Tame Twitchy Airways

Some women describe asthma as feeling like they’re trying to breathe through a straw. The description fits perfectly, because during in the attack, airways in lungs squeeze shut, making it difficult to draw in air. At the same time, the narrowed airways become inflamed and filled with mucus, stifling the airways still further family history of asthma and exposure to viruses or allergens set the stage for asthma, “Men are just as likely to develop asthma as women,”   “although women seem to react to irritants at lower concentrations.

Asthma can be serious-even fatal, Experts speculate that the people who succumb to asthma tend to smoke cigarettes, abuse drug and misuse their asthma medications. But if you take care of yourself. asthma isn’t cause for alarm Women who get proper medical care, stop smoking and use them

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

If you’re having attacks more easily than in the past, if you’re at tacks seem more severe than usual or if you’re waking up at night with attacks more than twice a week, it means that your asthma is no longer under control. See your doctor as soon as possible. She may need to adjust your medication. medications correctly are unlikely to die from asthma.

SELF-RESCUE FOR ASTHMA ATTACKS

Here are what doctors recommend that people with asthma do for themselves–starting with knowing how to use their medicine correctly.

Mark quick-action inhalers “rescue medicine”.

Most people being treated for asthma use two different kinds of prescription inhalant drugs: long-acting and short-acting, if you’re having an attack, you should use only a short-acting drug such as albuterol (Salbutamol), O cypenamine (Laurent), Ventolin or pirbuterol (Exira) and others.

These drugs kick in almost immediately. The long-acting drug salmeterol (Servant) can take 20 to 30 minutes to work–that’s long enough to die from an asthma attack. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, up to 20 deaths have been associated with inappropriate use of this drug.

Don’t leave home without it.

You should have a fast-acting inhaler with you at all times at home, in your handbag or briefcase, in your pocket, in your car-anywhere you could have an attack. “It doesn’t do any good if it’s not right there when you need it.

Ask for a spacer.

For most people it’s easier to get the medicine where it needs to go-deep into your lungs-by using a metered-dose inhaler with a holding chamber, also called a spacer. This is a tube-like device that you attach to the inhaler. Sprayed medicine goes first into this chamber, allowing you to then inhale it slowly over a period of five seconds. If you inhale the medicine too quickly, it hits the back of your throat and sticks there. Spacers also reduce medication side effects such as tremors or shakes.

DAY-TO-DAY CONTROL MEASURES

Once you have an attack under control, women doctors say that a good idea to take steps to prevent future episodes. To defend yourself on all fronts, heed these recommendations.

Maximize magnesium.

This essential mineral helps relax the smooth muscles that line airways. In a study by British researchers, people who were getting the most magnesium from foods were the least likely to have wheezing and supersensitive airways. Choose whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds as your best magnesium Some women may still need to take magnesium supplements to reach the Recommended Daily Allowance of 400 milligrams, nutrition editor of the Women’s Health Letter.

Consider antioxidant protection.

Vitamins C and E, the trace mineral selenium and beta-carotene, a pigment found in orange and dark green leafy vegetables, all seem to offer some protection to sensitive “I always tell people first to start eating better, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, and then to add nutritional supplements as necessary. You may want to consider consuming 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 international units of vitamin E and up to 200 micrograms of selenium a day through diet and supplements, she suggests. (Vitamin C levels above 1,200 milligrams daily may cause diarrhea in some people.)

Declare war on insects.

Two kinds of bugs-dust mites and cockroaches are well-known asthma aggravators, says Dr   “People actually inhale microscopic cockroach parts and dust mite faces, which sets off attacks.” It’s impossible to get rid of dust mites, which are in every house and are kicked up through normal household activity. So, minimize their presence by encasing mattresses and pillows in plastic covers and washing all bed linens frequently in hot Banishing cockroaches can be a real hassle, too, as anyone who has encountered an infestation can attest.

Call in a professional exterminator Dr   advises, and then be obsessive about putting food Keep food in with tight-fitting lids or the fridge, clean up crumbs immediately and never leave cat or dog food Fix leaks so that there are damp spots in your house, since mites require high humidity to Stop the acid. The same backflow of stomach acid into esophagus that causes heartburn can bring on asthma, especially if you’re lying down, experts say, People who do a lot of coughing at night are most likely to have this problem.

This is most likely to be an asthma trigger in adult non-smokers with no history of lung disease or allergies. We can do tests to determine the extent of their reflux and see if it correlates with symptoms they are having.” To avoid acid-induced asthma, you can take acid-suppressing drugs (such as Pepcid PM), forgo late-night snacking and shed excess weight.

Relax with massage.

In one study people with asthma who got weekly 15-minute upper body massages reported drops in chest tight ness, wheezing, pain and fatigue. “Massage may make you more aware of the stress in your life, and awareness is, for most people, the first step towards reducing stress,” explains nurse Mary  a licensed massage therapist. “Stress often makes asthma symptoms worse.

” Breathe better with yoga.

Try exhaling for twice as long as you inhale. This is a yoga breathing technique, and in one experiment, it helped reduce the number of attacks in people with asthma. To do this easily, breathe in normally, then exhale normally, but as you come to what seems like the end of your exhalation, continue for a bit longer without forcing out the breath a pathologist who is also a yoga instructor and author of Back Care Basics.

Turn off the fireplace.

As cost as fireplaces and wood-burning stoves may be, they spew pollutants into indoor air. “If you’re having trouble controlling your asthma, you’re better off not using either of these in your house.

Cover up to avoid cold.

Sucking in cold, dry air can set off twitchy lungs. So, wrap a scarf around your mouth and nose to help warm the air before you inhale. Because people with asthma are accustomed to feeling winded, they don’t always recognize when they are having serious breathing problems. So, these days, doctors have their patients measure the amount of air that their lungs can blow out-in the morning, night and before and after they use their short-acting inhalers. They use a simple tube-like device, called a peak flow meter, that measures exhaled air.

“Some guidelines on asthma recommend that if your airflow falls below 80 per cent of your peak flow, you may need to take an additional dose of a short-acting inhaler and call your doctor. Airflow below 50 per cent of your peak flow usually warrants a prompt trip to the accident and emergency department. If you have noticed your symptoms worsening soon after you start taking a new drug or after increasing the dosage of a drug, check with your doctor about a possible connection.