29 Ocak 2008 Salı

Tips to Improve Your Asthma

1. Practice breathing from the diaphragm or abdomen instead of the chest. When you are breathing correctly the belly will push outward on breathing in, and contract or tighten when breathing out. The chest and shoulders do not rise up.

2. If you do start wheezing or getting short of breath try to breath slower while relaxing the rest of your body. This reduces the demand for oxygen in the body. If you are exercising slow down or stop.

3. Stop smoking or hanging out in smoky rooms whenever possible. If you live with a smoker who won’t quit or go outside to smoke then encourage the use of an air-filter or devise that sucks up the smoke. Don’t underestimate the dangers of second hand smoke, particularly on children and the elderly.

4. Try swimming as the exercise of choice. The increased moisture seems to lessen the chance of spasm of the bronchial tubes. Starting slowly with walking or a stationary bike can also safely improve cardiovascular stamina.

5. Drink extra glasses of water or liquids. With more rapid breathing it is easier to get dehydrated. Some regular tea is ok as it has a chemical to relax the bronchial tubes called Theo bromide, similar to the asthma medicine theophylline.

6. If you are using a rescue inhaler such as Albuterol more than three times a week you may need a preventive medicine either as another inhaler and/or a pill such as Singulair. Keep ahead of your asthma. At the first sign of worsening, use your medications early. In the end you will require less medicine overall. Make sure you tell your doctor if your symptoms become more frequent. In short, DON’T WAIT.

7. Often people with asthma also have allergies to pollen, animals, and dust. Discuss with your doctor getting allergy testing to see if desensitization shots will cure the problem. Be sure to mention stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes “sinus problems” during your visit if they occur.

10 Steps to Asthma Self Help

Managing asthma is not something your doctor can do for you all by himself. Asthma self help is an important part of treating and managing your condition so that it doesn’t take over your entire life. Your doctor may prescribe both daily medication and medication to take in case of an acute asthma episode, but the task of minimizing risk of asthma attack and taking care of yourself on a daily basis is largely up to you and your family. Learning some key asthma self help tricks can help you keep your asthma under control so that it doesn’t interfere with your daily life.

Because asthma can be caused, triggered or worsened by so many things, there are many things that you can do to lessen the frequency and severity of the symptoms. Your doctor will offer important suggestions in addition to medication to help you manage your asthma. Think of those suggestions as a personalized asthma self help plan. A major part of asthma self help involves avoiding asthma triggers. Some ways that you can help yourself if you or someone in your family has asthma include:

1. The first and most important step in asthma self help is to follow your doctor’s orders. Don’t stop taking daily medication just because you feel better. If he’s prescribed daily peak flow measurements, be sure to follow instructions carefully and measure daily to monitor your condition.

2. If you smoke, quit. Whether the asthma sufferer is you or a child in your family, cigarette smoke is one of the most common asthma triggers known.

3. Keep the house dust-free – or as close to dust-free as possible. Dust is another common asthma trigger. Use a cylinder vacuum instead of an upright – preferably one that encloses the vacuum cleaner bag inside a solid canister to minimize pumping dust back into the air.

4. If you can, remove carpets and heavy draperies. They’re dust-catchers that easily breed dust mites. If you can’t remove them, vacuum them frequently using a canister vacuum cleaner.

5. Avoid using down feather pillows and comforters, and use a plastic cover on your mattress. Mattresses and pillows can harbor dust mites. The same goes for stuffed animals and other ‘soft’ decorations.

6. Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf in cold weather. Cold air is another common asthma trigger.

7. If your asthma is triggered by allergens, monitor the outside air quality daily. Avoid open fields and woodsy areas during peak pollen seasons, and take extra care when air quality is in danger ranges.

8. Mold is another common allergen that triggers asthma. Keeping mold down is another important part of asthma self help care. Dry wet laundry immediately, and wash and disinfect bathrooms and showers regularly. Remove houseplants, as mold grows in their soil.

9. Pet dander can also trigger asthma symptoms. If you can’t part with a pet because of emotional ties, at least keep it out of the bedroom to minimize your exposure to dander.

10. Avoid foods, medications and drinks that cause allergic reactions.

What are the Most Common Asthma Triggers?

An asthma attack is often triggered by exposure to an allergen of some sort – an asthma trigger. Identifying a food or environmental asthma trigger can help you avoid it – and lessen the risk of an acute asthma attack. While there are some people who have food allergies or are especially sensitive to particular things, there are some items that are well-known, common asthma triggers. By controlling your exposure to an asthma trigger, you can reduce the severity and frequency of your asthma symptoms.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are one of the most common asthma triggers known. Dust mites are tiny insects that live on sloughed off skin cells and excrete a substance that tends to trigger attacks in many people who have asthma. Dust mites breed and grow in mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, carpets, draperies – anywhere that is soft and offers somewhere for them to burrow and hide. You can control dust mites in your environment by using covers on mattresses and pillows, getting rid of stuffed animals in bedrooms, and remove carpets and draperies.


Separate from dust mites, dust itself can be an asthma trigger because it’s a bronchial irritant. Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth to keep from scattering dust when cleaning, and use a canister (or water-filtered) vacuum cleaner to avoid spewing dust from the carpet into the air to be inhaled.


Mold spores are another asthma trigger found in many homes. To keep the exposure to mold down, wipe down bathroom tiles regularly with bleach or a disinfectant, dry clean laundry immediately and reduce moisture in the air with a dehumidifier.

Cockroach Parts

Cockroach litter and parts contain an irritant/allergen that is an asthma trigger for many children. While most people associate cockroaches with dirt and poor housekeeping, cockroaches are just as happy in very clean homes. Roach traps and other insecticides can help keep the cockroach population down.

Pet Dander

Shed skin cells from pets can be one of the most virulent of asthma triggers. If you can’t bring yourself to part with your pet, at least keep it out of the family sleeping areas to reduce the chance of exposure to pet dander.


At certain times of the year, pollen can become a pervasive asthma trigger. During hay fever season, particular if you live in an area that also has poor air quality. Many newspapers and radio stations publish a daily air quality rating. Make a point of knowing when the air quality is unhealthy and avoid going outside, or at least engaging in any vigorous activity outdoors.

Cold Air

Cold dry air can trigger an asthma attack in people who are sensitive to it. It may be because the cold tends to dry out bronchial tissues more quickly than warm moist air. In any case, wearing a scarf or face mask in cold temperatures, particularly if you’re exercising at all, can help reduce the incidence of asthma attacks due to cold.


Exercise can sometimes be an asthma trigger. The reason, doctors think, is most likely that during exercise most people breathe more quickly and shallowly, drying out lung and bronchial tissues more quickly.

Food Allergies

Food and other allergies can also trigger asthma attacks. These are far more individualized, though peanuts are one of the more common. Obviously, if you’re aware of food allergies, avoiding them can help reduce your risk of having an asthma attack.

What is Allergy Induced Asthma?

One of the more common forms of asthma is allergy induced asthma. When someone is exposed to an allergen – a substance to which their body is sensitive – they may produce ‘histamines’, which cause inflammation and irritation as they work to rid the body of the allergen. In the case of allergy induced asthma, the histamines go to work on the bronchial passages and lungs, making it difficult for the allergic person to breathe.

The incidence of allergy induced asthma has grown almost geometrically in recent years, and scientists aren’t quite sure why. They suspect that part of the reason may be the increased exposure of children to some common allergens. This seems to be borne out by population based studies – African-American and Hispanic children living in the inner city are far more likely to develop allergy induced asthma than Caucasian children in the same cities, and even those children are more likely to develop allergy induced asthma than suburban and rural children of the same socioeconomic level.

A number of reasons have been advanced for the disparity, but the most likely is simply that Black and Hispanic children are far more likely to live in the most crowded old neighborhoods of the city. Crowding is the biggest risk factor for the presence of common household pests like cockroaches and rodents, and cockroach parts and rodent droppings are two of the most common allergens in children with allergy induced asthma.

Diagnosing Allergy Induced Asthma

Doctors will diagnose asthma differently depending on the age of the patient. Children under five, for instance, may find it difficult to follow instructions for breathing capacity tests. Doctors will often use history, both the child’s and the family medical history, to help determine the possibility of asthma. Often, if asthma is suspected, the doctor will prescribe a bronchodilator. If it helps, the diagnosis is confirmed.

In older children and adults, doctors may perform a series of breathing capacity tests with a peak flow meter and a spirometer to help determine the extent of an asthma problem.

Generally, doctors don’t use allergy tests to diagnose asthma, but if there’s a reason to believe that a specific allergen is a problem, allergic dermatitis tests may be used to confirm or rule out possible allergens. Knowing that a specific substance or food is a problem can help you avoid it and reduce your risk of asthma attacks.

Treating Allergy Induced Asthma

The good news is that interventions to reduce exposure to allergens seems to be as effective a treatment for allergy induced asthma as corticosteroid inhalers. If your child has been diagnosed with allergy induced asthma, there are ways that you can help control your child’s symptoms. Besides using inhalers and nebulizers as directed by your doctor, you can also keep your home – and especially your child’s bedroom – as close to allergen free as possible. Mattress covers, pillow cases, air filters and pest control measures can reduce your child’s exposure to allergens that cause allergy induced asthma to worsen into acute stages.

Antioxidants May Prevent Childhood Asthma

A source suggests that there may be a new way to help children who are subjected to the dangers of second hand tobacco smoke.

It has become apparent that childhood asthma could be prevented with the help of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and Selenium. This is especially true in cases involving children who are exposed to cigarette smoke.

Researchers in a 2004 study looked at data collected from a sample of 6153 four to sixteen year old children. It was discovered that dietary supplementation of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and Selenium caused a 10% to 20% overall reduction in asthma prevalence.

A likely reason for this is the high levels of serum that are contained in these highly effective antioxidant substances.

The most surprising part of the study, however, was that the effect was considerably much more pronounced in cases where the children were exposed to environmental second hand tobacco smoke. In these cases, supplementation was associated with an enormous 50% reduction in asthma prevalence.

These results seem to indicate that supplementing your child's diet with Selenium, as well as with vitamin C and beta-carotene is an excellent way to protect them against the damaging effects that second hand smoke can have on their growing lungs.

Coping with Asthma

Managing and controlling asthma is very important for asthma sufferers. Knowing the triggers that affect your airways and learning to avoid these things is key.

Asthma triggers can be any number of things. If you smoke or allow smoking in your home, you should stop. Wash sheets, blankets, and pillows once a week and look into dust-proof covers for mattresses to help control dust mites. If the pollen count is too high, stay indoors.

Asthma suffers affected by cold air should wear a scarf over the mouth and nose in winter, and should wash their hands often and get a flu shot to prevent colds and the flu. Food triggers should be avoided. If animal dander is a problem, owning a pet can be a major hassle. Keep the pet out of the house, or at least out of your bedroom, and wash your pet often. Keeping humidity levels at a rate beneficial to your health is crucial, but avoid the use of humidifiers.

Once you know what your triggers are and how to control them, you should make a plan of action with your physician. Your doctor will help you figure out if any of your current medications are affecting your asthma, and what asthma medication is right for you. You should follow your asthma plan properly with the correct usage of your medication. If you're unsure about the use of your medication, consult your doctor, who can teach you how to properly use the inhaler or other treatment methods.

Controlling your asthma is crucial, but if your asthma symptoms are not under control, it can get worse. If your symptoms happen more often and are getting worse, or you have to use a quick-relief inhaler often (every day is too often), you should contact your doctor for a change in medication or other steps to control your asthma.

Asthma affects so many people and should be managed and controlled to keep the dilemma from getting out of hand. Using and sticking to a plan that works for both you and your doctor is the only way to ensure that your asthma is controlled properly.

This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any health issue or illness. If you have or think you have asthma or any other illness, consult your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Asthmatics – Don't Suffer At Altitude!

Some kinds of exercise cause problems for asthmatics. Activities like climbing and skiing have an additional problem. Not only are there the exercise problems, but the altitude itself can cause an additional challenge of its own.

It is possible that people with asthma are more likely to be affected by altitude sickness. But what is altitude sickness? And why should asthma sufferers be more likely to suffer from it?

Simply put, people who live at lower altitudes can become ill when they visit high areas. They can feel light-headed, suffer from headache, suffer from fatigue, insomnia and palpitations, or experience lack of appetite, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

One of the most acute collections of symptoms is around breathing difficulties; liquid accumulates in the lungs.

Will altitude affect your asthma?

The conditions are high altitudes are often dry and cold, and these conditions tend to worsen or trigger asthma. If your asthma is triggered by cold conditions, you might find that high altitudes are a problem, as the air temperature usually decreases at higher altitudes.

Bear in mid, though, that fit, healthy people with well-controlled asthma should have no problems coping with high altitudes, provided that they go up slowly. Recognise and accept your limitations. Make sure you have all your medicines with you. You may need to adjust your dose, and to plan your intake before, through and after your activity.

But be careful. In freezing conditions, pressurized inhalers may not work properly. They should be warmed (e.g. in the hands) before use.

Take it easy

Climbing and skiing can be very strenuous exercise and may trigger exercise-induced asthma in some people.

Some kinds of asthma may be eased

If your asthma is triggered by house-dust mites, you may even find that your asthma improves. Surprised? Why should this be? Simply because the house-dust mite cannot survive at altitudes higher than 'the snow line'.

Take time to acclimatize

People with asthma who fly directly into a place that is at high altitude will not have time to acclimatize and may experience problems. So talk to your doctor so that the altitude if you're flying to a high-altitude destination several weeks before you leave. This will allow you time to work out a personal asthma action plan for the trip.

Your plan might involve increasing your preventer treatment for several weeks before the trip to give the airways extra protection. Or measuring peak flow while away to determine how altitude is affecting your lung function. Or even simple things like ensuring that you have enough medication and backup medication.

Take care when exercising

Make sure you feel right at any particular altitude before going higher. If you start feeling breathless, slow down. Drink plenty of water, and eat small snacks often to prevent altitude sickness. And, do tell your fellow climbers and skiers that you're asthmatic.

Remember to take everything in stages, talk to your doctor and keep your medicines to hand, and you should have a better time this winter.