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Tips on How to Keep Your Asthma Under Control

Friday 26 June 2020
Asthma

Table of Contents


I. Symptoms of Asthma

II. How to Know if Your Asthma is Under Control

III. Find the Right Medication for You

a. Flovent

IV. Know Your Triggers

V. Lifestyle Changes

VI. Wash Your Hands!


Asthma is a chronic lung condition that results in breathlessness. There is no cure for asthma, but there are several methods and medications like Flovent to help control your symptoms. The World Health Organization estimated that over 339 million people in the world had asthma in 2016. This disease is most common in children but can occur at any age. Asthma occurs when the bronchial tubes swell and airflow is reduced to the lungs. Some people do grow out of their asthma symptoms, but many must practice techniques to control their symptoms on a long-term basis. Read on to learn more about how to better control your asthma for a healthy life. [1]

Symptoms of Asthma

Symptoms of asthma can include:

  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Shortness of breath

Your asthma may be worsening if you experience:

  • Symptoms of asthma that become more frequent and bothersome
  • The frequent use of a quick-relief inhaler
  • Increasing difficulty in breathing

Asthma is typically triggered by certain activities or substances. These symptoms may occur due to exercise, allergies, or occupational irritants like chemical fumes, gases, or dust. If you have asthma for a long time, your symptoms and triggers may shift and change. [2]

three different types of inhalers

How to Know if Your Asthma is Under Control

It is important to pay attention to your asthma symptoms because you may think your asthma is under control when it is not. Your asthma may be under control if you:

  • Do not miss work, school, or social activity because of asthma.
  • Have a normal breathing (spirometry) test.
  • Use your rescue inhaler less than 4 times a week.
  • Do not have breathing difficulties, cough, or wheeze on most days.
  • Sleep through the night without problems breathing.

Your asthma may be poorly controlled if you are not using your inhalers or medications properly. If you are having trouble with your inhaler, tell your doctor and they will give you clearer directions on how to take your medications. It is also essential for you to identify your asthma triggers so you can avoid them whenever possible. If your asthma remains poorly controlled, you can suffer permanent damage to your airways that cannot be reversed. [3] 

a drawing of a spirometry test

Find the Right Medication for You

Your doctor may have you take several lung function tests to determine how much air moves in and out as you breathe. These tests are used to diagnose asthma but may be administered throughout your life to keep track of your asthma condition. One common test is called the spirometry test. This test measures how much air you can exhale after a deep breath to determine the narrowing of your bronchial tubes.

A peak flow test may also be used. This test measures how hard you can breathe out. If you have a lower peak flow reading then your lungs may not be working at full capacity. These tests are often given before and after starting a new medication to determine if a medication is having a positive effect on your asthma condition. [2] 

a. Flovent

Flovent HFA or Flovent Diskus are frequently prescribed medications for asthma symptoms. Both medications are metered-dose inhalers that work the same way, but Flovent HFA is in an aerosolized form while Flovent Diskus is in a powder form. Flovent (fluticasone) is an inhaled corticosteroid that works by relaxing the airways, which allows better airflow to the lungs. Flovent is not used as an emergency inhaler and should not be taken during an asthma attack. Flovent is a long-term inhaler that reduces your rate of asthma attacks over time. The benefits of this drug are typically seen around 2 weeks after you start taking Flovent. [4] 

Know Your Triggers

To determine your triggers, you may need to seek the help of an allergist to perform an allergy test. These tests can be performed by a skin or blood test. It will let you know what bothers your system so you can take precautions.

Outdoor Air: Those who live in polluted cities have higher rates of asthma in their population. Smog or low-air-quality days can happen at any time, so asthmatics may want to pay attention to days when air quality is low. You can check the internet or watch the daily weather forecast to find out about air quality alerts near you. Poor air quality can be caused by vehicle exhaust, forest fires, or wood smoke. It is vital to stay hydrated during high pollution days and avoid using underground parking and traveling during rush hour.

smog over a city

Indoor Air: The quality of the air inside your house is just as important as the outside air. You can keep your indoor air clean by making your home smoke-free and avoiding the use of chemicals in your house. Certain products like paint, varnish, household cleaning products, hair spray, and perfume can trigger breathing problems. [5] 

Allergens: Everyone has their own specific asthma triggers. When your body meets an allergen, the immune system overreacts and releases histamines that cause inflammation and swelling. This inflammation can target your airways and lead to asthma symptoms. The most common asthma allergens can include:

  • Mold spores and fragments
  • Windblown pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroach feces
  • Animal dander (hair, skin, or feathers) or animal saliva [6]

Lifestyle Changes

The exact cause of asthma is not known, but it is typically due to genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. If you do have asthma it is in your best interest to reduce your chance of worsening your condition. The number one thing you can do to reduce your risk of asthma is to quit smoking. You should never smoke if you have asthma because it can significantly increase the severity of your symptoms. It can reduce the effectiveness of asthma medications. It is also vital to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke whenever possible.

Many people who have exercise-induced asthma may think they cannot participate in physical activity. This is not true. It is vital to remain active with chronic lung disorders, to maintain healthy body weight. Of course, you must have your asthma condition under control before starting an exercise regime. Exercise also boosts your immune system. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are ready for exercise. [7]

a woman lighting a cigarette

Wash Your Hands!

People with asthma can have more severe responses to cold and flu viruses. This can make your cold or flu symptoms worse, which can lead to a higher likelihood of asthma attacks. Because of this, it is vital that asthmatics take precautions in order to keep themselves healthy. Certain viruses can infect people’s airways and lungs, which can spur on asthma symptoms. To avoid complications with a cold or flu, you should:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Get the flu shot annually.
  • Pay attention to any change in your symptoms when you are sick.
  • Make sure to get plenty of sleep and stay well-rested, so you can recover faster.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about getting the pneumonia shot. [7]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.