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Buteyko Breathing

Buteyko breathing exercises were developed by Ukrainian physician Konstantin P. Buteyko in the 1960s. Dr. Buteyko believed that asthmatics chronically hyperventilate, or breathe too quickly, resulting in chronically low levels of carbon dioxide. In asthmatic patients, he believed, the low carbon dioxide levels lead to inflammation and bronchoconstriction..

Further Reading

What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine?

Complementary and alternative medicine or CAM is a diverse group of medical practices that are not presently considered to be part of established medical treatment. Learn how how can be used in asthma.

Asthma Spotlight10

10 Tips For The Asthmatic Gardner

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Asthma GardeningIt is beginning to warm up where I live and the local paper has been publishing some tips and recommendations for planting. We are also beginning to see a lot o pollen locally. With the upcoming planting season, the asthmatic gardener may be at risk for worsening asthma symptoms. These 10 tips from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology can prevent seasonal allergies from worsening your asthma and keep you in the garden longer:

  1. Wear a protective pollen mask while gardening
  2. Shower after gardening to reduce seasonal allergen exposure in your home
  3. Keep grass cut short and avoid mowing yourself if possible
  4. Keep your hands away from your eyes and nose while gardening
  5. Garden when pollen counts are lowest- typically rainy, wet, cloudy and windless days
  6. After gardening, leave your clothes in your laundry room and brush off your shoes.
  7. Use gardening gloves to minimize direct contact with allergens
  8. Do not garden or limit your gardening to short time periods on "high" pollen days
  9. Avoid poison ivy/sumac/oak- Where long pants and shirts or consider barrier skin creams to prevent unwanted contact with these allergens
  10. If you are mold allergic, avoid damp, moist places and standing water

Smoking, Stress, & Asthma

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Quit SmokingWe live in a really stressful world with deadlines, responsibilities, and don't always have a good way to cope. Do you find that you are smoking more during periods of high stress?

Like anyone else who has a hard time quitting, you may be using cigarettes as a way to cope with stress. You may be using cigarettes to deal with stress situations if any of the following are true for you:

  • When I get angry about something or at someone, I am more likely to light up a cigarette.
  • I reach for a cigarette in a stressful situation.
  • Smoking improves my mood when I am depressed.

In this article, I discuss some healthier ways that you can address stress and anxiety rather than smoking. If you enjoy the article please share it through your social network.

Please also leave a comment and let me know if you have any other tips for dealing with stress as a non smoker.

Quitting Smoking And Your Energy Levels

Monday April 14, 2014

Maintain Your EnergyI have always been surprised that asthmatics in the U.S. are more likely to smoke than the rest of the general population.

However, I have also been told by asthmatics that I treat that smoking gives them more energy, at least in the beginning. maintaining energy levels and replacing them with healthier and more productive activities is important not only for your health, but also to have a successful quit attempt.

At some point smoking becomes a really powerful addiction. So powerful that some patients have told me that addictions to heroin and cocaine were easier to quit.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Benefits include:

  • Living longer
  • Decreased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Improved health for those around you
  • Increased discretionary income

Talk with your doctor about other things you can try to do to quit and improve your asthma today.

Friday March 28, 2014

Never Discount the Severity of an Asthma Exacerbation

Asthma exacerbations can be life threatening and can occur in anyone with mild to severe asthma. Only 33% of asthma deaths occur in the hospital which means many asthma patients who die are either not seeking care or are not being hospitalized with their worsening asthma. Patients at high risk of asthma related death require intensive education and special care. Make sure you know if you are in one of the increased risk groups discussed below.

Importantly, 80-85% who die from asthma develop progressive symptoms over anywhere from 12 hours to several weeks. Only 15 to 20% die in less than 6 hours after developing symptoms. Thus, the vast majority of patients dying from asthma developed symptoms in a time frame that would have allowed them to seek appropriate medical care. If you develop significant signs or symptoms you need to make sure that you seek emergency care.

Risk Factors for Asthma Related Death

All of the following are risk factors for asthma related death:

  • Previous history of a near fatal asthma event
  • Recent poorly controlled asthma with increased shortness of breath, nocturnal awakenings, and rescue inhaler use
  • Prior severe asthma exacerbation where you were intubated or admitted to an intensive care unit.
  • Two or more asthma related hospital admissions or three or more visits to the emergency room for asthma
  • Using 2 or more canisters of your short acting bronchodilator like albuterol in a month
  • If you have trouble identifying when your asthma symptoms are worsening or you are having an asthma attack
  • Being poor and from the inner city
  • Substance abuse
  • Significant psychiatric disease
  • Other significant medical problems like a heart attack and other lung diseases

What Do I Do if I am at Increased Risk?

All of the following may help you reduce your risk of an asthma related death:

  • Know that you are at risk
  • Know your asthma action plan
  • Make sure you understand your asthma action plan
  • Use your asthma action plan
  • Use your peak flow meter regularly
  • Do not delay seeking emergency care if your symptoms worsen
  • Tell your asthma care provider that you are at increased risk of an asthma related death
  • Make sure you can effectively communicate with an asthma care provider effectively

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