Although many people with asthma rely on medications to relieve symptoms and control inflammation, one can do several things on their own to maintain overall health and lessen the possibility of attacks. Dr Sejal Shah Digs out more.
Don’t allow asthma to control your freedom
Instead of asthma controlling ones life, one can enjoy an asthma free (better) life, by adopting certain lifestyle changes, that will help in preventing episodes of asthma and controlling the complications of the disease says mayoclinic.com staff. Although many people with asthma rely on medications to relieve symptoms and control inflammation, one can do several things on their own to maintain overall health and lessen the possibility of attacks. Asthma is a chronic disease and obviously does affect the quality of life of sufferers; that impact on life can reduced by lifestyle changes. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), over twenty million children and adults live with asthma all over the U.S., that makes asthma one of the most common and costly diseases. The rise in the number of children suffering from asthma is a clear sign of prevalent environmental pollution. The time has come to stop both environmental pollution and asthma.
The asthma can be prevented by adopting certain lifestyle changes as described below in detail.
1, Avoid environmental triggers
3, Exercise, yoga and meditation to control stress
Avoid Environmental triggers
The environmental triggers are main contributing causation of the allergic asthma, and most of them can be prevented by avoiding or minimizing the exposure to environmental triggers. Whenever possible, it’s a better to take steps to prevent asthma from developing, or at least to prevent asthma symptoms from flaring up and getting worse.
Tips to avoid exposure of indoor allergens
- Use air conditioner. Using air condition regularly helps to reduce the amount of air borne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds by preventing its entrance indoors. Air conditioning also lowers the indoor humidity that can reduce ones exposure to dust mites. Windows should be kept closed during pollen seasons.
- Decontaminate your decor. Regular dusting and cleaning of furniture helps to decrease the exposure of house dust. To minimize dust, one should keep 1; encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust proof covers. 2, Replace hardwood and linoleum flooring to carpet. 3, and Use washable curtains and blinds.
- Maintain optimal humidity. To keep humidity low in home and work place one can use dehumidifier after consulting to doctor.
- Keep indoor air clean. Regular servicing of air conditioner and furnace with changes of filters, by time to time will help to keep in door and office air more clean.
- Reduce pet dander. It’s better to say no to pets if one is allergic to pet dander, especially in bedroom. Also, avoid pets with fur or feathers. Other wise, make pets bathed and groomed on regular bases to reduce the amount of dander in surroundings.
- If it’s cold out, cover face. Wearing a face mask can help to persons whose asthma worsens in cold and dry air.
- Stop smoking in home and should not allow anyone else to. For some people, the smell of tobacco smoke alone can trigger the process of inflammation. Approximately 25% of asthmatics are current smokers and anywhere from 200,000 to 1 million children have their asthma worsened by environmental tobacco smoke.
Avoid outdoor allergens
First and for most one should try to minimize as many environmental allergen or triggers as possible but when exposure is unavoidable try to make certain adjustments to reduce exposure to out door triggers, such as
Moulds a type of fungus, whose spores float in the air and can be easily inhaled, can result in to an attack of asthma in few allergic people. Moulds are found mostly in piles of vegetation, stagnant water and garbage containers, places where dampness prevails.
For sensitive persons following tips would be helpful to get rid from moulds:
- Removing piles of grass immediately after it’s mowed
- Raking and removing the accumulated leaves from lawn
- Keeping garbage cans clean
- Removing any outdoor container that holds stagnant water
Pollens are very common triggers for asthma symptoms. Pollens are generated by trees, grasses and weeds which can be easily inhaled in breath, especially during warm-weather. Follow below mention tips to stay away from pollen induced symptoms of asthma.
- Use a HEPA-filtered air cleaner.
- Plant low-allergen gardens.
- On days when the pollen count is high, use an air conditioner in home and car, and also try to keep windows closed as much as possible.
- It is beneficial to consider exercising inside on days when the pollen count is high.
- Avoid going outside on hot and windy days and check the pollen count to decide whether it is safe to spend more time outdoors or not.
- Shower and change clothing after being out door on high pollen count day.
- Use a good furnace filter and change it regularly.
- Do not place trees or plants near windows, or near the air-intake of furnace or air conditioner. Avoid personal contacts with plants or wash hands immediately after touching the plants.
- Use a clothes dryer, instead of hanging laundry out to dry.
Cold air or sudden changes in the weather can also trigger asthma symptoms. So
- Try to breathe through nose, which helps to make air warm before it reaches to lungs, or wear a scarf or a special cold-weather mask to help humidify and warm the air and
- Exercise indoors on cold days.
Chemical Fumes can also trigger asthma in allergic, so it’s advisable to avoid contact with such products like paints or other volatile products that uses strong perfumes.
Occupational Asthma One may need to change his occupation or working environment if he or she finds triggers at their work place.
Planning in advance is helpful if you are going for vacation to beaches or hills. Have an asthma management plan with the help doctor, the plan that includes information on asthma triggers and how to manage them.9
There is no special asthma diet, but based upon certain researches conducted, one can conclude what food substances should include and what should excluded from diet to stay away from asthma.
Avoid food triggers
It is found and proved that there are some people who are allergic to certain type of food substances which can aggravate the asthmatic symptoms. The preservative like sulfites that are used to keep food fresh, addictives like benzoates, gallates and even food coloring are known to trigger the asthmatic symptoms in few. This type of substances are mainly found in processed foods, condiments, dried fruits, canned vegetables, wine etc. some other foods that may lead to asthma attacks include soy, wheat, nuts and shellfish. one must keep a track of eating habits to see if there are certain foods that may influence the asthma attack, and must avoid those to prevent asthma.
Avoid Trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids.
Certain evidences suggest that eating omega-6 fats and Trans fats found in some margarines and processed foods, may worsen asthma.
Diets High in Calories
Intake of high calorie diet than required, will lead to over weight, which is again a major contributing factor of aggravating asthma symtoms. Maintaining a normal weight by having just enough of food is necessary.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD).
Up to 70% of all people with asthma also have GERD (reflux of stomach acid), which can make asthma more difficult to control. Sometimes GERD doesn’t cause typical heartburn symptoms. One may need to take proper medicine to controle GERD. Weight loss is often necessary to eliminate GERD. One should also try eating smaller meals and cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, and any foods that is known to causeGERD symptoms. Avoid eating just before bedtime.
There is no evidence that elimination of all dairy products from the diet improves asthma control, even in a minority of patients. That’s simply a myth and can lead to osteoporosis, especially in patients who must regularly take corticosteroids to control their severe asthma.
It is necessary to have a healthy diet that includes all of the necessary vitamins to avoid asthma.
An asthmatic’s diet should ideally be lacto-vegetarian. Research has proven that a predominantly vegetarian diet is best for them. Meat proteins take longer to digest and tend to be put a burden on the metabolic system.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables and pulses are reach souces of vitamins, especially vit-B. vitamin-B is known to help asthmatics whose attacks are provoked by stress.
Antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E helps to strenghten lungs defences by mopping free radicals. Foods such as liver; betacarotene from brightly-coloured fruit and vegetables like apricots, carrots and red or yellow peppers and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich source of vitamin A. one can have enough vitamin c from citrous fruits and vitamin E from olive oil.
Magnesium, found in fish, green vegetables, sunflower seeds and dried figs, may help by relaxing the airways. A British study carried out at the University of Nottingham in 1994 suggested that people with low levels of magnesium were more susceptible to asthma attacks.
Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids — found in fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines and some plant sources, like flaxseed – are believed to have a number of health benefits.
Before adopting any big changes in eating habits asthma patients are adviced to seek their doctor. The doctor will guide the changes required, depending on the severity of asthma symtoms and general health of patient.There are lots of reserches are going on still the connection between diet and asthma remians inconclusive.
Manage stress and anxiety
The number of studies had shown the relationship between psychological stress and asthma. The stress and strong emotions like worry and fear can trigger asthma attack. To get rid of stress adopt certain changes like,
- Eating healthy foods. Avoid food like Sugar, caffeine and alcohol, as they can l raise stress levels.
- Exercise. Daily physical activity is a good way to work off anxiety.
- Sleep. A good sleep is must to fight physical as well as mental challenges, to have better sleep at night:
- Don’t go to bed until tired
- Follow a sleep routine
- Use bedroom only for sleeping
- Don’t exercise just before bed
- Avoid caffeine
- Don’t nap during the day
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Take it easy: one must need to relax in stressful situation, by learning and practicing stress relief methods like deep breath, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation. Yoga and meditation plays an important role to prevent asthma disease itself. Meditation should be a part of treatment for chronic asthmatics.
- One must try to identify the stress factors and try to resolve it by being more time-efficient and delegating and setting priorities.
- Use positive affirmations and change negative thoughts by changing mental though process. Lots of resources like DVDs and CDs are available for the same. Thinking of reassuring and calming thoughts helps to reduce anxiety.
- Seek professional help, if all the self-help techniques did not work to reduce stress and anxiety. A psychiatric may prescribe an anti anxiety medicine and will provide behavioral and cognitive therapy if needed.
Other than above mention life style changes, one can also seek help of alternative medical systems like Homeopathy and Ayurveda. Those systems had gain acceptance and reputation globally, as a better option to cure and prevent asthma. Hundreds of homoeopathic consultants had claimed to have cure and prevent asthma. So now, it is in our hand, whether we allow asthma to control our lives or to have control over asthma by adopting certain changes and enjoy life free of asthma…. Good luck.