Controlling Asthma In Every Day Life
It is estimated that in 2007 over 34 million Americans were diagnosed with asthma sometime during their life. Asthma is caused by swelling of the airway passages in the lungs. The muscles that surround these passages constrict which limits air flow, this causes wheezing which is like a whistling sound that comes out while you're breathing. When an asthma attack occurs, these passage ways become inflamed, and they become filled with mucus, causing difficulty inhaling, or exhaling air.
There are many things that cause asthma, with most occurring because of allergies. Learning to control these allergy triggers is the key. Some of the common airborne allergy triggers that can cause asthma are:
Dust mites – Dust mites are small microscopic organisms that feed on the dead skin cells of humans and animals. They live on your bed and pillows. Control these by covering your bed and pillows, eliminate carpets, wash your sheets and pillow cases once a week, and avoid dust collecting items like stuffed animals.
Pet dander – Pet dander is the dead skin flakes of animals. Oils in the skin, saliva, and urine can cause allergic reactions which can result in an asthma attack. Give your animals a bath frequently, and don’t let your pets sleep or go in your bedroom. Get rid of carpets, and vacuum frequently.
Mold – Mold or mold spores, grow in moist places like the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Keep these area well ventilated.
Pollen – Is another airborne allergen that comes from plants and trees, pollen is transferred through the air so it can fertilize other plants. If humans breathe these in it can cause symptoms of asthma to flair up. Stay indoors on high pollen days. Close windows and put the air conditioner on Watch the news for the pollen count.
There are also other factors that can asthma, they are:
- Exercise( exercise induced asthma)
- Food allergies
- Cold and sinus problems
- Respiratory infections
Many Asthma attacks are mild, and symptoms disappear within a short amount of time. These are the most common attacks. Signs of an impending asthma attack are:
- Shortness of breath
- A continuing cough with mucus
- Chest pain
- Chest muscles tightening
- Trouble speaking
- Blue lips or fingernails
These symptoms worsen, and if these symptoms persist after treatment or after a couple of hours, you should seek medical attention. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled, and many who have asthma can lead relatively normal lives, and there have many advances of medicine dealing with asthma in recent years.
There are medications which are called bronchodilators which help relax the muscles that tighten around the airways that help control asthma. When an asthma attack occurs, you may want to use a rescue inhaler, which is a fast acting bronchodilator. A rescue inhaler is used as an emergency when it becomes difficult to breath. These provide short term relief only. If you find yourself reaching for your rescue inhaler frequently, you may need to use maintenance asthma drugs which help control your asthma symptoms on a daily basis. These are taken every day twice a day to help control your asthma.
Types of rescue inhalers are: Albuterol, Ventolin, and Proventil. Which provide fast acting relief, when you are having trouble breathing. These should only be used for short term relief and not as a maintenance drug.
Bronchodilators that are used as a long term maintenance drug are always used with inhaled steroids. these are almost always administered through inhalers, which are the fastest way to deliver medicine to the lungs.
Some bronchodilators that are used as long term maintenance drugs are: Advair, Serevent, and Foradil.
Some common inhaled steroid drugs are: Azmacort, Flovent, Pulmicort, Symbicort(a drug that combines both Bronchodilators, and a steroid), and Qvar
There is another common medicine for asthma called leukotriene inhibitors, or leukotriene modifiers. Leukotriene is made naturally in the body and causes tightening around the Breathing passages in the lungs, and they also produce mucus. Drugs like Singulair, Accolate, and Zyflo, help block these inhibitors, and are usually taken in pill form.
Work with you doctor or allergist, and experiment with different medicines to see what works best for you. If you take inhalers every day, make sure you rinse and gargle after every use. If you don’t, these inhalers can cause Thrush, a yeast infection in the back of the throat. This happened to me, but ever since I started gargling every time, I haven’t gotten Thrush again.
My own experience with asthma came at a young age. My earliest recognition of asthma was when I was about 8 years old. Back then I remember frequenting the doctor quite a bit. I had an allergy test and found out what I was allergic to, and every two weeks I visited the doctor to get an allergy shot. Other than that the only thing I remember when I couldn’t breathe was I had to wait it out, until my breathing became normal. Forget sports that was not a reality at the time, But I remember suffering a great deal, even the result being hospitalized one time, with pneumonia, and it seemed every year I got pneumonia after that.
Then the mystery happened, it just stopped when I reached thirteen. Just like that I didn’t so much as wheeze after that, and for many years after that I had no symptoms at all. Thinking about this now I wonder why this happened. Not that I was complaining, I mean to suffer all through my childhood, and then not to have any symptoms after that was a godsend. Everything was great until one day it all came back.
I was about twenty three and I remember the day exactly. It was Christmas Eve, and I was at a Christmas party with my brother in law at his work. He used to bring me to work because we worked near each other, and he picked me up and brought me back to where he worked. After about an hour being there it hit me once more, it felt like my throat was closing up, and I couldn’t breathe. I had no inhaler, because I had no need for one at that point. Luckily when I got home my dad let me use his nebulizer. My asthma was dormant for at least ten years but it roared its ugly head again, and I have been dealing with it ever since.
If you have asthma the first thing I would do is get an allergy test to find out what you're allergic to. That way you can eliminate all the triggers that can cause you to have an asthma attack. An allergist will also help determine what medicine you should be taking.
Watch your diet; some foods can trigger asthma symptoms. Living a healthy lifestyle is not only good for healthy people but also asthmatics.
Exercise regularly. You would think this is the last thing you should do right? Well think again. Not only is exercise good for you, it increases your lung capacity which help you breathe better.Control stress if you can. There is a definite link between stress and asthma.
When you find out which medicines are right for you, stick to it and take your medicine everyday. It's important for these drugs to get into your system and stay there.
Take the correct measures and control you environment. Get rid of the things that can trigger an asthma attack. If you have pets and are allergic to them, make sure you necessary steps that are listed above.
Living with asthma doesn’t have to be a burden in your life. It can be a nuisance, definitely, but it can be controlled through medication. If you find the right medications, your asthma symptoms will be few and far between, that is as along as you're diligent in taking your medicine, which is probably the only burden you'll have.
What works for me is Foradil, and Qvar (inhalers) morning and night, and Singulair (pill) at night. When I take these I live a normal life with barely any asthma symptoms, and I do not rely on rescue inhalers to get me through the day. Experiment with your doctor to see what prevention inhalers work for you.