Pushing through asthma fatigue

Pushing Through Asthma Fatigue

Last updated: September 2018

Like many of you have experienced, this summer has been super warm with crazy humidity and it has taken a toll on me. It just was another thing that was added to my asthma plate, something that became evident this summer is how my uncontrolled asthma was just exhausting. This problem was two-fold, it was partially related to this bout of uncontrolled symptoms that I had, and partially related to the fact that everything seemed to take so much more energy.

Trying not to let asthma impact everything

I never want to feel impacted by my asthma or that I am not a capable person with asthma but this summer I had to regroup. I needed to recharge as often as I could. Not only was my asthma going through a rough patch but the demands on my body were suddenly very different. I was visiting a lot of my summer programs that I manage and they are in camp-like settings, conservation areas. This means lots of hilly conditions and the need to walk up or climb them with my staff or colleagues who I didn't want to see me struggle. I guess I didn’t consider the extent of triggers that I was going to encounter and how fatigued that this may make me.  It gave me a whole different appreciation of how many triggers nature can have, or that in times of worsening asthma that you need to be incredibly careful about unintentional exposure to triggers.

The correlation between asthma and fatigue

As I always do, I wanted to know more about the correlation between asthma and fatigue. What I  discovered is that patients often report significant fatigue, however, there are few measurement tools that have been developed to assess fatigue.  A study that looked at developing assessment tools in COPD and asthma, assessed that patients with asthma were more likely to report fatigue if they had a recent exacerbation. This data also showed that there was a correlation between asthma severity and reported fatigue.1

A changed approach to managing asthma fatigue

I had to approach this from a  whole different methodology. This meant always having a rescue inhaler on hand. There are times when I bring them with me and then leave them in the car. This is totally silly, I needed to have them on my body. I also found having good nutrition and hydration just made me feel generally better meaning that I had more energy to fight the asthma issues, also avoiding physical activity or exertion in peak heat/sun. On occasion, this also meant sending one of my staff to do a visit in an environment that may have been more challenging for me. There have definitely been days where I could not wait to come home and flop on the sofa. What I find works for me, is taking breaks to recharge, if I have a bit of a rest, I am usually able to resume my regular activities pretty quickly.

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