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Living With Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory illness, caused by an inflammation and subsequent narrowing of the ‘tubes’ of the lungs (medically known as the bronchi). It is largely incurable but is not life threatening, and for many asthma sufferers it is merely a matter of learning to shape their life around asthma and discovering tips on how to deal with it.

When one first receives an asthma diagnosis, there is a natural reaction of shock and upset. Asthma is a chronic condition, and when diagnosed in adults will tend to be with the person for the rest of their life. This shocked and saddened reaction is completely natural, but it is important to focus on the fact that asthma is very, very rarely fatal – and even then, usually only in conjunction with other medical problems.

Asthma is an illness that needs to be recognized in a daily lifestyle, but not given in to. With correct, inhalation-based treatment, the vast majority of asthma cases can be controlled – and the sufferer will live a normal life, providing they take the correct precautions. Asthma does not mean the end of being able to exercise or enjoy life – it merely means learning what works for you, what triggers an attack and how to prevent it.

Simple changes can make big differences to the life of an asthma sufferer. Things like switching from chemical-based cleaning products to natural solutions have great effects, and avoiding smoky places also makes a big difference. Asthma is controllable, and with the correct medication and a little due care and attention, people may never need know someone has it.

What to Avoid

Although asthma is largely controllable with medication, there are certain stimulants that can bring on an attack even if medication has been used. Learning to identify these stimuli and – wherever possible – avoid them is an important part of learning to cope with asthma.

– Smoke: tobacco smoke is a major stimulant of asthma and can in fact worsen the conditions over time.

– Strong cleaning products: any cleaning product that contains strong chemicals is to be avoided. There are plenty of natural product solutions which will leave your home just as clean, but your lungs far more healthy.

– Certain medications: penicillin (primarily used to treat infections) and aspirin (used in pain relief) can exacerbate asthma. Use substitutes wherever possible, such as paracetamol in place of aspirin when you have a headache.

– Swimming pools: not for the water, but for the chlorine. As mentioned with cleaning products, any strong chemical will have an adverse effect on asthma sufferers. Always check with a pool venue before using it to see if the pool is chlorinated.

– Menstrual cycle: women may be more prone to asthma attacks during their menstrual cycle or during pregnancy, due to the hormonal changes and imbalances that occur during this time.

– Stress: an asthma sufferer is far more likely to experience an attack when they are stressed, nervous or panicked than they are when they are feeling emotionally stable. It is especially important to control your temper if you have asthma.

The above is just a brief grounding in the many stimuli of asthma; avoid them wherever possible, and also note down any stimuli that seem applicable to your experiences.

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