Asthma is a condition that affects people of all ages and circumstances. For some it is very mild while others experience rather severe asthma attacks on a regular basis. Asthma is a chronic condition that results in inflammation of the airways. Symptoms of an asthma attack (bronchospasm) include wheezing, coughing, dizziness and shortness of breath. There are a multitude of triggers as well as a large spectrum of myths surrounding the life of an asthmatic. Here are some straight answers.
Myth #1 – Asthma is curable
Sadly, NO, there is not a known cure for asthma. If a person is diagnosed with asthma, it is a life-long condition. Many people believe that one can “grow out of it”, but this is not the case. Some people may be lucky enough to have less frequent attacks as they grow older, but almost all will resurface at some point, especially when any respiratory related condition (cold, flu, etc.) occurs. Asthma is certainly treatable and with the correct plan of action, an asthma sufferer can lead a full and active life.
Myth #2 – All asthma is the same
In fact, just like every person is different, just about every case of asthma is different. Since asthma is the result of range of physical variables, each person will exhibit different levels of severity as well as triggers. Also, some people only experience their asthma in conjunction with another condition, such as a cold or flu or possibly with flare-up of other conditions that they have. It can also be related to seasonal allergies, and other allergic reactions.
Myth #3 – Asthma is not life-threatening
While proper and swift treatment can usually save a person, it is still a fact that over 200,000 deaths can be attributed to asthma each year. The ability to breath effectively is paramount to life and so when an occlusion of the lungs occurs as a result of the inflammation, treatment must be very quick to prevent a life-threatening situation. Not only must the airway be dilated but fresh oxygen is sometimes needed in severe cases.
Myth #4 – Asthmatics must avoid exercise all together
This is not only false but counterproductive as well. There are plenty of elite athletes that can attest to the fact that while their asthma is constantly on their mind, they can still perform to their fullest. While physical activity can trigger an asthma attack, it will not always trigger one. There are many other circumstances – cold air, dry air, hormonal spikes, and a variety of other factors.
If you or your child is diagnosed with asthma, education will be a huge factor in management. It is important to understand asthma in general, as well as specifically in your case. You will want to learn some common triggers for your case and how to manage life around them. Remember asthmatics can live healthy and active, not to mention long, lives.