Tips to Be Fit: Asthma and the Black community | Health


African Americans are less responsive to asthma treatment and more likely to die from the condition. African Americans have a unique type of airway inflammation, according to a study. The study was one of the largest and most diverse trials conducted in the U.S. on race and asthma. Twenty six percent of the patients that were studied self-identified as African American.

The researchers found that Black patients were more likely to exhibit eosinophilic airway inflammation than whites, despite taking comparable doses of asthma medication, such as inhaled corticosteroids.

Unless you have asthma or a disease that affects your lungs, it will be hard to understand how it feels to struggle to breathe. Many asthma sufferers don’t know what happens to them when they have an attack. This can cause anxiety and sometimes aggravate the attack.

During an attack the asthmatic will feel a tightening in the chest, begin to wheeze, cough and find it difficult to breathe. This situation can be frightening. The attack and symptoms can be severe or quite mild. The frequency of attacks can also vary.

What causes a person to have an asthma attack?

In many asthmatic persons, allergic reactions cause oversensitivity in their bronchial tubes. The muscles in the bronchial walls will contract, the membrane lining the tubes will swell and the glands in the bronchial wall will produce mucus.

As a result of this, the bronchial tubes become narrower causing the asthmatic to have a hard time breathing.

Asthma can be triggered by a number of situations. These triggering situations can include infection, emotional upset, allergic reaction, chemical exposure or physical stress. Once the asthmatic’s condition has been triggered, their bronchial tubes become oversensitive. Once the tubes become oversensitive something as simple as a change in temperature or humidity can cause an attack.

There are no cures for asthma. In the past few years scientist have been able to identify genetic markers that may someday lead to a cure for asthma. What doctors do now is treat the symptoms and try to get the asthmatic to prevent attacks and lessen the severity.

There are a number of things you can do to lessen the severity or even prevent asthma attacks. You should avoid those things that can irritate the lungs. Avoid the following situations.

Tobacco smoke: If you smoke you should stop. Avoid situations where people smoke. Avoid rooms that are filled with smoke. The smoke may not trigger an attack right away, but in a few hours, it could be a big factor in causing an attack.

Dust: You should try to avoid dusty enclosed areas. If your work site is very dusty, you might want to change your situation. To avoid a dusty home you should clean and vacuum on a regular bases.

Pets: Pets can be a real problem. Try to limit the areas they have access.

Foods: You should avoid food that you know you are allergic to. This can be difficult at times, but you should think about how you would feel if you had an attack. To find out what foods you’re allergic to, you’ll have to see a doctor to get a food allergy test.

Quick temperature and humidity changes: Sudden temperature and humidity changes or extremes of heat and cold can trigger an attack. The ideal air situation is slightly warm and moist. If you find that temperature causes attacks for you, try setting the thermostat to a reasonable temperature. If humidity causes your attack, try using something that will control humidity.

Emotional stress and fatigue: Try to control your emotions by developing coping skills. You should also be aware of your physical limits and try not to overdo it. Proper rest is a must if you want to avoid fatigue.

Infection: Minor infections such as colds can cause an attack. If you find you are coughing or have flu symptoms and you have asthma, you should get complete treatment to get rid of the cold or flu.

Pollens: Try to avoid freshly cut lawns which can be a problem is some areas. Settings such as parks, mountains or rural areas can also present a pollen problem.

Molds: Try to avoid damp, musty basements and buildings. Don’t rake or burn leaves or dry grass. You should disinfect or destroy any moldy articles. Decontaminate household areas infected with mold.

Multi-chemical exposure: Avoid wearing heavy perfumes, using soap with perfumes, coloring, deodorants and hair sprays. Something as simple as wearing a deodorant and a little perfume can cause problems. Each chemical you put on your body is heated by your body’s temperature. This can produce thousands of other compounds that can trigger an asthma attack.

Many asthmatics can workout. In many cases, exercise will improve lung function and decrease the severity and frequency of attacks. Because an attack can be brought on by strenuous exercise, it is important to warm up slowly and increase to a level of exertion, which is not too stressful for the asthmatic.

One of the problems with overexertion is due to the fact that asthmatics can’t deliver enough oxygen to the blood to perform above a certain level. This level is different for each person. It can also increase as the person becomes more conditioned. If exercise brings on an attack, avoid it by taking your medication before you exercises.

To start a good a program do something non competitive such as walking, low impact aerobics, or cycling. Swimming can be beneficial if the water is not too cold and you’re not allergic to the chlorine. You can also do toning exercises. Drinking water during a workout helps reduce the thickness of the mucous, which will help ease breathing.

It is extremely important to warm up slowly and cool down gradually. Also, avoid exercising if it’s too cold, humid, or smoggy and when extremely tired or emotionally upset.

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

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