Can Inactivity, Such As Lying Around Watching Tv All The Time, Contribute To An Asthma Attack?

Question

Asked by Bubbles 1

Can Inactivity, Such As Lying Around Watching Tv All The Time, Contribute To An Asthma Attack?

Family member who is a 85yrs old has absolutely no activities in her life even though she is in very good health. She hurt her rib (checked out at hospital and OK) and would only breath very shallow breaths. I advised her to take some deep breaths hourly and clear any conjestion from her lungs. Within a couple of days she was complaining of her Asthma. ( It was bad by this time.)

Can I guide her through any breathing exercises or hopefully activity that will help to prevent her flare ups?

Thank you.

Answer

Hi there... My first concern, given your family member's age and recent lack of mobility, is pneumonia. That is always a risk for fragile elderly who lie around much of the time, especially if they have any underlying airway disease. When we lie around, any fluid that may collect in the lungs is a sitting duck for infection, which can quickly lead to pneumonia. So, regular activity -- of any kind -- is an important prevention measure.

Deep breathing is another great step. So, you're on the right track. But first, focus on getting your family member to sit up part of the day or at least lie with her head elevated. In addition, try to get her to get up and move around (even if just to walk up and down the hall) every hour or two.

As far as breathing exercises, deep breathing is one strategy. Have her focus on breathing in slowly and deeply to a count of 5, then out again to a count of 5. Pursed lip breathing may also be of some help. This is where you breathe in deeply through your nose and then blow the air out through your mouth, with your lips pursed, as though to blow out a candle. Pursed lip breathing can provide some resistance in the airways, helping them to expand and relax.

Having said all that, I want to alert you also to the signs of pneumonia. If you notice them or have any concerns whatsoever, please call your loved one's doctor right away. Pneumonia isn't something you want an older person to just try to weather through. Medical attentions is crucial. The signs are often similar to a cold or the flu, often starting with a mucousy-cough and a fever, but also could include the following.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Shaking chills
  • Chest pain that fluctuates with breathing (pleurisy)
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue

Good luck!

Kathi

Answered by Kathi MacNaughton