3 Ways to Manage Your Asthma
Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness-asthma is breathtaking, and not in a good way. Though there is currently no cure for the condition, the majority of sufferers can live full lives with the help of medication and trigger management. Here are three ways you can manage your asthma.
How to Prevent Asthma Attacks: Aerobics
Regular aerobic exercise helps strengthen the lungs and control weight, which, in turn, minimizes symptoms. Asthma should not be getting in the way of an active lifestyle, but if it does, try using a reliever inhaler (which relaxes the airways quickly) about 15 minutes before working out and take time to thoroughly warm up.
“If exercise continues to trigger symptoms despite these steps, it’s a sign your asthma isn’t properly controlled,” says Dr. Guy Brusselle, the science council chair of the European Respiratory Society. Adjustments to your medication routine, made by a GP or a specialist, may be in order.
How to Prevent Asthma Attacks: Beware of Cold Days
When winter arrives, many people find that the cold air sets off their symptoms and can worsen existing complaints. If you’re among those sufferers, drape a scarf over your nose and mouth when you’re outdoors on sub-zero days. Ideally, asthma patients should also get the annual flu shot and the one-time pneumonia vaccine to help avoid illnesses known to bring on attacks.
How to Prevent Asthma Attacks: Visit Your Doctor Annually
What works one year might be less effective the next, as asthma tends to change over time. At least every 12 months, check in with a doctor who will track changes and administer a peak expiratory flow test to measure the amount of air you can move through your airways. You and the physician can then ensure your regimen is still appropriate for your asthma’s severity.
Whatever you do, don’t skip the annual visit, even if the coughing and wheezing have mostly subsided. You may be able to cut back on your controller medication (pills or inhalers designed to continually prevent inflammation), since you should be taking the lowest amount necessary. Still, sufferers should carry a reliever inhaler at all times. No matter how mild the asthma, being prepared is always the smartest plan.