The Road Ahead : February March 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 20 LIFESTYLE | WELLBEING THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2014 ATTHEAGEof29,Isatin my doctors' office struggling for breath and with a cough that I just couldn't shake. Listening to my chest as it squeaked and wheezed, the doctor declared emphatically, "Well, you have asthma". With that simple statement, I became one of the approximately 400,000 Queenslanders who suffer from asthma. According to Asthma Australia, it is a condition of the airways, the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma have sensitive airways, which react to triggers to set off their asthma and make it harder for them to breath. Even though I had a strong family history of asthma, I was still shocked to find out I had it, which, according to Tonia Crawford from Asthma Foundation Queensland, is a common response. "Asthma can occur anytime. Many people are diagnosed later in life, which comes as a surprise to them as they often view asthma as a childhood every breath you take BREATHING EASY IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE FOR THE ONE IN 10 AUSTRALIANS THAT HAVE ASTHMA. STORY BELINDA PETERS Asthma can occur anytime. Many people are diagnosed later in life, which comes as a surprise to them as they often view asthma as a childhood disease. TOP TIPS FOR KEEPING ON TOP OF ASTHMA: • SeeyourGPandgetan Asthma Action Plan. • Take preventative medication regularly -- taking the right medication at the right dosage can eliminate or significantly minimise symptoms. • Get your inhaler technique checked to ensure you are getting maximum benefit from your medications. • Understand and know your triggers and avoid them if possible. • Register for Asthma Assist, a free asthma information and support service from Asthma Australia that offers a control pack and regular updates. People can go to the website to register, or call 1800ASTHMA (278 462) asthmaaustralia.org.au disease," Ms Crawford said. "As a result, people often attribute their breathlessness to other things and don't always see a doctor." Inmycase,Ihadputup with allergies for many years and thought my breathing difficulties and cough were the result of bronchitis or a chest infection. I was, in fact, experiencing most of the classic asthma symptoms of shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and a continual cough which is worse at night and with exercise or activity. It's still these allergies, often during a change in seasons, that can bring my asthma unstuck, and according to Ms Crawford, they're a common trigger for many sufferers. "Eighty percent of people with asthma also suffer from allergies like hay fever, so it is a known trigger," Ms Crawford said. "It's important people recognise their triggers and seek help when they feel their symptoms are flaring up."