Asthma Is A Complex Condition
Occasionally, people with asthma experience what are known as silent symptoms. This is where the signs of the tightening of the airways dont result in the familiar asthma sounds of wheezing and coughing. If you or someone you live with, work with, or care for experiences silent symptoms, it is important they consult a doctor for an ongoing Asthma Action Plan. People around the person with asthmasuch as co-workers, school teachers or daycare educators should know about the silent symptoms so they can respond if needed. Asthma can start at any age, and can be more of a problem when it starts in older adults. Dont assume if you never had asthma as a child that its not possible to develop symptoms now. Being breathless is not a normal part of getting older, it should always be checked out by a doctor.
What Is Good Asthma Care
Your doctor or nurse will tailor your asthma treatment to your symptoms. Sometimes you may need to be on higher levels of medication than at others.
You should be offered:
- care at your GP surgery provided by doctors and nurses trained in asthma management
- full information about your condition and how to control it
- involvement in making decisions about your treatment
- regular checks to ensure your asthma is under control and your treatment is right for you
- a written personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse
It is also important that your GP or pharmacist teaches you how to properly use your inhaler, as this is an important part of good asthma care.
What Causes Heaviness In Chest And Throat
It is quite common for an individual to experience a sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat on an occasional basis. However, heaviness in the chest and throat can cause a lot of discomfort and interferes with routine activities of an individual. It is not always that this sensation is related to a cardiovascular condition but it is essential to rule out potentially serious medical conditions that may be causing heaviness in the chest and throat.
Heaviness in the chest and throat happens when there is constriction in the throat and chest. There may be many causes for this to occur. Some of the causes of a feeling of pressure in the chest and throat are:
Asthma: This is a medical condition in which the airways become narrow and swell as a result of secretion of mucous. This may result in tightness of the chest and throat. Additionally, the individual may find it difficult to breathe in cases of asthma which may further worsen the feeling of pressure in the chest and throat. Once asthma is treated the sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat gradually resolves.
Respiratory System Disorders: This is yet another cause for sensation of pressure in the chest and throat. A respiratory system disorder can be caused due to allergies, inhaling contaminated air, and inhaling toxic chemicals. Bronchitis is the most common respiratory system disorder which tends to cause a sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat.
Q: What Happens To The Lungs During A Mild Case Of Covid
Dr. Connolly: Once in the chest, the virus begins to impact a person’s airways causing inflammation. As inflammation increases, a barking, dry cough that sounds and feels like asthma develops. In addition, this can cause chest tightness or deep pain while breathing.
Even though it’s generally mild for some people, the swelling and tightness that results from airway inflammation is essentially like having a sprained windpipe. Think of it like having a sprained ankle, but the effects and discomfort that come with having a sprain are felt inside of your chest.
Ways To Reduce Chest Pressure
When you are experiencing chest pressure and/or tightness, the key is to try to figure out the potential causes. Once you deem anxiety to be the cause of the symptom, the next goal is to stop it. See the following examples:
- Hyperventilation: Try to get your breathing under control by taking slower, deeper breaths and not trying to over-breathe or breathe too fast. When youre experiencing hyperventilation, you may feel as though youre not getting enough air, but hyperventilation occurs when you have expelled more CO2 than you make. So breathing more slowly helps to rebuild those CO2 levels.
- Bloating/Heartburn: If you can potentially reduce/prevent any gas, do so. You may also want to consider taking an antacid or drinking water, which may help with bloating or heartburn. Heartburn can be improved by eating more slowly, decreasing the amounts of spicy foods you consume, and staying upright for at least 30 minutes after eating. Also, avoid heartburn-inducing foods like peppermint, chocolate, coffee or caffeinated beverages, tomatoes, alcohol, and citrus fruits
- Muscle Strain: Be mindful of lifting or carrying items that are too heavy. Make sure to stretch and warm up your muscles before doing any strenuous activities.
These are only temporary fixes. Remember that your chest pressure and/or tightness is often related to some type of anxiety issue or anxiety disorder. That means that the only way to prevent the chest pressure from returning is to learn to manage your anxiety.
Q: What Happens To The Lungs During A More Severe Case Of Covid
Dr. Connolly: For some people, the infection becomes more serious and the lung tissue itself becomes swollen and filled with fluid and debris from dead cells which is clinically referred to as pneumonia.
This fluid build-up can affect a person’s oxygen levels, and pneumonia can be mild, moderate, severe or even life-threatening, depending on how impaired gas transfer becomes and how difficult it is to breathe.
If the transfer of oxygen into the blood stream is reduced, a person will often need supplemental oxygen and very close monitoring in a hospital setting.
In very serious cases, a person may need to be placed on ventilator support in the ICU.
Early on during the pandemic, there were a lot of unknowns about how contagious the virus could become during various medical interventions. Time and experience has taught us a lot about this virus, and now we’re able to more safely use several noninvasive breathing and oxygen devices, as well as techniques such as prone positioning before we have to resort to full life support with a ventilator.
The Basics Of Diagnosing Asthma
Your doctor will probably start your examination by delving into your past medical history and asking whether any of your relatives have allergies or asthma. You’ll also be asked to describe your symptoms, their severity, and what, if anything, is triggering them.
Triggers could include cold air, dust, hairsprays, perfumes, household cleaner vapors, cigarette or cigar smoke, and air pollution, Asciuto says.
Doctors also try to narrow down the list of culprits by asking these additional questions:
- Is your cough worse at night?
- Do you have more symptoms when youre at home or at work?
- Do you have other health problems that could be causing these symptoms, such as a sinus infection or acid reflux?
Next, your doctor will listen to your breathing with a stethoscope and may order one or more of these diagnostic tests:
Its also important to note that you can have asthma without experiencing any of the hallmark symptoms. There’s no single patient profile for asthma, says Dr. Fineman. “Some will have more coughing, some more wheezing, and some have more problems breathing with exercise, he says.
Frightening Symptoms Of Anxiety
Chest tightness is an anxiety symptom that often causes a severe amount of distress. That is because chest tightness has a negative connotation that links it to severe health conditions. This can be very daunting for individuals who do not know much about the physical effects of stress and anxiety in their lives.
Gerd And Heart Disease
GERD can cause a Â pain in your chest that can be confused with the symptoms of a Â heart attack. Sometimes medical professionals diagnose GERD after evaluating a patient for episodes ofÂ chest painÂ that are found to be unrelated toÂ heart disease.
IMPORTANT! Never ignore pain in your chest. Seek immediate medical help. Call 911. Any delay in getting help may be fatal. If your doctor says you have GERD, ask what you should do when you have chest pain.
History And Physical Examination
Your physical examination will include checking your vital signs, such as your temperature, pulse, and breathing rate. A fever can be an indication of an infection. Rapid breathing or a rapid heart rate can be a sign of a severe infection or an impending asthma attack.
Your doctor will listen to your breathing sounds with a stethoscope, which will help determine whether your congestion is on one side of the lungs or both.
- Generally, with asthma and allergies, congestion affects both lungs.
- Congestion can be limited to one lung or one section of a lung when there is another cause, such as an infection.
What You Can Do At Home
To control or loosen mucus at home, you can try the following remedies:
Humidify. Try a cool mist humidifier or hop into a steamy shower to keep your airways moisturized.
Try a teaspoon of honey. Though honey doesnt get rid of mucus, it can calm your cough temporarily.
Check air filters. Other irritants in the air can make mucus production worse, so make sure your heating and cooling system filters are clean and up to date.
Tips To Sleep Better With Severe Asthma At Night
Nocturnal asthma is associated with poor sleep quality. This condition of sleeplessness and its effects are worse for children. The average total sleep quality score of children affected by asthma is 51, which is above the clinical cut off of 41, but it indicates the pervasive sleep disturbances among this population.
Here are a few tips that can help you sleep better with asthma at night:
What Types Of Asthma Are There
Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma can be:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Functional Assessments Of Diseases That Masquerade As Asthma
Shortness of breath, cough, wheezing and chest tightness are not specific for asthma. Thus children who present in this manner may have other medical conditions. The differential diagnosis of wheezing and dyspnea in pediatric subjects is influenced by the age of the patient. The younger the child, the more one has to consider congenital problems involving the airways or cardiopulmonary system. This is especially true for infants and toddlers. In terms of older children and adolescents, the confounding conditions will be more analogous to the problems seen in adults. When considering the possible causes, an assessment of lung function will often help arrive at the correct diagnosis.
Children with bronchiolitis obliterans have experienced insults to their lungs that have led to scarring within small airways and severe airway obstruction.78 They may present with dyspnea and/or wheezing, leading to the impression that they have asthma. On assessment of lung function, they demonstrate an obstructive pattern with evidence of hyperinflation and decreased expiratory flow rates. The same pattern is seen in other obstructive processes, including asthma and cystic fibrosis. In bronchiolitis obliterans the correct diagnosis may be suggested by the lack of significant reversal of the airway obstruction with therapy that includes bronchodilators and/or corticosteroids, combined with other results such as lung imaging.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Bronchial Asthma
Classic bronchial asthma symptoms and signs
* Bronchoconstriction caused by a CO2 deficiency* Inflammation of airways * Increased sensitivity of the immune system to innocent triggers * Excessive production of mucus in airways
Early warning signs
Increased mouth breathing, both during days and night sleepIncreased night-time coughIncreased sleeping on ones backRestless sleep or waking up tiredWorsening allergy symptoms like runny noseCough or wheezing with physical activityTiredness with activities that you normally could complete easily
Symptoms of mild bronchial asthma
Chronic cough, especially at nightWheezingIncreased mucus production, especially in the morningChest tightness, pain, or discomfortIncreased difficulty completing your normal activities
Further development of bronchial asthma
You can hear yourself wheezingExperience a cough that just wont go away Have more trouble falling asleep and getting a good nights restIncreased heart rate Have PEFRs well into the yellow zoneGet less relief from your quick relief medications
Signs of a possible emergency
Severe wheezing while breathing both in and outBreathing very fastGetting short of breath while or having difficulty talkingA feeling of impending doom or panicProfuse sweating
Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma
To establish a diagnosis of asthma, the clinician should determine that:
- Episodic symptoms of airflow obstruction or airway hyperresponsiveness are present.
- Airflow obstruction is at least partially reversible.
- Alternative diagnoses are excluded.
Recommended methods to establish the diagnosis are:
- Detailed medical history.
- Physical exam focusing on the upper respiratory tract, chest, and skin.
- Spirometry to demonstrate obstruction and assess reversibility, including in children 5 years of age or older. Reversibility is determined either by an increase in FEV1 of 12 percent from baseline or by an increase 10 percent of predicted FEV1 after inhalation of a short-acting bronchodilator.
Additional studies are not routinely necessary but may be useful when considering alternative diagnoses:
It is important to consider a diagnosis of asthma if certain elements of the clinical history are present they are not diagnostic by themselves but increase the probability of a diagnosis of asthma:
Spirometry is needed to establish a diagnosis of asthma.
Treating A Tight Chest
Your doctor will conduct tests to determine the cause of your chest tightness. If the tests for a heart attack come back negative, your symptoms may be caused by anxiety.
You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine when to seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest tightness again. It may be possible to link your chest tightness to other symptoms thatll help you identify anxiety versus a cardiac event.
How You Can Tell If You Are Suffering From Anxiety
The easiest way to determine if you are suffering from anxiety-induced chest tightness is by ruling out any cardiac or lung-related disease. Only a physician can rule these out completely.
A few signs can be helpful in determining if your chest tightness is cardiac-related. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. So, when in doubt, please visit your primary care physician. Generally, the following is more likely to be true of anxiety-related chest tightness and/or pressure:
- It is less likely to radiate towards the back, arms, or shoulders.
- It is more likely to occur with other anxiety symptoms.
- It tends to last for less than 10 minutes.
Again, having chest pain that abides by these suggestions does not rule out any cardiac or pulmonary causes. Also, women, diabetics, and the elderly often present with chest pain that is atypical of traditional cardiac chest tightness. So, if you belong to one of these groups and have new-onset chest pressure and/or tightness, it is best to see a physician first.
Anxiety attacks have a peak time, and that tends to be when the chest pressure is at its worst. Cardiac chest pressure, on the other hand, is more likely to last longer than 15 minutes, radiate, not be relieved with the resolution of anxiety, and be associated with shortness of breath etc.
Q: What Does A Person With A Preexisting Lung Condition Need To Know About Covid
Dr. Connolly: A person with pre-existing lung diseases, such as asthma or COPD, generally has less respiratory reserve than a person with no lung issues. Because of this, these individuals are more vulnerable and generally have a harder time if their lungs are impacted by an acute infection.
However, while we initially assumed that people with lung diseases would be disproportionately impacted by this virus, what we’re actually seeing in our patient population is that COVID-19 appears to be targeting other groups more consistently particularly people who are obese, diabetic or have vascular disease such as hypertension.
We still don’t fully understand why people with preexisting lung conditions don’t make up a larger majority of current COVID-19 cases as initially anticipated. Preliminary data suggest that people with asthma may make less of the receptor that the virus uses to invade the body, called ACE2, making it more difficult for the virus to gain entry into the host. In addition, ongoing maintenance therapy with inhaled steroids, such as budesonide, may also confer an advantage for people with chronic lung conditions.
Treatment Of Heaviness In Chest And Throat
The treatment for heaviness in the chest and throat depends on the underlying cause. Thus, it is vital to identify a cause for this condition. This is normally done through a battery of tests like blood tests, complete physical examination, and chest x-rays. Once a cause is identified then the physician formulates a treatment plan for the patient.
In majority of the cases, once the underlying cause is treated the sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat goes away. In case of a bacterial or a viral infection causing heaviness in the chest and throat, antibiotic or antiviral medications may be prescribed to treat the underlying condition and resolve the sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat.
If asthma is believed to be the cause of this condition, then inhalers and other forms of treatment of asthma will be administered to resolve the sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat. Humidifiers may also be used to decrease the secretions of mucous to treat the sensation of heaviness in the chest and throat. A patient may also use over the counter decongestants to loosen up the mucous and treat heaviness in the chest and throat.
How Asthma Is Treated
While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition.
Treatment is based on two important goals, which are:
- relieving symptoms
- preventing future symptoms and attacks
For most people, this will involve the occasional or, more commonly, daily use of medications, usually taken using an inhaler. However, identifying and avoiding possible triggers is also important.
You should have a personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse that includes information about the medicines you need to take, how to recognise when your symptoms are getting worse, and what steps to take when they do so.
These symptoms are often worse at night and early in the morning, particularly if the condition is not well controlled. They may also develop or become worse in response to a certain trigger, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
Read our page on the causes of asthma for more information about potential triggers.
Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have asthma. You should also talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if you have been diagnosed with asthma and you are finding it difficult to control the symptoms.
Can Acid Reflux Cause Nerve Pain
Acid reflux symptoms can be typical or atypical in nature. Tingling limbs and nerve pain are considered rare and atypical acid reflux symptoms.
Dr. Mark Babyatsky, a former department chairman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, explained that inflammation from acid reflux can reach the lungs and trigger pneumonia.
As a result, the diaphragm can become inflamed, affecting the phrenic nerve, which is a nerve connecting the neck, lung, heart, and diaphragm. In this scenario, a patient can feel referred pain in the limbs, specifically the arms and shoulders.
Alternatively, nerve-related issues may be caused by pre-existing neuropathic conditions, leading to acid reflux. An example of this is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy characterized by slow digestion. This leads to bloating, heartburn, and vomiting of undigested food.
If youre experiencing acid reflux symptoms with nerve pain, theres a high chance that your nerve pain is not reflux-related, especially if you are experiencing temporary reflux. Get in touch with a medical professional to find a separate diagnosis concerning your nerve pain.
Whats An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
How Common Is Chest Tightness In People With Asthma
In the emergency department survey of people with asthma, 91% reported feeling chest tightness.3 Chest pain was less common. It occurred in about 76% of people.
Asthma-related chest tightness often occurs during exercise or at night.2 If your history and physical exam suggest that you have asthma, your provider may ask you to do spirometry to confirm the diagnosis. Spirometry is an important lung function test to evaluate how much and how quickly you can exhale air. The test is usually done before and after taking a medication that opens the airways . Asthma is likely if medications are able to open the airways.
What Other Conditions Can Cause Chest Tightness
Chest pain can be a sign of serious or life-threatening heart disease, lung clots, or pneumonia.4 Less urgent causes of chest discomfort are ulcers, GERD , chest wall pain, and panic disorder.4
What Causes Chest Tightness
There is no exact explanation of what causes chest tightness in anxiety sufferers. Nevertheless, it is advised to seek a primary care provider immediately for any sudden or worsening chest pain in order to rule out possible cardiac disease.
Do not by any means feel as if you are bothering anyone when you seek help for chest pain. Once serious health conditions are ruled out, you can begin to tackle your anxiety-induced chest pain.
Rest assured that anxiety can commonly cause chest tightness and chest pain for a variety of reasons. These include:
Chest tightness most often occurs right before or during an anxiety attack. It may also present spontaneously with no anxiety at all in what is known as a limited-symptom panic attack.
Rest assured that chest discomfort caused by anxiety is usually harmless.
Surprising Signs Of Adult
This post is available in: Spanish
That persistent cough that keeps you up at night may stem from more than just a tickle in the back of your throat. It could be adult-onset asthma.
Many people experience a jolt of disbelief when they are diagnosed with asthma later in life, especially if they have never experienced symptoms before. Asthma? That condition that causes kids to wheeze?
It turns out adult-onset asthma is far more common than many people realize. Asthma is often considered a disease of children, so adults may be surprised when they are diagnosed with asthma, says pulmonologist Javier Pérez-Fernández, M.D., the critical care director at Baptist Hospital of Miami.
The number of people with asthma grows every year. Currently, more than 26 million Americans have asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases, more than 20 million are among adults, with the greatest number of cases among ages 35 and 65.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that can lead to coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath or wheezing. Among adults who develop asthma later in life, the symptoms may initially be more subtle than in children, which can cause patients to overlook or ignore the condition. But its important to treat symptoms as soon as possible so they dont become severe, said Dr. Pérez-Fernández, who also serves as director of pulmonology for West Kendall Baptist Hospital.