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It’s Not “Just Asthma”: Asthma And Its Impact On Quality of Life

We conducted a large survey of people living with asthma where we
asked questions about their diagnosis, medications, and treatments, and how asthma impacts one’s quality of life. The survey revealed to us that asthma is not just about taking your inhaler and is a complex condition where major aspects of one’s life are impacted by it.

People don't take my asthma seriously

For many people, asthma symptoms can be ever-present. While some asthma symptoms can be invisible like fatigue and exhaustion from constantly trying to breathe easier, other symptoms like shortness of breath can be straight-up be scary. And so many of our community members have shared with us experiencing chronic cough which those who don’t live with asthma mistake as the contagious kind of cough.

shortness of breath, chronic cough, and fatigue are the top 3 frustrating asthma symptoms

Asthma symptoms are not only annoying but impact one’s day to day life too. Those living with asthma report that various aspects of their lives are impacted by it, including, but not limited to their physical and emotional well-being. Many people who don’t live with asthma are unaware of the profound impact asthma can have on one’s quality of life, including sleep.

Asthma symptoms impact physical and emotional well-being
Asthma impacts one's quality of life too

It is not only difficult to identify asthma triggers, but also very tough and sometimes simply impossible for people to change their living situation or environment to control the triggers that cause their symptoms to exacerbate.

Controlling asthma triggers is easier said than done
People with asthma have to deal with triggers like humidity, dry climate, pollution, and poor air quality

There is a common misconception among those who don’t live with asthma that it is “easy to manage”. People think one just has to “take the inhaler” and it’s done. But managing control medications, rescue inhalers, avoiding triggers, dealing with asthma attacks and exacerbations, dealing with hospitalization due to asthma episodes, growing old with asthma and what that entails, are only some of the things that put a significant burden of disease management for those who live with this condition.

A life with asthma is not without the fears like cost of management, hospitalization, etc.

All in all, living with asthma impacts all aspects of one’s life. Awareness about this aspect of asthma is key in order to fully support those who grapple with this diagnosis and management.


  • mpalicka
    2 years ago

    Of all the things that bother me about my asthma, a few things jump out right away. First, as a lifelong severe asthmatic, at 37 years old, I know my body, I know my triggers, and I don’t often freak out when I am having an exacerbation. I feel like this makes others take asthma less seriously in general. Sometimes, I miss work because I’m a nurse and if I am struggling to breathe normally, how am I supposed to go and provide appropriate, high quality care to patients that need and deserve it without making myself even worse? On an average or kinda bad day, I bust my butt and do my job and help as much as I am asked to. But I’m still treated like an attendance problem by some of my coworkers. Secondly, I can only miss so much work, per FMLA guidelines and my PTO bank. I need my job, because I have a family to support. So I have to go to work on a lot of days where maybe I shouldn’t. But missing work when absolutely necessary impacts the amount of PTO I use, which also impacts my ability to take vacation time from work. It’s like a vicious cycle, and it sucks. I guess the point is, in some way or another, while the ability to breathe is important,amazing my asthma also causes a significant amount of work related stress.

  • jmmistytamplen
    2 years ago

    A problem I have – due to the inhaler I use, my teeth are quite literally dissolving. None of my teeth are healthy any more – and it will cost a huge amount to have them removed and replaced with implants/dentures. This is something I was never told. Come to find out my inhaler also ups my risk for osteoporosis. What do to? Breathe, or not?

  • mpalicka
    2 years ago

    Oh, I completely understand! I have had so much dental work due to problems caused from all the inhalers, steroids and ridiculous amounts of antibiotics I’ve taken over my lifetime. And since I’ve been on varying dosages of prednisone for the last two years straight, I’ve recently been advised to get a bone scan to assess my bone health. I’m 37 years old!! It’s bad enough that I’ve gained almost 70 pounds since 2016, but now I have to worry about osteoporosis too?

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi jmmystytamplen and thanks for your post. I’m sorry you’re having this difficulty with your teeth. Were you ever taught how to use the inhaler? It’s generally recommended that you rinse your mouth and throat after each use. You may want to ask your prescribing physician for more information.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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