Laura*, aged 36, has suffered from allergic asthma since childhood. Her symptoms tend to flare up when she’s stressed or during the pollen season. “Those are the times when I suffer from breathing difficulties and bouts of severe coughing. Cold air and smoke also cause me discomfort. So does the dry air in the office. My asthma often makes me anxious and keeps me from doing things I’d like to do. The fear of suffering a sudden asthma attack really restricts me. It’s actually pretty stressful.
She knows that this chronic illness can affect her pregnancy. “I’ve had bronchial asthma since I was 20. Some days it’s really bad, other times I have no symptoms for weeks. Now we’ve got a little one on the way and I’m really excited to hold her in my arms. But I’m concerned about my asthma. What if it gets worse? That could affect my unborn child. My doctor has tried to reassure me, because not all asthmatic women necessarily experience worse symptoms during pregnancy. On the other hand I know that in the event of a severe asthma attack, my baby will also get less oxygen.
How best to cope with asthma?
I’ve spent hours on the internet researching the disease and consulted with doctors to learn more about what I can do and how the disease progresses. I have good phases and not-so-good phases. I’ve been on meds for it for years and always carry my asthma spray with me, too. Ideally, I’d like to reduce both at some point. All these drugs have side-effects, after all.
FeNO measurement from home
I was really lucky to have the opportunity to try out Vivatmo me for several weeks. Now I’ve found a new device to assist me in the day-to-day management of the disease. The measurements offer me greater protection against unexpected attacks because they indicate critical phases early on. My new device measures my FeNO values from the comfort of my own home. Now if the inflammation in my lung becomes critical I can increase the dose of my medication on the advice of my doctor. If there’s a high airborne pollen count I tend to take a measurement daily, otherwise about twice a week. It takes less than ten seconds.
In the past, taking the measurement meant a trip to the doctor – but being able to do it myself saves precious time and gives me more confidence. I’m also an avid user of the app as an asthma diary to document my readings. Like this, I know how badly inflamed my lungs are at any given time.
Optimizing asthma treatment
I really hope one day to be able to reduce the level of meds I’m on. Having more information about my inflammation values is definitely a confidence-booster. It shows me that there’s something I can do to help myself! I carry the device with me at all times, even when I’m out and about. Now I’m much less worried about going out and enjoying nature. I’m more relaxed about including physical activities in my daily routine. And I’m less likely to say no when my husband suggests going for a walk or friends plan a weekend trip.