It is a condition in which there is the narrowing and swelling of the airways and it starts producing extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult and also triggers coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be controlled. (Yoga for asthma)
- Exercise-induced asthma:- These are worsed when the air is cold and dry.
- Occupational asthma:- These are triggered by the workplace irritants like chemical fumes, gases or dust.
- Allergy-induced asthma:- These are triggered by the airborne substances like pollen, mold spores, cockroach waste or some particles of the skin and dried saliva shed by pets. It is also known as allergic asthma.
These symptoms vary from one person to another. The signs and symptoms of asthma are:-
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightening or pain
- Trouble during sleeping caused due to shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound during exhaling
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that might be worsened by a respiratory virus, like a cold or a flu
WHAT CAUSES ASTHMA ATTACKS-
The main cause of asthma is not clear and why some people suffer from asthma and others don’t. It is probably due to a combination of the environmental and genetic factors.
Exposure to some irritants and substances that might trigger allergies, can trigger the signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers vary from one person to another. They are:-
- Airborne substances like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and particles of the cockroach waste
- Respiratory infections like the common cold
- Physical activity
- Cold and dry air
- Air pollutants and irritants like smoke
- Some medications such as beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- Strong emotions and stress
- Sulfites and preservatives added to foods and beverages, such as shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer, and wine.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a condition in which the stomach acids back up into the throat.
ASTHMA RISK FACTORS:-
A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:
- A blood relative with asthma
- Having an allergic condition like atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis
- Overweight or obesity
- Exposure to smoke
- An exposure to exhaust fumes or some other types of pollution
- Exposure to occupational triggers like chemicals used in farming, hairdressing, and manufacturing.
Prevention of asthma:-
One can prevent the asthma triggers by making these lifestyle changes:-
- Follow the asthma plan:- Write a detailed plan for taking the medications and managing an asthma attack. Asthma is a condition that requires regular monitoring and treatment.
- Get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia:- Staying updated with vaccinations prevent flu and pneumonia from triggering the asthma flare-ups.
- Avoid asthma triggers:- Some of the outdoor allergens and irritants like pollen and mold, cold air and air pollution, can trigger an asthma attack.
- Monitor the breathing:- One might learn to recognize the warning signs of an attack, like slight coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The lung function decrease before a person notices any signs or symptoms, regularly measure and record the peak airflow.
- Identify and treat attacks early:- If a person acts quickly, then it is less likely of a severe attack.
- Intake of medicines as prescribed:- Just because the asthma is improving, don’t change anything without talking to the doctor.
- Pay attention to the increasing quick-relief inhaler use:- If an individual finds a relying quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol, the asthma isn’t under control.
HOW TO AVOID ASTHMA TRIGGERS:-
Follow these steps to reduce the asthma triggers:-
- Use of air conditioner:- It reduces the amount of the airborne pollen from the trees, grasses, and weeds. It also lowers the indoor humidity and reduces the exposure to dust mites.
- Clean the decor:- Minimize the dust that worsens the night time symptoms by replacing the items in the bedroom. Remove the carpeting and install hardwood flooring. Use the washable curtains and blinds.
- Maintain optimal humidity:- If a person is living in a damp climate, then talk to the doctor about using a dehumidifier.
- Prevent mold spores:- Clean the damp areas in the bath, kitchen, and around the house to keep the mold spores from developing. Get rid of the moldy leaves or damp firewood in the yard.
- Reduce pet dander:- If a person is allergic to dander, then avoid pets with fur or feathers. Regularly bath and groom the pets. This reduces the amount of dander in the surroundings.
- Clean regularly:- Clean the home at least once in a week. Wear a mask if needed.
- Cover the nose and mouth if it’s cold:- If the asthma is worsened by the cold or dry air, wear a face mask to avoid the trigger.
YOGA FOR ASTHMA AND WHEEZING:-
Lie on the back with the arms at the sides and the feet and palms open. Close the eyes and soften the jaw, taking the focus inward. Start to focus the attention on the breath and slow it down, while making it deep and rhythmic, relaxing every part of the body. Stay in this pose for around 5-10 minutes, maintaining the slow and even breathing.
Start seated, with the legs crossed. If there is a feeling of discomfort in the hips or the lower back, roll up a towel and then place it under the sit bone/tailbone for support. Take the right hand and place it on the heart, place the left hand on the belly, and close the eyes. Draw in the stomach and lift the chest part for a good posture. Let out the breath slowly and hold this pose for around 5 minutes, with slow and even breathing.
Forward Bend Pose
Stand with the legs hip-width apart, fold the body forward, and put a little bend in the knees to relieve any kind of strain in the lower back. Fold the arms, while holding each of the elbows with the opposite hand, and let the body hang while taking five deep breaths with the eyes closed.
Sit with the soles of the feet together and the knees dropped out to the sides. Picture the legs as the two butterfly wings. Hold the ankles and pull the heels into the hips. Inhale deeply and, while exhaling, fold the body forward. One can use the elbows to press down the knees a bit more. Hold this pose till five deep breaths.
Straddled Splits Pose
Sit with the legs straddled wide apart and the heels flexed. Firm the thighs, and with a big inhale reach the arms up. While exhaling, fold the body forward, walking the hands out in the front. Hold this pose till five deep breaths.
To begin, lie flat on the back with the arms parallel to the body. Bend the knees and slide the feet toward the butt until the feet are directly under the knees and then lift the butt up off the floor. Think of lifting the tailbone upward toward the ceiling and bringing the thighs parallel to the floor. At the same time, the shoulder blades should be pressed in toward the back, while expanding the chest. Hold for around 30 sec-1 min.
Supportive Fish Pose
Place a thin, rolled-up towel under the mid-back and a thicker rolled-up towel behind the neck. When the towels are in place, the bridge of the nose should be aligned with the chin. Extend the legs straight out, relax the feet, and rest the arms at a 45-degree angle from the hips, with palms upward. Relax and breathe in this position.
Sit with the legs crossed and the spine, neck, and the head in a straight line. Close the eyes and concentrate on breathing using the abdomen, following a few rapid breathes with slower breaths for balance. Repeat it for a few minutes to get the maximum relaxation.