Living with Asthma
Asthma is a serious condition which impacts the airways, restricting breathing and living with any chronic health condition is never easy. Sometimes, the muscles around the airways become inflamed and constricted and this can make it very difficult to gain sufficient air into the lungs. This difficulty increases when mucus develops in the airways. Although some asthma attacks are minimal, the severity will vary and could last for an hour or even weeks, especially if treatment is not forthcoming.
Although there is a great deal of research into asthma, there’s no definitive cause but certainly, genes and environmental triggers are likely to be relevant.
There are many asthma triggers, including:
- Children brought up in a home where there is a pet cat
- Exposure to allergens – gained during pregnancy
- Exposure to cigarette smoke
- Allergic reaction to mold, pollen or house-dust mites
Correct diagnosis is vital so that the doctor can prescribe medication and although it cannot be cured, it is possible to manage the symptoms sufficiently. Each person will be affected differently but generally, women are affected more than men.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath coupled with problems sleeping
- Coughing or wheezing (may be a whistling sound on the exhalation)
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Attacks may become worse when cold or flu is present
Exercise can trigger an asthma attack more so when the air is dry and cold, but asthma can also be triggered by dust, chemical fumes and other workplace irritants as well as pollen, skin particles or pet dander.
Prevention is the best way to keep asthma under control and this means recognizing how asthma affects you on an individual basis, learning to recognize your triggers. It is important to have quick-relief inhalers to help open up inflamed airways and be prescribed long-term medication to reduce inflammation which works in a preventative manner. There are many self-help methods of reducing triggers in your home environment. Use the air conditioning regularly and try to minimize dust and exposure to dust mites. It’s best to remove any carpets and have hardwood flooring instead. Eradicate any mold spores and reduce pet dander, keeping your home as clean and dust-free as possible.
Your doctor will assess your asthma symptoms and create an action plan for care and this should be followed accordingly. You may also need to use a peak flow meter regularly to assess how treatment is working. Although breathing will be an issue, it’s worth practicing some breathing techniques to improve the function of the lungs. Relaxation techniques and meditation can also help you to alleviate stress and anxieties and to afford breath control and calmness even when an attack occurs.
It is worth considering seeing a Chiropractor as it requires the realignment of the spine, which can eliminate any obstruction during nerve impulse conduction. Certainly, once this adjustment has been made, nerves will begin to function properly again, enabling the thoracic cavity to expand freely and providing relief. The Chiropractor will provide a treatment plan, offering a non-invasive option which works well alongside any prescribed medication; this will help ensure you have a targeted approach to asthma management.