Asthma is a respiratory disease that normally starts from childhood. Asthma affects about 2 million of our 30 million Malaysian population. According to the Health Ministry's Pulmonology Services head Dr Jamalul Azizi Abdul Rahaman, only about 6% of the asthmatic patients are well controlled. It is an alarming figure because asthma can cause a life-threatening attack.
A well controlled asthmatic patient does not rely solely on asthma treatment such as medications, but good daily habits which prevent an asthmatic attack. These daily habits should be incorporated into a patient’s daily life to achieve its objectives. This article will explain the 5 habits you should avoid to prevent asthma. These 5 habits include overweight and overeating, consumption of preserved foods and food allergens, sedentary lifestyle, smoking or exposure to smoke and stressful lifestyle.
Overweight and obesity due to overconsumption of calories:
BMI is the best measurement available for a person to calculate the healthy weight for the person’s height. It is calculated by taking the weight in kilogram divided by height in metre square, which gives you a unit of kg/m^2.
A person of healthy weight has a BMI (body mass index) of 18.5-24.9. Overweight is defined as BMI reading in between 25-30, whereas obesity is defined as BMI more than 30.
It is important to note that overweight and obesity can cause asthma, which is known as the obesity-related late onset asthma. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, it is thought that the presence of excess deposition of fats causes systemic inflammation. This inflammatory process will affect the bronchioles and cause asthma. As we know, asthma is a inflammatory condition of the bronchioles.
Overweight and obesity should be dealt through changes in lifestyle habits, especially overconsumption of calories. Try to avoid eating food with high calories such as fast food which contains a high amount of fats and carbohydrates. You are encouraged to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E.
These antioxidants can help to reduce free radicals in the body, which can damage the body cells.
Consumption of preserved foods and food allergens:
It is important to avoid preserved food and certain food allergens because they can trigger an asthmatic attack. Common food preservative such as sulfites are commonly used in wines, dried fruits and pickles can trigger an asthmatic attack.
Besides that, avoid certain allergy-triggering food such as nuts, seafood or consumption of eggs can help to prevent asthma. However, you will not know whether you are allergic to the food if you are not tested. Therefore, if you are in doubt please contact your doctor for more information.
Most asthmatic patients have reduced physical activity due to their condition. It is shown that getting more active is the way to feel better. Exercising can help to expand your aerobic capacity, which is good for a respiratory condition like asthma. There are some tips for your exercising such as:
- Get as fit as possible. A fit person can have milder symptoms in the event of an asthmatic attack.
- Exercise in warm and humid air, avoid the cold and dry environment which can trigger your asthma.
- Avoid exercising in places with pollens, dust or air pollution.
- Breathing through your nose during exercising can make you breathing in warm and humid air.
Smoking or exposure to smoke:
Smoking is the worst enemy of asthma. It is the most recognised trigger of an asthmatic attack. Therefore, avoiding smoking or smoke is the best choice for an asthmatic patient. Tobacco smoking not only causing damages to your lungs, but it also makes the effect of asthmatic medication loses its effectiveness.
Take note that second-hand smoke also can trigger an asthmatic attack. As a parent with asthmatic kids, it is best to protect them from smoke by providing a smoke-free environment at home and in the car.
Asthma is a chronic condition that can cause stress in a person if it is not well-controlled. It can be a cause for your asthma, or the stress of the asthma attack can make your next attack harder to control.
Learning to manage stress is the key to successful prevention of asthma in daily life. These are some tips that are helpful in dealing with your asthma:
- Practice meditation regularly
- Make yourself go for a regular checkup with your doctor to ensure the asthma is well controlled.
- Understand your asthma treatment plan to ensure you are confident to respond to your asthmatic attack.
- Join yoga classes to loosen up your stress and muscles.
In summary, this information makes you more informed about the importance of avoiding the asthmatic triggers in your daily life. Besides that, when you have good daily habits and taking necessary medications routinely, you can prevent the asthmatic attack in the long term, giving you a better quality of life. If you are in doubt, please contact your healthcare providers for more information.
Guest post by Dinesh Mittal