7 Myths About Asthma
Asthma is incredibly common. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are over 25 million sufferers in the US alone. But despite how prevalent asthma is, there are still many myths out there. Here’s a breakdown of common asthma myths and misconceptions so you can better understand the facts – and take back control of your condition.
Myth 1: Asthma Is Something You Outgrow
Let’s start with a major asthma myth: children with asthma outgrow their condition. There’s a cultural belief that asthma is a “childhood illness” and that it disappears by adulthood. Is this the case, though? No.
Fact: Some Children Outgrow Asthma
While some children do outgrow asthma, for others, asthma is a chronic, lifelong condition. It must be managed and treated properly to help sufferers enjoy the best quality of life.
Myth 2: Asthma Medication Is Dangerous
One of the most worrying asthma myths is that asthma medication – such as a steroid inhaler – is dangerous. This belief may stop people from taking medication that they truly need to manage their condition.
Fact: Asthma Medication Is Safe
Inhaled steroid asthma medication is anti-inflammatory. It’s prescribed at the lowest effective dose to keep asthma under control. As with any medicine, though, it can have side effects which should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Concerned about asthma medicine? Call Asthmaniac, your online asthma doctor, for help.
Myth 3: Asthma Sufferers Must Avoid Exercise
This is a problematic myth about asthma. There’s a belief that, since asthma causes breathing problems, it’s best to avoid all exercise. However, this is seldom the case. In fact, most people with well controlled asthma can enjoy regular and intense physical activity without making their asthma worse!
Fact: Exercise Can Be Beneficial
It’s true that exercise can be problematic for asthma sufferers with poorly controlled asthma and in those with severe disease. However, exercising can help to improve your lung capacity, which may make it easier for you to manage your condition. And, regular exercise has a host of other health benefits.
Consult a doctor before exercising and make sure you know how to use your inhaler. Don’t be afraid to engaged in physical activity within your limits.
Myth 4: Asthma Is Caused By Anxiety
This is one of the most common asthma cultural myths. Because people who suffer from anxiety attacks may suffer similar symptoms like chest tightness and shortness of breath, some people assume that asthma is only ever a symptom of anxiety.
Fact: Asthma Is a Respiratory Disease
Asthma is a respiratory condition, meaning it affects your lungs and airways. The airways narrow and become inflamed, which makes it hard for sufferers to breathe.
Even if you also have anxiety, treating the anxiety won’t treat your asthma. Managing asthma means taking controller medicine, and identifying your asthma triggers and avoiding them where possible.
Myth 5: Asthma Is Hard to Control
A common asthma myth or misconception is that it’s impossible to control. This belief can make sufferers feel helpless and deter them from getting help with their condition.
Fact: Asthma Can Be Controlled With the Right Medications
While it’s true that we can’t cure asthma, we can manage the condition. What sufferers need is an asthma action plan in place that reflects their health needs. This plan should be tailored to the individual and reviewed regularly.
At Asthmaniac, we can review your asthma medications and help you manage your breathing problems. Contact us for a consultation!
Myth 6: No Wheezing Means No Asthma
When people think of asthma, they often envisage someone wheezing or struggling to breathe. So, if there’s no wheezing, it’s easy to imagine there’s no asthma.
This belief, however, is false.
Fact: Asthma Does Not Always Mean Wheezing
Asthma symptoms vary widely between individuals. Some sufferers have wheezing, while others have symptoms like persistent cough, chest tightness or difficulty breathing during exercise. In fact, in some cases, no wheezing could mean there’s more severe disease.
At Asthmaniac, we can devise a treatment plan to help you bring your condition back under control. If you recognize any of these symptoms of asthma getting worse, book a consultation with us now.
1. Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is a clear sign that your asthma isn’t under control. This is especially true if you notice breathing problems at rest or during activities which are normally manageable for you.
Any shortness of breath should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
2. Using Your Inhaler More Than Usual
Are you using your regular inhaler (or quick relief inhaler) more than normal? This is a sign that your medication isn’t working for you as effectively as it should be.
And even if you’re not using your inhaler more than usual, but it’s not as effective at relieving your symptoms, your asthma is acting up.
3. Activity Limitations
Every asthma sufferer has different limitations. What’s strenuous exercise to one person could be easily manageable to another. It’s important you know what’s manageable for you so you can track if your condition is interfering with your normal daily activities.
For example, if you can normally carry groceries but you can’t manage the trip without breathlessness, your asthma may be getting worse. Or if you can’t walk or climb stairs as usual, then this is a warning sign to pay attention to.
If your asthma gets in the way of your normal daily activities, then your condition is not under control.
4. Nighttime Wheezing and Coughing
Do you wake up during the night due to wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath? If so, then your asthma could be acting up.
To be clear, it’s not uncommon to occasionally wake up feeling a little out of breath or wheezy. But it shouldn’t happen often. If you’re reaching for a quick relief inhaler during the night once or twice a week, you need your asthma medication reviewed.
5. Reduced Peak Flow Readings
Your “peak flow” shows how well your lungs are functioning. Your asthma may be getting worse if:
- Your peak flow measurements are significantly lower than usual.
- There are noticeable variations in readings from day to day.
Any change in peak flow readings should be discussed with a clinician.
6. Chest Tightness
Chest tightness is hard to describe because it feels different for everyone. However, when your chest is “tight”, you might feel like you can’t breathe in or breathe out fully. You may feel like there’s a band across your chest, and it could even be painful to breathe.
If you have chest tightness, especially at rest, your asthma medication may need to be reviewed.
What to Do If Your Asthma Is Acting Up
Is your asthma getting worse? You don’t need to put up with it.
At Asthmaniac, we want to give you back confidence in your breathing. We want to bring your asthma back under control so you can enjoy life without stressing over your condition. We can evaluate your asthma medicine, identify your common triggers, and work out an action plan to get you feeling better.
It all starts with a telemedicine consultation. Contact us to learn how Asthmaniac can help!
Myth 7: Asthma Can’t Be Fatal
This myth may stem from the idea that, because we can “treat” asthma, it can’t be fatal. Cultural asthma myths like this could mean people don’t seek help when they need it, because they don’t take asthma flares seriously enough.
Fact: Uncontrolled Asthma Can Be Fatal
No matter how “mild” your condition, an asthma attack can be fatal. That’s why it’s so important to review your medicine regularly and have an action plan in place for handling attacks. Know your asthma triggers, always carry a rescue inhaler, and learn to spot the signs so you can act quickly.
Take Back Control of Your Asthma
Hopefully you now understand the difference between asthma facts and myths a little better. At Asthmaniac, we’re committed to helping you manage your condition so you can enjoy the best quality of life. We’ll help determine if you’re on the right medication and we’ll explain how you can control your asthma in the long-term.
To discuss your condition with our online asthma doctor, book an appointment now!
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