|Quality of life
Asthma cannot be prevented or cured but it
can be controlled so that sufferers can lead normal lives.
ASTHMA is a chronic disease or respiratory disorder that affects your airways,
the tubes that carry air in and out of
your lungs. Some of the more common things
that bring on an asthma attack include exercise, allergens, air pollution, irritants and viral
infections. Asthmatics experience a persistent
cough, wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty in breathing.
Although asthma affects people of all ages,
it most often starts in childhood. More boys
suffer from asthma than girls, but in adulthood, more women have asthma than men.
As a child, Sarah (not her real name) had
asthma. Her parents would often rush her to
the emergency ward when they found her
not breathing or struggling to breathe.
Coughing, wheezing and chest tightness had
become a part of her life. Then the sickly child started mild exercises and at 13, the symptoms miraculously disappeared.
But at 42, just as quickly as the symptoms
disappeared in her teens, they reappeared.
Sarah became dependent on inhalers again.
She attributed it to a hectic lifestyle, poor diet,
work stress and lack of exercise.
Determined to have a better quality of life,
Sarah sought the help of a personal trainer
who put her on the path to wellness. Within a
year, all the symptoms had vanished and now
at 61, Sarah's asthma is under control and she
is a picture of health.
Asthma cannot be prevented or cured but
most people with asthma can control it so
that they have few and infrequent symptoms
and can live normal, active lives. Exercise is
mandatory for asthmatics but start off with
walking or swimming which can help expand
Diet is also an important component for
asthmatics, especially if they are on steroids.
A healthy diet that includes foods from each
food group (carbohydrates, protein and fats)
can counter some of the nutritional effects of
steroid therapy. Taken over a long period,
steroids can increase the risk of osteoporosis, so it is important to take a
calcium supplement. To prevent other side effects, limit the
intake of salt and foods high in sodium and
reduce the amount of cholesterol and fat in
Asthmatics can still lead a normal life but
you need to know what triggers the disease.
Then do what you can to avoid or limit contact with these things. The US National
Institute of Health provides the following
• If animal dander is a problem, keep your
pet out of the house or at least out of your
• Do not smoke or allow smoking in your
• If pollen affects you, stay indoors with
the air conditioner on, if possible, when the
pollen count is high.
• To control dust mites, wash your sheets,
blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys once a
week in hot water. You can get special dust
proof covers for your mattress and pillows.
• If you have symptoms when you exercise or do routine physical activities like
climbing stairs, work with your doctor to find
ways to be active without having asthma
symptoms. Physical activity is important.
• If you are allergic to sulfites, avoid foods
(like dried fruit) or beverages (like wine) that