Occupational asthma is a type of lung disease characterized by reversible narrowing of the windpipes due to exposure to a particular substance in the workplace. It is represented by shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and cough. Previously diagnosed asthma that deteriorates at work is termed as work-aggravated asthma. Its symptoms tend to disappear when the workplace is changed, or exposure is avoided.
Lifestyle Changes For Occupational Asthma
Occupational asthma can be managed successfully if exposure to the causative agent is identified and avoided. Specific significant lifestyle changes may help in improving the condition-
Smoking– smoking plays a vital role in inducing irritation and inflammation in the windpipes. According to Miles Weinberger, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the pediatric allergy & pulmonary division at the University of Iowa- “The single most important environmental factor that can make asthma worse is tobacco smoke.” Children with asthma, who are regularly exposed to smoke in their households, face difficulty in gaining control of their asthma symptoms. Similarly, smoker adults with asthma do not improve with their medications than non-smokers. Avoiding smoke and smokers can help a lot in dealing with asthma.(2)
Obesity– obesity is another factor that may cause much harder for asthmatics to breathe correctly. It is because extra pounds push down on the ribcage and lungs. it is observed that losing weight and achieving a healthy weight can help the medications to act more effectively for the treatment of asthma.(2)
Exercises- Aerobic exercises may help to regain the fitness of the lungs in asthmatic patients. switching to physical exercises, especially aerobic exercises, can improve the condition of the patient.(2)
Avoid Food Preservatives- certain food preservatives can trigger asthma in many cases. it is necessary to reduce the risk of diet contributing to asthma, prepackaged foods should be avoided, and fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats should be included in a healthy diet plan.(2)
Stress Control- stress can be a factor that can trigger asthma. Even asthma symptoms can cause stress to worsen the situation. Stress management is the lifestyle change that can significantly reduce the risk of an asthma attack.(2)
Yoga For Occupational Asthma
In clinical studies, Pranayama or yoga has proved efficacy in asthma within India and foreign countries, including the USA and other Western countries. Pranayama teaching begins with learning to breathe correctly, especially for asthmatic people.
Breath Control Pranayama Practice- it consists of 4 cycles of breathing that focus on Slow Inhalation, holding breath inside, Slow Exhalation, and Holding breath outside. It helps to revive the oxygen uptake capacity of the lungs. It strengthens the diaphragm and improves the efficiency of the respiratory system. It enhances the amount of oxygen entering into the bloodstream through each breath. It is beneficial for people with asthma and other lung diseases.(3)
Alternate Nostril Breathing- Alternate nostril breathing is also known as Anuloma Viloma Pranayama in the Sanskrit Language. In this Pranayama, one inhales air through the right nostril and exhales air with the left nostril, and alternatively done for 15 to 30 minutes. It helps to gain proper oxygen supply and remove carbon dioxide effectively that improves the efficiency of the lungs to take up the oxygen. It also helps to manage stress.(3)
Kapalbhati Kriya- It is named as kapalabhati because it renders glow on the face. It is considered a complete exercise for the whole respiratory system and provides strength to the lungs. It is advised to practice in the morning so that asthma patients can fetch fresh air. It clears mucus from the respiratory tract and purifies the blood and boosts oxygen supply.(3)
Occupational asthma can be managed effectively if obesity, smoking, food preservatives, and stress are avoided. Exercises and yoga can improve the condition. Breath control yoga practice, alternate nostril breathing, and kapalabhati are some of the yoga practices that can help in occupational asthma.
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