Why Are You Struggling to Breathe? Especially During Winter Months?
Winter months can be some of the worst for the approximately 26 million people in the United States who suffer from asthma. This time of year presents many triggers for asthmatics – from cold air and dry wind, to respiratory viruses, to dust circulating in heating systems, to smoke from wood-burning fires and more – increasing their risk of asthma attacks.
However, not all asthma is the same. For those living with severe asthma, the struggle to breathe may actually be caused by something inside of their own bodies. Up to half of people with severe asthma have elevated levels of white blood cells called eosinophils, which can cause inflammation in the lungs. This is a sign that they could have eosinophilic asthma, or ‘e-asthma.’
Scientific advancements have led to the development of targeted treatment options that can treat e-asthma. However, to help patients better control their asthma, it’s important to first know what type of asthma they have.
Because many severe asthma patients don’t know they have e-asthma, their current medicines may not be enough to help control their asthma. For many people living with severe asthma, receiving a prescription for a “burst” of oral corticosteroids (OCS) is a familiar experience and one that they view as a “lifeline” during serious asthma attacks. This pattern is not ideal, both because OCS use can be seen as a sign of poorly controlled asthma and because OCS can come with potentially serious health risks, even just from short-term use.
Pulmonologist Frank Trudo, MD, VP of US Respiratory Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca, along with Tonya Winders, CEO and President of the Allergy & Asthma Network, joined me to share more.
Meet Our Guests
Tonya Winders, MBA is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading patient advocacy organization dedicated to ending the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.
Tonya has over 18 years experience in leadership roles within the allergy and asthma industry. From sales and marketing leadership to managed markets access, she has worked tirelessly to ensure patients have access to effective diagnostic and treatment tools.
Tonya serves on several expert panels including the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable & the GINA/GOLD guidelines as the patient reviewer. Furthermore, she is on the board of directors for Not One More Life, American Respiratory Care Foundation and is the current president of the Global Allergy Asthma Patient Platform, representing more than 40 patient organizations throughout the world.
Personally, Tonya is the mother of five children, four of whom have asthma and/or allergies, ranging in age from 13-20 years old. She enjoys spending time with her husband of 23 years Brian Winders and cheering on her children in various sports.
Frank Trudo, MD MBA is VP US Medical Affairs, Respiratory at AstraZeneca, Wilmington Delaware. Dr. Trudo completed Internal Medicine training at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and completed fellowship training in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Trudo is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Medicine. He has also completed his MBA at Rutgers University Camden, New Jersey.
Dr. Trudo has had extensive clinical experience caring for patients and now is working to lead his team to advance new treatments to address the unmet medical needs for patients who have respiratory disease.