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Kristin Chenoweth gives a voice to asthma awareness

Performer Kristin Chenoweth has captivated audiences for years on Broadway, television and the big screen. Now, she’s added asthma awareness advocate to her impressive resume.

Chenoweth, 45, was first diagnosed with asthma a decade ago.

“I was one of those people that got it as an adult. It was not long after 9/11 and I just felt like something was sitting on my chest,” she said. “I was constantly wheezing and coughing and my mom said, ‘You need to go to go to the doctor,’ and I ignored it - like we do - and then found out I had asthma.”

The award-winning singer and actress said she was afraid the diagnosis would affect her career.

“Of all the things you could get, it stands in the column of: Why me? Why this?” she said.

Fortunately, Chenoweth does not have persistent asthma, meaning she doesn’t need to use an inhaler every day. However, she’s careful about always having one of her inhalers within reach in case she starts experiencing breathing problems— and especially when she’s traveling.

One development that has been especially useful for Chenoweth is dose counters in inhalers that tell patients how many doses of medication they have left before they run out.

“For many years I just used an inhaler with no dose counter,” she said. “Which would literally ‘suck’ if you reached for your medication and you were out. And that has happened to me before.”

Now, the star has teamed up with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for their “Know Your Count” campaign, which encourages patients to keep track of remaining doses on their inhalers. During asthma awareness month in May, Teva Respiratory is donating a dollar for every person who visits KnowYourCount.com to a camp for children with asthma.

Her advice for others suffering from asthma is to listen to their bodies.

“Take care of your heart, take care of your body, mind, spiritual, whatever that means to you,” she said. “And they have these medications for a purpose. Use them.”

For more information, visit KnowYourCount.com.