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Breathing Right
Written by: S McIntyre
I was diagnosed with asthma in 2003 after taking the Methacholine Challenge Test. This test determines whether you're asthmatic or not and lets you know your severity level. These are breathing tests using the drug methacholine to simulate an asthma attack. The methacholine will cause your airways to contrict and narrow. If you're not asthmatic, this will not affect you in any way, shape or form. There are 12 levels and the more levels you pass, the less severe your asthma is. Each level begins with a measured dose of methacholine and in each level the dose is increased slightly. You are to inhale it for 1 minute and then forcefully blow into a tube to measure the airflow in and out of your airways. If it shows your airways are overly sensitive to the methacholine, you are given a bronchodilator to reverse the methacholine effect and the test is completed. Remember I said the more levels you pass, the less severe you are. I couldn't pass level 3. Moderate to severe was my diagnosis.

Was I was surprised? No. Surprised I couldn't pass level 3? Yes! Moderate to severe?! Are you kidding me?! Okay let me think back...I always had a hard time getting over a cold. Let me rephrase that, I always had a hard time getting over the cough after the cold was long gone. I literally coughed till my eyes watered, my nose ran, my stomach muscles ached and all this while leaning over the pot praying I wouldn't cough up a lung. I really wasn't praying, just hoping I wouldn't expel any food I consumed! It was bad.

Okay, so what triggers it? It is a fact allergy sufferers are more prone to developing asthma at a later stage in life if they didn't get it when they were a child. It seems like you can't get one without the other much like a cold and cough. I am an allergy sufferer too -- grass, pollen, irritants, dust, mold, cats, eczema and emotional stress are all my triggers.

How can you ease the chest tightness, coughing and other symptoms? Find what triggers your asthma and if possible remove them from your household, keep a journal (this will help you pinpoint what's causing your attacks), consult with your healthcare provider and find the medicine that works for you and exercise. It doesn't have to be a gung-ho cardio workout. Swimming, walking, etc. are beneficial. Exercise will strengthen and increase your lung capacity and your overall well being.

Vitamin C works wonders. I'm not saying it's an all out cure and throw away your inhaler. It has lessen the symptoms I have. If I can avoid using the inhaler, I'm all for it. Although I'm not sure everyone would agree with me, but I rarely use my inhaler. Yes, the information leaflet that comes with the inhaler will say keep using it even when you feel better...it's taking preventative measures not lets wait till it gets bad. My reason is I don't like the side effects. Who does? I get thrush in my mouth like some babies do when they are breast-fed. The thrush develops from long term, continuous use of the inhaler because of the corticosteroids. Another prescription can eliminate the thrush or rinsing with mouthwash also helps. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I don't enjoy eating mint flavoured pizza!

Thank goodness for Vitamin C. A natural way to help ease the symptoms and at the same time you're giving what your body normally needs. It's different for everyone because there are different severity levels and different triggers that causes you to take your breath away. Find what those triggers are, find the prescribed medicine that works best for you and take your daily dose of Vitamin C!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S McIntyre owns Work At Home Space, a free WAH resource offering telecommuting job leads, articles, health and wellness and other work at home related issues. You can also visit her blog Healthy Perspectives featuring an array of health topics, nutrition, recipes and fitness for maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.

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