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Asthma Alerts for Women

Asthma Alerts for Women
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Highlights

When it comes to women and asthma, the ability to breathe can be affected by pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, and menopause. Women who also have allergies and other asthma triggers may struggle to get a breath of fresh air.

When it comes to women and asthma, the ability to breathe can be affected by pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, and menopause. Women who also have allergies and other asthma triggers may struggle to get a breath of fresh air.

Changing estrogen levels can lead to an inflammatory response, which can bring on asthma symptoms. In addition, asthma attacks can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their babies, since neither of them are getting enough oxygen when an attack happens.

Can It Be Prevented?
In most cases, the causes of asthma are unknown and there is no absolute cure for it. However, asthma can be controlled if the patient knows the warning signs of an attack, stays away from things that trigger an attack, and follows the advice of their doctor or other health professionals. Many doctors suggest using daily maintenance medication rather than relying only on rescue inhalers, since symptom prevention is preferable to treating symptoms once they have started.

For women living with chronic asthma, the trick to keeping your symptoms in check is working closely with your doctor to manage your ability to breath. Here are some tips on how to keep your airways open, despite what’s happening with your hormones:

For women with regular menstrual cycles: Avoid your known allergens right before your period is about to begin.

For women with irregular menstrual cycles: Watch your symptoms carefully. Use a peak flow meter to measure your ability to push air out of your lungs. Decreasing numbers can help indicate when your period might be approaching -- and you can be vigilant about avoiding triggers.

For all women: Always use maintenance medication, at the direction of your doctor, instead of relying on rescue inhalers. It’s far more important for lung health to prevent symptoms, instead of treating symptoms once they have started.

For pregnant women with asthma: Take maintenance medication; It’s critical. For women who are dealing with asthma during pregnancy, maintenance medications are essential for your health and for the health of your baby, so talk to your health care provider.

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