- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
What to do for Asthma: Remedies for Treatment and Control
Ways to Prevent Asthma Attacks
It is such a scary feeling when you cannot breathe. It is such a basic life function that you panic as you gasp for air and hope for even a small amount of air to enter your lungs. Hopefully you have an inhaler that can help open the passages so you can breathe again. If that doesn't work, you go to the hospital emergency room, because without air you might die. You get treated and go home, and hope that you do not get another attack anytime soon.
You may be one of the many people with asthma who are extremely frustrated because they are unable to afford prescription medications, or the ones who can find that sometimes the prescribed medications do not work for them. You continue to have trouble breathing and are continuously short of breath. You are anxious to find solutions to their asthma problems so you do not wind up in the hospital emergency room or worse yet, die from an asthma attack.
There are measures that you can take to help reduce some asthma symptoms, hopefully in a way that will avoid these emergency room visits or death. These tips can't take the place of following your doctor's advice or getting a prescription medication, but they may be able to help some people who have milder forms of asthma, or may help reduce your asthma symptoms on a more long term basis.
By taking care of your health, you may be able to reduce not only your asthma symptoms, but other medical issues as well. Asthma can be controlled through a variety of measures, and many of them are things you can do at home without a great deal of time, effort, or money.
Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes is often a trigger for asthma symptoms. The irritating substance settles in the lining of the airways and damages the cilia in the lungs, so they can't sweep out the dust and mucus out. The excess mucus and dust in your lungs will trigger an asthma attack.
I know that it is not easy to stop smoking, but it is imperative for your health and the health of your loved ones for you to do so. If you fill your lungs with the smoke, they are going to have difficulty getting the oxygen your body and your brain needs to live and function properly.
Smoking is known to cause so many illnesses that it is worth the effort it takes to stop. There are resources to help you stop smoking that are free or low cost, and even if you have to pay for counseling or treatment, it is worth the investment for the long term.
If you don't smoke, you should take the steps to avoid second hand smoke. Insist that smokers go outside if they want to smoke, so that your air can remain clean. It may seem rude at first, but it is much ruder to fill your lungs with smoke. Avoid public places where people who smoke have gathered.
Symptoms of Asthma
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty exhaling all air from lungs
- Difficult to get air in lungs
- Tight feeling in Chest
- Feeling Lightheaded
Although your weight does not cause asthma, carrying extra pounds on your body does require your lungs to work harder. Your muscles require more oxygen as they have to exert greater effort to move more weight.
If you are heavy, by losing a few extra pounds, you can help your lungs by having them work at more reasonable levels. Studies have shown that reducing your weight can help reduce at least one symptom of asthma.
If you are overweight, losing weight also has the bonus effect of helping you avoid other illnesses as well, such as diabetes or heart disease.
While eating a healthy diet is not a cure for asthma, providing your body with the proper vitamins and minerals does help your body work more effectively. In my interview with Dr. Mary Ann Block, she said that many people with allergies and asthma have a magnesium deficiency. She has found that treating her patients with magnesium injection and supplements have greatly reduced their allergy and asthma treatments.
By making sure that you eat right, with plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, you make sure that your body and your lungs have the proper nutrients they need to function.
There are many other ways which you make sure you stay healthy, such as getting enough sleep, washing your hands regularly, and avoiding people with contagious illnesses. If your asthma is triggered by cold weather, then wearing a scarf when you are going out might help you avoid a problem.
Getting an illness can take a toll on your body. A respiratory illness such as a cold or flu will aggravate your lungs and could cause an asthma attack. By staying healthy, your body and your lungs can function at their normal capacity without having to deal with any extra stress.
For further precautions, you might consider an annual flu vaccination in the form of a shot or a mist, or a pneumonia vaccine.
An exercise routine is as important for asthmatics as it is for anyone else. Regular exercise keeps your body in shape and healthy, giving it a chance to deal with asthma symptoms. When your body is in good health, your lungs will likely be as well. Your lungs will be able to handle small events, like some dust or pollen, quickly and efficiently when they are healthy. Swimming, walking, and bicycling are generally well tolerated by people with asthma.
Calming exercise like yoga can also help reduce stress.
Be careful though, because some people have exercise induced asthma. They cough, wheeze, and suffer from tightness in the chest or shortness of breath particularly when they are exercising. Be sure you have discussed exercise with your doctor before you start. You can build up your tolerance for exercise by starting small.
Stress can also be a trigger for asthma. Stress-induced asthma is caused by emotional stress and tension. Their first asthma attack came after a stress inducing event like a death of a loved one. Problems in a marriage or family, conflict in the workplace, or worries about finance can provoke feelings of anxiety and panic which can affect your breathing rate and regularity and even trigger an asthma attack.
You may want to think about what causes the most stress and consider making some life changes. Psychological counseling, meditation and other relaxation techniques, hypnosis therapy, and exercise are all ways you can reduce the stress in your life so you can avoid asthma symptoms.
The anticipation of having an asthma attack is also a stressor, that further aggravates the situation. If you feel you are about to have an attack, it is important to sit down, stay calm, and slowly work to get your breathing under control.
Keep Your Allergies Under Control
If you keep your allergy symptoms under control, you may be able to reduce your asthma symptoms. First, you will generally need to be tested by a doctor or dermatologist to determine what you are allergic to. Then, you can take the steps to avoid the allergens that trigger the asthma. Depending on your allergy, you may find that taking a few simple steps like staying indoors when the pollen count is high, using allergen free pillow covers for dust, or avoiding cats may keep you from having to reach for your inhaler as often.
Sometimes the solution is to take an allergy medication such as an antihistamine when you cannot avoid the allergen or during the time when your allergies are likely to be triggered, such as during high pollen count.
Air pollution is well documented in causing asthma attacks. Factories, industrial zones and automobiles are big triggers for outdoor air pollution. Burning wood or grass and gas fumes can also aggravate the lungs.
Indoor air pollution, such as mold, cockroach allergens, dust, and strong chemicals can also trigger an attack.
Air pollution can aggravate the lungs, and cause them to work harder. By avoiding areas where pollution is expected, you may be able to give your lungs a better chance to function normally.
Not being able to breathe is a very scary feeling, and there is nothing much you can do about it if you are not prepared. Be sure that you see your doctor, and have an emergency inhaler with you at all times and readily available so you can avoid an expensive visit to the emergency room.
There is medication that you take every day to help keep your passageways clear. There are also prescription inhalers that are available for emergency use, when you are actually having an asthma attack. Using both of these can help keep your emergency room visits to a minimum, saving you time, aggravation and money.
Over the Counter Medication
There was only one emergency inhaler that was available over the counter. Primatene Mist asthma inhalers went off the market because they contained CFCs. The company does offer its product in pill form, and plans to introduce a new formula of the product that does not contain CFCs at the end of 2013.
Find the Trigger and Manage Your Asthma
The Centers for Disease Control lists tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, pets, cockroach allergens, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and other things like infections, some medicines, cold temperatures, physical exercise; some medicines; bad weather, such as thunderstorms or high humidity; breathing in cold, dry air; and some foods, food additives, and fragrances as items that can trigger an asthma attack. Strong emotions can lead to very fast breathing, called hyperventilation, which can also cause an asthma attack.
By determining your trigger and taking the steps to reduce them, you may be able to minimize, or even avoid some asthma attacks all together. You will be able to sleep better, stop missing days from school or work, not have to suffer from the coughing and other symptoms, and maybe even avoid a visit to the hospital.
© 2012 Shasta Matova