Asthma is a really debilitating disease. It is also a disease that is hard for most people to understand how difficult it is. Being a long time sufferer of this disease, I would like to present my tips for living with asthma.
No. 1: When your symptoms flare, treat them as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the less of it you need. Asthma does not resolve itself in most cases, or if it does it is a very slow process. You don’t want to risk having to be intubated, do you?
No. 2: Keep your mind on your treatments, especially aerosol treatments. You are there to breathe the stuff in and out so that the medicine gets to your lung areas. This requires concentration and effort on your part. Don’t forget.
No. 3: Take your medicines as ordered and complete them all. Don’t stop a treatment just because you begin to feel better. You need all of the medicine to make it last.
No. 4: Practice breathing techniques. One of the breathing things they give you after surgery is best. The stronger your lungs are, the more efficient what you have working will be.
No. 5: Practice relaxation techniques for those times you can’t get to your medicines when you need it. Learning how to relax your self will decrease asthma symptoms. Also, learn to force yourself to exhale longer than usual when your symptoms flare. This will increase the oxygen you can take in, instead of panicked breathing that doesn’t allow oxygen in or carbon dioxide out.
No. 6. Try to walk or exercise each day. The stronger you are, the better you can fight your symptoms.
No. 7. Be careful with your weight. Your heart is already impacted by your asthma. It doesn’t need extra weight to cause more problems. And with asthma, it is very easy to gain weight, since its symptoms don’t encourage one to exercise much.
No. 8: Find a good doctor who can work with you. Over the years, you will accumulate more and more junk in your lung tissues. You need someone to follow up all of the time.
No. 9: Keep your emergency medicines at the ready at all times. You don’t need to be at the store and discover you don’t have your inhaler that you need because the frozen meat section sent your lungs in a tizzy. If you use inhaled medications, keep them set up so when you can’t breathe, all you need to do is add the medication and turn the machine on. That is a lot right there if you can’t breathe. Having to look for those medications is akin to self torture that you can avoid with a little effort.
No. 10: Learn to eat small meals throughout the day. This is easy on your breathing, and eating large or meals that cause heartburn in turn aggravate your asthma. You body remembers similar things, you may not be able to eat foods that cause you to cough, because your body might turn that into an attack. Better breathing, than being able to eat whatever you want.
No. 11: Educate the people you live with about your symptoms. Get them to understand why sometimes you will be able to walk around the block, and sometimes you won’t be able to reach for something across the table. Teach them how to help you with your emergency medicines, and which symptoms are really bad for you. It helps your family to know what to do during an attack. Make your wishes clear and tell them you will make decisions about the care you need.
No. 12: If you can, find an asthma support group to attend in your area. This things can be difficult with asthma since you can’t get out sometimes, but you can also talk to people on the internet. What your are looking for here is support and maybe some ideas you haven’t though of to help you out.
No. 13: When you go out, if you can, take someone with you. Having an attack by yourself is not much fun, and pretty scarey. I am not saying never go out by yourself, but be reasonable. If you are already having a bad breathing day, going out will make it worse.
No. 14: Keep your home as clean as you can. This can be difficult to do. I have issues getting near any cleaning products. However, the breathing you improve will be your own. The less stuff to deal with, the easier it will be for you to keep things neat.
No. 15: Since daily tasks can take a long time with asthma, put yourself on a daily schedule to take your medicines, do your personal hygiene and do your chores, plus whatever else you need to get done. Include exercise in this schedule and follow it daily. This will prevent you from getting lost in your asthma and give you a good guide on how your asthma is progressing. If you have only sat in a chair since yesterday, a visit to the ER might be in order. Tell your life what to do; don’t let your asthma do it for you. Trust me, it is easy to do.
No. 16: Try to find asthma triggers and avoid them if possible. I stay away from olive trees in bloom and from relatives that make me angry. Deal with things that upset you at the time of the day when your asthma bothers you the least if possible. Perfume is always a problem for me. I just hate the stuff. In my case, when out in public I stay away from groups of people if possible. It is not very sociable, but it is better than coughing and wheezing for hours.
This is my list. I hope it helps out those of you with asthma. Let me know what you think.