Ugh , asthma my ever most present enemy.
A slight cough, turns into a gentle wheeze, manifesting into mere mm of my airways giving up.
I choose today to write a post about asthma because I want to make this blog as personal but as informative as possible and to give an insight to the many reasons and influences to why I want to study medicine.
For as long as I remember asthma has been my “best friend” to put it in nicer terms. I remember my first episode at my aunties house. Early in the day on a summers afternoon my aunt had taken my brother and I to the park and I was aware I had hay fever so I had already taken my cetrizine (antihistimine) but this day was different. I was feeling short of breath, felt like I was choking, coughing uncontrollably and hearing little noises in my throat. It wasn’t until I fell to the ground my aunt ran and asked me what the matter was to which I responded I couldn’t breath. One thing I love about my aunt is that she doesn’t hesitate to call emergency services when she knows something regarding health is out of her control.
“She’s having an asthma attack”
“An asthma attack?, but she’s not an asthmatic, she has hayfever though but she took her medication earlier today”
This conversation happening while I have an oxygen mask round my face.
“Please see your doctor tomorow”
The next day being a Monday my mum took me to the doctors in which he confirmed I had asthma. I really wasn’t phased by the diagnosis as I didn’t really understand anything, but he prescribed me a lot of medication (well more medication than I’ve ever needed prior to this diagnosis). These medications being Symbicort, Bricanyl, Salbutamol and Singular tablets all having different functions.
I thought ok I have a responsibility to keep my health in check, and also be an advocate for asthma. It wasn’t till year 10 sports day a girl maybe 2 years below me was in the corner near the sports building crying. I had asked her what was the matter and she had said that she felt light headed and out of breath. I could hear her wheezing and from there recognized the syptoms and concluded she was an asthma sufferer. Of course I had to ask her, I wasn’t qualified (but in my mind I was). She said yes and had said she forgot her medication at home and she didn’t want to tell a teacher because she knew they would contact her parents and she would be in trouble ( that was a big deja vu moment).
Luckily I had my astma medication hidden in my PE socks. I had a volumatic in my locker so we walked to the locker where I helped her administer the drug. I encouraged her to go tell the first aid people which we did with me detailing everything.
That was the first day I felt like I had a big responsibility regarding someones life. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t walk round that corner.
Although I wasn’t set in stone around that time that it was medicine I wanted to go into , I knew that I wanted a role where I had a major responsibility and that it was the fact that peoples lives were in my hands was the motivating factor to why I wanted to work.
When I said this to my teacher in year 11 she said “medicine is the right pathway, go do some research”…… part 2 coming next.
Now i’m just going to tell you a bit about asthma it is a common disease but there’s no harm in reiterating some key points.
Asthma is a condition in where a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus which makes it difficult to breath. There are many symptoms which can help one to know whether they may have asthma these being : coughing, especially during the night and exercise, wheezing or losing your breath easily, tightness in the chest , trouble sleeping and fatigue and weakness especially during weakness. Of course it is better to see a health care professional as these symptoms can be likened to other diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema.
As medicine is evolving new medications are being developed and studies being carried out. I will be talking about some of them.
One being scientists have found a protein , HMGB1 that is related to asthma.The study showed that people who have moderate to severe asthma experience inflammation from the overproduction of mucus from this protein. The HMGB1 protein is released in the lung passages, and the bronchioles constrict making it hard to breathe. Now researchers have found this protein and how it functions within the respiratory systems, pharmaceutical companies can now work with scientists to develop new prescriptions for asthma sufferers .
A second development is that it has also come to light that the root cause of asthma is environmental triggers, like allergens, cigarette smoke, or certain perfumes. This has already been known for many years, however, was not proven until a couple of years ago. In this study, researchers found that the calcium-sensing receptor (CasR) causes allergy induced asthma triggering airway inflammation, twitching in the breathing passages, as well as causing them to become narrow, thus making it hard to breathe. Scientists are still researching different medications to help with this reaction in the lungs, but think a drug known as calcilytics can help reverse this reaction in the respiratory system. This would help millions of sufferers live more comfortable lives.