Living with Asthma
The large majority of patients with asthma can have a controlled disease, which allows them to lead a normal life. For this reason, the patient must take an active role in the control of their disease. They must know their medication, know when and how to take it, recognise what are the symptoms of worsening of the asthma and follow a plan of action that has been explained to them by their doctor.
To know what are the triggering factors of the asthma and to adopt health life habits, are essential to prevent future complications.
Stop smoking. To quit the smoking habit substantially improves asthma symptoms, and has a very positive impact on the patient outcome.
Maintain a suitable weight. To avoid obesity helps to have a better control of the asthma and to tolerate physical activity better.
Environmental control of allergens. If the asthma is of allergic origin, it is important to know which are the allergens that can trigger the symptoms, and take measures to avoid them.
- Dust mites. Reduce rugs, fitted carpets, curtains, and objects that may accumulate dust. Do the home dust cleaning with a damp cloth, wash the bedclothes at least twice a week at high temperatures, use anti-mite covers for the mattress and pillow.
- Pollens. Avoid staying out for long in the open air on days with high pollen counts, the type of pollen to which you are sensitised must be known, as well as the seasons in which they are high.
- Animals. Remove the animal from the home and carry out an exhaustive clean; if this is not possible, avoid contact with the animal in the bedroom and on the sofa.
- Fungi. Avoid dampness in the home, ventilate frequently the dark and humid rooms.
Balanced diet. It helps to avoid overweight and is beneficial for all areas of health in general.
Physical activity. To take part in sport is recommended for patients with asthma, as long as the disease is well-controlled. Patients that have asthma due to exercise, can take a short-acting bronchodilator about 10-15 minutes before. Physical activity helps to maintain a suitable weight and improves the cardiovascular function of the patients.
A good night’s rest. To sleep well is important in order to perform well during the day. It is common in poorly controlled asthma for nocturnal symptoms, such as cough and wheezing, to appear, making it difficult for the patients to rest; therefore, it is recommended to consult to adjust the medication.
Sexuality. The aim of asthma treatment should be to help the patient have a normal life. This also implies that there should be no limitations in the area of sexuality and the intimate life with their partner.
Travelling. Before travelling it must be checked that sufficient medication is available for the time that the patient is travelling, both rescue and maintenance medication. The patient must carry a written action plan to follow in case the symptoms get worse.
Control of stress and anxiety. To have uncontrolled asthma can lead to a level of incapacity that may have repercussions in emotional well-being, presenting with high levels of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, the anxiety and hyperventilation that are produced could lead to the triggering of an asthma attack. Patient education and the implementation of breathing exercise could help to improve the control of this aspect.
Asthma and pregnancy. Asthma treatment must not be stopped during pregnancy. If the asthma is well-controlled, the risks for the mother and foetus are minimal. It is advised to consult the doctor and carry out a closer follow-up during this period.
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