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How Asthma Affects Daily Life

I Can Exercise But May Need To Take Breaks And Watch Out For Myself

How asthma negatively affected the daily life and livelihood of Joel Villanueva | Salamat Dok

Exercising is not a matter of self-discipline for someone with asthma they may need to stop to give their lungs a rest.

Sommers mother, Ginny, recalls a time when her daughter was in elementary school gym class and stopped because she was short of breath: The gym teacher asked what was going on, and when Kendra said she was having trouble breathing, he said, You dont stop for anything, not even to tie your shoes, she recalls. Ginny later explained to the teacher the specifics of Kendras asthma, as he didnt know about the condition.

Still, exercise is important when you have severe asthma, and with proper treatment, its possible to stay active. Asthma should never be a deterrent as far as exercise, says Dr. Mora. We can get the asthma under control so that you can achieve and do everything that you want.

Asthma Management Can Help

A single individual’s asthma does not necessarily remain in the same category permanently. A person with seasonal asthma triggers may find that at a certain time of year for instance, when ragweed pollen is in the air he or she is in a higher severity group than during the rest of the year.

Asthma that starts during childhood also may become less severe as a person grows and his or her airways become wider. For any person with asthma, effective ongoing asthma control can help them move into a less severe category.

The asthma experts at UI Health can help you bring your asthma under control. To request an appointment, please fill out the online form or call 312.996.3300.

Good Nutrition Is Valuable For Allergy And Asthma Management

Keep your weight within a healthy range, no matter your age. There are a lot of links between being overweight and having problems with your lung health, Dr. Parikh says.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet can play a valuable role in asthma and allergy management. It involves eating lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting carbohydrates and alcohol. Strive for a clean, healthy diet that does not promote inflammation.

Consider taking an anti-inflammatory supplement, such as curcumin, essential fatty acids or a multivitamin, especially if you struggle to eat right. A natural antihistamine, such as quercetin and bromelain, is also helpful for some.Keep your weight within a healthy range, no matter your age. There are a lot of links between being overweight and having problems with lung health, Dr. Parikh says.

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Managing Mood Disorders And Asthma

Research shows that both depression and anxiety are complications that can develop as a result of having uncontrolled asthma. A study found that people with asthma were almost twice as likely to develop depression compared with those who didnt have asthma.

Stress can exacerbate asthma, notes Grayson. If stress, anxiety, or any emotional concerns are interfering with your life or relationships, you should ask your doctor about whether it might be appropriate to see a mental health professional. Mental health concerns, like depression or anxiety, may also interfere with asthma medication and treatment plan adherence, Grayson adds. Those issues should be addressed so asthma can be better managed.

Limitations Of The Study

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The primary reason to stratify children on age and disease severity was to gain maximum variation in the study population on these aspects. Moreover, children were stratified to enhance free-flowing conversations. Although maximum variation was achieved, it was not possible to stratify the children as planned in groups, since it was important that the focus group meetings took place in the neighborhood of the participants and the locations were rather widespread. In general, the moderators observed no negative influence of the composition of the groups on the discussion. Also, aspects like gender, social economic status, and family structure could have influence on the HRQL of children, but maximum variation on all these aspects was found in the focus group population . Moreover, in focus group research, only a small number of responders are participating, which may be a limitation for the generalization to a larger population . Our study took place in the Netherlands, and though it can be that some findings are influenced by cultural habits or local laws , we believe that the components of HRQL mentioned by the children are relevant for children with asthma in general. Finally, many children invited by general practitioners did no longer suffer from asthmatic complaints, according to the parents. Most likely, children were classified with asthma earlier in life while their respiratory complaints were transient.

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What To Do During An Asthma Attack Or Flare

An asthma attack can come on gradually or quite quickly .The symptoms to look out for include:

  • Increasing wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing.
  • Needing to use a reliever again within three hours of last taking it.
  • Waking often at night with asthma symptoms.

An asthma attack can become life threatening if not treated properly, even in someone whose asthma is usually mild or well controlled.

If someone is getting an asthma attack, follow the instructions in their asthma action plan. If they dont have an action plan or you arent sure what to do, follow the four steps of asthma first aid.

Why Is My Asthma Worse At Night

Asthma that gets worse at night is sometimes called nighttime asthma or nocturnal asthma. There are no definite reasons that this happens, but there are some educated guesses. These include:

  • The way you sleep: Sleeping on your back can result in mucus dripping into your throat or acid reflux coming back up from your stomach. Also, sleeping on your back puts pressure on your chest and lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. However, lying face down or on your side can put pressure on your lungs.
  • Triggers in your bedroom and triggers that happen in the evening: You may find your blankets, sheets and pillows have dust mites, mold or pet hair on them. If youve been outside in the early evening, you may have brought pollen in with you.
  • Medication side effects: Some drugs that treat asthma, such as steroids and montelukast, can affect your sleep.
  • Air thats too hot or too cold: Hot air can cause airways to narrow when you breathe in. Cold air is an asthma trigger for some people.
  • Lung function changes: Lung function lessens at night as a natural process.
  • Asthma is poorly controlled during the day: Symptoms that arent controlled during the day wont be better at night. Its important to work with your provider to make sure your asthma symptoms are controlled both day and night. Treating nighttime symptoms is very important. Serious asthma attacks, and sometimes deaths, can happen at night.

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There Are Different Types Of Asthma Which Have Different Triggers

Just as someone who has severe asthma has more frequent, serious symptoms than someone with more mild asthma, there are also many different types of triggers. These may be environmental allergies, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust mites. Poor air quality and smoke often affect people with asthma. And some people, like ONeal and Imhoff, have whats called eosinophilic asthma, which can be severe and chronic, even in the absence of other triggers. Eosinophilic asthma has everything to do with a certain type of white blood cell, and nothing to do with anything else, ONeal says.

Which Exercise Is Best For Asthma

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What exercises are best for people with asthma?

  • Swimming. Swimming is one of the most recommended exercises for people with asthma.
  • Walking. As a low-intensity activity, walking is another great choice.
  • Hiking.
  • Sports with short bursts of activity.

Is asthma linked to diet?

Theres no conclusive evidence that a specific diet has an effect on the frequency or severity of asthma attacks. At the same time, eating fresh, nutritious foods may improve your overall health as well as your asthma symptoms.

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Physical Education At School

In 2003, a high proportion of the adolescents reported respiratory symptoms/asthma associated with physical education, running, or engaging in other sports . The girls expressed discomfort to a greater extent than boys, however, not significantly . In both years, over a quarter of the adolescents reported that they did not have the same physical fitness as their schoolmates. Moreover, in 2013, a higher proportion of girls reported that they did not have the same physical fitness as their peers . In both years, the girls reported nonparticipation in physical education to a higher extent than the boys .

Daily Activities And Asthma

Living with asthma can affect your daily routines and the way in which you manage the daily tasks that we all need to do getting dressed, having a shower, shopping, cooking and so on.

You may notice there are times when you are more, or less, breathless. Think about the ways in which you already manage your asthma when you are breathless. What have you discovered that helps you in managing your asthma and breathlessness day-to-day? It is important to think about, and use, any strategies that work for you.

Think about the times you are more breathless. This may be related to exertion and busy days, or you may notice you are more tired or breathless the day following a busy day? Pacing can mean planning priorities and your daily routine which helps with recognising how and where your energy will be used.

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How Is Asthma Treated

There’s no cure for asthma, but it can be managed to prevent flare-ups. Asthma treatment involves two important components: avoiding triggers and taking medicine.

Avoiding Triggers

People with asthma need to avoid the things that might cause flare-ups. Of course, some triggers can’t be completely avoided . But exposure to other triggers, such as pet dander, can be controlled.

Keep your environment clear of potential allergens, like dust or secondhand smoke. Don’t smoke . Pay attention to the weather and stay indoors or limit your exercise to indoor activities when you know weather or air pollution may affect you.

Doctors help people with exercise-induced asthma manage physical activity, not avoid it. Exercise can help people stay healthier overall. Doctors can help people find treatments that allow them to them participate in their sports in fact, many professional athletes have asthma.

Taking Medicine

Most asthma medicines are breathed directly into the lungs , but some are pills or liquids. There two types of medicines are:

  • Quick-relief medicines,which act fast. They can be used as needed during a flare-up. Quick-relief medicines act fast, but their effect doesn’t last long. These kinds of medicines are also called “fast-acting” or “rescue” medicines.
  • Some people with asthma only need quick-relief medicine others need both kinds of medicine to keep their asthma in check.

    Improving Quality Of Life In Severe Asthma

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    There are several interventions aimed at improving quality of life in severe asthma, both directly and indirectly. These interventions include behavioural and pharmacological treatments, and may involve single targeted treatments or bundled interventions, which include the assessment and treatment of related comorbidities and risk factors.

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    Symptoms Or Peak Expiratory Flow: Symptom Monitoring

    The day-to-day monitoring of symptoms increases well-being and includes measurement of symptoms and medications or measurement of airway function by peak expiratory flow . Buistet al. conducted a randomised clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of symptom and PEF monitoring. The results concluded that there were no significant differences between the types of monitoring with respect to accessing healthcare services, with Asthma QoL Questionnaire scores and lung function both improving . The significant difference in AQLQ scores between baseline and 6-month follow-up suggests that symptom monitoring either via symptoms or PEF increases well-being in severe asthma . Engaging patients in self-monitoring requires regular discussion and review.

    Physical Effects Of Asthma

    Having asthma can affect a person in many ways. Physical effects can range from the somewhat annoying all the way to the life-threatening . The frequency and seriousness of asthma symptoms depends on the overall severity of the asthma and how well it is controlled.

    Whether your asthma causes mild or severe symptoms, it’s essential to have an asthma management plan in place. The asthma doctors at UI Health can help. We’ll take the time to understand your symptoms and gauge the severity of your asthma. Then we’ll work with you to put together a plan that will address the physical effects asthma is having on your body.

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    Paying For Your Medicines

    Most adults with asthma will need to pay a prescription charge for their medicines.

    If you need to take a lot of medicines, paying for each item individually could get quite expensive. You may find it cheaper to get a prescription prepayment certificate. This is where you pay a one-off charge for all your prescriptions over a 3- or 12-month period.

    You will not need to pay for your medicines if you do not normally pay prescription charges. For example, all under-16s are entitled to free prescriptions.

    Read more about prescription costs to find out if you’re entitled to help with your prescription charges.

    What To Consider Before Joining A Clinical Trial

    How Asthma Affects Your Lungs and Your Life

    A person with asthma may decide to join a clinical trial to receive a treatment or medication that may not be otherwise available, or they might be motivated to help others with asthma and expand broader medical knowledge, says Grayson. And in some cases, you may have access to medical care or medication for free, potentially even after the trial is over, notes Williams.

    The study researchers will screen your eligibility if you apply, but you should also consider your own commitment. You should only join a clinical trial if you plan to follow the researchers directions, such as taking medication as instructed, says Grayson.

    Another reason you may not be a good candidate is if you are uncomfortable with the possibility that you might be unknowingly assigned to a placebo arm of a trial and not receive the active treatment or experimental therapy, Grayson adds.

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    Physical Symptoms Of Asthma

    Asthma symptoms and severity vary substantially from person to person. Most people with asthma do not have symptoms constantly. Bothersome asthma symptoms can mean that asthma is not controlled sufficiently or that an acute asthma episode may be starting. Common asthma symptoms include:

    • Coughing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Awakening in the night from coughing or wheezing

    If you do not have asthma, you can help yourself imagine what it feels like to have an asthma episode:

  • Run in place for a minute or two, until you can feel your heart start to beat fast. Take a plastic drinking straw and put it in your mouth. Hold your nose closed and continue to breathe through the straw. OR
  • Take a deep breath in and hold it a moment. Now let out about a tenth of the air in your lungs. Breathe back in. Breathe out that same small amount of air. Breathe back in. Repeat until you can’t stand it anymore.
  • Signs Of An Asthma Emergency

    An asthma emergency occurs when you have followed your asthma action plan and asthma symptoms have not improved within 10-15 minutes. Signs that you are having an asthma emergency include:

    • Difficulty talking and/or walking
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Skin sucking in by the ribs or neck
    • Fingernails or lips turning pale, blue or gray

    Any one of these symptoms means your asthma is serious and can be life-threatening. Use your reliever medicine right away, tell someone you are experiencing an asthma emergency, and go to the emergency room or call 911.

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    Medications That Relieve And Control Symptoms

    Based on your asthma symptoms, your health care provider will prescribe asthma medications designed to work best for you. The two main types of asthma medications are:

    Quick-Relief Medication Everyone with asthma should have access to quick-relief medication delivered with a metered-dose inhaler. Your quick-relief medication is used to treat asthma symptoms when they first begin. Within 10 to 15 minutes of use, your quick-relief medication should work to reduce squeezing of the muscles around your airways. If you are prescribed a quick-relief asthma inhaler, you should carry it at all times.

    Long-term Control Medication This type of medication is taken daily and works to reduce your airway inflammation and mucus production. This makes your airways less sensitive to triggers and prevents asthma flare-ups before they happen. Not everyone with asthma needs a long-term control medication. Your healthcare provider will determine your asthma severity and whether you need one.

    There are several different asthma medication delivery systems. If you take inhaled medicines, you should practice using your inhaler at your health care providers office. If you take long-term control medicines, take them daily as your health care provider prescribes. Your health care provider may also advise you to use a peak flow meter to measure and record how well your lungs are working.

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    Exercise Can Help With Airway Inflammation

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    While its common knowledge that exercise plays an important role in a persons overall health, it is less commonly known that it can help keep airway inflammation under control.

    If your asthma is not well-controlled, with frequent coughing and wheezing, exercise can be risky. Its important to get clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, otherwise you could be putting strain on your lungs.

    Board-certified allergist Maeve OConnor, MD, of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Relief in Charlotte, North Carolina, keeps a treadmill in her office that she uses to evaluate patients readiness to begin an exercise program.

    She encourages patients to try low-impact activities such as 10-15 minutes of walking.

    I dont want patients to start out trying to go too fast. It just sets them up for failure, Dr. OConnor says. Low and slow are the best ways to start.

    Strength training with light weights or resistance bands can help build stamina without impacting the lungs. Even lifting canned goods on the way home from the grocery store can be a good start.

    While its common knowledge that exercise plays an important role in a persons overall health, it is less commonly known that it can help keep airway inflammation under control. If your asthma is not well controlled, with frequent coughing and wheezing, exercise can be risky. Its important to get clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, otherwise you could be putting strain on your lungs.

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