Andreane, age 48, was diagnosed with asthma at age 33. She is white European, married and works as a personal assistant in a public sector organisation. Andreane was diagnosed with late onset asthma after visiting the GP about a persistent cough and chest infection that was difficult to clear. She has what is known as occupational asthma, due to environmental conditions at her workplace at the time she was diagnosed.
Andreane was diagnosed with asthma when she was in her mid- 30’s. She was experiencing a cold and chest infection that wouldn’t go away and when she visited the doctor was diagnosed with asthma. At that time she was given medication in the form of inhalers but not monitored by the GP or told how to use the inhalers correctly. She struggled to keep her asthma controlled for the next three years, until she was referred to see an asthma nurse who gave her the right information and support to help her to understand how to use the medication correctly. She was also given an asthma action plan at that time, which helps her to know what to do when her asthma worsens. She now knows that if her peak flow reading reaches a certain point she needs to get emergency help as soon as possible. There have been a few occasions where she has needed to go to hospital for help, although she has only had one incident where she has had to be admitted for her condition to be stabilised.
Andreane explained that it has taken her some years to be able to understand and recognise what her triggers are. Chemical smells like strong perfume and cleaning fluids, being near somebody smoking, cold weather, and going down with a chest infection are all triggers for Andreane.
Andreane hadn’t realised when she was first diagnosed with asthma how important it is to be vigilant about taking the preventer inhaler regularly as prescribed, but now understands that you must keep taking the preventative medication even during times when you feel well. Now Andreane does voluntary work with Asthma UK to help support other people who have asthma, and gives talks to groups and schools about how to cope with asthma as although it can be controlled and stabilised in many cases, she feels it’s important for it to be remembered that it can also be life threatening. Andreane’s experiences of doctors and health professionals in relation to her asthma have been mixed. She feels that GP’s don’t always know enough about the condition, and that sometimes they can tend to be dismissive and not listen to patients. She emphasises how important it is for people who are newly diagnosed, or struggling with asthma to try to get as much information about the condition as they can so that they can become experts on their own condition.