Successfully Living With Asbestos Related Diseases
Staying Physically Healthy
- Get a balance of rest and exercise. Stay active to maintain strength and involvement in life, pace yourself, take frequent breaks, and consult your doctor about what’s best for you.
- Drink plenty of fluids. This will help you cough up secretions and reduce the risk of infection.
- Wash your hands often. Respiratory infections can be a serious complication. Stay away from crowds and people with colds or the flu.
- Get regular checkups. See your primary care physician on a regular basis.
Call your health care provider if any of these signs occur
Fever, increased coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing, chest pain, changes in mucus such as thicker, a different color, or a foul odor, stuffy nose, sneezing or sore throat, increased fatigue or weakness, weight gain or loss of more than six pounds in a week, or swollen ankles or feet
Staying Mentally Healthy
Feelings of anger, frustration, depression, anxiety, and fear, among many others, are normal experiences when living with ARD. If your physical or mental distress feels like it is not tolerable, seek professional assistance. To stay mentally healthy:
- Be aware of your emotions, level of stress, and moods, and how they are connected.
- Acknowledge and express your feelings—talk with someone, create something, or find some other healthy ways that work for you to let things out.
- Be proactive in addressing problems and managing stress—don’t wait for things to build up.
- Remind yourself to be flexible and open minded to new things, as you have been in the past, because we must always adapt to life’s constant changes (good and bad).
- Remember that although we can not be in control of all of life’s events, we are in control of our attitudes and how we choose to live each day.
- Be Aware of what you’re breathing. Stay away from smoke and smokers and if you are a smoker, this is a good time to stop.
- Check air quality index (293-5645) and stay indoors when air pollutants or pollen counts are high.
- Keep dust in the home and yard to a minimum.
- Avoid breathing paint fumes or aerosols like oven cleaner.
- Be Aware of what activities impact your breathing.
- Eat a healthy diet. Getting adequate nutrition to maintain energy.
- Eat small frequent meals rather than 3 large meals a day. A full belly puts pressure on your lungs, making it difficult to breath.
- Keep a diary of when you have trouble breathing and what you were doing just beforehand. This will help you identify and avoid things that make breathing difficult.
Managing Breathing Problems
It can be frightening to have trouble breathing. Here are some steps to help manage the situation. These can be learned and practiced until they become almost automatic. If you continue to have significant difficulties breathing, or if you are having more frequent and severe episodes, contact your medical provider.
- Remind yourself to stay calm. When you are having difficulty breathing it is natural to get worried and tense however, this can often make breathing even more difficult. Repeat positive messages such as “I’m okay, I know what to do to calm myself down so I can breathe better.”
- Assess the situation. Determine if something in the environment is causing your distress, and if so, remove it or yourself from the situation. For example: perfume, smoke, arguments, etc.
- Always sit down and rest. Focus on keeping your mind and all your muscles relaxed.
- Practiced controlled breathing and relaxation techniques.
- Use respiratory aids as prescribed by your doctor.
If your physical or mental distress feels like it is not tolerable, seek professional assistance.