By Sara Malik (asthma patient studying to go to medical school)
After getting diagnosed with severe asthma at the tender age of three, friends and family often reassured my parents that I would “eventually grow out of it” and that it was probably just “seasonal allergies.” Yes, it is true that seasonal changes can trigger asthma and that many people may outgrow this condition once they reach or pass adolescence. However, it is crucial to recognize that once an individual has developed a sensitive respiratory tract, their airways remain susceptible to asthma triggers for life.
The World Health Organization defines asthma as a long-term disease in which the “air passages in the lungs become narrow due to inflammation and tightening of the muscles around the small airways.” Asthma is a chronic disease that I have never grown out of it, and at this point, I do not know if I ever will. But, I now recognize this is okay because I have learned to accept this reality. I instead direct my energy toward finding ways to achieve and maintain my definition of a “normal” lifestyle. As a patient dealing with this condition for nearly two decades, I have learned a lot about my body and mind, which have played a significant role in helping me control my asthma.