Sunday, May 1, 2016
Asthma is an increasingly common inflammatory disease of the airways that affects over 300 million people worldwide. While asthma isn’t curable, it can be effectively managed with the right treatment. In a bid to increase awareness of the disease and treatment, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) organises a World Asthma Day on the first Tuesday of May each year – with this year being held on Tuesday, 3rd May.
In the lead up to World Asthma Day, we want to take a look at how asthma can be prevented, in some cases, and effectively kept under control.
Whilst there is evidence that asthma can be hereditary, it isn’t in all cases. Naturally, those with a family history may be more susceptible to developing asthma, but it is, in fact, environmental factor and lifestyle choices that are having a greater effect on the increase of this disease.
But the good news is that in many instances, these lifestyle choices are things within our control and making some changes can reduce the triggers of asthma, and even prevent it in the first place. Some of these triggers can include:
If you recognise the triggers for your asthma, whether it’s your exercise routine or where you live, you can help to exclude these triggers and better manage your asthma overall.
Many asthma sufferers are also allergy sufferers and the intrinsic link between these conditions shouldn’t be disregarded. If you are allergic to pollen, animal fur or any air pollutant, this will have an effect on triggering your asthma, as your immune system will be sensitive to the allergens and as a result can set off an asthma attack.
Being aware of potential allergens can be the key to controlling your asthma. If you find that your asthma is being triggered by heavy pollen or other air pollutants, the best cause is to treat the allergy and this, in turn, will help with your asthma control.
As with any disease, catching the onset of asthma early and seeking the right medication can help to control the disease and prevent it from worsening. This can also include taking certain lifestyle measures to reduce the chances of developing asthma.
If you’re a smoker, now is the time to give up, as you have a higher chance of developing asthma. The smoke acts as an irritant in the lungs and can trigger an attack in asthma sufferers, but also reduce the lung capability too.
Doing regular exercise gives your lungs a workout and feeds more oxygen into your system. But naturally, you need to find an activity that suits you – regular swimming, cycling, running and even walking will help keep you and your lungs healthier.
In order for your body to stay healthy, it’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Taking in plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will not only help to keep your weight down but will give you all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need.
For many asthma sufferers, cold weather and the respiratory-related illnesses that come with it can cause the onset of asthma, so making sure you have an annual flu jab and a one-off pneumonia injection will help reduce your chances of these illnesses.
If you’ve been prescribed asthmatic medication, make sure you take it as directed by your doctor and have regular check-ups. Preventative inhalers are used to reduce the inflammation while reliever inhalers relax and open the airways.
Overall, by leading a healthier lifestyle and making the right choices, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise and quitting smoking, you can have a dramatic effect on the control and management of asthma. Plus, recognising the early stages of asthma in both adults and children, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest and a chronic cough, can all help with reducing the onset of asthma and keeping it under control.