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Exercising Safely with Asthma

Asthma is characterized by a narrowing and swelling of the airways. During an asthma attack, breathing becomes difficult, which can lead to coughing and wheezing.

There are numerous causes for asthma, and a variety of stimuli that can trigger an attack. For example, although exercise does not cause asthma, it is a common trigger of asthma. The Asthma Foundation of America estimates that approximately 90% of people with asthma experience an attack when exercising, a condition referred to as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).

Even for people without asthma, exercise and strenuous activity can cause a shortness of breath. However, for people with asthma, this shortness of breath can easily trigger an asthma attack.

Since exercise is fundamentally important to maintaining one's health, it is important for people with asthma to know the appropriate steps and medications required in order to exercise safely.

The main rules that people with asthma need to keep in mind in order to exercise safely include:

  1. Using a bronchodilator such as albuterol before exercising. This opens the airways, making an asthma attack less likely.
  2. Warming up before beginning any type of strenuous activity. Between 10 and 15 minutes of stretching and slow movements can help prepare the body for more strenuous exercises.
  3. Cold air is a well-known asthma trigger, and exercising in cold weather creates a double risk. In order to diminish this risk, it is useful to wear a scarf or some sort of mouth covering when exercising in cold weather. This can help warm up the cold air before it reaches the lungs.

Another technique is to breathe in through the nose rather than the mouth, which prevents cold, dry air from going directly into the lungs.

  1. It is important to know which types of weather conditions are unsuitable for exercise. For example, when it is extremely cold outside, or the air is highly polluted (whether outdoors or indoors, due to chemicals and cleaners), exercising with asthma is best avoided.

The takeaway message for those with asthma is that exercise is healthy —  when taking appropriate precautions. It is especially important for anyone with asthma to consult with their physician before starting any exercise program.

At the NJ Heart and Lung Center™, we create an individualized plan for each patient. This is proven to prevent readmission to the hospital, and to improve independence.  

Regency Jewish has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to create a program that:   

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include: 

  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

Regency prides itself on offering the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.   Contact us by clicking here.

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