Lifestyle Changes to Make When Living with Asthma
Old airport road, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Asthma is a common long term lung disease that causes a person’s airways to become inflamed, swell and produce extra mucus. This results in narrowing of the airways that deliver oxygen to the lungs. Over 1 million cases of Asthma are diagnosed each year in India alone. Symptoms of the condition include episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing. As no permanent cure has as yet been identified for Asthma, treatment generally focuses relieving and preventing symptoms and inflammation of the airways. Asthma is believed to be caused due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, therefore making modifications to your lifestyle is likely to be extremely beneficial in managing Asthma.
Avoid Exposure to Irritants– The likelyhood of Asthma is greatly increased for people who suffer from several or severe allergies. Irritants that could trigger Allergic-Asthma include everything from dust mites, cigarette smoke, polluted air, pollen to pet hair and mold. The lifestyle changes required here involve quitting smoking (if you smoke) and avoiding passive smoke, keeping your surroundings clean and taking anti-hayfever medication in certain seasons. Using an air conditioner can greatly assist with maintaining desirable conditions as it minimising the amount of external dust and pollen in your home as well helps maintain optimal humidity.
Avoid Processed Foods– Food additives in processed foods can act as a trigger for Asthmatic symptoms, this includes refined carbohydrates like sugar and starches as well gluten, dairy and other high sensitivity foods. Many Asthma patients can also be sensitive to nitrates, nitrites and sulfites and should avoid them. This may include cheeses, sausages, wine and beer. As far as possible try to eat balanced home cooked meals and incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats into your diet.
Maintain a Healthy Weight– Obesity is a factor people don’t usually associate with Asthma but can actually impact your symptoms greatly. Apart from increasing the risk of developing other health disorders, obesity worsens Asthma as the extra weight pushes down on the ribcage and lungs and makes it even harder to breathe properly. For those patients on asthma medication, studies have found that the medication takes better effect on people at a healthier weight.
Stay fit and Exercise– With proper precautions, there is no reason why Asthma patients cannot exercise and stay fit. Infact staying in better physical condition actually improves your aerobic capacity, which reflects the fitness of your lungs. Activities like yoga, swimming and aerobics can go a long way towards helping manage your condition. Precautions to take include not exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high, choosing indoor fitness activities as far as possible as well as wearing a face-mask over your mouth and nose when exercising in cold or dry weather.
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