Asthma Myths

About Asthma

I have suffered from asthma for some 10 years now and over that time period have learned a lot about asthma… what triggers it in me, the symptoms which are manifested and my learning curve in discovering how to cope while getting on with living a normal life.

In all that time I have made extensive enquiries into the whole subject and have tried to disentangle the truth from all the hearsay, old wives tales and general disinformation about the subject. Needless to say, I learned a lot about asthma, both from personal experience of it and from my investigations. My asthma is now under control, but it occurred to me that there are millions of people out there who could possibly benefit from what I have discovered.

I suppose to those who first are diagnosed with asthma, it can be a frightening experience. So I have tried in this article to put together some thoughts, separating facts from fiction, truth from doubt, in the hope that this will help everyone afflicted with the disease. To start with I want to set out some basic facts which may explode received wisdom about asthma.

Myth 1… Once your daily medication works, don’t change it. Wrong… the aim of treatment is to control airway inflammation and preserve lung function with the lowest level of medication possible. It is important to see your doctor regularly to see whether your control medication can be reduced or stepped down.

Myth 2…Everyone can tell when their asthma is getting worse. Wrong… Some people can but some can’t, particularly if the reaction occurs at night when you are asleep. Sometimes an attack occurs quickly, so the regular use of a peak flow meter is a must. This monitors how well air is flowing through the airways and will alert you to any deterioration in function.

Myth 3… Drinking Alcohol does not cause asthma. Wrong… Beer and wine contain a substance called sulfites, which occur naturally or are added as a preservative. These can trigger an attack or lead to a severe allergic reaction in some asthma sufferers.

Myth 4… Exercise is dangerous for asthma sufferers. Wrong… People can only benefit from the improvement in overall health which exercise provides. Proper warming up procedures and choice of the right level of effort helps to prevent symptoms. The use of a short acting dilator before exercise can prevent symptoms.

Myth 5… Asthma improves in a damp, moist environment. Wrong… A moist atmosphere makes asthma worse. Two common triggers such as mold and dust mites thrive in a moist environment. Some studies show that reducing the level of humidity in the home to a level between 30-35% benefits sufferers enormously.

Myth 6… Aspirin does not cause asthma. Wrong… A number of medications, including aspirin are known to trigger an attack. Some people are “aspirin sensitive” and while not common its use can worsen asthma in people who, for example suffer from nasal polyps.

Having said all that, if I were to give any advice to fellow sufferers, it would be in relation to the issue of the bedroom. Pillows and the warm bedroom air that surrounds them are perfect breeding grounds for those undesirable invisible companions making themselves at home in your bed. It has been estimated that a large proportion of the weight of your pillow may be made up of bugs, dead skin, dust mites and their feces.

Bacteria such as flu, chickenpox, M.R.S.A and C.diff feast on these and can be dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly. Tests reveal high levels of “living” contamination on the outside of pillows and where tears or rips occur, those nasty germs can find their way into the filling. Simply changing your pillow case is not enough. You are simply wrapping up something nasty. So the answer is to wash your pillows and cases at least once a month. Replace any damaged pillows, and if possible buy yourself some anti bacterial pillows. Believe me… a great investment.

I hope this article about asthma is useful and improves your life enormously.