Breathe easy, asthmatics

Login to Health October 24, 2017 Chest Diseases 676 Views

David Beckham and Jackie Joyner Kersee are just two among a long list of athletes who are asthmatic. Among Olympians, 8% show some symptoms of asthma which could imply exercise-induced constricting of airways, commonly referred to as bronchoconstriction or EIB.

For 18 year old Sarah who was undergoing training as a runner, symptoms such as breathlessness would show up within minutes of a warm-up, sometimes as quickly as 5-10 mins. The symptoms would peak 10 mins after she would stop exercising and subside only after an hour. Unfortunately, for her sister the symptoms would last almost an hour after she would stop exercising. Instead her sister would cough a lot – again typical of EIB as airways in the lungs narrow temporarily due to increased heart rate during a run or any physical activity.

Functional medicine prescribes by the pulmologist/chest physician which focuses on the cause instead of the symptoms has thrown light on how environmental factors aggravate asthma. Not just toxins and polluted air, but also altered food and higher sensitivity to food additives are powerful triggers which require medication. However, many go wrong by using suppressants as medication.

Another preventive could be not breathing from the mouth as breathing from the mouth means lungs get more of cooler and drier air. As asthmatics tend to breathe faster than non-asthmatics, a good exercise would be diaphragmatic breathing. This type of breathing needs one to concentrate on breathing and advocates breathing slowly through the nose.

Know Some of the Common Symptoms

High fever and other inflammatory conditions, migraine, depression and even the commonly occurring backache make asthmatics report sick, making absenteeism spiral by leaps and bounds. Winter, can be a bad season as cold air stirs up pollen and mold.  But even though over 20 million people in the United States alone are asthmatics, this doesn’t stop them from leading a full life. A little bit of self-study, discipline and the right treatment can prevent asthma from controlling your life. For instance, you may have no symptoms, but there may be inflammation in your airways most of the time. A good medical practitioner also addresses your chances of having an asthma attack or a flare-up.

While more boys than girls have asthma, the reverse is true for adults – among grown-ups, there are more women who are asthmatic than men. A widespread myth is that kids outgrow asthma. What exactly happens is sometimes symptoms recede as the lungs develop, but for some children, the symptoms may simply get worse over time.

Get your Pulmologist/Chest Physician to do a physical examination and a Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) to ascertain proper functioning of your lungs (spirometry is most commonly used for this purpose) and also check family history particularly for allergies and then develop a treatment plan which integrates the right kind of physical activity with medication.

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