Getting Back Your Asthma Groove
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, “Many experts believe that lifestyle changes associated with diet and activity are leading to rising rates of chronic diseases”, which unfortunately, includes asthma. Let’s face it, many of us have probably had some “COVID weight gain”, but now that we are slowly resuming some sense of normalcy, it is time to get our health back in order. However, before doing so, it is important to take some very important steps to help make sure you minimize the chance of developing increased asthma symptoms. It is also important to note that allergies and asthma sometimes occur together and usually, the triggers for allergies (such as pollen, dust mite and animal dander) can also cause asthma symptoms. This condition is sometimes referred to as allergic asthma or allergy-induced asthma. With that said, before resuming an exercise routine, make sure that your underlying allergies are under the best possible control. For those with asthma, it is crucial that exercise be a part of your treatment plan.
Here are a few other points to consider before resuming an exercise routine:
Take your asthma medicines as prescribed. Many asthma patients are usually prescribed a “controller” medication and a “rescue” medication.
Controller medications help to reduce airway inflammation and rescue medications (such as Albuterol), help to relax the bronchial airway smooth muscle. Controller medications, if taken regularly, can reduce the need for rescue medications, but unlike rescue medications, controller medications do not give “quick” relief. For some, using a rescue inhaler 20-30 minutes before physical activity can help to “block” or prevent some chest symptoms during exercise.
As a general rule, you should inform your asthma specialist if you are needing to use a rescue inhaler more than 2 times a week, other than with exercise.
Follow up with your asthma specialist and if indicated, get a breathing test (spirometry).
Minimize the effect of allergies on your asthma by making sure that environmental control measures are in place in your home and you are taking your allergy medications as directed. If you are on immunotherapy, make sure that you are on schedule with this treatment.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Maintain a healthy sleep routine.
Education is one of the most important services a health care professional can provide. By identifying known causes of an asthma flare-up, we can help the patient develop a treatment plan to minimize contact with these “triggers” whenever possible. In addition, we can help the patient to understand the warning signs of an impending attack, so that the patient can take steps to avoid or decrease the severity of the attack before it becomes full blown.
If allergies or asthma are preventing your from doing everything you want to, please let us help you get your allergies and asthma under the best possible control. It is important to never give up on resuming some form of exercise. Remember, for most people, exercise can improve both your health and your quality of life.