living with severe asthma can be serious, it can also be downright annoying,
disrupting your everyday activities and lifestyle. But you don’t have to put up
with symptoms. Even people with severe asthma can stay healthy and active. You
can start with a few smart steps to control your asthma, instead of allowing
your asthma to control you.
You’re in control. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/5054x3381%2B0%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F77%2F22%2Fff3843a64a61896b396ed3c0d318%2Fimage-gettyimages-530066619.jpg
asthma can become worse when you have certain infections, like a cold or the
flu. Your constricted airways can narrow even more, making it harder to
breathe. To stay healthy and prevent infections, be sure to get an annual flu
shot and any other vaccinations your doctor recommends, such as a pneumococcal vaccination
1. Get vaccinated. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F60%2Ff9%2F4fa7df534777a59f88a17a5cbec8%2Fimage-medical-vaccine-in-shoulder-502686281.jpg
It may seem obvious to avoid things that cause your asthma symptoms, but first you have to identify what those things are. One of the best ways to do this is to keep a record of where you were and what you were doing when you notice your symptoms, or when they get worse. Jot down everything in the past day or so, and then you can start narrowing it down. Avoid the triggers you can, and talk to your doctor about help for those you can’t avoid, such as cold weather.
2. Mind your triggers. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/5119x3424%2B0%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fed%2F2e%2Ff52d6d7a4fe7b032699bcffa0824%2Fimage-getty-507831749.jpg
People with severe asthma often take more than one prescribed medication. It’s important to take your medications regularly and use devices properly in order to keep symptoms at bay. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you how to use your inhaler and spacer to be sure the medication is working for you. You may also want to use a peak flow meter, which allows you to monitor your breathing, before any symptoms occur. Also let your doctor know about any vitamins or natural supplements you may be taking as these can sometimes interfere with your asthma treatment.
3. Stay on top of your medications. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F44%2Fa3%2Fb402c3cd4c7191a5acb44acec7e2%2Fimage-gettyimages-482145175-woman-using-inhaler.jpg
Research shows stress is strongly associated
with asthma, and it may even lead to increased hospitalizations and the use of
medicines. Try some deep breathing exercises or meditation to help keep your
stress under control. You don’t need a specific technique or special pillow to
do it. There are many apps, such as “Breethe,” “Headspace,” and “Calm,” to help
keep you in the practice of controlling your stress. Most even have a 5-minute
meditation practice for when you’re on the go and can’t make some serious “ohm”
4. Catch your breath. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F14%2Fdb%2F1e74cefc48949c34d59083c77a3d%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-159395872.jpg
Severe asthma doesn’t have to keep you from exercising. In fact, it’s still just as important to get exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, which can keep you feeling better overall. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, like fast walking, five times a week. If you’re keeping up with your treatment, exercise shouldn’t trigger any symptoms, but you may want to keep your inhaler handy and use it just before you warm up. If you do have symptoms during or after exercise, talk to your doctor about modifying your treatment plan.
5. Keep up with exercise. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fef%2F91%2F8a86dee049d69736889910c0f88f%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-490634681.jpg
health experts recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce the
inflammation that contributes to chronic diseases like asthma. Much like the
Mediterranean Diet, this consists of healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits and
veggies, lots of water and limited amounts of animal protein (except oily fish,
such as salmon). A healthy diet can also keep your weight under control, which
can help with asthma symptoms.
6. Try the Mediterranean Diet. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/4735x3168%2B16%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F8a%2F75%2F493dd1ff4fcba3897458ceb3cb82%2Fimage-getty-161712608.jpg
If severe asthma keeps you up most nights with coughing, wheezing or restlessness, you probably know how this can affect you during the day, making it harder to concentrate or perform at work. The best way to improve your sleep is to stay on top of your asthma treatment plan. You can also try a humidifier in your bedroom to make breathing easier. Sometimes sleep disturbance can be a side effect of asthma medication, so be sure to talk to your doctor if your asthma seems to be affecting your sleep. He or she may prescribe an alternate medication or treatment so you can rest easier.
7. Get some good sleep. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F0a%2F18%2F8f4eac8840dd9532e7776b9