How to Limit Long Term Health Effects of Asthma

Three Methods:Managing Your Asthma MedicallyPromoting Healthy Living With AsthmaReducing Asthma Symptoms

Asthma is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured. However, asthma can be managed, which can reduce the long term health effects of the condition. You should follow your treatment plans outlined by your doctor, take your medication, and have an asthma action plan in place. You should also stay physical to strengthen your lungs, and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise to reduce the strain put on your lungs. Learn how to limit the long term health effects of asthma so you can stay healthy as you manage your condition.

Method 1
Managing Your Asthma Medically

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    Visit your doctor. One way to limit the effects of asthma is to make regular visits to your doctor. Going to see your doctor helps you get the proper medical care needed to treat and manage your asthma. Getting the proper treatment helps reduce the negative effects of asthma that may lead to damage.[1]
    • Regular visits with your doctor help you stay current with medications and treatments, and helps your doctor detect any developing problems early.
    • This also limits asthma-related emergencies.
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    Take any prescribed medicine. Taking the medicine prescribed by your doctor helps you control your asthma. This helps you reduce any negative effects and improve your all around health. The kind of asthma that you have influences the type of medicine that you take.[2]
    • There are two types of medicines. Quick relief helps when you have an asthma attack. Long term medications aim to reduce the frequency and severity of your asthma attacks.
    • Taking your long term medication is important. Some people only take quick relief medication when they have an attack, but if you are not taking your prescribed long term medication, your lungs or airways may still be inflamed. This means you may be contributing to long term damage to your lungs and air passages.
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    Develop an asthma action plan. Another way to protect yourself and limit the long-term effects of asthma is to develop an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan helps develop management techniques to control your asthma. They also help you know what to do if you face an asthma attack or other complications due to asthma.[3][4]
    • Asthma action plans identify triggers and outline management techniques to deal with triggers, like avoiding places with smoke or using certain types of pillows and bedding. The plan also outlines your long term and quick relief medication.
    • An asthma action plan helps you learn to recognize the early symptoms of asthma, which can help you prevent an asthma attack from occurring. This can limit or prevent any damage to your lungs or airways.
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    Diagnose asthma early. Some children live with asthma for years and don’t realize anything is wrong. It is important to diagnose the condition as early as possible to avoid any long lasting damage to the lungs. Even if someone isn’t having an asthma attack or problems breathing, their lungs or airways may still be inflamed, which left untreated can cause permanent damage.[5]
    • Take your child to the doctor and screen for asthma if you suspect any respiratory problems.
    • Having annual physical examinations and paying attention to any respiratory symptoms can help you alert your doctor to any problems.
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    Use a peak flow meter. You can use a peak flow meter at home to track any changes in your asthma symptoms. Peak flow meters are most helpful if you have moderate to severe asthma. Using a peak flow meter can help you detect early any worsening of asthma symptoms before they get too bad or irreversible.[6]
    • You and your health care provider can discuss when you should use a peak flow meter and how often. Your health care provider can use your peak flow readings to adjust your medication or action plan if needed.

Method 2
Promoting Healthy Living With Asthma

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    Exercise. When you have asthma, you want to keep your lungs strong. Intense physical activity can trigger an asthma attack, but moderate exercise can help strengthen your lungs. Physical activity also has a variety of other health benefits, like fighting obesity, lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure, maintaining muscle tone, and improving mobility and flexibility.[7]
    • Good cardio exercises for asthma include walking, swimming, bike riding, and even short jogs. You may also consider trying yoga, weight lifting, or strength training.
    • Always talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program when you have asthma. You and your doctor can determine the correct type of exercise for you based on your asthma.
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    Maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is pivotal in limiting long term health effects of asthma. Because asthma may lead to reduced physical activity, those with asthma are more likely to be obese than those without it. More weight puts more pressure on the body and lungs when moving, making it harder to breathe. Being at a healthy weight can help improve your lung function and decrease your need to use asthma medications.[8][9]
    • In addition to exercise, eat a healthy, balanced diet. This includes eating a nutritious diet full of all five food groups: vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, lean meat and protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
    • Fill half your plate with vegetables or snack on fruits. Choose lean meats, such as skinless chicken breast or fish. Get healthy fats from avocados and nuts. Choose complex carbohydrates, such as oats, quinoa, or brown rice.
    • Limit the amount of fatty foods, sugar, and simple, refined carbohydrates. Choose healthy snacks over processed foods or packaged junk food.
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    Reduce stress. Stress can cause asthma attacks to happen more frequently and more severely. Stress causes shortness of breath and restricts your airways, which can trigger asthma.[10] This can lead to negative long-term health effects since stress can cause an asthma attack at any age. You should learn to manage your stress so you can avoid unnecessary complications due to your asthma.
    • Everyone relieves stress in different ways. However, there are some common stress-relieving exercises you can do to help you with this. Try yoga, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, or meditation. You can also try to go for a walk, engage in a hobby, or listen to soothing music.

Method 3
Reducing Asthma Symptoms

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    Identify and avoid your asthma triggers. Learning to identify and avoid your asthma triggers can help you avoid asthma attacks. Everyone has different asthma triggers, so you will have to figure out what your specific triggers are. Pay attention to what environmental factors are in the air when your asthma begins. Some common triggers include:[11]
    • Tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, and smoke from outside burning
    • Dust mites
    • Air pollution
    • Cockroaches
    • Pets
    • Mold
    • Fragrances
    • Physical exercise
    • Certain respiratory conditions
    • High humidity or cold, dry air
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    Drink plenty of water. Drinking water can help minimize asthma symptoms and reduce the likelihood of having an asthma attack. Drinking water helps you keep the mucus in your lungs from getting sticky, which can clog up airways.[12]
    • Drink one glass of water every two hours while you are awake.
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    Boost your immune system. Colds and flu symptoms can trigger your asthma symptoms. The swelling and mucus associated with cold-related asthma can put additional damage on your lungs. To help avoid unnecessary asthma, try to boost your immune system and stay healthy during cold and flu season.[13]
    • Wash your hands often, especially after you have been around someone who has cold or flu symptoms. Wear a mask if you have to be around sick people.
    • Boost your immune system by eating a healthy balanced diet for of vitamins and minerals, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep.
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    Get vaccinated. Getting sick can significantly increase the likelihood that you will have severe asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. To help prevent this, you should get your yearly vaccinations. This can help protect your against certain health threats.[14][15]
    • For example, you should talk to your doctor about getting a flu vaccine or a vaccine for pneumonia.

Article Info

Categories: Asthma