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Health Journey Support | Asthma and Severe Asthma Lifestyle Adaptations

Having asthma means adjusting lifestyles. As a healthcare professional, it's good to know that there are things you can do to help alleviate your patients' suffering. This brochure provides some suggestions for simple lifestyle adaptations that may help your asthma patients improve their everyday life.

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Asthma Severe Asthma Lifestyle Adaptations Hcp Br

Asthma and Severe Asthma Lifestyle Adaptations

Having asthma means adjusting lifestyles. Maybe your patients can't keep their windows open, even on a beautiful day. Maybe they will begin to wheeze or cough while trying to have a conversation. Maybe they will need to say no to their child's plea for a pet. An inability to breathe translates into an inability to do the things we take for granted every day: walking, doing chores, working, and sleeping. These restrictions may make your patients depressed, frustrated, or angry.1

As a healthcare provider, it's good to know that there are things you can do to help alleviate your patients' suffering. In most cases, a few simple lifestyle adaptations can help your asthma patients improve their everyday life.

Top Priorities

The most important thing for your patients with asthma to do is quit smoking. It's also a good idea for them to avoid secondhand smoke.2

Patients with asthma should try to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts your patients at higher risk for other health problems.3

The flu can also cause symptom flare-ups for patients with asthma. Flu shots and pneumococcal vaccines may help reduce their risk of asthma attacks.4

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help improve the well-being of patients with COPD. A healthcare team provides programs to help patients stay active and carry out their daily activities. But specific components of pulmonary rehabilitation, such as patient education, respiratory physiotherapy, and aerobic exercise training, may be effective for asthma, too. However, data to support complete pulmonary rehabilitation in the long term is sparse. A clinical randomized controlled trial called Effectiveness of Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Asthma (EPRA) has been mobilized in the United States in 2017 to determine whether and how long asthma control improves after pulmonary rehabilitation.5,6

Common Sense Tips

Here are some other suggestions to help your patients who may have trouble breathing4:

  • Make sure your patients follow the asthma action plan that you helped them create
  • Make sure patients monitor and record breathing
  • Teach patients to identify and treat attacks early to avoid a more severe attack
  • Follow up with patients to ensure they are taking their medications as prescribed
  • Make sure patients keep track of the number of times they use quick-relief medications

Encourage patients to limit their environmental exposure by3:

  • Using air conditioning whenever possible to reduce the amount of airborne pollen coming indoors, and staying indoors on high-pollen days
  • Using a dehumidifier if they live in a damp climate
  • Preventing mold spores by cleaning damp areas in the bath and kitchen and getting rid of damp firewood and moldy leaves in the yard
  • Keeping the house clean and dust-free; removing carpeting and installing hardwood or linoleum flooring instead, if possible
  • Wearing scarves over their noses and mouths when it's cold outside
  • Reducing pet dander, especially if they are allergic to it

Also encourage patients to:

  • Exercise regularly: it can strengthen their heart and lungs and help relieve symptoms3
  • Talk to other people about their condition. Support groups made up of people facing similar challenges can give your patients insights and let them know they are not alone1
  • Work with their healthcare provider to control heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), both of which can damage the lung airways and make asthma symptoms worse3

And, most importantly, emphasize the need to call their healthcare provider if symptoms become worse!

References: 1. Mayo Clinic. Coping and support. Accessed November 21, 2017. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma and secondhand smoke. Accessed November 21, 2017. 3. Mayo Clinic. Lifestyle and home remedies. Accessed November 21, 2017. 4. Mayo Clinic. Prevention. Accessed November 21, 2017. 5. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Treatment. Accessed November 21, 2016. 6. Schultz K, Seidl H, Jelusic D, et al. Effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with asthma: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial (EPRA). BMC Pulm Med. 2017;17:49.