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Breathing - Respiratory, Diabetes, Heart Disease - Cardiovascular, Weight Loss
Co-Founder, Match Health
Growing up some of my earliest memories were of my mom sitting on the couch for a couple months out of the year feeling miserable. She would suffer from cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and congestion. Later, I came to find out she was suffering from hay fever triggered by outdoor allergies. Unfortunately, allergies are passed down genetically and I was the lucky one between my sister and I to get the full line up of allergies from my mother. The end of the summer always signaled the start of my hay fever. In fact, my allergies were so bad, as soon as I would sneeze my friends would look at me with a glum face because they knew it was the end of hanging out with me and the start of my hay fever. Year-after-year, I would experience the same symptoms, a horrible runny nose, congestion, post nasal drip, sinus pressure and my absolute favorite symptom of all...itchy eyes. I would itch my eyes so much that they became so red and irritated -- I looked like Gollum from The Hobbit. My only lines of defense were over the counter antihistamines and to avoid the outdoors like the plague. Since my hay fever started when I was in middle school, avoiding the outside was next to impossible and the effects of antihistamines left me napping during mid-day math class.
As I grew older, my allergies progressed and prescription medications were not doing the trick either. For those of you who suffer form allergies, you know that it is hard to function effectively when you feel like you have a constant cold and are just walking through each day in a haze. By the time I started pursuing a masters degree, I decided I needed to put an end to my battle with allergies and started receiving allergy shots. I saw a dramatic improvement in my allergies over the course of the three years I took the shots, but one of the drawbacks was that it has likely resulted in me experiencing mild asthma events from time-to-time. Fortunately, my asthma is extremely manageable. I only have exacerbations a few times a year and a few puffs of albuterol from my inhaler quickly resolves it.
Unfortunately, thanks to genetics, I have passed on my issues with allergies and asthma to my sons. For one of my son's "JJ", he has severe eczema that is triggered primarily by food and outdoor allergies. His twin brother,"AJ" has childhood asthma. It's called childhood asthma because for many children they often grow out of it. AJ's asthma exacerbations are triggered by colds. For the first six months to a year we did not realize he was even suffering form asthma until he started wheezing and demonstrated a shortness in breath. My husband and I missed one of the symptoms, dry cough. We thought it was a part of his cold and did not realize it is often a sign of asthma. Fortunately, with education and experience we've been able to get his asthma under good control. Giving AJ nebulizer treatments as soon as he shows signs of an asthma attack has allowed us to better manage his asthma and reduce our trips to the emergency room.
Our hope is that Match Health provides people, parents, and caregivers the opportunity to learn more about a variety of health conditions and the treatment options available. I believe greater knowledge and understanding will give parents and people suffering from various conditions more power to manage and treat their conditions. Ultimately, learning more about a health condition you are tackling and connecting with others dealing with the same things will help improve all of our lives.