Understanding Asthma And How It Affects You
Understanding what asthma is, helps you to adopt a preventative strategy for managing asthma. The condition causes inflammation in the lungs that can make it difficult to breathe properly. When you have asthma your airways are very sensitive to stressors and will swell up when you have contact with certain triggers.
Not only do the muscles in your airways get tighter when you have a flare-up but they also release lots of sticky mucus which narrows the airways even further, causing the symptoms of asthma to present.
What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma Attacks?
When you have asthma attacks, you will struggle to breathe. This can manifest as tightness in the chest, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing.
How To Manage Asthma Effectively?
Asthma management is focused on
- Controlling your symptoms
- Preventing regular attacks
- Maintaining lung health
- Enabling you to live a happy and productive life with as few limitations as possible.
Medication is a very important component of managing asthma. Relievers are taken when you are starting to have an asthma attack while preventers are designed to do just that. It’s essential to take your medication as instructed by your general practitioner. Any changes in your condition should be reported to your GP as soon as possible. If you need to take your relievers more than twice a week, you should discuss it with your doctor.
Preventer medication is focused on making the airways less sensitive to triggers. T can reduce swelling and inflammation and may reduce the severity of flare-ups.
Relievers open your airways up quickly and should be taken for immediate relief. If you overuse reliever medication it may have some side effects such as an increased heart rate and tremors. While the side effects are not harmful, they could indicate that you are using relievers too often and that your medication should be reviewed by your doctor.
If necessary your doctor may recommend that you try a combination treatment if your symptoms and flare-ups are not showing signs of improvement. You will start off at the lowest possible strength and then assess if there is an improvement.
Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle
Staying fit and healthy is integral to managing asthma. Knowing and managing your asthma triggers is a major part of managing your condition.
How And Why To Create An Asthma Management Plan?
Your asthma management plan should detail what actions you need to take to stay healthy and what steps should be taken in the event that you have an asthma attack. Your management plan should include
- Step by step instructions on what to do to care for your asthma on a daily basis. It should list your medications and how often you should be taking them
- Your signs and symptoms of a flare-up as well as signs that indicate if your condition is getting worse
- What to do in an emergency situation
You should review your action plan with your doctor every six months to see if it requires any updating.
Managing Asthma Triggers
There are numerous triggers that can cause a flare-up or asthma attack. Knowing and managing them is a big step in keeping your condition stable. Some of the most common triggers include
- Allergens such as dust, dander and mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Other sicknesses such as viral infections
- Physical activity can trigger an attack
- Changes in the weather, such as big thunderstorms
- Chemicals, strong smells and perfumes
- Some types of medication
- Emotions or stress
How To Manage Asthma Better?
If you are experiencing any of the following, it is possible that your treatment plan needs a review:
- Symptoms of daytime asthma more than twice a week
- Using your reliever for two or more days a week
- Restrictions or limitations in your day to day life as a result of asthma attacks or flare-ups
- Asthma symptoms that present at nighttime or when you wake up.
Are You Using Your Inhaler Correctly?
Using an inhaler offers the benefit of sending medication straight to your lungs to get to work. However, some doctors find their patients are not receiving enough medication because they aren’t using their inhalers correctly. If you’re unsure, ask your general practitioner to help you with managing asthma better.
Knowing how to manage asthma well makes a difference to your quality of life. For assistance with your management plan or to find out more about managing your triggers please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9884 9300.