What is asthma.? "Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breath), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing." (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute) I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 3 years old. All my life I have been effected by several triggers including allergens, exercise, and stress. What a great combination for a dancer!
Here is the advice I would give anyone living with asthma who uses it as an excuse not to live to the fullest. Don't let it control your life! Asthma is a very manageable disease. In my case, asthma is best managed with medications, regular exercise and a modified diet. As a child I would be on as many as 4 medications at a time. My personal obsession with purchasing new handbags, probably comes from my insistence on wanting to carry my inhaler myself.
According to livestrong.com, "Regular physical activity increases the strength of your lungs, increasing oxygen intake and helping you breathe better all the time, not just during exercise. Aerobic exercise increases the functionality of the muscles involved in breathing." I do not let my asthma stop me, but I do need to monitor myself closely and know my limits. If I am sick with a cold, I know that exercise will increase my chances of an attack, so I have to check with myself, is this too much? What do I need to do to stay healthy? I have had moments while teaching group fitness that I have had to stop and use my inhaler, and I do not find this a problem. I find it a triumph! I am showing my members that I am able to continue and protect myself. If that means I walk on my aerobics step instead of run for a moment, that is ok.
You're probably wondering about the modified diet. I do not consume a large amount of dairy. In fact I try to avoid dairy all together with the exception of special occasions. I LOVE cheese, there is no question about it. I will take it an all forms, melted on pasta, stringy, in cubes. Don't even get me started on ice cream. The relationship to dairy and asthma is not scientifically proven to the extent that I can hand you a study and prove myself. However after personal research I found that this is a correlation between dairy and early asthma in infants and children. So on a whim I dropped all dairy and casiene products. Within a month I was sleeping better, I was able to breath better. Within 3 months I dropped my first asthma medication and a month later dropped the dosage of my second medication. You don't have to take my word for it, but if you need some great dairy free recipes, I am your girl!
So what is the moral? Don't give up, don't count yourself short. Asthma is manageable and we should never let it stand in the way of living our lives and reaching our goals.