YOUR EVERYDAY GUIDE TO LIVING WELL WITH ASTHMA
Asthma is a long-term disease that those who have it must manage for the rest of their lives. If you or someone you care about is one of the more than 25 million Americans with asthma (according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), you understand the significance of monitoring your condition properly by learning how to avoid flare-ups.
BEGINNING OF ASTHMA
You’ve just been diagnosed with asthma, and you’re undoubtedly wondering how it will affect your daily life. The good news is that people with asthma are able to live full, active lives if they receive appropriate care and treatment.
At the same time, it’s vital to note that asthma is a severe illness that kills 10 people each day in the United States. Although generally mild, its symptoms may change from time to time and can become fatal in a split second.
Inflammation is the first step in asthma: the airways become swollen, inflamed, and clogged with mucus and fluid. As the airways are constricted, muscles surrounding them tighten and contract. Inhaled allergens or irritants, such as passive smoking and ambient air pollution, function as sandpaper on the exposed surfaces. As you fight to breathe, you cough and wheeze.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SOLUTIONS AND TRIGGERS FOR ASTHMA?
What causes your airways to become inflamed, swollen, and irritated? A trigger is any factor that makes the airway constrictor twitch. It might be an infection, irritants such as smoke or air pollution, airborne allergens, physical activity, or intense emotions. Every person’s asthma is different and responds to different stimuli.
Triggers are commonly found in the air we breathe, and especially allergens, which can cause an allergic reaction that increases inflammation and triggers asthma attacks. You may take measures to avoid allergens and prevent your lungs from becoming inflamed and swollen if you understand the allergens that you’re sensitive to.
The first step in managing asthma is to minimize your exposure to its triggers. The following are the most common things that trigger asthma. don’t be scared by the complete list – most asthmatics are sensitive to a handful, not all of them.
HANDLING YOUR DAILY LIFE AND COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO ASTHMA
Everyone’s asthma is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. For some people, asthma may be a minor annoyance; for others, it may be a serious, even life-threatening condition. Some individuals may only experience asthma symptoms in response to causes on rare occasions, while others may have persistent and severe enough problems to limit their daily activities. There are several different types of asthma, including allergy-induced asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), which is brought on by physical activity.
WHAT IS THE DIET FOR ASTHMA?
For the most part, what you eat won’t affect your asthma. However, it’s still important for people with asthma to eat a healthy, balanced diet. The body, according to many doctors, is a finely tuned machine designed for a specific type of fuel. He adds that the fuel is a healthy, balanced diet. If you consume the wrong fuels (such as high-fat and sugar meals), you will face an increased risk of health issues including high cholesterol, diabetes, and an impaired immune system. Maintaining a nutritious diet is even more vital if you have asthma.
The more effectively you can deal with an asthma attack and recover from it, the better. It’s also worth noting that specific meals and additives might trigger asthma attacks. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), certain meals containing sulfites (found in foods like dried fruits, wine, and processed potatoes), if eaten. Food allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, can also raise your risk of asthma attacks. If you believe you may have an allergy to any food, talk to your doctor. Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, milk, soybeans (also known as edamame), and wheat are all common allergies. While a nutritious diet will not always prevent asthma, there is evidence that eating healthily might lower your risk of developing it.
HOW TO EXERCISE WITH ASTHMA?
Since asthma attacks make it difficult to breathe, it’s understandable that people who have asthma may have concerns about what kind of exercise they should do, or whether it’s safe to work out at all. But exercise is important if you have asthma — for overall health and to keep the lungs healthy, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).
In addition to lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and some forms of cancer, as well as strengthening bones and muscles, improving your mood, and helping you live longer, physical fitness has been shown to improve asthma management specifically.
According to different studies, higher levels of physical activity were linked with significantly better asthma control; those who exercised the most (exercising approximately 30 minutes each day, five days per week) were 2.5 times better at controlling their asthma than those who did not exercise. As well as helping you maintain a healthy weight, exercise may also aid in asthma management. According to the NHLBI, obesity can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Obesity can have a detrimental impact on asthma control, and even a 5-10 percent weight reduction might help improve airway function.
Before starting any physical activity, speak with your doctor about how to exercise safely while asthmatic. Your doctor may recommend methods like warming up before workouts and taking rest breaks to avoid unnecessary physiological stress or overwork, or he may prescribe a specific combination of medicines and when you should take them before working out. To avoid asthma attacks, your doctor may suggest avoiding certain food or activity triggers. For example, working out indoors to avoid the cold (which might boost the risk of an asthma attack) is one strategy. Check pollen counts, as well as steer clear of high-pollution regions before going outside for a workout to avoid asthma attacks.
Every patient’s symptom should be addressed separately with exercise programs. If you have allergies, you may wish to check pollen counts and avoid exercising outdoors in the morning during specific seasons since certain kinds of pollen are at their greatest levels. When the air quality is poor, almost everyone with asthma should avoid working out outside.
MINIMIZING ENVIRONMENTAL ASTHMA TRIGGERS AT HOME AND WORK
The Environmental Protection Agency advises homeowners to stay asthma-friendly by detecting and reducing common indoor asthma causes such as pet dander, mold, dust mites, chemical irritants (such as cleaning chemicals), and cigarette smoke. Designating pet-free zones in the house (such as bedrooms), washing bedding, and moping and vacuuming frequently, and using dust-mite covers on pillows and mattresses are some examples of smart strategies for controlling asthma triggers.
If you’re having trouble breathing at work, talk to your boss and co-workers about the causes. It might be anything from mildewed carpets to dust to industrial cleaning chemicals, and you’ll have to find a solution.
MANAGING YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS AND CREATING AN ACTION PLAN FOR ASTHMA
It’s critical to follow your healthcare provider’s directions for treating asthma, which might include fast-acting drugs taken right away if you have an asthma attack, long-term control medications, and allergy shots. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) advises establishing a medication schedule that specifies when you should take your medicine, whether as part of a habit (such as brushing your teeth or before or after specific meals) or setting an alarm on your phone or watch.
You should also create an asthma action plan with your doctor, which should include information about what medicines you take (with the prescribed dosage and when to take them), as well as what to do if they don’t relieve symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, or chest pain. It’s critical to have a strategy for asthma in the event of an emergency. In addition, it should include information on what to do if there is an emergency, such as your doctors’ and family’s contact information.
Make copies of your plan and give them to family, co-workers, and, if applicable, your child’s teachers and school nurse. Always keep your rescue medication on hand so you don’t have to go looking for it in an emergency. Keep some on hand at your workplace, in your handbag or backpack, and in other accessible areas. Make a habit of checking expiration dates on your rescue inhaler regularly to ensure they haven’t expired. More importantly, work with your healthcare providers to understand how to use your rescue inhaler correctly.
Finally, keep track of your symptoms in an asthma journal, noting when you wake up with a cough or have asthma-related symptoms like wheezing or shortness of breath, as well as what causes asthma flares and when they occur. Many people are distrustful of pharmacists due to their association with pharmaceutical companies, which can make medication adherence more difficult. This could be especially beneficial if you’re a new patient or if your asthma treatment isn’t working.
If your asthma medication isn’t working (if you’re taking it as directed but your symptoms persist or you have frequent asthma attacks), it might be a sign that you need to alter or change your dosage.
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE FOR ASTHMA
Breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, caffeine, and dietary supplements like vitamin D are some of the additional or alternative treatments that may help with asthma management. Breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, coffee drinking habits, and dietary supplements including vitamin D have all been shown to have beneficial effects on lung function in individuals with asthma.
Himalayan salt lamps, essential oils, and acupressure are just a few of the other complementary and alternative medicine therapies that have been recommended for asthma but lack the proof to support them.
TRAVELING WITH ASTHMA
You may customize your house and workplace to avoid asthma triggers but traveling makes it more difficult to change your environment to manage your asthma. Whether you’re flying, traveling by train, or automobile, make sure your asthma drugs are with you and not stowed away in luggage that is inaccessible if you have an asthma attack. Be sure to bring extra pills in case you run out or require more than usual. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) notes, if you’re using a nebulizer, bring plugs (and adapters if you’re going to a foreign country) and additional batteries for portable models; also, pack any other equipment you’ll need, such as spacers and peak flow meters.
If you have dust mites as a cause for your allergies, consider buying a dust-mite-proof pillow and mattress cover. Contact your health insurance provider to determine what treatments are covered at your destination, and bring all necessary medical records, including an asthma action plan and a summary of your asthma history. Even if you only suffer from mild or well-controlled asthma and have an idea of what you’d do in an emergency, as well as a sense of what portion of the expenses you’d be responsible for.
The best treatment for asthma is to avoid irritants that trigger breathing problems, such as mold and dust. Mold and dust can also cause you to have a cold or develop another asthma-related condition during your trips if you are in closed spaces with people who are sick. Also, if you intend to trek or engage in other physical activities that you would not undertake during your vacation, be sure to discuss any precautions with your doctor.
The people who make up your asthma treatment team will differ based on where you live, what treatments your insurance covers, and what services are accessible to you. Your asthma care team may include the same professionals depending on the severity of your asthma, your requirements, and what you have access to. Sometimes it is better to get the advice of such experts. They can be of great help and even ensure that you cope up with your asthma symptoms.
Hence, if you’re having trouble controlling your asthma, see your doctor or a medical professional right away. Always seek their help before beginning any therapy.