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Exercise For Asthmatics

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on May 3, 2017 4:35:30 PM
Just saying the word "exercise" makes you think of needing more air.  Imagine if you were one of the millions who, each day, actually needed more air before they even started any form of exercise.  Who would even start an exercise program feeling like that? 

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Topics: asthma, managing my asthma, asthma triggers, exercise

What Causes Asthma?

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on Feb 17, 2017 3:55:50 PM
What Causes Asthma?

Asthma patients know all to well the suffering from being short of breath, having a tight chest and cough, and the wheezing noises. Why do these problems come and go? Can’t they just stay gone?

The term ‘trigger’ is often used for a reason that asthma gets worse. Triggers can be obvious but often are not. For instance, all asthmatics have certain genetic issues that set them up to have asthma to begin with. You can’t do anything about your DNA, but you can deal with the other things that affect your asthma! Let’s go through some of the most common asthma triggers.

1) Allergies

Did you know? Allergies are present in up to 80% of asthmatics! Allergy exposure makes asthma worse in two distinct ways. 

a. Acute allergic triggers:  An example of an acute exposure would be you visiting a friend’s house who has a few cats and noting that within 15 minutes that your chest gets tight, you're wheezy, short of breath, and cough.  In addition, you have itchy eyes, itchy nose, and you start sneezing. The end result is that you realize this isn’t good and you leave. 

b. Chronic allergic triggers:  With many months of exposure to an allergy, asthma progressively gets worse. In the end, you just get used to the asthma and adapt. You don't run or laugh as much, use your albuterol reliever more often, and mis out on the fun. Then, more and more medications are needed to counteract this. Cold air, exercise, and infections can really set off the asthma for these patients. The dust mites in your beds and carpets, the dog or cat you love, and the outdoor mold season can all be to blame.

What can we do? For some, avoidance helps. Immunotherapy, mainly allergy shots, can help you become far less allergic so the exposures don’t bother you nearly as much. Both avoidance and allergy shots are a gradual, no medication way, to improve your asthma.

2) Exercise

Most asthmatics find that after a long period of sustained, hard aerobic exercise they have asthma symptoms. This can happen even with laughter for some! The poorer the asthma control, the quicker this happens.

The answer isn’t to quit exercise! Rather, having the best day to day control and the use of a bronchodilator like albuterol about 15 minutes before the exercise can help.

3) Infections

Almost every asthmatic gets worse when they catch a common cold. Other viruses also trigger asthma flares - influenza being infamous. Viral triggered asthma can be severe and the effects often go on for months. It is rare for bacteria to flare the asthma and that is why antibiotics rarely help asthma. Getting your flu shot is an important thing you can do to lessen asthma problems! Hand washing is another important intervention.

4) Environment

Cigarette smoke, dust, air pollution, strong fumes, and cold air may irritate the lining of the bronchial tubes. At times workplace exposures can be a problem. Possibilities include flour, cedar saw dust, and numerous chemicals. Reducing exposures, when possible, can help.

5) Aspirin

Some people develop severe asthma attacks after taking aspirin or aspirin-like drugs including ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, and others. Many of these people also have nasal polyps (small, non-cancerous tumors in the nose). While avoidance is the normal treatment, some patients undergo aspirin desensitization to help.

Working together with your entire care team can lead to greatly improved asthma control. Your Allergist can identify the worst triggers, plan interventions that work, and coordinate your asthma program.
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Topics: asthma, managing my asthma, asthma triggers, asthma treatment

Allergies In Asthma: Where’s the Relief?

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on Feb 17, 2017 3:36:35 PM
Allergies In Asthma: Where’s the Relief?

It doesn’t seem fair — not only do you have asthma but you also suffer from allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and nose, plus that itchy rash in the creases of your arms and legs. While genetics play a role in your asthma, so can allergy and infections. 

For most patients, exposures to allergens (things we can be allergic to like dust mites, pollens, etc.) are to blame for causing most of these symptoms. If you want to get better, you have to treat your allergies.

Your options are:
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Topics: fix allergies, allergy treatments, allergist, asthma, dust mite allergy, allergy shots

Dust Mite Allergies: What You Need to Know

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on Feb 3, 2017 11:38:06 AM
Dust Mite Allergies: What You Need to Know
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Topics: fix allergies, allergy treatments, asthma, allergy symptoms, dust mites, dust mite allergy

Changing Your Diet For Asthma Control

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on Jan 4, 2017 3:28:39 PM
Changing Your Diet For Asthma Control
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Topics: asthma, managing my asthma, asthma treatment

Allergy and Asthma Sufferers - Stay Ahead of Flu Season

Posted by Mark Bubak, M.D. on Nov 22, 2016 10:06:19 AM

Along with the cooler weather comes the flu season. If you suffer from allergies and/or asthma, you could be at a higher risk for catching influenza. Having the flu is bad enough, but it can cause your asthma to flare.

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Topics: influenza, fall allergies, flu season, asthma