Note: I'm not a doctor, and nothing in this article should be considered medical advice! If you are suffering from shortness of breath the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor or dial 911 if it's an emergency!
Depending on who you talk to, asthma can be inflamed heavily by external factors. Cats, dust, pollen, a simple common cold or brisk winter air with a touch of inversion gases.
No one ever said having asthma would be easy, I guess. Actually, no one ever wanted to.
If you are unlucky enough to have asthma, you probably know it. If not, it's worth checking out if you find you find yourself chronically unable to pull enough air in to feel good.
If you find that you have a consistent cough, wheezing in your airways, tightness in your chest, chances are you either have asthma, chronic bronchitis, or COPD. That's not an all-encompassing list, but these are the common baddies for someone who always or often has these symptoms.
So what's a guy to do? Particularly if you have a cat, live in a dusty area, or live in an area that tends to have bad air?
Well, the truth is that asthma is a lifelong condition. The best you can do is mitigate the symptoms.
How, you ask?
Well, you have to consider your individual situation.
You can get a peak flow meter, which helps you monitor your lung function. By keeping a journal of your lung capacity, you can identify which factors are weighing most heavily on your ability to breathe.
Once you get a good idea of what's going on, you have a few options.
There are climates you can move to that will help you avoid situations or scenarios that exacerbate your condition.
Obviously, there are certain types of pets that should be avoided, and some that could be encouraged. Animals with low or no dander are few and far between, but there are plenty of friends that don't shed or dander all over your stuff.
You can also treat the symptoms. A good inhaler is worth its weight in gold. When you're having a really tough time, one or two puffs can help extend your airways so that you have more room for the inflammation and the mucus that result from an attack.
Beyond that, consider an asthma air purifier. This can really help to ensure that all the air in your house is as treated as possible before it gets inside your body.
Keep in mind that no purifier is perfect. Especially if yours is clogged with cat hair and smog.
If you're all homeopathic and don't want to bother going to Walmart, sit yourself upright anytime an attack happens. If you get too anxious or worked up, you're going to be working harder and potentially enflaming your lungs even more by forcing air too quickly through them.
Figure out what that trigger is and get the hell away from it. Drink something hot and caffeinated, maybe something with honey--a natural anti-histamine.
Most important, take long slow breaths. If you breath short and shallow you don't penetrate to the deepest parts of your lungs. The truth is that you likely get plenty more than you need every time you breathe. Remembering this and staying calm is key.