Guest Blog- Hay

In my previous post about steroids I said there would be a guest post. A good friend of mine Hay who also has brittle asthma and goes to the hospital in Southampton I used to go to has just had her life turned upside down due to the medication she depends on for her brittle asthma (as though having brittle asthma was plain sailing!!). It is so good to have people around you who understand what it is like to have brittle or difficult to control asthma and I am so thankful for those friends I have made as a result. So here is Hay- I always like a photo it sort of makes it feel more real and you know who has written it. Of course as it is winter it is a very appropriate photo of Hay doing a #scarfie for Asthma UK.

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I hope you enjoy Hay’s post!!!

Oral Steroids – Prednisolone (although there are others brands)

pred

Common side effects to mention just a few:

  • Infections
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings

This info and more can be found – http://www.asthma.org.uk

OK so most asthmatics if not all know what oral steroids are… we all call them evil, but seriously how many of us would be alive today without them?!?…. DEFINITELY NOT ME!… they are either little white tablets (taste horrendous) or little red / brown ones which are coated (gastro resistant) this is the version I take.

When having an exacerbation of asthma or chest infection this is one of the first things your GP will put you on or increase if you’re already on a maintenance dose, if however, you’re having a serious exacerbation then you will most likely need hospital treatment… most asthmatics know when it’s time for the hospital…

An exacerbation for me, my GP or Respiratory Consultant would increase my maintenance dose of 25mg (5 Red Tablets) to at least 40mg (8 Red Tablets) or 60mg (12 Red Tablets) they are normally taken all at once and first thing in the morning…

However, if you have Brittle Asthma (Like me) or Asthma that is difficult to control, many people call it different things… then you might be on what is called a “maintenance” dose of steroids, this is something you would take every morning despite whether you were having an exacerbation or not… I started having to take steroids everyday back in 2013 where I started on 7.5mg this very quickly got increased to 10mg and then again shortly afterwards was increased to 20mg after many hospital admissions in between… My last hospital admission my respiratory consultant increased my maintenance dose to 25mg… anyway my point is… (yeah Hayley get to it) in 4 years these steroids have done some serious damage to my bones despite regular DEXA Scans and calcium / Vitamin D supplements I have just been diagnosed with Osteoporosis and have multiple wedge fractures in my lower back I’ve also lost 2″ in height… (Below is part of my MRI scan)

back

These were found accidentally during a recent admission into hospital with yet another exacerbation of my brittle asthma, I’m lucky enough to have a very patient respiratory consultant who took my complaints of horrendous back pain seriously and once my chest was more stable, ordered every scan under the sun (Ultrasound / CT / MRI) all of which I had to lay on my back which was excruciating, anyway except the ultrasound – all the other scans revealed I had multiple wedge fractures in my back… but how? I hadn’t fallen over or damaged my back in any way (you’d think you’d remember) I was then diagnosed with steroid induced osteoporosis… OUCH!!

This has quite literally changed my life

How life can change in seconds, I went from working 37 hours a week, and after 5 months of rehab I can only just manage 7.5 hours a week, I walk with crutches as these help steady me and I also have a back brace to help with the ongoing pain, and it also gives me the sense of feeling held together – I take a bone protection tablet now also, which will hopefully strengthen my bones and reduce the risk of more fractures in the future although this isn’t definite and there is no cure.

However, knowing what these little red tablets have done to my bones I still have to take them everyday…

 

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