Asthma and Smoking: A Deadly Cocktail You Must Avoid
Most love to break rules and live a carefree life, but destiny sails on its own course. Peer pressure, stress and emotional upheaval make some seek smoking, not a good idea in retrospect. We know how smoking fogs up your body and those around you, but you’re cheating death everyday if you’re an asthmatic. We spoke to Dr. S K Jain, Pulmonologist with Moolchand Medcity at New Delhi to clear the smoke on how puffing a cigarette affects asthmatic patients.
Dr. Jain explains why toying with smoke is choking your life: “Smoking or passively inhaling smoke may actually modify the inflammatory process causing lung diseases, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma exacerbations common amongst kids, old people, and young adults. Asthmatic patient who smoke often suffer from cough, wheezing and shortness of breath due to thickness of epithelium or irritation of the airways, causing them to swell up, narrow the passage that is filled with sticky mucus making asthma attacks more frequent compared to non-smoking asthma patients. Smoking also affects response of the body to medication that serves to prevent symptoms of the disease.”
“Also, some smokers develop irreversible narrowing of their bronchial tubes,” says Dr. Jain, “from inflammation and scarring causes permanent breathing problems. People with asthma who smoke are in "double jeopardy":
- They risk episodes of breathing difficulty
- Regular shortness of breath as a result of lung diseases, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.”
The most important precautionary measure is to quit smoking. A person can add years to his life and family's life by simply eliminating smoking; furthermore, in women, this reduces tobacco-related pregnancy outcomes to a large extent.
Improve immunity with a nutritious diet and for malnourished people, improve your immunity mechanism. Consume lots of fluids like water, juices, coconut water and avoid too much intake of tea, coffee and soft drinks, etc. The diet must also include food rich in Vitamin C.
Diet should be moderate depending on the clinical conditions of the patient. Eat early, avoid late night meals as this helps avoid gastric problems, which further perpetrate asthma problems. Avoid the combination of alcohol and smoke.
Medication should be taken regularly and keep stock of rescue medications like nebulizers and inhalers for emergency conditions.
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