Often when we think of asthma sufferers and sport, we think of pasty, weak looking children sitting on the sidelines puffing on inhalers. Laura Trott, who has just won her fourth gold medal for cycling in the Rio Olympics, completely turns that stereotype on its head. Laura started fighting for her breath when she was born four weeks prematurely with a collapsed lung, after six weeks on a ventilator, constant chest infections and a diagnosis of asthma at four she has shown feisty determination to succeed.
Even more impressive is the fact that she also suffers from acid reflux which causes her to be sick every time she competes - she certainly deserves to be a, ‘golden girl’. Laura’s success indicates that activity rather than inactivity can have a positive influence on how asthma can be controlled.
Asthma is a common illness that can cause the sufferer to wheeze and cough, if these symptoms worsen they can cause an attack or exasperation. Asthma affects people in different ways, for some it can be quite mild while sadly for others it can be fatal. Asthma is caused by the inflammation of the bronchioles in the lungs which restrict the amount air absorbed by the lungs. The lungs also became sticky with mucus causing you to cough. Difficulty breathing is caused by the muscles in the lungs tightening causing reduced lung capacity. An asthma attack can be very frightening for the sufferer and those close by. Sometimes a hospital stay is necessary to alleviate symptoms.
The NHS Choices website provides lots of useful information regarding asthma. Asthma is caused by an allergic reaction to changes in the environment that cause your lungs to become inflamed. Here are the main triggers for asthma:- House dust mites. Animal fur. Pollen. Cigarette smoke. Exercise. Viral infections. It is not clear what causes asthma but anyone at any age can suddenly become asthmatic. Currently 5.5 million people suffer from asthma in the uk.
Like most chronic illnesses there isn’t a cure for asthma, however with a combination of avoiding triggers and the correct dosage of medication asthma can be controlled, allowing sufferers to live a full and active life. Asthma care is based on relief from symptoms and prevention. Your doctor will formulate an asthma action and control plan which may involve the use of inhalers to ensure that you are able to get on with your life. Children can sometimes grow out of asthma while those who are affected by at an older age tend to have it for the rest of their lives. Asthma can cause long term narrowing of the airways and can be more problematic.
Even if you suffer from exercise induced asthma participating in activities suitable for your capabilities. You don’t have to aspire to be a gold medalist to benefit from exercise. First all you need to discuss how to balance your medication with your doctor, so that asthma doesn’t leave you battling for your breath. Asthma UK lists these as good reasons to exercise:- Increases lung stamina and helps with breathlessness. Boosts your immune system. Helps you to lose weight and alleviate symptoms. Makes you feel good and reduces stress. Stops you from feeling trapped by your asthma.
If you would like any advice about asthma treatment or require more medication please visit our asthma page for a consultation.