What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is a condition in which the lining of the airways swells. The muscles around the airways tighten and make the airways narrower. All of these changes in the lungs block the adequate flow of air, making it hard to breathe. Asthma “attack” or episode is a time of increased asthma symptoms. The symptoms can be mild or severe. Anyone can have a severe attack, even those with mild asthma. The attack can start suddenly or slowly. Sometimes, a mild attack may seem to go away but will come back a few hours later, and the second attack will be much worse than the first. Severe asthma symptoms need medical care immediately.
Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers
Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.
The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.
Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.
Are Some People At Greater Risk For Asthma
About one in 13 Americans has asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American But experts still aren’t sure what causes the disease.
“There’s clear evidence that respiratory and viral infections early in life can drive the development of asthma,” says Mitchell Grayson, MD, chair of AAFA’s Medical Scientific Council and director of the division of allergy and immunology at The Ohio State University. “But there are also people who get asthma who that doesn’t apply to.”
Researchers have been able to identify some risk factors for asthma, however. For example, the American Lung Association says having a family history makes you three to six times more likely to develop the disease.
The ALA says other potential risk factors for asthma include:
- Occupational exposures, like industrial dusts or other irritants in the workplace
- Smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke
There is also evidence that asthma disproportionately impacts communities of color and low-income communities.
For example, a recent study in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports shows how structural and socioeconomic barriersfrom housing conditions to lack of treatment access and asthma educationlead to much greater rates of uncontrolled asthma.
Research from AAFA also shows that Black Americans are five times more likely to need emergency room care due to asthmaand three times more likely to die from the disease.
Don’t Miss: Does Albuterol Weaken The Immune System
Two Coronavirus Side Effects That Might Never Go Away
- Surviving a novel coronavirus infection doesnt mean everything will go back to normal for many COVID-19 patients who will continue to suffer from ongoing Long COVID symptoms.
- A series of recent studies identified COVID-19 side effects that might never go away, as well as one annoying coronavirus symptom that can linger for weeks after an infection is cleared.
- Doctors have found cases where coronavirus survivors developed abnormalities in the frontal lobe of the brain, as well as patients who lost hearing in one ear. Other people might experience ongoing dermatological issues that can take several weeks to clear.
Coronavirus figures have been plastered all over the news for months, and theyre only going higher as the virus continues to infect record numbers of people. Nearly 45.4 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 worldwide as of Friday morning, and almost 1.2 million people lost their lives due to COVID-19 complications. But there are at least two incredibly misleading details in those figures. First of all, the number of COVID-19 infections is significantly higher. Millions of people who catch the virus are never tested. Secondly, the stats divide patients into two categories: fatalities and survivors. The reality is that theres also a gray area that the numbers do not address.
Do Kids Outgrow Asthma
While scientists are not exactly sure why, as many as half of all kids with asthma see a significant improvement, or total elimination, of their asthma symptoms with increasing age.
It is nearly impossible to determine which kids will outgrow their asthma or have significant reduction in symptoms. However, symptoms can come back at any time so it is more appropriate to think of it as a period of remission. In fact, many of these patients who appear to have outgrown their asthma will have a return of symptoms as an adult.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Asthma Without Inhaler
Can Asthma Reappear In Adults After Disappearing Years Ago
Asthma is usually diagnosed in childhood. In many patients however, the symptoms will disappear or are significantly reduced after puberty. After age 20, symptoms may begin to reappear.
Researchers have tracked this tendency for reappearing asthma and found that people with childhood asthma tend to experience reappearing symptoms through their 30s and 40s at various levels of severity.
Regardless of whether your asthma is active, you should continue to avoid your known triggers and keep your rescue medications or prescriptions up-to-date and handy in case you need them.
Who Is Most Likely To Outgrow Asthma
It might be easier to point out who is not likely to outgrow asthma. While most wheezing in early life is due to viral respiratory infections such as the respiratory syncytial virus, differentiating viral illness from asthma can be difficult. Children who experience multiple wheezing episodes before age 3 and contain at least one of the following risk factors are at increased risk of continuing to wheeze:
- Parent with asthma
- Have a diagnosis of eczema
Or 2 of these symptoms:
- Food allergy
- Wheezing episodes not associated with colds
- Elevated levels of eosinophils in the blood
Research at National Jewish Health found that only 6% of children followed for 9 years were considered in complete remission from asthma with no asthma activity meaning no asthma symptoms, medication use, or urgent care visits for asthma.
The following factors have been associated with increased likelihood a period of remission or improving asthma:
- Boys are more likely than girls
- Older the age at diagnosis
- Wheezing only with a cold, but otherwise being symptom-free
- Lower levels IgE and other biochemical indicators of asthma severity
- No diagnosis of allergic diseases like eczema
- Less need for rescue medication and fewer asthma attacks
Read Also: Diclofenac And Asthma
What Does Asthma Remission Look Likeand Can You Flare After Being In Remission
According to the NIH study, the small number of people who see their asthma completely clear up never experience asthma symptoms again, nor do they need required inhaled treatments. Other adults simply see their asthma symptoms become more and more infrequent, Dr. Li says. “The diagnosis may ‘stay’ with the patient as they are at risk of a recurrence of the symptoms, but they may not need daily controller therapy if their symptoms are intermittent or are mild,” she explains.
And sometimes, even in those who have technically experienced asthma remission, symptoms may reappear, according to a 2003 paper published in Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. The paper also shares that some adults can start to experience asthmatic symptoms even if they haven’t suffered from any since childhood.
Overall though, little is known about who is likely to see remission and who will likely need to stay on an asthma treatment for the rest of their life, so it’s a good idea to keep in contact with an asthma specialist and talk at length with them before quitting any treatments. according to Dr. Li. “My best advice is to see a specialist and understand what type of asthma ,” she says. “From there, with appropriate therapy and follow-up, that person’s asthma action plan tailored.”
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter
Feeling Bogged Down By Your Asthma Come To Carolina Asthma & Allergy Care
If you or your child have not been able to outgrow your asthma symptoms, dont feel bad. As mentioned, asthma is incurable for most people. Here at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, we can help you have more good days living with your asthma. Were specialists when it comes to allergies and asthma and have operated for more than 60 years in Charlotte and have many other offices throughout North and South Carolina.
If youre ready to get your asthma under control and take back your life, give us a call. We can come up with an asthma management plan, including avoidance of triggers and prescription to medications as needed. Just because you cant cure asthma doesnt mean you have to live every day with breathing difficulties. Today is the day to do something about your asthma. Contact Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center for help.
Asthma Symptoms Can Mimic Other Illnesses Or Diseases Especially In Older Adults For Example:
- Hiatal hernia, stomach problems, heart failure, or rheumatic arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults especially those who are or have been smokers.
Children Do Not Outgrow Their Asthma
Its also a misconception that all children outgrow their asthma.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, children may experience remission from asthma as adults, but about one-third of children with asthma will have symptoms as adults.
A 2014 study found that its possible to experience a second peak of symptoms later in adulthood.
Also Check: Can You Join The Army If You Have Asthma
Can Asthma Get Worse At Different Times In My Life
There are certain stages in your life that might affect your asthma. For example, some women find that being pregnant can make asthma either better or worse and hormonal changes, at puberty, menopause or during the menstrual cycle might have an impact too.
There are lots of other life changes that might temporarily affect your asthma symptoms. Stress, for example, whether from a relationship breakdown or family illness, can make symptoms worse.
Having frequent asthma attacks can also make asthma worse over time. Asthma attacks can cause scarring in your airways which makes them narrower. This is sometimes called airway remodelling.
If your airways are scarred and narrow, youre more likely to have worse symptoms more often.
Are There Natural Remedies For Asthma
There’s no medical cure for asthma, so there’s no natural remedy either. But there are some things doctors recommend to help manage triggers and reduce flare-ups.
Dr. Monroy says people with asthma can work to control their environmental triggers, for example. This includes strategies like:
- Avoiding strong scents and perfumes
- Controlling humidity in your home to decrease dust mite and mold populations
- Keep your body fat percentage in check to reduce inflammation
She says stress-relieving techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help manage asthma symptoms as well.
“Stress can worsen asthma by heightening the immune response to environmental triggers,” she says. “It lowers your threshold for developing an asthma attack with an exposure such as cigarette smoke or an allergen.”
Check out other MD-approved home remedies that may help manage asthma.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Asthma Without Inhaler
What If I Get Sick Anyway
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you still get sick. As soon as you become sick, contact your doctor. The sooner you treat the illness or asthma episode, you have a better chance of keeping it from getting worse.
- Contact your doctor as soon as possible once you realize you are sick. If you think you may be contagious or have COVID-19, call your doctor first to avoid spreading the illness to others.
- Tell your doctor all the symptoms you are having and how long you have had them.
- If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19 or the flu or are having symptoms of either, share that information with your doctor. Stay home to reduce the risk of spreading illness to other people.
- Let them know what medicines you have been taking and how often including prescription and over-the-counter.
- Follow your new treatment plan, if your doctor gives you one. Asthma can be serious and you may need a course of OCS to fight the inflammation and help you breathe.
- Get plenty of rest. Drink water and eat healthy foods. Continue to avoid your asthma triggers.
- Know your Red Zone signs on your Asthma Action Plan. If you move into the Red Zone, contact your doctor right away or go directly to the emergency room.
If you get sick with a respiratory illness, dont ignore it or try to push through it. That can make your asthma harder to get under control if you get to the point where you need emergency treatment. It can also have serious consequences.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma
Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:
Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion
Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more
You May Like: Does Weight Gain Make Asthma Worse
How Is Asthma Treated
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.
Everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine.
You can breathe in some medicines and take other medicines as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two typesquick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks, but they dont help you while you are having an asthma attack.
Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your medicines.
Remember you can control your asthma. With your doctors help, make your own asthma action plan. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where he or she should keep it. Take your long-term control medicine even when you dont have symptoms.
How Is The Condition Diagnosed
To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. You also may be tested for allergies.
Your internist or family physician may refer you to an allergist or pulmonologist for specialized testing or treatment.
After middle age, most adults experience a decrease in their lung capacity. These changes in lung function may lead some physicians to overlook asthma as a possible diagnosis.
Untreated asthma can contribute to even greater permanent loss of lung function. If you have any asthma symptoms, dont ignore them, and dont try to treat them yourself. Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.
Read Also: How To Stop Wheezing Without An Inhaler
Personal Asthma Action Plan
As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.
If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.
The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.
As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.
Want to know more?
What Can Be Done About It
Asthma can be controlled. Moreover, it can be controlled by those who have asthma. The role of the physician is to provide the means for the patient to control asthma and to teach the patient to use provided measures .
Since asthma varies greatly in pattern of symptoms and severity, the treatment plan needs to be individualized. This should be done in a systematic manner. Goals of therapy must be realistically attainable and explicitly defined for you. The plan for attaining the treatment goals must be understood. Once the measures needed for control of asthma are identified, they can be placed in the hands of the patient with appropriate instructions for usage. Parental supervision is needed for young children, but progressive responsibility for self-management is given with advancing maturity.
Treatment may consist of medication, environmental changes, and life-style changes. The more the patient understands the disease and its treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be. The patient should therefore be an active partner in making decisions about treatment. Be wary, however, of superstitions and misinformation regarding asthma. More than almost any other medical problem, asthma is associated with a wide diversity of medical and nonmedical opinion. Both the physician and the patient therefore need to exercise judgment. Four common sense measures to remember are:
Don’t Miss: How To Calm Down Asthma Symptoms