Should people who have asthma avoid exercise? Let’s find out

Asthma Day: Are you an asthmatic patient? If so, let's bust some myths about Asthma for better treatment and care.
Immediately stop exercising if you start experiencing asthma symptoms. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Prashant Chhajed Published: 3 May 2022, 13:30 pm IST

On World Asthma Day today, let’s know some facts, and bust some myths! A chronic condition characterized by airway inflammation and narrowing of the airways, asthma has affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 4,61,000 deaths around the globe. In India, asthma affects about three percent of the population (30 million patients), with a prevalence of 2.4 percent in adults aged above 15 years and between 4-20 percent in children. When it comes to this condition, people believe that asthma should only be treated when its symptoms arise; however it is a myth. In fact, it is not the only myth. There are many myths about asthma which need to be busted.

What causes asthma?

There are various triggers for asthma that can worsen the health condition of a patient if they get an asthmatic attack. Some common triggers include viral infections (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, drastic changes in the weather/temperature, animal fur and feathers, strong soaps, and even strong perfumes. Therefore, it is essential to generate awareness about the ailment. Today, we are mentioning here some myths and facts associated with the condition, and its triggers, and treatment.

Take proper measures to keep your asthma in check. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some myths and facts about asthma:

Myth 1: Asthma is only present when symptoms appear

Fact: When a person has been diagnosed with asthma, it is essential to understand that there might be durations in their life when they do not experience any asthmatic attacks. This does that mean that they are asthma free and discontinuation of treatment due to the same is one of the biggest challenges that the medical fraternity faces today.

When patients stop their treatment plan, it can result in the aggravation of the disease, and it can return with more severity. It is essential to understand that asthma is a chronic condition and requires long-term management. A patient must never stop their treatment or change their medication, including the use of inhalers, without consulting a doctor.

Myth 2: People who have asthma should never exercise

Fact: While exercise is a common trigger for asthma, children who suffer from the condition mustn’t be sidelined because of this condition. If a child has asthma, the parents, teachers, and doctors must work together to help the child manage the situation so that they can participate in physical activities as far as possible.

Take proper care and perform exercise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Additionally, new studies have shown that exercises might help asthma patients to improve their breathing and quality of life. Proper breathing exercises and techniques that doctors have approved can enhance outcomes and the psychological state of the patients.

Myth 3: Children can outgrow asthma

Fact: Asthma is often thought of as a childhood disease. Many people believe that once the child grows up, they will also outgrow the condition. This is not true as asthma is a chronic and life-long condition. And while it can flare up at some point in a patient’s life and disappear at other times, patients must continue with their medication and treatment.

With a few lifestyle changes and proper medication, asthma will not be a significant factor in the patient’s life, and they can enjoy a good quality of life without any restrictions.

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Myth 4: Inhalers are addictive, unsafe, and cause many side-effects

Fact: Inhalers (both bronchodilator and steroid inhalers) have been recognized and widely accepted as an effective treatment technique for managing asthma. However, due to a lack of awareness, many people remain reluctant to use this method as the word ‘steroid’ conjures up the vision of building up muscles. This is because, very often, corticosteroids are confused with anabolic steroids.

It is essential to know that for people living with asthma, corticosteroids (that are delivered through inhalers) can be lifesavers as they help prevent or reverse the inflammation in the airways and make them less sensitive to the triggers. As inhalers help these drugs reach the lungs, they are very important for any asthma patient.

Myth 5: Asthma is not fatal

Fact: Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, especially in poor and middle-income sections of society. However, if a proper expert/doctor does not treat it, it can be fatal. Also, asthma flare-ups can be deadly, although they are rare.

Asthma patients should take proper precautions. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In conclusion, managing asthma involves understanding and avoiding the triggers of asthma attacks. With proper management, asthmatic patients can lead an active, regular, productive, and healthy life, so make sure you consult a doctor if you or anyone you know shows any symptoms related to the condition.

So, don’t fall for these myths and stay safe!

Dr Prashant Chhajed

Dr Prashant Chhajed, Director-Pulmonology, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, A Fortis Network Hospital  ...Read More

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