Exercise and Asthma – Workout to Breathe Better

There’s a widespread fear of introducing a sports activity into the lives of children and adults with asthma, which is typically caused by a simple lack of understanding. Although asthma is one of the more common health issues, and even though it’s incurable, it can be managed, and it shouldn’t prevent anyone from regular physical activity.

Just like with any other condition, exercising in a controlled environment and following a set of simple guidelines can benefit anyone, and people with asthma are no exception. Let’s do some myth-busting!

Understanding Asthma

First of all, asthma is a chronic condition that causes an inflammation of airways, making them more susceptible to allergic reactions. The bronchial tubes become narrow and swollen, causing difficulty breathing, chest tightness, more mucus, wheezing and coughing, especially at night and in the morning.

Credit: https://tucsonallergyasthma.com

Naturally, this can make it more difficult for a person to take part in an activity, especially if it requires a high level of continuous endurance, such as running or cycling, which are more likely to cause an asthma attack. On the other hand, stop-and-go activities that allow regular breaks without compromising the difficulty of the exercise adapted to your needs can improve not only your overall fitness, but also strengthen your lungs and reduce asthma symptoms.

This means that sports such as moderate weightlifting that gradually increases in difficulty, martial arts, lighter activities like yoga, or team sports like baseball and volleyball can all be safely practiced by anyone with well-managed asthma. In fact, physical activity is highly recommended, because it will strengthen your immune system, improve your cardiovascular health and oxygen intake.

Prevent Exercise-Induced Asthma

Due to a large number of asthma attacks caused by intense workouts, people tend to get even more reluctant to go back to their training routine, or simply adapt it, believing that any amount of exercise can cause issues.

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The truth is that uncontrolled, fast breathing though your mouth is the main culprit of exercise-induced asthma, due to more dry, cold air travelling to your lungs and causing inflammation. Shortness of breath should not be mistaken for an asthma attack, so it’s important to learn the difference – the former will subside when you take a break and you’ll be able to resume your workout.

In order to prevent a potential asthma attack during your workout, there are several key steps you need to take. First and foremost, you should have your inhaler with you at all times. Warm up carefully before your routine, and make sure you control your breath as much as possible. This is crucial even for healthy athletes, to keep their heartrate healthy, and ensure proper core engagement, let alone for someone with asthma.

Use a timer to measure rest periods between your sets, to see how much time you need to regroup without losing intensity and the effect of your workout. Asthma is no excuse for making your training too easy. Challenging your current physical abilities is healthy, and it will be even more beneficial if you allow your body to overcome your limitations.

Managing Asthma

It would be ideal if all you needed was a weekly deadlift session to boost your body’s resilience. But once you have a solid workout plan down, there are several other steps you can take to ensure a healthy lifestyle that will alleviate your symptoms.

Since allergies are the most common cause of asthma, having the best air purifiers for allergies available in your home will allow you to breathe freely and expose your lungs to significantly less allergens, so make sure that you keep your living area clean of toxins and pollutants.

Keeping your home clean is crucial, so regular vacuuming, dusting and allowing the circulation of fresh air will make a huge difference in your life. Pay special attention to your mattress and wash your bedding on a regular basis (once a week will do the trick), and if possible, avoid unnecessary rugs, carpets and curtains that will attract dust. However, a house that is too clean can equally cause trouble, so find the right balance that will keep you healthy.

To Summarize

Although asthma is a pain in the neck, it doesn’t have to be a debilitating condition, so don’t allow it to become one, rather do your best to live a healthy life, don’t shy away from regular exercise and your body (especially your lungs) will be forever grateful.

Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.

Examining the Link Between Diabetes, Autoimmunity and Heart Disease for American Heart Month

As medical science advances, we are learning more about the links between different individual diseases. In recognition of American Heart Month in February, I’d like to draw attention to some largely unknown facts about heart disease and its indirect link to autoimmune disease. In spite of pharmaceutical and technological medical advances, heart disease has continued to rank as the leading cause of death in the United States for several decades. Although we associate high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure and smoking as some of the most common factors leading to cardiovascular complications, there are actually hundreds of varying risk factors that can lead to heart disease, including an entirely different disease: diabetes.

Let’s first look at a brief but noteworthy chronological history of diabetes and its classification as an immune-mediated disease:

  • The term diabete was first recorded in an English medical text written around 1425.
  • It wasn’t until over 300 years later, in 1776, that it was confirmed diabetes was an issue of an excess amount of a certain kind of sugar (in the urine).
  • Just over 100 years later, in 1889, the role of the pancreas in diabetes was discovered.
  • Shortly after, in 1910, it was found that diabetes resulted from a lack of insulin.
  • In 1922, the first person received an insulin injection for the treatment of diabetes.
  • Types 1 and 2 diabetes were differentiated in 1936.
  • Autoimmunity was discovered in the 1950s.
  • Not until the mid 1970s was it recognized that diabetes can have an autoimmune basis.

Medical research has linked several diseases as being immune-mediated years after the original discovery of such diseases. Although this discovery was made almost 40 years ago, many people are still unaware that all types of diabetes can have an autoimmune component.

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Now let’s look at how diabetes is linked to heart disease. Caused by a hardening of the arteries or a blocking of the blood vessels that go to your heart, people with diabetes are more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than those without (American Diabetes Association). In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also classified as cardiovascular disease. Perhaps even more alarming is the threat that diabetes can cause nerve damage, sometimes making heart attacks painless or silent.

Autoimmune diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system begins attacking the beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. When insulin levels are down, the amount of glucose in the blood increases over time. High blood glucose levels can damage nerves and lead to increased deposits of fatty materials on the insides of the blood vessels. Complications such as poor blood flow, decreased oxygen in the blood stream, and the clogging and hardening of blood vessels can ultimately lead to two types of cardiovascular disease: coronary artery disease, responsible for heart attacks or failure, and cerebral vascular disease, leading to strokes.

And there you have it – a three-way link between Diabetes, Autoimmune Disease and Heart Disease. So, are there preventative measures that diabetics can take to prevent heart attacks and control autoimmune reactivity? Prevention of heart attacks for diabetics is parallel to that of non-diabetics, but with one very important additional measure – monitoring and regulating your blood sugar and insulin levels. Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical lab that specializes in functional immunology and autoimmunity, offers the “Array 6” – Diabetes Autoimmune Reactivity Screen. Array 6 assists in the early detection of autoimmune processes of Type 1 Diabetes, impaired blood sugar metabolism and Metabolic Syndrome, and also monitors the effectiveness of related treatment protocols.

As is always the case, it is recommended to schedule regular visits with your medical practitioner and specialists. Proper administration of medications can be vital to prevention of heart disease. In addition to insulin injections for diabetics, there are medications to aid in regulating blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, which could all be vital to prevention of heart disease.

Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories. Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.

What to Know About Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s immune response and attempt to heal itself after injury however, it may also be the underlying cause to most autoimmune diseases. Chronic inflammation occurs over time from long-term stress on the body. Some contributing factors include diet, lack of exercise, stress, and excess weight. Dr. Zach Bush the creator of gut health supplement, RESTORE, explains how inflammation can affect our health.  Dr. Bush is a triple board certified physician who became keenly aware that biotech environmental factors are embedded in our soil, water, and the air we breathe, all relating back to our gut, which can affect our overall health.

According to Dr. Bush, anyone who has chronic problems such as headache, digestive problems, fatigue or joint pain, should consider being evaluated for inflammation.  Inflammation can also be silent.  People can feel just fine and the inflammation can be affecting their heart, blood vessels, brain, digestive tract and joints.

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Photo Credit: http://garmaonhealth.com

There are a couple of simple blood tests you can take to determine if you have generalized inflammation.

Test # 1 :ESR – Erythrocyte, or red blood cells, Sedimentation Rate

Inflammation causes excess protein which circulate in the blood stream and some of them can coat red blood cells.  When you put the red blood cells in a test tube you can determine if they are coated with protein by how fast they settle.   For women the normal range is 0 – 20 millimeters per hour (mm/hr).

Test # 2 :hsCRP –  High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein

There is one specific type of protein that circulates in the blood stream. This test determines how much of it is in your blood stream. The normal range is less than 3 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

Both are simple blood tests that any naturopathic or medical doctor can do.

If the tests show up positive, you have significant inflammation.  Additional diagnostic tests may need to be done to identify where the inflammation is coming from.

If the tests show up negative or normal, you may still have inflammation. Dr. Bush suggests looking at diet and lifestyle to determine which factors may be contributing to inflammation such as refined processed foods, saturated fats, etc. Dr. Bush and a team of scientist came up with an antidote to modern agriculture practices. Made in the US, RESTORE is a soil-derived, scientifically-backed mineral supplement that creates a firewall against toxins entering the gut wall. RESTORE helps create a biological environment for good gut bacteria to grow and flourish, to support improvement of overall health.

Zach Bush MD was President of his medical school class at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center with his MD, and later became Chief Resident for the department of Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia.  Over the last 12 years Dr. Bush has continued to further his medical and basic science knowledge — he is among the few physicians in the nation that is triple board certified, having completed training and certification in three fields including Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hospice and Palliative care. He has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the areas of infectious disease, endocrinology, and cancer.

He uses RESTORE in his clinic, Revolution Health Center, and has seen clinically significant improvements in patients with Leaky Gut Syndrome, Gluten Intolerance, Autism, Type 2 Diabetes, Autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.