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The Asthma Survival Guide

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Asthma is a chronic lung disease which affects over 300 million people worldwide. There is no cure for asthma yet, but there are many treatment options which help asthma sufferers both survive and thrive! Read on for tips from this short Asthma Survival Guide. Asthma makes it hard for patients to breathe and happens when there is an obstruction of air flow in the lungs. Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. We don’t yet know why people get asthma, but we do know that it is often made worse with allergies, respiratory viruses, certain medications, air pollution and more. Asthma is most commonly acquired during childhood, yet it is also common for adults to first experience symptoms in their 70s or 80s. While the asthma symptoms are the same, asthma symptoms in seniors can have more serious implications. Even minor symptoms can lead to respiratory failure in older people.

There are a few treatment options that asthma sufferers can use depending on the symptoms and the severity.

Nebulizers are used when a larger dose of medication is needed, or when a regular inhaler cannot be used. Both adults and children use nebulizers, and they are known for their ability to deliver the medicine deeper into the lungs. The most common and well-known medication is Ventolin. Ventolin works by relaxing the airways and allowing increased air flow into the lungs. It is considered a “rescue inhaler” because it is used to combat asthma symptoms when they arise. Some asthma sufferers need to ensure they have their Ventolin with them wherever they go. Advair is a medication that is used to prevent asthma attacks and the worsening of symptoms. Spiriva is also a preventative medication used to avoid flare-ups and sudden breathing problems.

5 tips on how to survive and thrive with asthma

  • Take your asthma medication as prescribed
Don’t skip your preventative asthma medication. You might not experience asthma symptoms all the time, but it is a chronic condition and therefore you still have asthma regardless of the symptoms. This is why it’s important to manage your asthma, not only when you feel short of breath. Preventing asthma is the best way to keep it under control and to stop flare-ups and attacks. And if your condition requires it, make sure you always carry your Ventolin inhaler with you!
  • Avoid your known triggers
If your asthma gets worse when you get allergies then you need to take steps in order to avoid these known allergens.  Know what triggers your symptoms and then you can avoid them. Avoid fumes from cleaning products if this triggers you, or wear a mask while cleaning.
  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
Smoking can drastically worsen asthma symptoms and it also reduces the effectiveness of asthma medication. You should consider quitting smoking for the benefit of your health and avoid being exposed to second-hand smoking.
  • Avoid viruses
This might be easier said than done! But there are a few measures you can take to avoid getting sick because viruses are a common trigger for asthma symptoms. Wash your hands regularly, get enough sleep and each winter get the flu shot. If you do get sick, monitor  your symptoms and speak to a doctor if you’re concerned.
  • Exercise!
You might think it’s too hard to exercise when you have asthma. But exercising actually strengthens your heart, lungs and immune system. Just ensure that your asthma is under control before beginning exercise and you will be good to go!  If you are affected by pollen or other outdoor allergens then you might want to consider exercising indoors on these days.
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