Living with Asthma: Understanding the Daily Challenges | Max Hospital

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Asthma Self Care and Managing Strategies for Everyday Challenges | Max Hospital

By Dr. Sharad Joshi in Pulmonology , Paediatric (Ped) Pulmonology

Jun 05 , 2024 | 2 min read

A chronic respiratory condition, asthma impacts millions worldwide, altering lifestyles and requiring careful management. Unfortunately, it is on the rise due to climate and lifestyle changes, and has physical and psychological manifestations, and social implications.

Physically, asthma manifests due to allergic reactions to environmental triggers in individuals with genetic susceptibility and presents as recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing.

These symptoms vary in severity, from mild discomfort to life-threatening respiratory distress. Air pollution is a major trigger that contributes to an increased morbidity of respiratory diseases, especially in metropolitan cities.

For those living with asthma, each day presents a unique set of challenges as they manage their symptoms and maintain their health. These include the need for constant vigilance and managing triggers that can exacerbate symptoms. It requires careful planning and adapting one's lifestyle, which can be both time consuming and mentally taxing.

Emotional and Mental Toll

Asthma also takes a toll on an individual's mental and emotional well-being. The fear of experiencing an asthma attack, particularly in public or unfamiliar settings, can lead to anxiety and stress. Moreover, the chronic nature of asthma can contribute to feelings of frustration, helplessness, depression and poor quality of life. Living with asthma also presents social challenges. Since it is not age-specific, asthma affects both children and adults. Children with asthma may face limitations in participating in physical activities, affecting their overall development and self-esteem. Meanwhile, adults might encounter difficulties at the workplace, especially if their job involves exposure to asthma triggers.

Denial is Not the Solution 

Often, patients or the parents of pediatric patients do not accept an asthma diagnosis and seek differing opinions. Some fall prey to quacks, which worsens the condition, considering it could have been easily managed with an inhaler. Accepting and being aware of the nature of the disease is a major step in effectively managing asthma.

Managing Symptoms is Easier than Before 

Advances in medical treatment have significantly improved asthma management and its symptoms. Enhanced inhaled medication has also changed the scenario for those with asthma.  Controlling regular symptoms and preventing exacerbations has become a lot easier with inhalation devices. It is a myth that inhalers are addicting or harmful; inhalers are safe enough to be used regularly, even during pregnancy and for infants.

The judicious use of inhalers helps curtail the use of other oral or systemic drugs, such as oral steroids, with greater side effects. 

Proper Guidance can be Empowering 

In conclusion, living with asthma entails navigating a complex interplay of physical, emotional and social factors. While it presents numerous challenges, education and proper guidance for managing asthma symptoms makes life normal. By fostering greater awareness, understanding and support, we can create a more inclusive and empowering environment for individuals living with asthma to thrive and lead fulfilling lives. 

Disclaimer: The veracity of the claims made in this article is the responsibility of the hospital and doctor concerned.