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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 00:16 GMT
Celebrity Health - Russell Floyd
Russell Floyd
'I always had chest infections'
In a series on celebrities and their health, the BBC News website talks to actor Russell Floyd about his asthma.

Russell recently played laid-back DC Ken Drummond, famed for his loud shirts, in the ITV soap opera 'The Bill'.

Before starring in 'The Bill,' the Londoner played market inspector Michael Rose in 'EastEnders' and has appeared in a number of classical, modern and musical plays at the RSC and the National Theatre and on European Theatre tours. He is now writing his own material.

He talks about his condition to promote the work of Asthma UK and is running the London marathon to raise cash for them.

HOW DID YOU FIRST REALISE SOMETHING WAS WRONG?

The nurse is always telling me off because she says I should use my inhaler more regularly
Russell Floyd

My parents both smoked and we had dogs. I am allergic to cats and smoke is an irritant.

My mum had bronchitis and I was one of five children. I guess I was just the one who inherited the weak chest.

But I used to play lots of football and did not suffer too badly as a child.

HOW DID YOU GET DIAGNOSED?

I can't remember exactly when I was diagnosed, but I don't think it was until I was a little older - I was in my late teens, early 20s.

I was not a chronic asthmatic, but I used to get lots of chest infections.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE DIAGNOSIS?

I was not gutted. It was something I had always known.

I had always had problems, so it did not make any difference to me that it was asthma rather than something else.

WHAT WAS YOUR TREATMENT?
I do hate taking medication and if I do not need it I will not take it.

I have a new combination inhaler, which is part steroid and part reliever. I just use it when I have a bad cold and I keep my blue inhaler around in case I have a problem.

The nurse is always telling me off because she says I should use my inhaler more regularly.

I can't cure my condition, but I could perhaps prevent it from getting chronic if I used my inhaler regularly.

HOW DID YOU FEEL DURING TREATMENT?

I have been in hospital once or twice. One time was a number of years ago, in 1990, when there was that awful smog in London. I think a few people with chest complaints died.

I had an asthma attack because of the conditions in the atmosphere and I had to go to hospital.

I had to go to casualty and have oxygen but, as I say, that has only happened once or twice.

HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW?

I am running the London marathon for Asthma UK.

I have never run before. When I left 'The Bill' about a year ago I was 17 stones (108kg) in weight, so my wife suggested that I might do the marathon and get fit.

So far I have lost a stone-and-a-half.

I have needed to take my inhaler a few times, but my breathing seems fine. Although I do have a pain in my calf from running.

I suppose any sort of regular exercise can help - running or swimming can be good for asthma.

I feel fitter and better, so in terms of my asthma the running must be beneficial.

WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO OTHER PEOPLE WITH THE SAME CONDITION?

Do take your medication if you need it.

Exercise regularly and learn to breathe properly. If you are just sitting around you are not helping your lung function.

And look carefully at your diet as diet plays an important part in how you feel.


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