How to Manage Asthma Symptoms

People afflicted with asthma can find the condition to be quite debilitating due to the fluctuating severity of its symptoms. Its effects on a person’s quality of life can be devastating, and symptoms can be potentially deadly if not managed consistently. 

While asthma cannot be cured, it can be effectively treated, allowing people with the condition to live an active life. When it comes to how to manage asthma symptoms, there are various methods including medicine and lifestyle changes.

In this article; we’ll discuss what asthma is, what its symptoms are, how to monitor symptoms and how it can be effectively managed. 

Understanding asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects the airways in the lungs; causing inflammation, narrowing, and constriction of the airways, making it difficult for air to pass through them. As a result, people with asthma may experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. 

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be triggered by various factors such as exercise, allergens, pollution, and respiratory infections. Because asthma is a long-term condition, it is important to know how to effectively monitor symptoms, as it requires ongoing management to control symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

How does asthma impact a person’s daily life?

There are many different ways that asthma impacts a person’s daily life, depending on its severity. 

For example, asthma can make it difficult for people to perform everyday activities such as exercise, walking, and even talking. People with asthma may also have to limit their exposure to certain environmental triggers such as dust, pollen, or cigarette smoke, which can limit their ability to participate in certain activities or social events.

Additionally, asthma can also affect a person’s sleep, as symptoms such as coughing and wheezing can worsen at night, which makes it difficult to breathe and interrupts sleep. This can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating during the day.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Asthma is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and breathing tests.

The breathings tests that can be used to diagnose asthma include the following;

  • Spirometry, breathing into a device called a spirometer
  • DLCO Gas Transfer, taking a deep breath and holding it for approximately 10 seconds
  • Lung Volume Test, which involves an airtight container that the respiratory specialist guides you with breathing exercises
  • Bronchial Provocation Test, which mimics the process of introducing environmental triggers for asthma in a controlled environment
  • 6 Minute Walk Test, which assesses your lungs after walking at a normal pace for six minutes

Other tests, such as allergy tests or a chest X-ray, may also be performed to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

How is asthma treated?

There are several types of medication used to treat asthma, including;

  • Inhaled corticosteroids that reduce inflammation in the airways and are the most effective long-term control medication for asthma.
  • Short-acting bronchodilators that provide quick relief of asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the airways.
  • Long-acting bronchodilators that are used in combination with inhaled corticosteroids to provide long-term control of asthma symptoms.
  • Leukotriene modifiers that block the action of leukotrienes, which are substances that cause inflammation in the airways.
  • Immunomodulators that help to reduce inflammation in the airways and are used in severe cases of asthma that do not respond to other treatments.

What causes asthma?

The exact cause of asthma has yet to be determined. However, many risk factors have been identified, such as;

  • Family history, as you’re more likely to develop asthma if you have a parent with asthma
  • Conditions stemming from allergies, such as eczema or hay fever
  • Viral respiratory infections, particularly in infants and children
  • Exposure to certain elements in the workplace such as dust or chemical fumes
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive air pollution
  • Obesity, regardless of age

How to manage asthma symptoms

Take medication as prescribed

It is important to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. This includes both long-term control medication and quick-relief medication.

Avoid triggers wherever possible

Identify and avoid triggers that can worsen your asthma symptoms. Common triggers include dust, pollen, smoke, pet dander, and certain foods or medications.

Use an Asthma Action Plan

Work with your healthcare provider to develop an asthma action plan that outlines what to do if your symptoms worsen. This may include adjusting medication doses, using a rescue inhaler, or seeking emergency care.

Practice good self-care

Maintaining good overall health can help to manage asthma symptoms. This includes getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

Monitor symptoms

Keep track of your symptoms and peak flow readings regularly to help identify when your asthma is not well-controlled. This can help you and your healthcare provider adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Get vaccinated

People with asthma should get an annual flu shot and discuss the need for other vaccinations with their healthcare provider.

How can a healthy lifestyle help with asthma?

In addition to the methods mentioned above, a healthy lifestyle can also help you manage your asthma symptoms.

  • Regular exercise can improve lung function and overall fitness, which can help manage asthma symptoms. It is important to work with your healthcare provider to develop an exercise plan that is safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
  • A healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide important nutrients and antioxidants that support respiratory health. It is also important to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
  • Learning techniques to manage stress, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, may help to reduce asthma symptoms, as stress and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting exposure to secondhand smoke is important, as smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can worsen asthma symptoms.
  • Identifying and avoiding allergens that trigger your asthma symptoms, such as pollen or pet dander, can help manage asthma symptoms.

How can I contact Manse Medical to get diagnosis and treatment for my asthma?

At Manse Medical, we provide both high quality diagnosis and treatment for respiratory disorders such as asthma. Book your appointment online by selecting your preferred clinic and choose from the list of our available specialists.