Jenny speaks out
A SEVERELY asthmatic woman was raising awareness of the condition on BBC Radio 4 yesterday (Wednesday). Jenny Negus, 29, of Westhill Road, Foxton, has suffered from severe asthma for the past four years. She was being interviewed about her condition on th
A SEVERELY asthmatic woman was raising awareness of the condition on BBC Radio 4 yesterday (Wednesday). Jenny Negus, 29, of Westhill Road, Foxton, has suffered from severe asthma for the past four years. She was being interviewed about her condition on the programme, Our Lives in Our Hands: Asthma, Living on a Knife Edge. She had the opportunity to talk to doctors and scientists about their work and therapies and to see how much progress has been made in investigating and treating severe asthma. Jenny had her first asthma attack at 18, following pneumonia. One scientist she spoke to was Dr Catherine Hawrylowicz, of King's College, London, who is looking at the possible role vitamin D could play in treating asthma in patients who have some resistance to steroids. During her visit to London, Jenny also went to the charity's Asthma UK-funded centre at Brompton Hospital, which Prof Stephen Durham, of Imperial College, London, is helping to develop. "He is looking at an affective diagnosis and treatment for complex asthmatics which he said would make life a lot easier for sufferers," she said. Jenny suffers from two types of asthma - viral asthma in the winter and allergic asthma in the summer. Therefore, the work of Prof Brian Sutton of Kings College, London, particularly interested her. Prof Sutton is looking at the antibodies responsible for allergic reactions and at the possibility of an easily accessible medication to reduce or stop the allergies. The medication currently comes in the form of an injection but if Prof Sutton reproduces it in the form of a tablet or spray, Jenny said it would be affordable and available to lots of people. Jenny, a health care assistant, used to think asthma was a condition treated by inhalers and something you got at school. But she now knows how complex the condition is and how it can limit an individual. Last year, she was admitted to hospital eight times. She said: "I can be fine one minute and not the next. So I cannot plan long term and I can only work part-time." Jenny hopes she will grow out of the condition. "I wanted to be a nurse or teacher, but the condition has put my career on hold because I get tired quickly. But fingers crossed, it will limit my life less in the future." The condition may limit Jenny's life, but she remains positive and is treasurer of a Breathe Easy group. "Asthma is one of those conditions that can affect any body at any time and a lot more people are affected by it than people might think." - For more details about asthma visit www.asthma.org.uk or call the Asthma UK advice line on 08457 010203.