HYDERABAD: Asthma patients need to take healthy food to avoid exhaustion induced by intermittent or persistent bronchospasm presenting as dry cough or breathlessness. Uncontrolled food allergies can be one of the dangerous risk factors for asthmatic individuals. This reinforces the importance of food as trigger for asthma.
Though a healthy diet is paramount, it is equally essential to rule out possible food allergies. This can be easily done by performing a simple Allergen Skin Prick. Particular food items like peanuts, spicy foods, papaya, banana, fish, wheat etc can trigger asthma if you are allergic to them. It is desirable to avoid the food item if you test positive for it.
Exercise with caution
Exercise is essential for everyone, especially if you have asthma, but caution is required. In asthma, the major problem is that secretions in the bronchial airways become thick and stick to the walls of airways of lungs. This is further complicated by narrowing of lung airways. Many times, patients have to be hospitalised because airways become blocked due to thick secretions.
If you have any kind of chest tightness or breathlessness or chest heaviness, never attempt any exercise. The best is to do regular, small interval exercises when not suffering from any symptom. Strengthening the intercostal muscles, pectoralis muscles and diaphragm should be done. Asthma is never a limitation for sports or exercise. Keeping yourself fit physically helps you overcome or decrease the intensity of suffering.
The best practice is to have a short warm up for 10 min before starting any major workout and have a graded cool down phase after workout. The patient should also be properly hydrated before starting workouts to prevent dryness of airways due to heat developed during exercise. Never miss any regular medications or taking inhalers 10 to 15 min before starting exercise.
The person should also be careful while exercising outdoors because of pollen and environment dust. However, exercise itself can induce asthma attack for a few persons. It is called Exercise Induced Broncho Constriction. These symptoms appear as cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, easy fatigue etc. They may appear 15 to 20 min after starting or finishing the exercise. In such cases, consult a specialist without delay.
Certain yoga practices like Kapalbhathi, Anulomvelom, Bhramari and Bhastrika can help ease symptoms of respiratory disorders. They can help keep lung pipes clean from sputum stagnation. However, these should be practised under the guidance of an experienced teacher and not by watching videos.
Diet tips for asthmatics
Never overeat, eat to stay fit not fat. Obesity may have an indirect effect on asthma
Decrease consuming too many chocolates, ice creams, high fat diets
Do not consume ready-to-eat, processed food
Eat freshly prepared food, preferably hot
Avoid alcohol as they contain sulphites which is not good for asthma patients.
Consume fruits and vegetables that have Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin D
Take small and nutritious food at small intervals
Avoid one-time, voluminous food consumption, which will cause gastric reflex and aggravate symptoms of asthma
Never drink fruit juice or cool drinks just before going to bed at night
Eat food on time to avoid gastritis which can aggravate asthma
The writer is a consultant pulmonologist and allergy super specialist at Apollo Clinic, Nallakunta.