Article

July 28, 2019

Debunking 6 Dangerous Myths About Asthma

Although asthma is fairly common, there are many misconceptions about the disease. Some of them may even harm patients and prevent them from seeking the right asthma treatment. Here are six myths about asthma that you’re better off not believing and manage the condition effectively.

woman under asthma attack holding inhaler misconceptions about asthma

6 Myths About Asthma

1. Asthma medicines are addictive.

As a chronic condition, asthma may require long-term use of doctor-prescribed medications. However, this doesn’t mean that these medications are addictive, nor are they habit-forming[1]. There’s no evidence that asthma medications lose their effectiveness over time.

Fact is, asthma medications are safe and essential to keep symptoms under control and prevent flare-ups. With the right combination of medications, asthma patients can lead a fairly normal lifestyle, be physically active, and sleep well nightly.

2. You should not exercise if you have asthma.

On the contrary, people with asthma are encouraged to engage in physical activity. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles used for breathing while boosting the immune system[2]. Regular exercise helps asthma patients maintain a healthy weight.

asian woman exercising in gym - 6 myths about asthmaThose with asthma, however, should exercise with caution. For some patients, sudden physical activity can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms. In such cases, doctors may advise the patient to take preventive medications before exercising. Proper breathing techniques should also be observed during any physical activity.

3. Asthma is a disease that can be easily outgrown.

This is one of the most dangerous myths about asthma. Insisting that asthma will go away on its own may prevent patients from seeking proper treatment.

While children may find their symptoms improving during adolescence and adulthood, it may not always be the case. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 7.7% of adults have asthma[3]. Some of them who have observed flare-ups during adulthood experienced mild or undetectable symptoms during childhood.

4. Asthma is not a life-threatening condition.

This is another one of those myths that may prevent patients from consulting their doctor and taking treatment seriously. Asthma is in fact a life-threatening condition. Every day in the United States, around 11 people die from this disease and 11,000 are hospitalized because of symptom flare-ups and emergencies[4].

All cases of asthma can turn into a life-threatening scenario. Exacerbation is affected by several factors such as one’s environment, allergies, workplace, family history, immune system issues, and others. It’s therefore a must to manage this disease closely and seek professional medical advice from your doctor.

5. It’s not asthma if you’re not wheezing.

Wheezing is one of the most common asthma symptoms that occurs as a patient breathes. However, its absence doesn’t always mean that a patient is not asthmatic[5]. In fact, during an extreme asthma attack, wheezing may not even occur as almost no air passes through the patient’s airways. If asthma is suspected but wheezing does not occur, your doctor may look out for other indications such as breathlessness, chest tightness, and nonstop coughing.

6. Asthma is a psychological condition.

Psychological factors such as stress, fear, and anxiety may indeed trigger asthma[6]. However, asthma presents with physiological symptoms that require immediate medication and long-term management.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advise, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advise of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

————–

[1] Allergy and Asthma Network. 5 Myths about asthma. Reference: https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/myths-about-asthma/

[2] Canadian Lung Association. Exercise and Asthma. Reference: https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-disease/asthma/exercise-and-asthma

[3] AAFA. Asthma Facts and Figures. Reference: https://www.aafa.org/asthma-facts/

[4] AsthmaMD. Asthma Statistics. Reference: https://www.asthmamd.org/asthma-statistics/

[5] Emedicinehealth. What are the symptoms of childhood asthma? Reference: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/asthma_in_children/article_em.htm#what_are_symptoms_of_childhood_asthma

[6] WebMD. Stress and asthma. Reference: https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/stress-asthma#1

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