidential if you send them in email form. Asking these kinds of questions expands my knowledge of the disease and helps me understand just how varied and diverse it can be, so I can be a better teacher and advocate.
My questions are……….
* How long have you had asthma, and were you diagnosed by a Primary care doctor, an Allergist or a Pulmonologist? Have you been hospitalized for it?
* How does your asthma manifest itself in general? Do you cough, do you suddenly or increasingly feel more short of breath? Do you hear yourself wheeze? All of the above?
*Do your symptoms usually come on suddenly without warning, or do they usually ramp up gradually over a period of time? If they come on really fast, are you usually able to pin point a specific trigger? If your symptoms come on gradually, over what time period until you realize that you’re actually flaring?
*In the onset or beginning stages of your flare, is it more difficult to get a breath in (inhaling) or getting a breath out (exhaling), or both?
*Whether your symptoms come on quickly or slow and gradual, are you usually able to obtain relief after using using your inhalers or nebs or do your symptoms often escalate to the point where you need to load up on prednisone and/or eventually need to go to the Emergency room for treatment?
*In between asthma flares, does your breathing usually return to completely normal or does it just improve? ( yes, there’s a difference)
I’m also interested in which of the 3 most common descriptors you use to describe an increase in your symptoms. Do you refer to it as an “asthma flare“, an “asthma exacerbation” or an “asthma attack“? Do you use one in particular, or do you use them all interchangeably?
There’s no set rules of course, but for consistency Ive come up with my own set of definitions for these terms: Do these make sense?
“Flare ups”: To me an “flare up” is a temporary increase in the frequency and intensity of symptoms from one’s baseline. Flare ups usually respond well to inhaled medications and/or steroids bursts and are relatively short lived.
“Exacerbations”: Are prolonged flare ups that are more resistant to initial treatment and tend to get worse before they get better.
“Asthma attack”: To me the term “attack” a sense of suddenness and urgency, so I like to reserve that term to describe sudden flare ups that come on fast and furious, much like a severe allergic reaction.
Those are the big questions for now, but if you feel like sharing more, I’m also interested in your experiences while in the ER or hospital, good or bad. Ill do my best to read all comments and emails.
Thank you, and I hope if you’re dealing with an asthma at this very moment, that you start to feel well soon.