Proportionally, there are also a large number of “untruths” or false beliefs, surrounding asthma…some have become urban legends of sorts. You may be surprised that anyone could even consider some of these…but sometimes people who don’t understand, like to make up their own answers to questions!
Belief number one: Asthma is all in your head.
NOT! Although asthma was once considered a psychological illness, and doctors were slow to treat it, researchers and scientists have proven that asthma results in consistent physical changes in the bronchioles and alveoli of the lungs.
Although asthma is exacerbated by psychological triggers, such as emotional stress, it is not caused by the emotional stress.
And even mild asthma, left untreated, will result in pulmonary hypertension, which is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It makes the right side of the heart need to work harder than normal, causing heart damage.
Belief number two: Asthmatics outgrow their condition.
FALSE: Asthma is a condition that is not outgrown and not cured. In fact there are adults who develop asthma after the age of 20. Asthma can be controlled but never really goes away.
Which leads to Belief number three: Asthma can be cured.
FALSE: Although some people’s asthma remains inactive for months or even years it can flare at any time. Asthma can be mild, moderate, severe or life threatening and it can be controlled with medications and preventative measures…but it cannot be cured.
Belief number four: Asthma runs in the family.
TRUE: If your parents don’t have asthma you have a 6% chance of having asthma. But if one of your parents is affected you have a 30% chance and if both parents suffer from asthma you have a 70% chance of developing asthma.
Belief number five: Asthma is contagious.
FALSE: Asthma cannot be caught. You can’t get asthma from your friends, your relatives or others with whom you have contact.
Belief number six: Moving to a new location can improve your asthma.
POSSIBLE (but not permanent): A new environment can temporarilyimprove asthma symptoms but it doesn’t cure the asthma. Often, the asthma attacks decrease at first, but after a few years, people become sensitized to the new environment, and the asthma symptoms return, either with the same, or greater intensity.
Belief number seven: Asthmatics should not exercise.
FALSE: People with asthma should exercise but limit outdoor activities during cold weather, and exercises requiring them to breathe through their mouths. Cold, dry air often triggers asthma attacks. Swimming is a good exercise for asthmatics because the air is often heated and humid.
Belief number eight: Asthma medications are habit-forming and addictive.
FALSE: Asthma medications are neither addictive or habit-forming.
Belief number 9: Asthmatics can provoke asthma attacks at will.
FALSE: Attacks are more likely to occur when the asthmatic is under severe emotional stress, but they cannot be faked.
A report by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) issued last year, states that asthma cost the United States Fifty Six Billion Dollars in medical expenses, lost school and work days, and early deaths.
Those affected by Asthma, either directly or indirectly can help stop the spread of misinformation and false beliefs surrounding this condition. It is up to us to clear the air, so that the teachings of valid research can be applied for those in need.