For as long as I can remember, my lungs have been troublesome. Not really knowing what it was, I went through bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia as a kid and was winded very easily. I never had asthma attacks or suffered to a great degree so the verdict was that that was just the way it was. Until I developed a series case of hayfever in my early 20s, which led to some digging around. The result? An official diagnosis for minor asthma at the age of 30.
My one and only asthma medication…
No one had really suspected me to have asthma to any degree, simply because none of the symptoms were there as I was growing up. In hindsight, they might have been, but not bad enough for anyone to think anything was up. Apart from being sick with lots of lung related issues as a kid, I nearly passed out twice during my highschool PE classes where I had to run a certain distance to get a certain grade. So the signs may have been there, but it wasn’t a daily problem and so I lived my life thinking I simply got winded easily.
Enter the hayfever stage. Over the course of a few years, I developed a bad case of hayfever. Bad as in: it was nearly impossible for me to go outside for 3 – 4 months out of the year as I would get nosebleeds and chronic sinus infections left and right. Eventually I was referred to an Ear/ Nose/ Throat specialist and they sent me on to someone who specializes in allergies. I did some tests and I had a very high reaction level to birch trees.
At this point in time, the doctors thought that my lung problems came from the hayfever. Hayfever induced asthma that mainly cropped up when I did any amount of strenuous cardio. That was what I was told. I started treatment for hayfever and after a few years those symptoms lessened and lessened, until it was all but gone from my system. The thing that remained? Being easily winded to the point where I felt like I might pass out.
Now doctors started to think that maybe, especially because I had a history with this type of issue, it could be asthma. I took a few lung tests and tried different medication that should improve my condition, but there were no conclusive results. Until last year.
As my dad had found out about his congenital, life long heart condition that might be hereditary, I was advised to take some tests to see whether I might have inherited his heart problem. An ultrasound and some blood tests later, the conclusion was that my heart was absolutely fine, but since my lung had been acting up my entire life, the cardiologist referred me to a lung specialist.
This time, I underwent a much more elaborate lung test and was told that I have minor case of asthma. They could compare some of my results from a few years ago when I took a similar test. These results showed that the hayfever immunotherapy had worked its magic and my lungs had improved in 5 years time, but were still performing less well than most people my age. Which is when they finally concluded that I have a minor case of asthma.
A minor case, luckily for me, which is why I have been able to live a healthy, normal life without too much trouble. I just take some meds before working out to keep myself from ever getting that feeling that I might pass out and that’s about it. I was advised to take some more medication that could keep more serious lung conditions at bay in later life. However, I don’t feel like taking medication for 30+ year at the odd chance that it might prevent something worse.
In short, I feel fine and have felt fine for most of my life. I just want to try and stay healthy. Working out to keep in shape and trying to keep a healthy, balanced diet, is what I think is much more important than dousing my lungs with meds twice a day that have little to no immediate effect.
Do you have asthma? How do you deal with it?