Often triggered by an allergic reaction that leads to a narrowing of the airways, asthma is characterised by intermittent attacks of wheezing, coughing and feeling short of breath and ‘tight-chested’.
If you or your child has asthma, make sure that you have appropriate medication usually in the form of inhalers) to use in case of an attack.
Additionally, you can practise these steps to lower asthma attacks :
Supplements containing the bee product Royal Jelly may be dangerous it you have asthma. Royal jelly can provoke a serious, even fatal, respiratory reaction!
Tiny mould spores released into the air can sometimes trigger asthma attacks.
If you suffer from asthma :
A 2007 study in the New England Joumal of Medicine found that two hours’ exposure to diesel fumes in a busy urban street had a marked adverse ettect on lung function, especially among asthmatics.
If your asthma is well controlled and you take precautions, you should be able to take part in almost any physical activity. However, if symptoms start, stop exercising, use your ‘reliever’ inhaler and wait until you feel better.
Here are some exercises you can do :
While there is some evidence that prolonged exposure to chlorinated water in pools may increase asthma, swimming is a great exercise tor people with asthma: it expands lung volume, develops good breathing techniques and improves physical fitness.
Yoga can improve your breathing technique as well as helping you relax.
If you want to do aerobic exercise, team sports such as football or hockey, in which the individual players are involved in only brief bursts of intense exertion, with short breaks in between, are less likely to provoke symptoms than those involving prolonged intensive effort, such as squash.
Activities such as golf, weightifting and walking are less likely to trigger symptoms than aerobic exercise that makes you breathe hard, such as running or playing football.
Instead of cakes, biscuits and potato chips, keep nuts and seeds available for between-meal snacks (unless you are allergic to them).
As well as having a low sugar content, nuts and seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to relieve inflammation and are thought to reduce asthma symptoms. Walnuts and flaxseeds, in particular, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in oily fish can reduce airway inflammation. In a study 750 people by Cambridge University, asthmatics who regularly ate oily fish were less likely to report breathlessness, wheeziness or waking up with a tight chest.
Choose fish such as salmon, trout, fresh tuna, sardines and mackerel, and aim to eat two portions per week.
In a study at the University of Newcastle in Australia, 40 asthma patients were fed either a high-fat, high-kilojoule meal of fast-food burgers and hash browns or a low-fat, low-kilojoule meal of yogurt.
Those patients who consumed the high-fat meal demonstrated marked increases in inflammatory cells in their sputum (indicating that they had become more susceptible to an asthma attack) and responded less well than the other group to asthma medication.
Losing a little weight, combined with making small adjustments to your diet, can improve lung function, reduce the need for asthma medication and lower the frequency of attacks.
The typical Western diet is linked with a higher risk of developing asthma, worse symptoms and more attacks.
This diet, which is typically laden with unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates, and low in fresh fruit and vegetables – causes obesity, which is itself linked to asthma in both adults and children.
Evidence suggests that high-salt diets are linked with asthma severity. Most salt in our diet comes from processed foods, so check the labels when you are shopping and look out for sodium content (salt is sodium chloride) as well as salt.