Is asthma reversible? If you or someone in your home has it, you’ve probably had this thought more than once. The good news is Rodjawan Supakul, MD, UnityPoint Health, says there are two simple ways you can reduce asthma symptoms and start breathing better and easier.
Reverse Asthma Symptoms
There are several stages of asthma, ranging from mild to severe. In the mildest form, people may not have any symptoms, while those with severe asthma may be oxygen-dependent. Dr. Supakul says the first step is an early diagnosis.
“Diagnosis of asthma may be delayed in some patients with chronic cough. But, an accurate diagnosis of asthma will lead to starting the appropriate, early medical therapy, and you can then learn how to avoid triggers that make asthma symptoms worse,” Dr. Supakul says.
Primary asthma symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Dr. Supakul recommends taking the following measures to help reverse your symptoms:
- Avoid allergens or triggers. Triggers can vary person to person and include a variety of things – some more similar to allergies (mold, pollen, etc.), others more random (cold and flu viruses, humidity, even some foods). Keep track of what circumstances lead to asthma attacks, then try to minimize your exposure to what appears to be the cause.
- Take your medications as directed. Whether you take oral pills or use an inhaler, even once you learn to control asthma triggers, it’s still necessary to take your medication until your provider says otherwise. If you believe you’ve reversed asthma symptoms, your provider may choose to test your pulmonary function to see if the condition has lessened.
“It’s also important to note frequency of asthma attacks can vary, depending on time year – especially in the winter and spring – so you may find greater success managing your symptoms during different seasons. Geography, however, doesn’t make you more likely to have asthma, neither does genetics,” Dr. Supakul says.
Types of Asthma
Another way asthma can be reversed is based solely on the type you have.
- Childhood asthma. Usually occurs in youth and typically resolves as individual ages. In some cases, it can progress into adulthood.
- Exercise-induced asthma. Triggers include cold, dry air during periods of physical activity. Possibly improves with type of exercise and environment (for example, running indoors during winter, instead of running outdoors in colder weather).
- Occupational asthma. Caused from irritants in the workplace, such as air pollution and dust. Should you change work environments, you may find your asthma symptoms improve or go away.
- Allergy-induced asthma. While it’s less likely you’ll completely get rid of allergy triggers (pet dander, pollen, smoke), you can take steps to avoid situations where you know you’ll be surrounded by allergens.
On the other hand, if you have more shortness of breath, wheezing or are depending on your rescue inhaler more than usual, Dr. Supakul says these may be clues your asthma is getting worse.
“Regular follow-up with your physician is an important step in controlling asthma. If you feel short of breath or need to use your rescue inhaler four or more times per day, these may be signs it’s time to make an appointment.”
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