How much does asthma affect our daily lives?

By : Victoria | Published : Tuesday February 7, 2012 | Posted in : General Health | Comments
Does asthma affect daily life?

As many sufferers of asthma might well know, the effects of this condition can often come and go as they please. There could be times when symptoms seem to have well and truly established themselves, hindering the day-to-day and making life that bit more difficult.

But then, there are periods of apparent calm, where good health appears the norm and the effects of asthma seem far, far away...

Without doubt, there are plenty of cases where asthma can be controlled and good health is the norm, but it is important to be aware of how to look after yourself in order to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of a condition which, as of yet, has no cure.

So, just how much does asthma affect your daily life, and what can you do to carry on as normal as possible?

What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition which affects the lungs, and can be triggered by a range of irritants (causes, according to the NHS) such as pet allergies, the common cold and the weather. The airways become inflamed and will be sensitive to that which irritates the lungs. The narrowing of these small tubes, as well as the increased production of phlegm, makes it difficult to breathe.

Each sufferer is affected in a variety of different ways, by a variety of different triggers.

Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing (notably in the morning/at night)

Is your asthma holding you back?

Asthma can affect us in ways which prevent us from doing the day-to-day things which people can easily take for granted, such as sleeping well or playing sport with friends. Controlling your condition by using your preventer medication before you go to bed (when symptoms can be worse) and before extensive or intense exercise (where shortness of breath is quite likely), will better equip you will the energy to join in sports, especially after getting a good night’s sleep.

Experiencing fatigue due to lack of sleep and exercise is going to do little for your overall health, and certainly won’t improve your asthma, so make sure you are not holding yourself back by forgetting to take medication at the appropriate times.

Are you keeping your asthma under control?

Though there may be unexpected circumstances in which you are exposed to that which might trigger symptoms, or where you find yourself unable to manage your condition, it is important to ask yourself whether you are doing enough to prevent the symptoms of asthma and if you are aware of the things you can do to be in control of them.

It is just as important to know how to look after yourself on a daily basis, as it is in times of severity – having an asthma attack.

Being aware of the effects of your lifestyle on your asthma is essential in ensuring that you are not exposing yourself to risks. So, what are some of the things you can do to help yourself; to prevent the worst from happening?

  • Maintain good health - Taking care of your self is a great way of ensuring that you are generally healthy, so as to lessen the effects of asthma. If you are keeping fit, eating well, sleeping well and looking after your general wellbeing, the less likely you’ll be faced with unnecessary risks of illness.
  • Eat well - Particular food allergies can trigger the symptoms of asthma, so be aware of those foods which you may want to avoid. Yet, most asthmatic people can eat normally.
  • Take medication - Though you may not always feel the effects, it is important to remember to take your prescribed asthma treatment to better manage your condition.
  • Stay informed - Whatever the severity of your asthma, it is advised to keep up-to-date with your doctor regarding your concerns of your condition. The more they know about your problem, the more efficiently it can be sorted out.
  • Keep calm - The stresses of everyday life can be a considerable trigger of asthma, so be as healthy as you can – body and mind - and remember to relax once in a while!
  • Be aware of the causes - It is important to understand how your own body works and what it reacts to, so being aware of that which could cause your condition to flare up is essential. If your symptoms are particularly bad in winter, wrap up warm and keep your inhaler with you; if having a pet triggers severe symptom, than perhaps you should consider whether having one is such a good idea until your asthma is under control.

Moving forward

As Cher Piddock, Asthma Nurse Specialist at Asthma UK, advises: “The vast majority of people with asthma should be able to do pretty much anything they want to do including exercise and sport if their asthma is well managed. To make sure your asthma is well managed, have regular asthma reviews and take your medicines in accordance with your personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse.”

Daily life can often be a struggle for asthma sufferers, especially if their condition is of a high severity. But, for most asthmatics, life can be lived as normal as possible.

More information on asthma treatments

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