A chronic disease, asthma is characterised by a person’s inability to breathe in and breathe out. A person with this problem has swollen and inflamed airways. This causes excess production of mucus, and this is what makes breathing difficult. The severity of the condition varies from one person to another. For some people, it may be a mild problem that can be controlled easily, while for others, the condition may be too serious for the person to even carry out his/her normal daily activities. Also, women are more susceptible than men to contract this disease. As said, asthma is a chronic problem, and it has no cure. However, there are ways and means which may reduce the risk of an attack, and help to control it when it occurs.
Preventing an Asthma Attack
Although there is no foolproof way to keep an asthma attack from occurring, avoiding factors that trigger the attack, and taking medications as prescribed by the doctor reduce the risk to a great extent.
- The first preventive measure is following the treatment plan that has been recommended to you by your doctor. Asthma can be managed by two types of medications; the long-term ones, and the short-term ones. The short-term medicines are used to control an attack. It is the long-term medications that are used to prevent an asthma attack. In most cases, these medications need to be taken on a daily basis. It is important to understand that the condition is a lifelong one, and thus requires constant monitoring and management.
- The next important step to be followed is identifying triggers, and avoiding them. Although experts are still dubious about the specific causes of this chronic condition, they are well aware of the factors that may trigger an attack. Substances such as pollen, dander, dust, mould, cold air, air pollutants, smokes from tobacco, incense, candles, fires, and fireworks, and food allergens are known to trigger an asthma attack in most people. Some people may experience an attack, after they get exposed to infections such as common cold, due to medications, and diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Strong emotions and stress may cause the same in some people. Even indulging in physical activities may induce an attack. Cockroaches, indoor mould growths, and dust mites are some other triggers. For instance, if you experience an attack usually after exercising, then it is better to stop any such activity, and stay away from it. Try going for something less intense such as walking or jogging. Also, getting a flu shot every year will do wonders, as infections such as this may worsen asthma symptoms. Likewise, getting allergy shots may also be a helpful preventive measure.
- In some people, some symptoms may indicate an impending asthma attack. So getting familiar with all the warning signs and symptoms would provide a great deal of help in reducing the risks. These signs could be a slight coughing, wheezing or difficulty in breathing. Pain in the chest could also be a sign. It is best if you can predict an attack even before these signs occur. And this can be done by monitoring your breathing rate. For this, you can avail a home peak flow meter.
- A slight reduction in the frequency of attacks does not warrant you to stop the medications. Irrespective of any improvements or not in the condition, it is a must to complete the course of medication as prescribed.
The only and the best way to deal with chronic conditions such as asthma is to prevent it, with constant effort and monitoring. Following the above steps in the right way, may not always guarantee to prevent an attack, but they would definitely cut down the risks significantly.