What is asthma, anyway?
Inhale, exhale. We do both involuntarily, around the clock, every day of our lives. For those with asthma, a chronic lung condition, the very act of breathing can be frustrating and sometimes scary – especially for kids. When you breathe in air through your mouth or nose, it travels to the lungs by way of the bronchial – or breathing – tubes. Visualize tree branches: On the end of each branch are tiny sacs that push oxygen into the blood system. When asthma flares up, those already narrow breathing tubes swell and constrict, causing wheezing, coughing and a feeling of chest tightness.
Asthma is a chronic condition of the respiratory system causing broncho spasms and an inability to breathe when exposed to triggers. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be effectively managed to prevent many of the scary life threatening symptoms associated with the condition. Here’s what you need to know to prevent your Asthma symptoms from taking over your life.
Is your asthma under control?
Although you may have heard otherwise, asthma cannot be outgrown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the lifelong, unwelcome sidekick impacts 18.7 million adults and 6.8 million children in the U.S. alone. Knowing your triggers and taking your medications as prescribed are just some of the ways to control your disease. But diet and exercise should also be part of your asthma action plan.
Prescription Medication for Managing Asthma
Although prescription medication has adverse effects on the body, in the management of Asthma, it can provide more benefits than limitations.
The most effective treatment of Asthma is through control efforts. These management methods have been developed to control areas of inflammation and the restrictions of the upper airway that may compromise your well-being. The most popular of these medications is the classic Asthma pump. The pump helps alleviate respiratory irritation and distress by delivering medications to the airways efficiently. Depending on the severity of your disease, a combination of medications may be incorporated.
The corticosteroid is an important part of management because it decreases the accumulation of inflammation and related difficulties that can compromise well-being. Preventing inflammatory reactions will promote improved airways and overall well-being.
The Beta-antagonist aims to reduce muscle tension in the airways and assist in keeping the area relaxed. Relaxed muscles are less likely to go into spasms.
Perform Breathing Techniques at Home
Apart from medication, there are natural strategies you can incorporate to improve your well-being. Practicing breathing deeply in and our daily can help relax the bronchial muscles and increase oxygen intake into the lungs. The process also helps support more efficient breathing and oxygen capacity within the lungs.
Use a peak flow meter.
Many doctors and pharmacists recommend people with asthma use a peak flow meter. The portable, hand-held device measures how much air your lungs push out. Essentially, it will tell you or your doctor just how well your current asthma medications are working and if your action plan needs adjusting. Talk to your doctor to determine if you or your child should try a peak flow meter.
Know your triggers.
Asthma attacks can be triggered by allergens such as dust, pollen, animals, mold, cigarette smoke, perfume or infections, including the common cold or flu. Occupational hazards such as dust, fumes, gases or other dangerous chemicals can also cause asthma. Meanwhile, some patients only develop asthma symptoms while exercising. Your doctor may prescribe a rescue inhaler when sudden triggers lead to shortness of breath or wheezing.
Coffee and black tea drinkers, rejoice! “These commonly contain biological active chemicals that assist in bronchodilation,” says Dr. Leonard Bielory, director of the STARx Allergy and Asthma Center in Springfield, New Jersey. Bielory explains that caffeine is chemically related to the drug theophylline, which is used to treat asthma. It also reduces respiratory muscle fatigue, thereby opening the airways. Research published in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews in 2010 found that caffeine improved airway function for up to four hours in people with asthma.
Speaking to your physician can help develop a comprehensive wellness plan to address the difficulties associated with Asthma and the best ways of improving your lasting healthcare.