Coughing and Ventilation

Due to weakening of muscles over time, breathing and coughing can become a little more problematic as you get older. Doctors begin taking a greater interest in your respiratory system and you have more check-ups. Respiratory clinics may seem worrying at first but they do not need to be. Having consultants and nurses describing your breathing and respiratory function can feel nervy at times but after a while it becomes just a normal part of life.

I use two main pieces of equipment to help with my coughing and breathing but they are not at all scary so don’t be put off or disheartened when you first come into contact with them. I have a ‘cough-assist’ machine, which increases the strength of the cough reflex, and an NIV (Non Invasive Ventilation) machine that helps with breathing overnight and occasionally in the day. Both probably sound like serious and complex medical treatments, but the reality is they are simply useful pieces of kit that give your lungs a boost.

I now know that these machines are a common treatment for Duchenne patients but initially I was completely nonplussed, so don’t feel unnerved by them. For example, the first time I was presented with a ‘cough-assist’ machine it felt like a massive deal and I was very hesitant to use it as it presented a negative change. However, surprisingly I became accustomed to it very quickly and it has actually been incredibly useful whenever I have had a chest problem.


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