When I was younger and before my asthma became more problematic I was very active, I played sport virtually everyday, I loved playing sport, some of which I was ok at, sports like tennis, basketball, table tennis and hockey were all played to a reasonable standard, the one sport that I wanted to excel at was football but unfortunately for me I was distinctly average at my favourite sport, I was better at 5 a side and won some trophies in the scaled down game but sadly for me 11 a side was something I struggled to impress at, that is despite playing for hours on end. When I was at school I was a good (ish) cross country runner and upon leaving school I played a bit of cricket which I wasn’t too bad at. Sport was my life (it still is, but sadly only in a watching capacity rather than participating), but as I entered my late teens my asthma started to raise it’s ugly head. In fact one of my first memories of struggling with asthma was during a tennis match.
As I got older, I did less and less sport, partially due to time (working full time) and my health. Year on year my asthma has slowly got worse and so gradually it became harder to play as much sport. Due to this I started to put on some weight but it was never a real problem until my asthma went completely out of control. High doses of steroids became the norm, I developed a “moon face” and I piled on the pounds which anybody who has taken steroids for any length of time will tell you is a common side effect.
It was at this stage that I realised that I was becoming stuck in a viscious cycle, because my asthma was getting worse I exercised less, the steroids were increased, I put on more weight which led to me becoming unfit and therefore making my asthma worse, the solution was to give me long hospital admissions (restricted to the ward and no exercise) and yet more steroids which led to further weight gain. I have been like this now for about 20 years, the sport and exercise is almost nil, the steroids are still at a high dose, I have not dropped lower than 15mg in 7 or 8 years. A combination of the above (and add to the fact I am now well into my 40’s) I find it almost impossible to keep weight off, occasionally I will lose some weight but it never stays off for long. I live in hope that I will break this cycle but the longer it goes on, the harder and more unlikely it is that it is going to happen.
From a young age I have always had a good / big appetite but it was never an issue (in fact I needed the fuel) because of all my sporting activities. I know it is easy to blame the steroids for putting weight on (and I know that not everybody on steroids puts weight on) but most asthmatics who are on high (long term) doses do put weight on. The hunger seems never ending, the pred munchies are a major problem and it is official, I am an unfit middle aged, over weight / fat / obese asthmatic and I hate it (or should that be ate it?)