There is no cure for asthma. But with appropriate management of chronic symptoms and treatment of acute episodes, a good quality of life can still be had and enjoyed.
Asthma symptoms can be mild and easily managed, whereas some episodes can be debilitating and even life-threatening if treatment is not immediately administered. But living with asthma does not have to mean living miserably and with severe limitations.
Preventing and controlling asthma attacks
It is crucial that a person with asthma learns to recognize their triggers so they can be avoided, as well as monitor their breathing to make sure that symptoms are still effectively kept under control by their daily asthma medications.
When asthma is well-controlled, a patient usually experiences minimal symptoms throughout the day and night, and daily activities do not lead to shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness. It may seem like tedious work, but monitoring symptoms daily is an effective strategy to preventing asthma attacks.
Below is a strategic plan of attack to help prevent and control asthma attacks:
- Using air conditioning or simply keeping the windows closed to limit the amount of pollen and dust inside the home.
- Minimizing dust by using dust-proof covers for your mattress and pillows, removing carpeting and unnecessary clutter, and using washable blinds instead of curtains. Thoroughly and regularly cleaning the house – at least once a week.
- Using a dehumidifier if needed.
- Preventing mold spores by keeping susceptible areas of the kitchen and bathroom, as well as other parts of the house, dry as much as possible; keeping the yard clear of fallen leaves which can become damp and grow mold; and getting rid of damp firewood.
- Avoiding pets with feathers or fur, if pet dander is an asthma trigger; or grooming pets regularly to minimize pet dander inside the house.
- Wearing a face mask outdoors when it’s cold if cold temperatures or dry air worsens asthma.
- Getting regular exercise to strengthen the heart and lungs.
- Maintaining a healthy weight, as being overweight or obese can worsen asthma.
- Controlling heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can damage airways and worsen asthma.
- Daily medications for long-term asthma control.
- Rescue medications to provide quick relief as needed during asthma attack.
- Allergy medications, when needed.
- Alternative medicine:
- Breathing exercises.
- Herbal and natural remedies.The
The American Lung Association recommends monitoring these four key symptoms to help keep asthma under control:
- Frequency of daytime symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.
- Occurrence of nighttime symptoms that disturb sleep.
- Frequency of use of quick-relief or rescue inhaler to relieve asthma symptoms.
- Difficulty performing regular activities, such as daily chores, walking, climbing the stairs, or playing with the kids.
Book an appointment with a HOMA primary care physician to discuss how to properly monitor asthma symptoms, what to watch out for, and the strategic plan of attack that would be best suited for you.
With proper asthma management and treatment, asthma symptoms and functional and psychological distress associated with the condition can be prevented or minimized to ensure that the individual can still enjoy a healthy lifestyle.