Healthy Habits In Asthma Self-Management
An asthma exacerbation can knock you down and out for a while but it certainly does not mean that everything is at a loss. With proper diagnosis of your exacerbation, activating your action plan and in my case, getting in to be seen by my specialist for interim changes in my action plan. I can usually manage through them pretty quickly. The downside is that I usually have to modify my physical activity for a while, which often feels like a setback.
In my opinion, it actually isn't a setback. by allowing ourselves to heal and recover from exacerbations thoroughly and by making modifications in our exercise plans we can negotiate exacerbations. and stay healthy. I have learned this lesson This week I have been reconnecting with walking and not just from my desk to the car, but for its therapeutic values or keeping me physically active in a different way. This had me thinking of all the SMI (Self-Management Interventions) and their role in asthma management.
What is self-management in chronic conditions?
The US Institute of Medicine defines self-management as:
“The tasks that individuals must undertake to live with one or more chronic conditions. These tasks include having the confidence to deal with medical management, role management and emotional management of their conditions”1
When you apply this definition to variable conditions such as asthma, the core, evidence-based component is supporting patients to recognize and act on deteriorating symptoms (“medical management”), but we need to recognize that patients face challenges in accommodating asthma into their work, social and family lives and that, for some, this challenges their roles in society and/or comes at significant emotional cost.2
Self-management for a particular goal
I know one of the management issues that I have struggled with is maintaining healthy body weight in the face of times of limited physical activity, the side of effects of prednisone (in my case) and maintaining a positive attitude about my asthma and that I "AM" able to manage these situations. I am a natural planner, I found that by planning my meals and snacks and having healthy options readily available, I have been able to have better control on the effects of increased appetite.
I am really growing fond of my activity tracking and its bossy "move" alert that encourages we to go for a walk to clear a moving bar. It is helping me get extra steps and physical activity in my day. There are definitely some breathing days that have posed a challenge but keeping to my plan.
Working with my care team
I have been able to keep healthy body weight in check. I am sure that many of you have heard from doctors that "losing some weight" will improve your breathing. I can attest, that shedding some of the excess weight was a reality check for me but it did make a difference. There is a lot of support that your doctors and care team can provide.
Working with a nutritionist or dietician, perhaps pulmonary rehabilitation, is an option for you to reengage in physical activity. This will absolutely be up to the judgment of your physician to recommend but having discussions on how you can take an active and positive role in your own self-management are great steps in your own management.
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?