“Being able to measure my inflammation values at any time gives me more confidence”
Laura*, 32, has allergic asthma. Her greatest wish: to be able to reduce her medication over the long term. And never again experience an asthma attack. That’s why she now also monitors her inflammation values herself.
“It all started during puberty. I was 18 and had my first boyfriend. At his place, the floors were carpeted. And he had down bedding. Since both my parents are allergy sufferers, we didn’t have that at home. The first time I wanted to spend the night at his place, I could hardly breathe. I started to panic. And then the paramedics came!
- Allergic asthma is an allergic reaction of the body to substances that are harmless in themselves. The body develops an allergy to triggers such as pollen, house dust, mites, and animal hair.
- A distinction is made between seasonal asthma and non-seasonal asthma.
- Seasonal asthma is triggered by a pollen allergy. Depending on the pollen flight, the pollen only occurs at a certain time of year. Outside the pollen season, seasonal asthmatics do not experience any symptoms.
- In the case of non-seasonal asthma, those affected have symptoms all year round, e.g. due to a dust mite allergy, mold infestation, or animal hair.
- 80 percent of asthma cases are triggered by allergies.
Dependent on medications
A short while later I was sitting in the lung specialist department at the university hospital, having an allergy test. I kind of expected the diagnosis: allergic asthma. I react to house dust and mites. A lung specialist who was recommended to me put me on medication. He prescribed cortisone, mornings and evenings. I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of suddenly having to take meds on a regular basis.
“Asthma unnerves me and stops me feeling relaxed about going out and doing things.”
Always on the alert
I had to learn to live with the constant fear of having another attack. Asthma unnerves me and stops me feeling relaxed about going out and doing things. I do what I can to protect myself: instead of a spring mattress, I now have a cold foam mattress. I also have mite protection covers for the mattress, pillow and bed cover. When I stay at a hotel I always take my own pillow with me. Dusting is a no-no for me; my husband has to do that. The office is carpeted, but my colleagues are sympathetic about me airing the place every hour or leaving the windows wide open whenever possible.
Home measurement gives me peace of mind
I go to the doctor’s for a lung function test every three months. That’s quite a big deal because I have to travel 30 kilometers – for a measurement that takes all of two minutes. But these measurements are important so that my doctor can see whether he can reduce my dose or not.
I was extremely glad when a friend gave me a tip: he uses a device that measures the degree of inflammation in his lungs – and all from the comfort of his home. It’s really simple – he showed me how it works. All you do is blow into it gently and the degree of inflammation in the airways, the , is displayed right away. That gives me confidence. I can check the status of my asthma any time. I find that very reassuring. So now I’ve bought the device, too. The measurements give me a feeling of security and I feel better protected against sudden shortness of breath.
“The measurements give me a feeling of security and I feel better protected against sudden shortness of breath.”
Adapting asthma treatment
My greatest wish is that one day I can come off the meds. Home measurement can also help here: it enables my doctor to more finely tune my medication and avoid over- or undermedication. I can recognize and decide myself earlier whether I need to go to the doctor. The measurements give me more confidence and make it easier to plan my day. And I hope that some day I’ll be able to manage on less medication.”