As a Woman Living With Asthma, Should I Be Afraid?

  • Health and health care is all about outcomes. As a nurse, I was trained to measure the effectiveness of the care I provided to my patients by their clinical outcomes. For example, when I  provided wound care to one of my home care patients every day for two weeks, I was looking for the wound to heal within a reasonable time and without getting infected. That was the clinical outcome.


    As a patient with asthma, though, my perspective on outcomes is slightly different. When I think of outcomes for myself, I'm thinking about feeling good and living the life I want to live without asthma getting in the way. That means I want to be able to bike on the Boise Greenbelt without wheezing, to take walks outdoors in the winter without coughing uncontrollably, and to play with my dogs without feeling as though I can't breathe.

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    And, with the right asthma medication regime, all that should be possible, right? Well, yes -- and maybe no. At least I'm wondering if that might be true after reading about a recent research study that suggests that adult women face a much higher risk of asthma than adult men do, even though in children, boys are more at risk than girls.


    Seems something happens after puberty, perhaps with hormones or some other factor that switches the risk around. Weird, huh?


    Anyway, the truth is, I'm a woman of a certain age that's been living with asthma all my life and it isn't really interfering with my lifestyle, at least not often. But I do take my medicine and I try to control my triggers the best I can. So I guess all that is helping.


    And I think you can't live your life in fear. That kind of takes all the fun out of it, don't you think? So, for now, though I'm not discounting the study results, I've decided to ignore them. I'm not going to let asthma control my life. How about you?

Published On: September 02, 2008