Health Issues

Swollen airways becoming irritated by one of several environmental triggers can turn an existing asthma condition into a full-on attack. The airway begins closing in, and as less air reaches the lungs, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness can lead to serious breathing difficulties.

Avoiding asthma triggers

Severe asthma attacks can cut off access to oxygen and cause death. Avoiding things that exacerbate symptoms is a good way to protect yourself from a potentially fatal attack. Common triggers include allergens (most people with asthma also have allergies), strenuous exercise and viral infections.

In general, people with asthma should try to avoid:

Allergens

  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Plant pollen

Irritants

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pollution
  • Fragrances
  • Stress
  • Emotional expression (laughing or crying)
  • Cold air or weather change

Other potential triggers

  • Medicines
  • Sulfites
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Infections
  • Chemicals

Asthma doesn't have to control your life

People with asthma can't be cured of the condition, but through treatment and medication, they can often manage it well enough to experience few symptoms and live active lives. It doesn't have to prevent participation in sport or recreation, either. A number of top athletes and Olympians cope with asthma, continuing to compete and even win. Not to mention the long list of entertainers and former presidents who didn't let it get them down. Over 20 million people in the Untied States have been diagnosed with asthma, and many of them have learned to live with it.

Famous asthmatics

  • John F. Kennedy - Although he was highly noted, few know that JFK, the 35 th President of the United States, suffered from asthma. And while former President Bill Clinton doesn't have asthma, he does suffer from severe allergies.
  • Dennis Rodman - The basketball superstar overcame his asthma to become one of the top defensive players in the game during the '90s. Rodman was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year two years in a row.
  • Christopher Reeve - This Superman actor made his asthma go "up, up and away" when he put on his crime fighting tights.

Treatment of asthma can be assisted by cleaning up with a vacuum cleaner to help reduce allergens in the carpet, dusting and using air purifiers to elminate allergens in the air.

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