Asthma is a common illness in both adults and children. For those diagnosed, dealing with medications and symptoms like wheezing and coughing can be a hassle—especially when they get in the way of daily life. Luckily, asthma doesn’t have to be a burden or restrict your lifestyle. Here are few things you should know to keep your asthma in check and under control.
- You are not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 13 people (or 25 million Americans) have asthma. If you think it might be helpful to talk to others with asthma, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America can help you find a support group near you or assist you in starting your own. Your doctor or asthma specialist can also help you learn more about your condition. You can give this information to friends and family so they know what to do in case you have an emergency.
- Know your symptoms and be prepared.
It’s important to have your asthma symptoms under control so you can live your life without worry. That means being prepared in the case of an asthma attack or emergency. You should have an asthma action plan, usually created with the help of your doctor or health care provider, which tells you how to treat your asthma and what to do when symptoms become worse. You should also know any triggers that cause your symptoms to flare up. Common triggers include smoke, mold and even pets. But your triggers may not be the same as another person’s. Stay updated with your doctor or asthma specialist on any changes with your condition.
- There are indirect benefits of a healthy diet.
There’s no solid link between nutrition and asthma, however, a healthy diet is always important for your overall health. A healthy diet can better prepare your body to fight off illness and prevent negative asthma events. It will also help prevent your asthma symptoms from worsening due to weight gain.
- You can still be active.
Many people living with asthma continue to lead an active lifestyle. It’s all about knowing yourself and your limits. Talk to your doctor before starting any intense activities or new exercise programs. There are also several ways to help control your asthma when active, including wearing a mask while exercising in cold weather and doing warm-up and cool-down exercises. Yoga, swimming and volleyball are great asthma-friendly activities because they avoid extended periods of intense effort. More demanding activities require extra awareness of symptoms and additional rest periods. Have your quick-relief medication and rescue inhaler nearby. It’s important to note that not everyone can handle activities the same way. Some people with asthma can play a game of pick-up basketball while others struggle. You know your body best—take rest breaks when you need them and take care when choosing activities that may impact your breathing.
- Allergies and asthma are closely related.
Allergies can have a direct impact on your asthma symptoms and often have the same triggers. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 60% of people with asthma have some form of Allergic asthma. Allergic asthma refers to asthma symptoms caused by specific allergens like dust mites and pollen. Your doctor can help you determine the best methods of treatment and prevention so you can avoid allergic asthma triggers. Being proactive and aware is the best way to keep both your allergies and asthma under control.
Asthma doesn’t have to control your life. With the help of your doctor and some careful planning, there are plenty of ways to do the things you love without worrying about an asthma attack. Just remember: be smart and be prepared.