DR ELLIE CANNON: Asthma makes me wheezy… so how can I get fit?

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , /

Exercise, as we know, is hugely beneficial for easing symptoms of a number of common health problems, asthma included Asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing and struggling to breathe, often improve when patients have lost some weight through exercise But getting the heart racing can also worsen breathlessness, usually temporarily. So, it’s a catch-22 situation First, it’s important to make sure asthma is managed correctly. A blue ‘reliever’ inhaler should be used whenever symptoms come on, and it can be effective to use it prior to exercise to prevent breathlessness But if your symptoms are severe, a stronger prescription may be needed. This could come from a combination inhaler, such as Fostair or Symbicort Beyond that, higher doses of steroids, along with tablets, usually give patients the best control     More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday.   DR ELLIE CANNON: How do I shake off my shingles?   07/09/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: How can I ease this awful pain if I can’t get my migraine pills? 31/08/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: I’m a fit 9st so why’s my cholesterol high? 17/08/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: Why is my food so hard to swallow? 27/07/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: I’m overweight and medication is to blame 20/07/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: I’ve been floored by my back pain  13/07/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: Prince Charles is wrong – homeopathy is dangerous 29/06/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: I’m a man so why do I get these hot flushes?  22/06/19   DR ELLIE CANNON: Is it ok to have blood in my urine?  15/06/19   VIEW FULL ARCHIVE Exercise is perhaps even more important for asthma sufferers because it will improve their lung function in the long term And for those who are overweight, losing a bit will slash chances of an asthma attack Perhaps start with something gentle such as a daily walk, swimming, gardening or walking around the house Lifting gentle weights can be easier than cardio exercise. Aim to get the heart rate up slightly, but not so much that you become out of breath Don’t worry about getting breathless – if you start gradually, this shouldn’t happen A dry mouth doesn’t seem like a big deal but it can be very debilitating, particularly if it wakes you up at night If a dry mouth is causing significant discomfort for patients, doctors refer to it as xerostomia The most likely cause of a dry mouth is medication. A pharmacist will be able to tell you if any of the tablets you take could be the culprit Lots of common medications have this effect, including diuretics for high blood pressure, and antihistamines Parkinson’s drugs and others called anticholinergics also cause a dry mouth. These are sometimes prescribed to treat a whole host of other conditions too Other common causes are dehydration and anxiety.Then there are medical conditions such as diabetes and certain liver and pancreatic problems If it’s impacting on your life, visit your GP who will do tests to rule out these serious problems Otherwise, cancer treatment such as radiotherapy to the head or neck could cause a dry mouth as radiation affects the salivary glands In rare cases, Sjogren’s syndrome, a condition that affects the immune system, may be the underlying issue As well as dry mouth, it causes dry eyes, fatigue and aches and pains.In Sjogren’s, the immune system wrongly attacks tissue, including the salivary glands It is worth raising this with your doctor and asking to be tested for it. If this is the case, specialist medication can be used to increase saliva production Bog-standard mouthwash isn’t likely to help. Instead, ask your GP or pharmacist for artificial saliva – some are available to buy over the counter and others can be prescribed They mimic the composition of saliva, reducing the feeling of dryness.Some over-the-counter pastilles can help too – they stimulate the production of your own saliva Specialised mouthwashes, gels and sprays are also available from most local pharmacies Brave Marcia Cross is sending the right message Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross admitted last week that ‘it’s not particularly glamorous’ to be the face of anal cancerDesperate Housewives star Marcia Cross admitted last week that ‘it’s not particularly glamorous’ to be the face of anal cancer The actress, right, revealed she had been receiving treatment for the rare form of cancer, which develops in the large bowel and affects some 1,400 people in the UK every year Luckily for Marcia, she is in remission. And I suspect that many of her fans will be unaware such a cancer even exists, so huge credit to her for raising awareness of something that others might find embarrassing Like cervical cancer, most anal cancers are caused by the HPV virus. This month, the HPV vaccination has been rolled out to boys in the UK aged 12 and 13, and this is exactly why The vaccine targets a whole host of related cancers and could prevent 90 per cent of cases like Marcia’s We won’t follow U.S. on opioid crisisAre we heading into an opioid crisis like the US? I don’t think so Last week, a shocking report by Public Health England warned that one in four adults is using potentially addictive prescription drugs In America, doctors are incentivised to hand out certain medications, and painkillers are directly advertised to the public, but things are a bit different here GPs are aware that we should avoid prescribing tramadol, a strong painkiller.If you are worried about your use of painkillers, take a break and use the lowest effective dose   Good  news for nappers. Research from Switzerland reveals that people who doze in the afternoon are less likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack But don’t overdo it. The secret is napping once or twice a week, not most days. You should also try to keep those naps to under 30 minutes before 3pm, so you don’t have trouble sleeping at night It is thought that a siesta a few times a week allows us to catch up on rest and eases stress

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