Let me catch my breath

Imagine not being able to eat your favourite food because it may kill you, or not being able to play your favourite sport because it may kill you? This is oh so real to asthmatic people all over the globe.

Someone who is living this is our very own Mr. Incredible (M.I). The Nigerian award winning hip hop artist is asthmatic and has been previously quoted as saying that this is the reason why he doesn’t smoke.

Asthma is a word we’ve all heard being thrown around but how many of us actually know what it is, the side effects and how to avoid having an attack? Let’s face it, not many of us do simply because we are not directly affected by it. I remember in primary school, a couple of my peers had asthma and all I knew was that they couldn’t take part in all our sporting activities like long distance running (though I envied them at the time as I was a bit on the big side back then.) As years went by, I still found myself asking, “what exactly is asthma?”

Asthma is a chronic disease affecting the airways and the lungs. An asthmatic person has airways that are constantly inflamed and when one is having an attack, the walls of the airways become more swollen and tighten up allowing less air to flow to the lungs, making it hard for the person to breathe.

What are the signs of an attack? Well, the following are the typical signs but are not exclusive to asthma, they may differ from one asthma attack to the next and one may not show all the signs. Symptoms include: coughing (especially at night), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, pain or pressure.

How can one avoid an asthmatic attack? Most asthmatic people know what triggers an attack for them, but for those of us who want a general overview of what an asthmatic person needs to avoid, it includes obesity, stress, household chemicals, inadequate gas ventilation, breathing dirty air and smoking. There are also certain foods that asthmatic people should avoid so as to not trigger an attack, these foods include milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, shellfish and fish (pretty much all food that contains allergens, however only 5% contributes to asthmatic attacks….but better safe than sorry, right?)

Asthma is incurable but with the right precautions and management, one can live a normal life. Earlier I mentioned that M.I is asthmatic, other asthmatic celebrities include  Harry Mordi (HCode) who was 2face Idibia’s producer and died after an asthmatic attack in 2014. “International Asthma Awareness Day” is on May 15th 2015, let’s show our asthmatic brothers and sisters some support now that we’re better informed of the incurable disease.

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