Asthma

Symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistle or wheezing noise when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks worsened by a virus such as a respiratory cold or flu

Risk Factors:

  • having a blood relative with asthma
  • having another allergic condition
  • being overweight
  • being a smoker or being around smoke
  • exposure to exhaust fumes or pollution
  • low birth weight

Triggers:

  • airborne allergens; pollen, dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
  • allergic reactions to foods
  • respiratory infections
  • physical over exertion
  • cold air
  • air pollutants
  • medications such as beta blockers and aspirin
  • stress and anxiety
  • acid reflux

Treatments & Medications:

Remember that prevention is key to avoiding asthma attacks but below are medications of varying degrees to help calm down and stop an attack:

  • Long-term asthma control medications
  • inhaled corticosteroids
  • leukotriene modifiers
  • long-acting beta agonists
  • combination inhalers
  • theophylline
  • Quick-relief medications
  • short-acting beta agonists
  • ipratropium
  • oral and intravenous corticosteroids
  • Allergy medications
  • allergy shots
  • omalizumab
  • Bronchial Thermoplasty

All medications and treatment options should be talked about first with a primary care physician seeing as some options may not be appropriate for all.

Lifestyle & Home Remedies:

  • Use of an air conditioner can actually reduce the chances of an attack. The AC will reduce the airborne pollens from coming inside. Another perk of this is the reduction of humidity which greatly decreases the number of dust mites. Using a dehumidifier also helps to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, thus cutting dust mite numbers
  • Clean regularly and limit house décor. By having fewer surfaces and keeping the remaining ones dust free as much as possible, dust getting kicked up is less likely
  • Keep areas such as the bathrooms and kitchens dry to avoid the development of mold
  • Avoid pets with fur or feathers to keep dander down to a minimum or have the pets groomed regularly
  • Get regular exercise to increase the strength and productivity of the heart and lungs
  • Wear a mask or avoid cold weather to make sure that the air taken in is warm
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Eat fruits and vegetables to increase lung function and boost the immune system

A Healthy Heart

Taking preventative steps against heart-related diseases is one of the most important ways to keep a healthy heart. Keeping up with the following tips along with what a doctor has suggested will help to improve the quality of life.

Control Blood Pressure - Have a primary care physician check blood pressure at least once a year to look out for hypertension or hypotension. Some physicians may suggest more frequent checks if the patient’s blood pressure is too far one way or the other from the recommended range. The recommended blood pressure range is 90-119 systolic over 60-79 diastolic.

Keep a Close Watch on Cholesterol – Have a doctor perform a baseline cholesterol test every five years to make sure cholesterol levels are where they should be. Make sure these tests are done more frequently if cholesterol ranges are too high or too low. Most people should aim for an LDL (low density lipoprotein or “bad cholesterol”) level of under 130 milligrams per deciliter or 3.4 millimoles per liter. For those who have already had a heart attack or have diabetes, the target LDL level should be below 70 milligrams per deciliter.

Take Charge of Diabetes – Keep track of blood sugar levels by having a strict diet and regularly testing your blood as well as taking insulin. Sometimes cases of diabetes occur because individuals are overweight. By losing weight often times people rid themselves of the disease and are able to avoid taking some medications.

A Healthy Diet – A diet focused on fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help to stop weight gain and also keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Refrain from eating saturated fats as well as foods with high levels of cholesterol and sodium. Obesity greatly increases the risk for heart diseases, so keeping an appropriate BMI and percentage body fat is strongly encouraged.

Exercise – Getting up and being active helps in numerous ways; such as lowering weight, reducing cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as controlling diabetes. Check with a primary care physician to see what amount of exercise is appropriate because, with some heart conditions, certain exercises may not be safe. Even starting with a short, brisk walk for ten to fifteen minutes a day will help increase stamina and soon exercise will become easier and more enjoyable.

Hygiene – Remembering to wash hands and clean surrounding areas is vital to staying healthy. Avoiding sickness is very important because viruses and infections can compromise the health of your heart.

Stress Watch – If stress levels are kept down, the heart does not have to work as hard and, therefore, there is less of a chance that the heart will go into an overactive state. Try deep breathing and muscle relaxation accompanied by a gentle yoga routine. This routine will help to slow the heartbeat and the body.

It can be difficult to deal with heart disease or to see someone going through the difficulties related. There are options such as cardiac rehabilitation and support groups that will ease the stress and demand on those dealing with the issue. These options offer counseling, education on lifestyle choices and information on what steps to take toward a healthier individual. The most important bit of information is to continue checking in with a primary care physician. This will give updates on how the heart and body are responding to the new lifestyle and what needs to be done next.

Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays

The holidays are in full swing, which means lots of family fun…and food! It doesn’t also have to include extra pounds. Even holiday treats can fit into a healthy lifestyle. The key is balance and moderation.

THESE TIPS ARE GIFTS YOU CAN GIVE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.

  • Stick to your regular exercise routine as much as possible.
  • Cut back on TV time. Start a new family tradition of walking around the neighborhood to carol or look at holiday decorations.
  • Play some backyard football or Frisbee before large holiday meals.
  • Dance to your favorite holiday music.
  • Make a New Year’s Resolution to start a walking group with friends.
  • Overcome the urge to overeat. Standing by the buffet table is a huge temptation. Make sure to watch portion sizes and only select one or two items from the host of temping foods.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • If you’re hosting, put out bowls of fresh fruit. Fruit can be as colorful and festive as candy or chocolate.
  • Instead of a leftover turkey or ham sandwich, try a leftover ham or turkey wrap or salad! Pile on mixed greens, cucumbers, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, or any other vegetable you like. Top off with dried cranberries for an authentic holiday taste!