Asthma is a predisposition to chronic inflammation of the lungs in which airways are narrowed. It affects 7% of the population, 300 million worldwide and causes 4,000 deaths per year in the United States. During asthma attacks, the smooth muscle cells in the bronchi constrict, and the airways become inflamed and swollen. Most asthmatics compare an asthma attack to breathing through a coffee straw, if they are breathing in any oxygen at all.
Asthma attacks can happen at any time and without warning. Attacks can be triggered by almost anything: allergens, a dusty book cover, exercise, pets, weather, or even anxiety. There is a wide spectrum of severity within asthma, some people only rarely experience symptoms, where others may have restricted airflow at all times. Common symptoms of asthma include nighttime coughing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing, and a chronic ‘throat-clearing’ cough.
It is widely believed that asthma is caused by environmental factors as well as genetics. Asthma appears to be more prevalent in athletes than in the general population, with a relatively high incidence in sports requiring strong cardiovascular development. This includes cycling, long-distance running and most popular team sports. Despite the severity of the condition, asthma can be controlled with proper treatment. Medication can help stop wheezing and shortness of breath, but it is only part of an overall wellness program that will help establish a healthy lifestyle and provide asthma relief.
Most asthmatics use an inhaler to control their asthma. Activity-induced asthmatics use their inhalers thirty minutes to an hour before exercise to help control symptoms. Beta2-agonists are also a standard therapy, administered with a nebulizer in a fine spray. Corticosteroids given within an hour of exercise, or within an hour of an attack, will help reduce the symptoms or prevent the need for hospitalization. Please speak with a certified doctor about your condition before using any medication.
Health and Wellness
The healthier an asthmatic’s lungs are the better chances they have for either outgrowing the condition or sending their symptoms into remission. Exercise with proper medication will help strengthen the lungs as well as provide confidence in one’s ability to breathe well during activities. Health and wellness can go a long way with asthma.
Controlling the Environment
No matter the age of the asthmatic, maintaining a safe environment for breathing well is crucial. Whether it be at home, in the office, riding in the car or playing with the kids, a clean and asthma-safe environment will help any asthmatic take strides with their condition. Dust-free surfaces, plastic-coated mattresses, and purified inside air will help any asthmatic reduce symptoms and breathe freely. It is highly recommended that a quality air purifier system be utilized in all inside areas of consistent usage.
The VornadoÂ® Air Quality System 500 Whole Room Air Purifier uses Vornado’s signature Vortex Technology to effectively circulate and filter all the air in the room for a new level in indoor air quality satisfaction. Created with the asthmatic in mind, the AQS 500 uses two filters designed to trap dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, bacteria, mold spores and dust mite debris, preventing the environment from triggering an attack. This Energy Star qualified product is capable of six air changes per hour. For more information on Vornado’s AQS 500 Whole Room Air Purifier and their dynamic catalog of air circulators, fans, heaters, humidifiers, filters and fans, go to www.vornadocentral.com.