Developing Asthma

As lupus warriors, we all know how we are more susceptible to developing other illnesses and health conditions which can often be connected.

As a sidekick to my lupus, I have to deal with fibromyalgia, joint hypermobility, urine infections, and numerous sensitivities to foods and medications amongst others but I wanted to talk about my most recent diagnosis which is asthma!

I always used to pride myself on the fact that even though I was sick I had "good lungs." When I got a cold virus it rarely developed into a cough and was mainly just the usual upper respiratory type of symptoms - although over the years this seems to have sadly changed for me.

Like many of you, I was put on prednisone to keep me stable and my rheumatologist found that injections worked well for me. I had them every 12 weeks. They worked brilliantly although I did start to notice after a few years of being on them that I would sometimes feel a little wheezy as they wore off but it disappeared when I had my next injection so I didn’t give it too much thought.

Asthma symptoms and lupus

Fast forward to today and I have now been taken off prednisone and for the last 6 months, I’ve started to feel really wheezy and tight chested. The real test has been an onslaught of cold viruses since July and a chest infection that has affected me.

I had been prescribed a blue salbutamol inhaler at the beginning of the COVID pandemic as I’d mentioned about my asthma symptoms to my doctor but I wasn’t able to go into the medical center due to all the restrictions in order to be tested so over time it had been left but It didn’t really concern me until the cold virus happened and flared the asthma symptoms up in a big way!

What is asthma?

Asthma is inflammation of the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. It can cause wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. There can be many triggers such as allergies, smoke, or even the weather.

The main treatments available are inhalers. These can help to relieve symptoms or help to prevent them.

Managing my asthma

Upon contacting my doctor again she prescribed me a peak flow meter which is a device used to diagnose asthma. It works by the patient taking a deep breath and blowing as hard as you can into it. By measuring how fast you can breathe air out will determine if the airways are narrowed.

I was asked to keep a journal for 2 weeks measuring my morning and evening scores. I knew as soon as I did the first measurement that my score was on the low side.

After submitting my scores I have now been officially diagnosed and I also have a brown inhaler which is a type of steroid that should work as a preventative if used twice a day. In hindsight, it makes sense how the prednisone was keeping it at bay!

My doctor informed me that if you have lupus you have a higher chance of developing asthma. This was certainly news to me! So I guess I have to learn to live with my new diagnosis and manage it as best I can.

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