Asthma – frequently asked questions

By January 3, 2014Asthma

Q:  Can I exercise if I have asthma?

A:  If your asthma is being treated, and it’s under control, then there’s no reason why you can’t still do exercise, it’s just a case of making sure you choose the right type of exercise. Always keep your inhaler with you, and use it before you exercise if you feel the need. It’s also important to warm-up and cool-down properly before and after you work out. If you suffer from exercise induced asthma, the best low-risk exercises are swimming, yoga, treadmill running, and exercises that allow you to take regular breaks – for example basketball, netball and tennis.

Q:  How do people get asthma?

A:  Doctors don’t know for certain why some people develop asthma and others don’t. What is known is that people with asthma have sensitive airways (more than what’s normal), and that it can arise at any age. Asthma can also be hereditary, so if an immediate family member suffers from it then there’s a chance you could develop it too.

Q:  Can you get asthma as you get older?

A:  When asthma symptoms develop in people over the age of 20, it’s referred to as “adult-onset asthma.” This can be caused by commonplace substances or chemicals at work or home, and around half of adults who develop asthma later in life also have allergies.

Q:  What is cold-air asthma?

A:  Cold, dry air entering the lungs can cause the airway to constrict, and it’s a common trigger for asthmatics. People with exercise-induced asthma who participate in winter sports are especially susceptible to this type of asthma attack.

Read  Allergy Testing in Children

Q:  Does air pollution cause asthma?

A:  Environmental pollution, for example car fumes or factory emissions, can trigger an attack in an asthma sufferer. If your asthma is mostly caused by environmental factors/pollutions, then it’s important to pay attention to air pollution levels.

Q:  What foods should I avoid if I have asthma?

A:  If you have a particular food allergy, then you probably already know about it. The most common food allergies include dairy, shellfish and nuts, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Q:  How can asthma be treated?

A:  Although asthma can’t be cured, it can be treated and managed successfully by avoiding your particular asthma triggers as much as possible and by taking the right medication. This can include inhalers, tablets and nebulisers.

Q:  What is exercise-induced asthma?

A:  While many people get out of breath when they exercise, those with exercise-induced asthma commonly experience a hacking cough, tight chest and wheezing. Symptoms usually start within 5-10 minutes of exercising, however some people only experience symptoms once they’ve finished working out.

Q:  Can smoking cause asthma?

A:  Tobacco smoke is unhealthy for everyone, and even more so for people who suffer from asthma. If you’re a smoker, and you have asthma, the best thing you can do for your health is to quit. The health benefits of quitting are immediate!

Joanne Hart for