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Asthma and Decision-Making

Knowing our asthma triggers can help us avoid activities that may bring on a flare-up or asthma attack. It also can make decisions, such as whether or not to attend an event or exercise, a lot more challenging.
Do you ever have a hard time making decisions because of your asthma? Are there any questions you ask yourself before making a decision that may impact your asthma?

  1. Hi - in the past when my asthma was well controlled, I would leave my inhalers and medications at home. And rarely triggered, I did not avoid any activity or event. But in one instance {shared in an article - No Great Love Story), this was a dangerous move. I went to a desolate cabin deep in the woods (trigger) during chilly winter months (trigger) and sat in front of a fireplace (trigger) to warm myself. With anxiety, cold weather, and smoke, I found I was in quite a predicament. I did not have my inhaler and immediately began being short of breath leading to full out asthma attack. It ruined the weekend, unfortunately. This event was a wake-up call to take my health seriously, and to make better choices and decisions on where and what I do. It can truly be difficult to cut out activities you really enjoy. Afterward I've had a few activities I had to rule out participating in due to my asthma, and it was a difficult choice but one made to better my health. Great topic. Thoughtfully, Rebecca (team member)

    1. I make decisions based off my overall health not my asthma but I'm mindful of my triggers

      1. Thanks for taking the time to follow up. We are glad to hear that you are aware of your triggers and do your best to avoid/manage them. -Lauren (team member)

      2. Hi - Absolutely! It's all about finding that balance between managing asthma effectively and living life to the fullest. By staying mindful of your triggers and taking proactive safeguards to avoid them, you're empowering yourself to take control of your asthma while still prioritizing your overall well-being. Taking care of yourself is the foundation for living a fulfilling life. Thoughtfully, Rebecca (team member)

    2. Hi - what a great topic for a conversation - thanks for posting it. Thinking back over the years, I cannot recall letting my asthma disease or concern about a flare-up keep me from making a decision to do (or not do) an activity.
      I always made certain (and still do to this day), to have sufficient medication on hand - both at home, when I am out, and also when I am traveling away from home.
      This has always served me well!
      All the best,
      Leon L (author/moderator asthma.net)

      1. Decision making regarding balancing asthma triggers and activities is a daily and constant challenge for me. Some days, like today, I worry about triggers like tree pollen so much I just hide where I feel safe in my mostly dust-free air-filtered safe space.

        But this space is affected by smoky days, or when someone wearing cologne is in the house, when a mild pine scented cleanser is used, or when my husband washes with a soap my lungs didn’t have a problem with until the day I feel like I can’t breathe.

        I wear a filter mask most of the time when I am not in the safe room, and sometimes when I am. The filter in the mask helps a lot to keep dust and smoke and pollen out of my lungs, but the mask seal is not perfect and the filter doesn’t keep out all of the chemical smell triggers. This makes going to the doctor’s office or to the grocery store or to a coffee shop very difficult for me because these places are full of cleaning chemicals, air fresheners, smokers, and people who bathe with scented soap and wear cologne and perfume.

        Using my levalbuterol helps, some, for a while, but it does not provide immediate relief, it is not a cure, and I am not supposed to use it all the time. I have allergic and cardiac reactions to LABAs. I started Tezspire a few months ago and it seems to help a lot, but it is also not a cure. I stopped montelukast after my most recent visit with my pulmonologist, because I was experiencing almost every serious side effect listed, and after a few days off that medication I felt a lot better. But now my allergies are worse and the pollens affect my asthma.

        I also have fibromyalgia, which gets worse when my body is stressed by asthma triggers, so when I feel like I can’t breathe, I also can’t think, I have trouble talking, and I sometimes suddenly feel so weak I can’t walk without help.

        I have discussed rounds with my psychologist about asthma triggering anxiety vs. anxiety triggering asthma, and do I even have asthma or is it all anxiety. I rarely wheeze, so many people, health care providers included, have told me I just have anxiety and I just need to get out and exercise and do yoga and not hide behind my mask.

        I used to work full time, ran half and full marathons, swam, bicycled, did yoga, went to the gym, and I owned a motorcycle. I stopped running the day my husband was ready to throw me over his shoulder and run to the emergency room. I had a rescue inhaler with me and it helped enough that I could walk slowly. I sold the motorcycle when I realized I was weak and having trouble breathing after a ride. Chlorine at the pool one day started bothering me. I finished the swim of a mini triathlon at the lake and the EMTs picked me up and gave me oxygen, and I stopped swimming after that. I couldn’t manage working and my challenges with asthma and fibromyalgia.

        I go for short walks when the air quality is good, and when I feel good enough to leave the house. I know I need to get out and walk more, and I think of how I will feel after exposure to pollen, or smoke from cigarettes or fires, or barbecues, or truck exhaust, or dust in the wind, and I often get discouraged into inaction. Managing or avoiding asthma triggers is mainly what I do now. I do feel like I am improving, a little bit, slowly, getting stronger and breathing better.

        1. Hi Lorene, I can imagine asthma triggers as landmines out in the world. I am getting better at seeing them, which can help me to prepare to face the world. Some are still unpleasant surprises.

          Yeah, haha, fibro and asthma are really challenging, and I find it hard to be kind or gentle with myself. I’m still grieving the loss of who I used to be and what I used to be able to do while learning to accept who I am and what I am able to do now. And I’m still learning what asthma and fibromyalgia are to me, personally. I’m in a good place to allow myself to heal, and the process is slow with lots of speed bumps and setbacks.

          My husband found this site and my sister encouraged me to join a group, and I’m happy I’m here.


        2. I am so glad you found us - we are happy you are here! It's fine to grieve the life we used to have, or the life we thought we would have. Acceptance doesn't mean giving up, either! I'm looking forward to following your progress here - please do not hesitate to ask anything. Sending gentle hugs. ~ Lorene, site moderator

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