When you think of Asthma, you picture a coughing, wheezing individual who seems to be perpetually ill. But it need not be so. If you have Asthma and you properly manage it, you can be a part of all the activities that your family and friends are involved in, without feeling left out.
So what can you do to make living with Asthma, a painless and enjoyable experience? Here are some tips
Acknowledge the Illness
If you have asthma, it is very important to first acknowledge and accept that you have the illness. Accepting the illness means going for regular medical checkups, taking medications on time and monitoring lung function by various tests like Spirometry & Peak Flow tests. It also means letting people around you know that you have asthma. This is especially important so that they will be able to help you in case of an asthma attack. And remember – never step out without your inhaler!
Make your Home and Office Allergen-Free Zones
One way to prevent you from getting an Asthma attack is to make your home and office dust and allergen free. The right air-conditioning in your home and office can reduce the entry of pollen and other allergens, besides controlling the humidity levels indoors. Make sure your house has furnishings that do not trap dust and use dust covers whenever possible. Minimise the use of carpets and wash linen regularly in hot water to get rid of dust mites. Pets, if any, should be bathed regularly and kept out of beds as their falling hair may aggravate your symptoms.
If you are a smoker and have been diagnosed with Asthma, you simply have to stop smoking. Smoke acts as an irritant and also decreases the efficacy of the medication you take. It may also put you at risk of COPD and other bronchial diseases. Even second-hand smoke has the same effect and so it is necessary for you to ensure that smokers in your friend and family circles do not light up in your presence.
Proper nutrition is very important for a good strong immune system. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for asthma. Fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants which boost up the immune system. Load up on the Vitamins to boost your immune system and omega-3 fatty acids to keep Asthma at bay. Avoid foods rich in fats so as to avoid obesity. Being over-weight worsens the symptoms of asthma and can lead to other health issues as well.
Exercise to Keep Fit
One might think that if you have asthma, you should not exercise. But that is far from the truth. On the other hand, regular exercise strengthens the heart and the lungs, reducing the symptoms of asthma. If you are regular with your medications and are monitoring your lung function, then there is no reason not to lead an active life. What kind of exercises should an asthma patient do you ask? Exercises that involve short periods of exertion can be done by asthma patients. Swimming, aerobics and walking are some exercises that someone suffering from asthma can do to keep fit.
“Being an asthma patient from a very young age, exercising has always been a bane. However, exercise is one of the few activities that help you build lung power. Practicing yoga or swimming are good way to increase lung capacity,” said Ramson Furtado, 25, Student (correspondence), St. Andrew’s college, Bandra.
Stress and anxiety are also known to trigger off the symptoms on Asthma in patients. You can keep your stress levels low by doing meditation and breathing exercises. The benefits of Yoga have also been seen in many patients.
“Asthma patients need to identify and avoid triggers like stress, cold air and strong odours. Cold and dry hair can trigger bronchoconstriction. Keeping the chest covered and wearing layers especially in cold climate areas will help an Asthma patient to lead a normal and active life. Taking regular inhaler and protecting chest can also avoid the need for future oral steroid medication which is needed in case of an acute attack,” said Dr. Rubina Chaudhari, empanelled with the Ex-Servicemen Cooperative Health Scheme (ECHS) Clinic, Patiala.
Remember – Asthma is an illness that can be dealt with and with the right help and support, you can manage to live a full, free and active life!!