How to Manage Adult Asthma

Three Methods:Making Lifestyle ChangesTreating Asthma with MedicationUnderstanding Adult Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the lungs and airways. The most common symptoms of asthma are coughing, especially at night; shortness of breath; wheezing; and chest tightness, pain, or pressure.[1] Asthma can be controlled and managed but it cannot be cured. As an adult, you can manage your asthma by making lifestyle changes and treating the condition with medication.[2]

Method 1
Making Lifestyle Changes

  1. 1
    Promote your overall health with exercise. Conditions such as obesity and heart disease can cause asthma or make it worse. Regular exercise can help control your weight, manage asthma and relieve its symptoms. [3]
    • Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen. Your doctor will let you know if you are healthy enough for exercise and what types may suit you best.
    • Get regular exercise or physical activity. Aim for about 30 minutes of physical activity five or six days a week.[4]
    • Do activities you like including walking, running, biking, or swimming. Consider other activities such as yoga or Pilates, which can also calm you and strengthen your heart and lungs.[5] Be aware that some activities, such as swimming, biking, and hiking may make you less prone to asthma attacks.[6]
  2. 2
    Follow a healthy diet. Just as exercise can promote your overall health and help manage asthma, so can a healthy diet. Eat a healthy and balanced diet of three meals and two snacks per day to help control your weight and manage your asthma symptoms.
    • Incorporate a variety of foods from the five food groups. Consider getting extra fruits and vegetables, which may ease lung swelling and irritation.[7]
    • Stay away from foods that can trigger asthma symptoms. Foods containing sulfites including wine, dried fruits, pickles, and fresh and frozen shrimp may make your symptoms worse.
  3. 3
    Reduce exposure to your environmental triggers. Many people find their asthma symptoms are worse after being exposed to environmental factors such as dust or pollen. Limiting your exposure to these triggers can help you manage your asthma and prevent attacks in the future.[8]
    • Cool your home with an air conditioner. This can reduce the amount of pollen circulating in the air.
    • Reduce the dust—and dust mites—in your home through daily vacuuming or removing carpeting.
    • Cover the bed furniture with a dust proof cover. Your can find dust covers for your mattress, pillows, and box springs at many retailers.
    • Remove dust, pet dander, mold spores and pollen in your home by cleaning it regularly.[9] Cockroaches can also trigger asthma attacks. Regular cleaning may help, but if you have a severe infestation, you may need to use a professional exterminator.[10]
    • Limit the time you spend outside to avoid prolonged exposure to pollen or air pollution.[11]
  4. 4
    Regulate GERD and heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and heartburn can harm airways and exacerbate asthma. See your doctor about getting treatment for GERD and heartburn. This may reduce your intestinal discomfort and help you manage asthma symptoms.[12]
    • Ask your doctor if over-the-counter medications such as Zantac-75 and Pepcid-AC can help control your GERD and heartburn.
  5. 5
    Do deep breathing exercises. Taking time every day to do deep breathing exercises can help control asthma symptoms. Deep breathing works best in conjunction with medication. It may also ease symptoms as well as decrease the dose of medication you take.[13] Deep breathing will also calm and relax you, which may help reduce any psychological stress that makes asthma worse.
    • Recognize that deep breathing helps oxygen flow through your body. This can decrease your heart rate, slow your pulse, and relax you. All of these benefits also help manage asthma.[14]
    • Breathe in and out completely through your nose. Inhale to a count of 4, hold it for a count of 2, and then exhale to a count of 4. Adjust the count number as you like[15]
    • Optimize your deep breathing exercises by sitting upright with your shoulders pulled down. Pull in your belly to expand your lungs and rib cage as you inhale.[16]
  6. 6
    Explore herbal remedies. Some people manage their asthma with herbal and natural remedies. Talk to your doctor if you are interested in trying herbal and natural remedies. Your doctor can make sure you’re healthy enough to use these remedies. The doctor may also suggest remedies that could help you manage your asthma.[17]
    • Read product labels for herbal or natural remedies containing black seed, caffeine, choline, and pycnogenol. These may ease your symptoms.
    • Combine three parts tincture of lobelia and one part tincture of capsicum. Add twenty drops of the mixture to water. This may ease a severe asthma attack.[18]
    • Incorporate ginger and turmeric into your diet. These spices may reduce inflammation.

Method 2
Treating Asthma with Medication

  1. 1
    See your doctor. It’s important to see your doctor regularly if you suffer from asthma. This gives you and a doctor a chance to review your treatment and monitor progress. You should also visit your doctor if you’re having difficulty managing your symptoms or they get worse.[19]
    • Let your doctor know information such as how you feel, factors that make your asthma worse or better, and what you’ve been taking to manage your symptoms beyond medication.
  2. 2
    Obtain a prescription. The foundation of most asthma management regimens is medication. Prescription medication can help you manage your asthma and prevent attacks.[20] Your doctor may prescribe one or two types of oral and inhaled asthma medication. Many people take both types at the same time:
    • Anti-inflammatories to minimize swelling and cut down on mucus in your airways. Anti-inflammatories ease breathing.
    • Bronchodilators to relax the muscles around your airways. Bronchodilators increase your breathing rate. They also boost the amount of oxygen in your lungs.[21]
  3. 3
    Take an anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory medications are especially important for an individual with asthma. Taken orally or inhaled, these medications control inflammation, reduce swelling, and decrease mucus in your airways. Anti-inflammatories can help you manage or prevent asthma symptoms if taken daily.[22] Your doctor may prescribe the following anti-inflammatories:[23]
    • Inhaled corticosteroids such as fluticasone, budesonide, ciclesonide, or mometasone. You generally need to use inhaled corticosteroids longer-term to get their full effect. These medications have few side effects.
    • Meukotriene modifiers such as montelukast, zafirlukast, or zileuton. Meukotriene modifiers can relieve asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours. Use these medications with care because they may cause psychological reactions such as agitation and aggression.
    • Cell stabilizers such as cromolyn sodium or nedocromil sodium.[24]
  4. 4
    Use a bronchodilator. Your doctor may also prescribe a bronchodilator. These medications come in short- or long-term formulations. Short-term bronchodilators, also known as rescue inhalers, ease symptoms and can stop asthma attacks.[25] Long-term bronchodilators can help you manage symptoms and prevent attacks.[26] Your doctor may prescribe any of the follow bronchodilators to help manage your asthma:
    • Long-acting beta agonists such as salmeterol or fomoterol.[27] Beta agonists can expand your airways. They may increase your risk of a severe asthma attack, so considering taking beta agonists.
    • Combination inhalers such as fluticasone-salmeterol, or mometason-fomoterol
    • Anticholinergics such as theophylline. These can control immediate symptoms of an attack.[28]
  5. 5
    Try allergy medications. You may be able to manage asthma symptoms with allergy medications. This is especially true if your asthma is a result of allergies. Ask your doctor if taking allergy meds can help you manage your asthma.[29]
    • Try oral and nasal antihistamines such as fluticasone and diphenhydramine. They can decrease and/ or relieve your asthma symptoms. Your doctor can prescribe or recommend an over-the-counter antihistamine for you.
    • Consider regular allergy shots. They may minimize your body’s reaction to allergens that trigger your asthma in the long-term.
  6. 6
    Discuss bronchial thermoplasty with your doctor. Bronchial thermoplasty employs heat to limit the ability of airways to tighten. It is not a widely available treatment. Discuss if bronchial thermoplasty is option with your doctor if your asthma doesn’t improve with other treatments.[30]
    • Undergo that bronchial therapy in three outpatient hospital visits. This treatment heats your airways in order to decrease the smooth muscle in them. In turn, this contracts and limits your air intake.[31] Bronchial thermoplasty can last for up to a year. You may need further treatments in the following years.[32]

Method 3
Understanding Adult Asthma

  1. 1
    Recognize risk factors for asthma. Doctors are not certain what causes asthma. They know that specific factors raise your risk of developing adult asthma.[33] Figuring out your risk of getting asthma helps you better recognize symptoms and get a medical diagnosis and treatment. You may be at risk for asthma if you:[34]
    • Have a blood relative sibling with asthma
    • Have allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis
    • Are overweight
    • Smoke
    • Are exposed to secondhand smoke
    • Work with or are exposed to exhaust fumes or other pollutants
  2. 2
    Identify symptoms of asthma. Adult asthma presents with different symptoms. These can range from mild severe and be persistent or intermittent. Observing potential symptoms can help you get a prompt diagnosis and treatment.[35] Adult asthma may come with the following symptoms:[36]
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Tightness or pain in the chest.
    • Insomnia that comes from shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
    • Wheezing, which is a high-pitched whistling or wheezing sound when you inhale or exhale
    • Worsening symptoms when you have a cold or the flu
  3. 3
    Pay attention to your respiratory health. Watch out for any symptoms of asthma if you are at risk. Continue to observe if they are present after a few days. This may indicate asthma. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to get a prompt diagnosis and treatment, which can help you manage symptoms.[37]
    • Listen to your breath when you exercise. If you have any asthma symptoms, it may be sports-induced asthma.
    • Observe if your symptoms are present only at work, which may mean you have occupational asthma. Chemical fumes, gases and dust can trigger asthma symptoms.[38]
    • Watch if your symptoms get worse at certain times of the year or around animals. This may indicate allergy-induced asthma triggered by certain pollens, pet dander, or cockroaches.

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Categories: Conditions and Treatments | Asthma