What Is Asthma and How Do You Cope with It?

If you were recently diagnosed with asthma, you probably feel overwhelmed and unsure about how you will cope with the condition. Asthma causes your airways to narrow and affects about 17.7 millions adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the most common symptoms of asthma include excessive coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. You are more likely to suffer from asthma if you are a smoker, have a family history of the disease, are overweight, or have another allergic condition.

If you do not manage your asthma properly, you can suffer some serious complications, including respiratory failure, pneumonia, collapsed lungs, and even death. Here are some good ways you can cope with your condition and reduce asthma attacks:

Take Allergy Medication

Allergies can sometimes worsen asthma symptoms, so consider taking allergy medication. Whether you are allergic to pollen or pet dander, allergy medication can give you relief and prevent asthma attacks. The next time you see your doctor, ask him or her if allergy shots are the right choice for your condition. You can also consider seeing an allergy specialist.

Be Careful When Exercising

Regular exercise is very beneficial for your body, but working out can trigger asthma symptoms. If you want to exercise outdoors, make sure the temperature is not too hot or cold. Avoid doing very vigorous exercises because they can stress out your lungs. According to MedicineNet.com, swimming is a great exercise for people with asthma because it increases lung function and allows your lungs to breathe in warm air. In addition, always warm up properly before each workout and do not push yourself too much. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight can put extra pressure on your lungs and worsen your asthma symptoms. That is why it's important to maintain a healthy weight for your height and age. Include mostly healthy foods, such as fish, chicken, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, in your diet and don't eat too much junk food. Exercising a few times a week will also help you stay in good shape.

Keep the Humidity Low

High humidity can trigger an asthma attack, so you should keep the humidity as low as possible in your home. On hot and humid days, make sure to run your air conditioner. In addition to maintaining a cool temperature in your house, air conditioning will reduce dust mites and pollen, as long as your filter is changed regularly and your ducts are clean. 

Stay Away from Secondhand Smoke

When you suffer from asthma, it is even more important for you to stay away from secondhand smoke than for most people. If the smoke gets in your lungs, you are more likely to have an asthma attack. If any of your friends or family members are smokers, ask them not to do it around you.

Do Not Let Stress Get to You

It is normal to get stressed every once in a while, but you should not let this anxiety take over your life. If you can't deal with your stress in healthy ways, it can trigger your asthma symptoms. Determine major stressors in your life and figure out how to resolve them. For example, if you are having money problems, reassess your budget and think of ways you can reduce your spending. Getting enough sleep at night, eating a healthy diet, and doing relaxation exercises can also reduce your stress levels.

Asthma can be a pain to deal with at times, but it does not have to define you. If you follow these helpful tips, you can control your asthma symptoms and live a normal life. Even if your asthma is well controlled, you should still carry your inhaler with you at all times. 

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