Five things that could get in the way of a healthy you (and how to get around them!).
by Rick Frea Wednesday, January 07, 2009
So you've come to grips with your asthma. That's great! I know you're committed to living healthier with this chronic condition, but here are five things that could get in your way (and how to get around them!).
1. Frustration: You decide to work out with your friend, jogging with him and you realize that you simply cannot keep pace. You decide to run faster, and that causes your chest to get tight and you become short of breath and have to quit. You decide it's easier not to excercise.
Don't let this happen to you. Know you have a chronic lung disease, and that you must excercise regardless of this fact. There are many advantages to excercise, including improved self esteem, stress relief, and the fact that it strengthens your heart and lungs and makes you feel less winded.
Just because you have asthma should not be an excuse not to excercise. And, as stated at National Jewish Health, "When asthma is well controlled, people with exercise-induced asthma should be able to participate in any sport."
If you have trouble excercising with asthma, the following advice from National Jewish Health may help you:
- Talk to your doctor about pre-medicating yourself prior to excercise
- Participate in sports or activities with short bursts of exercise, such as baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, downhill skiing, golf and some track and field events
- Sports that require continuous activity like swimming, cycling, distance running and soccer also can be enjoyed by people with exercise-induced asthma.
- A good warm-up and cool-down period are often helpful.
2. Irritation: Those doggone allergies can be very irritating. You decide to join your buddy in a walk around the park, but the pollen drives you crazy. So you decide to go to your buddy's house to use his equipment, and you find you are allergic to his dog. You put a treadmill in your own basement, but you are allergic to your basement too. You decide it would be easier just to sit in your recliner and watch TV in a room you're not allergic to.
You can do prevent allergy symptoms. The first thing you should do is find out what exactly you are allergic to (you have to see your doctor) and avoid those triggers. Many allergists recommend getting rid of carpets, pets and plants, and dusting and vacuuming your home often. Here's a post about the top
Still, those pesky allergens have a way of sneaking up on you and causing trouble. Plus, many times it's nearly impossible to avoid allergens. Fortunately, there is medicine available that might help you, and you can discuss which one might work best for you with your doctor. Many doctors recommend Singulair for allergic asthmatics because it blocks the chemicals released during an allergic reaction that cause asthma symptoms. However, check out this link for other options.
3. Forgetfulness: You keep telling yourself you will be compliant with your meds, but you have a bad track record.
To solve this problem you may want to
Even better, and if possible, you should talk to your doctor about changing your asthma medicine regime so all your medicines only need to be taken once or twice a day. That way, the only time you have to take your meds is when you get up in the morning and just before bed.
4. Socializing: You are a socializer and you don't want to quit. You have many friends, you like to have fun, and you don't want your asthma to get in the way.
Regardless, the places your friends hang out are filled with asthma triggers that continue to cause you trouble. You go to the bar on the weekend and the next morning -- along with your possible hangover -- you can't breathe very well.
But you are stubborn. You don't want to change your way of life.
First it must be noted here that there are some social situations that you might simply have to avoid, like those crowded, non-vented, smoke-infested bars or your chain-smoking Aunt Millie's house, or your uncle's moldy cabin. Come on! It's only common sense that you need to avoid those places.
Still, you do not have to avoid all the things you love to do just because you have asthma. For the most part, preventative medicines should help you live a normal life (again, if you don't take preventative meds, see your doctor).
But, if that alone doesn't do it, and you don't want to quit having fun, there are a few other tricks you may want to incorporate into your life:.
- Do not smoke.
- Tell your friends not to smoke around you (if they are truly your friends they should respect your wishes.)
- Do not drink too much. Drinking dries out your lungs and can trigger asthma symptoms.
- Try to have social outings at your home so you can control the atmosphere.
- Smoke free bars or restaurants are always nice.
5. Stress: You worked out all weekend long and you feel good about yourself, but then you return to work and your boss stresses you out, and this makes your asthma worse. In the past you have used this as an excuse to quit.
Not this year. It is true stress can cause asthma, and it's true stess is often used as an excuse to pig out, but this stress can be managed.
All right, so you've made the committment to a healthier living, and now you're aware of the five things that might get in your way (and some tips to avoid them). Now it's time to start living healthier. No more excuses.