Community Views: Lifestyle Adjustments After An Asthma Diagnosis
After being diagnosed with asthma, there are several lifestyle changes many asthmatics make in order to avoid attacks and flare-ups. Living with asthma can be extremely challenging. Asthma can affect our childhood, our social life, and may even prevent us from doing the activities we enjoy. Every person experiences different symptoms and triggers, but many may have had to make similar lifestyle changes in order to manage their asthma.
Lifestyle changes after an asthma diagnosis
We asked our Facebook community: What is the biggest adjustment you had to make since being diagnosed with asthma? Here's what you had to say.
Remembering to bring medications
- "Only big adjustment is medication changes mainly."
- "Remembering to take a steroid inhaler every morning and every night and not leaving the house without a blue inhaler."
- "Having to figure out how to budget for expensive medicines to treat my asthma."
- "Remembering a rescue inhaler when going places."
Another common answer from our members was around remembering to take and bring asthma medications everywhere they go. Triggers can show up in the most unexpected places, so it's important to be prepared at all times. Asthma medications typically require patients to have a daily routine where they take their medication around the same time each day. This can be quite difficult, so setting a phone alarm or a few post-it notes around the house could help remind us to take them daily. Others have also stated that insurance doesn't always cover asthma treatment, so many have struggled with budgeting in order to afford their medications.
Impact on social life
- "Knowing where I can and can’t go on vacations. I hate that others have to work around my asthma!"
- "Have to ask people if they have cats. If they do, I can’t visit."
- "Having to give up the activities I enjoyed, such as bonfires with friends."
- "Telling my daughter that she can't go to a party or a sleepover because a family smokes."
- "Realizing that living the way I have to for survival isn't something that most people understand or are willing to bend to because they don't want to be burdened or inconvenienced.
Asthma does not only impact our lives, but it can also affect our friendships and relationships. Many of our members have said that their asthma prevents them from seeing certain friends often or participating in specific activities due to avoiding triggers. According to research, about 64 percent of asthmatics reported that their asthma affected their family relationships and about 55 percent said it negatively impacted their relationships with their spouses and friends.1 Communicating with our loved ones about our symptoms and triggers can make a difference and help others understand our daily battle with asthma.
Avoiding triggers in the workplace
- "Isolating myself from fragrance and people who wear it. Unfortunately, I had to retire early to get away from it in my workplace."
- "Being on oxygen 24/7, and not being able to work."
- "Having a stressful work environment that made my asthma worse."
A common workplace trigger is coworkers using super-strong fragrances, which definitely isn't asthma-friendly. Occupational asthma is a subset group where daily exposure to a sensitizing agent may result in poor asthma control and an increase in symptoms. Stress can also increase asthma symptoms, so a hectic work environment may be out of the question for some asthmatics. An asthma diagnosis has led to many of our members being forced to retire early or actually having to change their career/workplace altogether in order to better manage their asthma.
Planning everything in advance
- "There are no more casual walks that I freely enjoy. I have to think them all through."
- "I can no longer just go out and do what I want. I have to check pollens, air quality, humidity."
- "Can't go to places w lots of grass and trees."
- "Doing certain things or doing outside activities during my peak allergy season will make me very sick.
Asthma not only impacts work or our social lives, but it also forces us to plan in advance. Many members have to plan to go out for a stroll at their local park or do fun outdoor activities. Weather can be a huge trigger, so checking pollen count, air quality, humidity, and the temperature is a task that many do right before they are even able to walk out their door each day.
What asthma lifestyle changes have you made?
We appreciate each one of our community members for sharing their experience with asthma and the lifestyle changes they have made since being diagnosed. We understand living with asthma can be extremely challenging, but we are a community that understands and supports you.
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?