Tackling Asthma Symptoms and Treatment the Right Way
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects more than 10 million adults and children in America. Although there is no known cure for asthma, it can be controlled with medication and exercise.
There are a number of situations that aggravate asthma and can even bring about an acute asthma attack. Pollution in urban cities is a serious one, as the pollution from fuel emission and dust increases over time. Allergies from pollen in flowers is a common problem in the spring. Sometimes known as “hay fever”, this can be a very difficult time for asthmatics.
Even cold air and winter chill can trigger asthma attacks, as can physical exertion from exercise and stress. Naturally, any ailment that already makes breathing difficult – like the common cold – will be that much worse for people with asthma.
The typical asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. If these are new symptoms to you, you should get them checked out. Asthma can develop over time for a variety of environmental and genetic reasons, so it pays to be aware of the symptoms.
There are two general types of treatment for asthma. Quick relief medication involves inhaling a corticosteroid by means of an inhaler your doctor can prescribe for you. This helps to smooth and relax the bronchial muscles. Long term controllers called bronchodilators open up constricted airways and control inflammation helping you breath normally. The type of treatment given typically depends on the severity of the asthma, and is a determination your doctor will make.
So, what steps can you take to make it easier to manage your asthma? Keep a journal of any symptom that you may encounter. For instance, when you begin wheezing or coughing, make a note in a journal. Or when you exercise or find yourself in certain environments, make a note of how you feel. Are you short of breath? Is there tightness in your chest? Then on a regular basis keep track of any changes in these symptoms.
Once a course of treatment has been prescribed for your asthma, keep another journal in which you describe the results. Have the symptoms improved? Are they worse? Do the same environments that caused a reaction before still produce the same reaction?
If you are taking medication, keep a record of what you take and when. Is it helping the symptoms? Are there any side effects? Keep track of when side effects occur and how severe they are. Having this information handy will help your doctor prescribe the treatment that best addresses your overall health.
Setting up journals like the ones described here is easy to do. You can use a paper worksheet, a computer word processing program, or even a spreadsheet program like Excel.
You owe it to yourself to take an active role in managing your own health. Asthma is potentially very serious. However with proper management, it can be controlled. You need to use every tool at your disposal to make sure you get the best health care possible.