Kristin Chenoweth Knows Her Count. Do You?

Kristin Chenoweth Knows Her Count. Do You?

Kristin Chenoweth Knows Her Count. Do You?

Realizing how much she, and other asthmatics rely on their inhalers, Chenoweth has partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to launch a public service campaign called “Know Your Count.”

     
Kristin Chenoweth Knows Her Count. Do You?
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Actress Kristin Chenoweth is probably best known as the little lady with the huge singing voice.  However, I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Tony Award winning actress has been living with a serious health issue for more than a decade.  In a recent interview, Chenoweth said that she began suffering from a series of respiratory illnesses right after the 9/11 attacks in New York.  She said, “I kept getting sick and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get my breath. In fact, the entire time I performed in the Broadway musical, “Wicked” I thought I had bronchitis.”  For the next few years she dealt with one misdiagnosis after another.

Fortunately though, she was performing in a play in Oklahoma and met a doctor there who eventually diagnosed her with asthma. The doctor told her that although her asthma was not persistent, she would need to carry an emergency inhaler with her at all times. Although relieved to have a proper diagnosis, Chenoweth said it affected her life and her self-confidence.  Moreover, she said she kept the diagnosis a secret because she was worried it would affect her career.  She says, “To have something as a singer, it’s like, ‘Really, I have to have that? Could I have like a missing finger? Could I have like a bad back? No, let’s get it where you can’t have breath.”

Unfortunately for Chenoweth, people close to her learned about her illness because she had an asthma attack while performing in the play “Promises, Promises.”  She said, “I was onstage, in a pretty dramatic scene, and I [could] literally feel it coming on, and I remember thinking, ‘How am I going to deal with it? How am I going to get my breath? How am I going to get offstage? How am I going to get to my inhaler?’ Luckily I found a spot where it would make sense for me to exit and I ran to my inhaler.”

Realizing how much she, and other asthmatics rely on their inhalers, Chenoweth partnered with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to launch a public service campaign called “Know Your Count.” The PSA urges those living with asthma to make sure their inhaler is available and that it includes a dose counter.  She said, “I use an inhaler, and I didn’t understand why it wasn’t working sometimes.  I finally realized that I wasn’t getting any relief because it was empty.”  This, she learned, is a common occurrence for many asthmatics.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation asthma is responsible for more than 2 million emergency room visits a year.  This, in part, is due to the fact that people believe that if they hear something in their inhaler when they shake it then it still contains medicine.  However, according to Know Your Count, just because an inhaler makes noise or still sprays, does not mean it contains any medicine.  Consequently, if the inhaler is empty, patients may find themselves in a life-threatening situation.

Currently, there are 25 million Americans living with asthma in the United States and for some, it’s a nuisance that they rarely deal with.  For others, it can be a major problem that interferes or limits their daily activities.  Although asthma can't be cured, its symptoms can be controlled, so it's crucial that patients track their triggers, know their symptoms, and adjust their medications if necessary. 

Moral of the story?  Talk to your doctor, carry an inhaler, and Know Your Count.


Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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Last Updated : Thursday, September 28, 2017