Asthma is a condition that affects nearly 30 million Americans. Kids and adults are equally likely to have it. Most children with asthma may get cured as they get older, but for some, the condition remains into adulthood. The scariest thing about asthma is that if you do not know the symptoms and know how to address it, the lung condition can kill you. You can prevent asthma attacks and take better control of your life or your child’s life. Take a look at these tips to help you.
1. Identify Triggers and Stay Away From Them
Asthma attack symptoms are not the same for everyone, but there are common triggers. You should know what factors increase your risk of getting an asthma attack and stay away from them. Common triggers include:
- Air pollution
- Cold air
- Getting sick
Most people can learn what triggers they need on their own. Other times, there are triggers you know you have but do not know what the source is.
In times like this, it’s helpful to create an asthma diary to track everything you do and the locations you visit. Keep a log for several weeks.
Find ways to keep your home and workplace free from allergens. It would help if you also were mindful of the locations you visit and travel.
There are emotional and physical factors that can cause asthma. Attacks can happen while working out or occur during periods of stress, depression, or shock.
2. Strengthen Your Immunity
Anyone can benefit from a healthy immune system, especially those who have asthma. You can boost your immune system by taking vitamin C, drinking plenty of water, and eating foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins to equip your body with the nutrition it needs.
Having a strong immune system can prevent you from getting sick often, which can cause attacks. It would help if you also washed your hands often to lower the chances of getting respiratory infections.
If you have several allergies, you may want to consider getting allergy shots to keep asthma under better control. Getting all your vaccinations can also prove to be useful.
Other than getting flu shots to protect you against the flu virus, it will help to get a pneumonia shot (Pneumovax). This is a shot you should get every 5-10 years. Other vaccinations include the zoster vaccine, which shields you from shingles, and Tdap, which protects you against whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria.
3. Follow Your Doctor’s Action Plan
Your doctor understands your condition, and you well enough to create a personalized action plan to manage your asthma. They will give you your medications and advise you on how to use the peak flow meter.
This meter is sufficient for measuring how well air travels throughout your lungs. It can also let you know in advance when your airways are narrow ahead of time before symptoms show. This alone can save you from an attack before it happens.
Peak flows let you know how fast you can expel air from your lungs and provide readings to measure your results. You must understand the zones to see if your breathing is optimal or you are in danger.
There are also spirometry tests the doctor may add into the plan to see how much hair your lungs can contain and how much air you can release following a deep breath. This is known as forced expiratory volume (FEV), and the recording is often expressed as a percentage.
4. Take Your Medications
Asthma attacks account for about 25% of all emergency visits in the US. Many of these attacks could have been prevented in situations when asthma medications were not taken.
Asthma medications are needed to help address the symptoms and stop them before they can surface. The main form of controlling asthma attacks is with the use of long term medications like:
- Oral corticosteroids
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Inhaled long-acting anticholinergics/beta-agonists
There are also medications available the doctor will prescribe to provide fast relief in the event you are having an attack. They will provide inhaled short-acting anticholinergics and beta-agonists instead.
Some doctors will recommend the use of biologic drugs that treat asthma by working with your immune system. This drug works by blocking immune responses responsible for causing the airways to get inflamed and contract. Biologic drugs like omalizumab (Xolair) are monoclonal antibodies used in cases of severe symptoms.
5. Follow Precautions as a Vulnerable Population Group
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is crucial now more than ever to get as much fresh air as possible. More people are staying indoors, and closed spaces pose two primary risks for people with asthma.
When you are in closed spaces, you are more likely to expose yourself to allergens and infectious diseases. It is important to remember the chances of exposing yourself to allergens and viruses from others when you remain areas void of ventilation.
Those with asthma are more sensitive to risks and complications related to infectious disease, so you should be sure to follow guidelines the CDC advises for vulnerable populations.
You Can Prevent Asthma Attacks Before They Happen
Asthma is a significant problem in the US. The saving factor about the chronic condition is that it’s controllable. You can reduce or prevent asthma attacks when you follow these tips.
Knowing what your triggers are, boosting your immunity, listening to your doctor, and exposing yourself to fresh air as much as possible is essential. Never skip on taking your medications either. Most doctors prescribe anti-asthmatics, like Asmanex, to their patients.
When you live with asthma for a long time, you must refill the medication often. You can skip the trip to the drugstore by starting an order online to have the life-saving medication you need to be delivered to you.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD
It is a progressive lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD occurs when the passages to the lungs are obstructed, lose their elasticity or become thick and inflamed.
Obstructive pulmonary disease – Causes
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, and most people with COPD either smoke or used to smoke. Other causes include long-term exposure to pollutants, chemical fumes, and dust.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary emphysema -Types
The term “COPD” refers to two basic types. Emphysema occurs when the walls of the air sacs in the lungs are damaged. The sacs become floppy, and the exchange of gases in the lungs is reduced.
People who have chronic bronchitis find that their airways are constantly irritated and inflamed. This causes the lining of the airway to thicken, and leads to the production of excess mucus, making it difficult to breathe.
Most people who have COPD have both Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis, so the term “COPD” is used universally.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Symptoms
The symptoms of COPD come on gradually and eventually become so severe that they limit daily activities. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Wet cough, with excess mucus
- Frequent lung infections that are difficult to treat
- Unintended weight loss
“Pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – Treatments”
Although there is no cure for COPD and doctors have not yet figured out how to reverse the damage, the symptoms can be managed. Lifestyle changes coupled with treatment allow most people to live a productive life. Treatment options include:
Bronchodilators—Short-acting Beta 2 agonists: These are fast-acting inhalers that open up the air passages and make breathing easier. They are designed for “instant relief” but the effects are short-lived. Side effects include a headache, muscle cramps, shakiness, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and irritability.
Bronchodilators—Long-acting Beta 2 agonists: These inhalers work the same way as short-acting agonists, but the effects are more long reaching. Rather than being an “emergency” medicine, these are maintenance medications designed to control the symptoms of COPD. The side effects are the same as the short-acting inhalers.
Bronchodilators—Anticholinergics: These are also inhalers, but are designed for long-term usage at all stages of COPD.
- Oral medications
- Oxygen therapy
COPD cannot be cured or reversed, but it can be prevented. If you are a smoker, stopping now will help to decrease your chances of getting COPD, and if you already have it, stopping smoking will help to lessen your symptoms and increase the chances of successful treatment.