How to deal with asthma on a daily basis
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that can cause shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing, all of which have no set pattern and can vary in severity among people. The cause of asthma is not known, and currently there is no cure. However, there are many things you can do to reduce symptoms day to day.
Two Kinds of Medication
Most people with asthma take two kinds of medication. That's because each asthma medication treats only one aspect of the condition.
- Controllers / preventers: These reduce inflammation in the airways. These medications are to be taken every day or asthma symptoms will return.
- Relievers: These are used to alleviate symptoms immediately. Relievers are only a short-term solution to breathing problems, and any underlying inflammation present will require a controller medication. Increased use of a reliever over time is telling you the asthma is worsening.
Controlling the Triggers
One way to control asthma symptoms without medication is to be aware of the triggers that cause inflammation in the lungs. These triggers include:
- Dust mites
- Viral infections
- Air pollutants
There are also some triggers that don't cause inflammation, but which could provoke symptoms in persons with already inflamed lungs. These include:
- Cold air
- Chemical fumes and other strong smells
- Certain air pollutants
- Intense emotions, ex. strong crying
Living with asthma can be overwhelming, and depending on the severity, it can completely change the way you function in everyday life. Asthma can influence anything from the way you clean to how much you exercise.
Exercising and Asthma
Having asthma does not mean you can't exercise. However, it may cause some limitations if it is not under control. If you experience asthma symptoms 5 or 10 minutes after exercising, this is probably due to exercise-induced asthma.
Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by temperature and humidity changes, especially when breathing in cold, dry air through the mouth. Air that passes through the mouth is bypassing the nose, which normally humidifies and warms the air prior to its reaching the lungs. It's important to note that exercise-induced asthma should not prevent you from exercising unless your doctor has said otherwise. The benefits of exercising outweigh the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma in most cases.
Though asthma is not curable, it is highly treatable with the right education, medication and routine management of environmental factors.