Help in the Battle Against Asthma: One Sufferer’s Strategy

Fighting asthma? Try a few of the tactics that have worked for me:

Reduce dairy intake:

To help prevent asthma, I try to keep my dairy intake to a minimum. I have the occasional pizza, use milk on cereal and enjoy some cheese during the week; but I try to lay off glasses of milk, a lot of milkshakes, and I find milk at night is the worst for asthma.

Keep weight down:

Following a moderately healthy diet that is lower in fat, carbs and sugars helps me to trim pounds. When I eat out, I may splurge a bit, but then I go easy the next meal. Mild exercise keeps me fitter (intense exercise can bring on asthma for some), along with less soda and caffeine. Pursuing weight loss helps my breathing: Since I have shed about 50 pounds in 3 years, I rarely use my “as-needed” inhaler.

Reduce stress:

Organizing my work week in advance, exercising, and praying are effective in reducing stress; so is reading, watching and listening to positive content. Due to stress and asthma, my breathing patterns are irregular, so I try to be aware of that to stabilize them. According to Harvard Health Publications (Scroll to Figure 7), and in my experience, stress causes ones’ bronchioles or breathing tubes, to become constricted, so one feels “tight” in the chest.

Use maintenance medications:

I use a corticosteroid inhaler to help keep my bronchioles from becoming inflamed, which allows oxygen to reach the alveoli, where oxygen mixes with carbon dioxide, in a key part of the breathing process. This also helps prevent snoring, which can be related to breathing issues. Maintenance medications, which restore free breathing — as above — much more quickly, are not intended for sudden asthma attacks when you may need a “quick relief” inhaler, or hospitalization (call for professional and/or emergency medical help right away if needed!).

Keep your sinuses open:

By doing nasal rinses and using nasal sprays, I keep my sinus passages clearer, which leads to freer breathing. I also take allergy medications to prevent allergens like pollen and dander from causing asthma. Gargling with warm water and a pinch of baking soda keeps my throat free of mucous build-up; and maintaining a clean home is also helpful, as dust build-up causes asthma in many.

This is not professional medical advice, but these are things that have worked to keep my asthma to a minimum. I hope they are helpful to you!

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