In the U.S., millions of people deal with asthma, a chronic condition that constricts airway function. Common symptoms include breathing difficulties, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and excessive coughing. Cases range in severity, and all people with asthma must understand how to handle their condition properly.
A healthcare provider can work with you to identify the best treatment options for your specific situation. Long-term control medications and quick-relief inhalers are the two most common treatments for asthma. However, several other factors help you better manage this condition. Here are five tips for alleviating your asthma symptoms.
The cleanliness of your home plays a more significant factor in controlling your asthma symptoms than you might think. Neglecting chores like dusting and vacuuming can lead to the buildup of dander, pollen, mold, and other irritants. These particles can enter your airways and trigger an asthma attack.
Vacuuming and dusting at least once a week will help keep your house clean and asthma symptoms at bay. You should also wash bedding frequently to reduce particle buildup on fabrics. Staying on top of these chores is especially critical for curbing dander if you have pets.
Ensuring proper ventilation in your home is another of the best defenses against airborne allergens that can cause asthma symptoms. Regularly changing the filter on your ductless air conditioner will help it run more efficiently and minimize airborne irritants.
Knowing and avoiding the things that trigger your asthma symptoms is crucial to staying healthy. For example, while tobacco smoke isn’t good for anyone, it is especially harmful to individuals with the condition. Avoid smoking and any situation where you might be exposed to secondhand smoke, which can prompt attacks. In addition, harsh weather, food additives, and fragrances can be extra tough on asthma patients.
Pollen, dust mites, and mold can also be huge triggers if you have asthma. Take extra care of yourself during allergy season if you’re sensitive to pollen. Prioritize extra cleanliness at home if dust, mold, and other airborne allergies worsen your systems.
Realize, however, that some cleaning products and disinfectants can harm those with asthma. Be mindful of the products you select, and try to choose cleaners certified by the EPA Safer Choice Program.
Controlling your stress levels is important for everyone, especially those with asthma. Breathing difficulties and chest tightness are common symptoms of anxiety. These effects are especially hard to handle if you already struggle with a breathing condition. Feeling stressed out increases adrenaline levels, which can lead to airway constriction and breathing pattern changes. Stress also can increase inflammation in the body, making it more challenging to manage asthma.
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga are terrific ways to regulate your stress levels naturally. These relaxation techniques can likewise promote better lung function and improved breathing capacity.
Talking to a therapist is another way to deal with stress and improve overall health. A professional can help you identify your stress triggers and develop strategies for managing your emotions.
Regular exercise offers a wide range of benefits, particularly for asthma patients. Physical activity strengthens lung function, improves the cardiovascular system, and supports respiratory health. In addition, exercising increases the blood flow to the lungs. Consistent physical activity results in better weight management and helps to reduce stress levels.
That said, you should avoid overexerting yourself, which can worsen asthma symptoms. Some asthma patients may only experience symptoms when exercising or undergoing increased physical demands.
Talk with your doctor about whether you might have exercise-induced asthma or are simply out of shape. Your healthcare provider can help you formulate the best exercise plan for your condition.
Eating a diet full of nutrients from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins helps reduce inflammation in the body. Since inflammation is a key factor in asthma, anti-inflammatory foods allow you to manage the condition better.
A healthy diet also promotes improved immune health, which is essential for dealing with asthma. Filling your plate with foods rich in zinc, selenium, and vitamins B6, C, and E is best for immune health. These nutrients, along with magnesium and omega-3s, promote better lung function, too. If you find getting these nutrients from food alone challenging, consider taking a supplement.
Healthy eating is likewise essential for proper weight management. Excessive weight could put extra pressure on your lungs and airways, which makes breathing more difficult. That’s all the more reason to watch what you eat.
Nearly 1 in 13 people in the U.S. have asthma, one of the country’s most costly and common diseases. The condition affects people of all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic levels. However, some populations are more prone to suffering from asthma than others. For example, asthma rates are the highest among Black adults. Female adults are more likely to have asthma than their male counterparts, while more male children have asthma than girls.
A chronic condition like asthma can significantly impact your overall well-being. Understanding the disease and its effects on the body is the first step in handling symptoms and avoiding triggers. While there is no cure for asthma, it’s possible to manage the condition with the proper medical guidance and care.