Create An Asthma Action Plan
The American Lung Association recommends creating an asthma action plan to outline what type of medication you should take and when. It should also provide details about what to do if your asthma is dangerously out of control. These instructions will help you, friends, and relatives know when its time to change treatments or seek emergency care.
To make this plan:
- Discuss treatment options with your doctor.
- Plan what you should do in the event of an asthma flare-up.
- List what triggers can be avoided and the best ways to avoid them.
- Define at what point you need to increase treatment measures to prevent or reduce the severity of an attack.
Video: What Happens After Being Diagnosed With Asthma
Transcript of ‘What happens after being diagnosed with asthma?’
0:00 It can be really scary to be told you have asthma and it’s natural to worry about how it might affect your life. The
0:08 good news is that there’s lots of support out there to help you manage the condition and to help you to stay well.
0:15 You may wonder if your asthma can be cured. Well, even though we don’t have a cure for asthma at the moment, there’s so much we can do with the right medicines,
0:25 the right treatments, the right advice and support to help you stay well, so that the asthma won’t affect your life,
0:31 whether it be work or your play. You might find that when you’re just diagnosed with asthma it takes a little
0:38 bit of time to get your medicines just right so that you are living without symptoms every day. Be patient, hang on in there.
0:47 The most important thing is to develop a really good relationship with your doctor or nurse. With them you can draw up an asthma action plan, which you can
0:56 download from our website. That’ll really help you to manage your asthma well, and we know that you’re four times less likely to need to go to hospital if
1:04 you’ve got one of these. So, if you have just been diagnosed with asthma, try and stay positive. There’s so much you can do to stay well. You can visit our website,
1:14 or phone one of our friendly asthma nurse specialists, or even join a forum. Remember that we’re here to help.
What Is The Treatment For Asthma
Asthma symptoms can be treated with a variety of prescription medications that provide quick relief as well as long term control. Lifestyle changes can also reduce symptoms, especially if asthma is triggered by allergies to substances in the environment or to certain foods . Regular vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia are strongly recommended for older adults with asthma.
Keep in mind . . . Short-term use of oral steroids are helpful to treat acute asthma symptoms, or flare ups however, long-term use of oral steroids is usually avoided in older asthma patients. Over time, oral steroids can cause severe side effects, such as weakening of bones, ulcers, or high blood pressure.
People with asthma should develop a written asthma management plan with their physician. An asthma management plan outlines specific treatment and lifestyle practices, including what to do when asthma symptoms flare up or become out of control.
Older asthma patients should be sure to ask their physician about any aspect of their asthma treatment that they do not understand. Keeping the physician informed about how well treatment is working is important. Patients need to tell their physician if they are having trouble remembering to take their medications, or if they are having difficulty using devices such as an inhaler.
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An Overview Of Asthma
Asthma is a lung disease that causes inflammation in your airways that make it difficult to breathe. Your body also starts producing excess mucus, which further complicates your breathing.
Common causes of asthma attacks or flare-ups include:
- Air pollution
- Physical activity
When an asthma attack occurs, you can experience symptoms that range from mild to severe. These symptoms can include wheezing, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Managing Asthma In Adults: Minimize The Impact Of Adult
Asthma in adults is a fairly common issue. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute more than 17 million adults in the United States have asthma. Many people think of asthma as an issue that begins in childhood so it can be disheartening if you begin experiencing symptoms and are diagnosed with asthma in adulthood. Armed with knowledge medication and your doctor’s advice you can minimize the impact asthma has on your busy life.
Learn about adult onset asthma symptoms
Adult onset asthma is asthma that begins after adolescence. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center women are more likely than men to develop asthma as adults and sometimes experience asthma symptoms for the first time during pregnancy. Much like asthma that begins in childhood adult asthma symptoms include wheezing coughing and tightness in the chest.
If you think you might have asthma see your doctor. If you experience severe difficulty breathing call 911.
Develop a treatment plan for managing asthma with your doctor
Make environmental and lifestyle changes to minimize triggers
It’s important to stay active and exercise regularly even after an asthma diagnosis. According to the Mayo Clinic treatment will help control symptoms during physical activity and regular exercise can strengthen your lungs to improve symptoms.
Stay in touch with your doctor
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How To Get A Diagnosis
The first thing to do is book an appointment. Your GP or an asthma nurse can help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of asthma.
They can do this by:
- talking about your symptoms, what sets them off, and when you get them
- asking if anyone else in the family has asthma
- finding out if you, or anyone in your family, have other allergies, like hay fever
- testing how your lungs are working
- listening to your chest for any sounds of wheezing
- prescribing asthma treatments to see if they make a difference
- considering any other symptoms that might suggest something else.
Alongside a full clinical assessment by your GP, youll need some asthma tests to confirm or rule out asthma. Your GP can see how your lungs are working with tests like peak flow, spirometry, and FeNo .
Your GP can usually perform these tests during the appointment, and you can see the results straight away. But you may need to do tests again on another day before your GP can confirm you have asthma.
You may be given a peak flow meter to use at home for a couple of weeks. This is so you can record your own peak flow scores in a diary.
When you take it back to your appointment, your GP or asthma nurse will be able to see a pattern of scores that could suggest asthma.
Trying out asthma treatments
Your GP or asthma nurse may prescribe asthma treatments to see if they help. This is sometimes called a trial of treatment.
If your symptoms start to get better, it suggests you could have asthma.
Is There Any Way Of Altering The Course Of Asthma In Young Children
âItâs not really the case that intervention changes the course of asthma. But medicines have gotten so safe that we can pretty much neutralize symptoms indefinitely in the majority of people with asthma,â Johnson says. Uncontrolled asthma leads to emergency room visits, absenteeism from school, and missed opportunities for social and athletic interchange, he says.
Rachelefsky adds, âThe goal of asthma treatment is control of the disease to allow someone to have a normal life, knowing that it may not prevent the natural history of the disease. People should concentrate on the right diagnosis and treatment.â
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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.
Action Plans And Self
Action plans for exacerbations are effective in asthma, allowing patients to develop coping skills, anticipate early exacerbation symptoms, self-initiate appropriate treatment, and seek medical advice prior to significant deterioration. Trials assessing the effects of action plans in COPD management have shown conflicting results, with variable adjuncts to patient care likely contributors. Those with positive results, such as expedited exacerbation recovery and reduced hospital admissions, have included additional supports, such as intensive education and case management. In contrast, action plans with limited or no SME and no case management have little beneficial effect.
A recent randomized controlled trial that suggested an unexpected increase in all-cause and COPD-specific mortality with a comprehensive care management program including a COPD action plan for US veterans, highlighted the value of identifying those with adult-onset asthma for whom the benefits are well-documented. Putting this disturbing finding into the context of the COPD literature is important, and identifying factors predisposing to a poor outcome will be a challenge for those involved in developing clinical practice guidelines. While the association did not appear related to increasing age or COPD severity, these findings suggest that self-management programs may not be appropriate for all patients with COPD.
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What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
Risk Factors For Adult
Both asthma and COPD are acknowledged as complex diseases related to both genetic and environmental risk factors, but environment seems to play the stronger role. Although asthma has a high heritability, genetic studies to date have been able to explain only a small proportion of the variability. The evidence for a genetic etiology of adult-onset asthma is even less convincing, with neither family history nor atopy being clearly linked to this phenotype. Homozygous -1-antitrypsin deficiency is the most common genetic risk factor for COPD, and the odds are also increased among heterozygous alpha-1-antitrypsin deficient smokers. Very recently, an interaction has been demonstrated between the PiMZ genotype and occupational exposures to vapors, gas, dust, and fumes, on annual decline in lung function.
A growing body of evidence suggests that early life and childhood factors are important in both adult-onset asthma and COPD., This concept is based on data that show associations between various adverse perinatal outcomes and harmful environmental stimuli, with slowing of lung function growth for susceptible children and adolescents. This effectively reduces peak lung function and impacts on the corresponding trajectory of lung function decline in adulthood. Such prenatal and postnatal factors include intrauterine growth restriction, prematurity, second-hand smoke exposure, air pollution, recurrent respiratory infections, and personal smoking.
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Are There Any Special Considerations For Adults With Asthma
Many adults take several medications and/or use over-the counter medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, regularly. Work with your doctor to simplify your medication program as much as possible. Explore the possibility of combining medications or using alternate ones that will have the same desired effect. Be sure to discuss potential drug interactions with anything you take, including vitamins. Some asthma medications increase heart rate. If you have a heart condition, discuss those side affects with your health care provider. Older first generation antihistamines can cause men with enlarged prostates to retain urine. Oral steroids can make symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis worse. Adults with arthritis may need special inhalers that are easier to operate. Anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their doctor about getting a pneumonia vaccination. People with multiple medical conditions need to be aware of how their illnesses may affect one another.
This article was published by AAFA, copyright 1995. It can be accessed online at the following
Q: Is Asthma More Dangerous For Adults
A: Yes. The death rate for adult-onset asthma is substantially higher than the death rate for childhood asthma.
One reason may be that adults either ignore asthma symptoms or attribute them to being overweight, being out of shape or getting older.
Asthma symptoms can also mimic those of other illnesses, including:
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You Sigh Yawn Or Take Deep Breaths A Lot
These behaviours dont necessarily mean youre suffering from world-wearinessthey may, in fact, be symptoms of asthma, explains Dr. Lockey. All three ways of breathing involve getting more oxygen into your body and more carbon dioxide outan unconscious effort to remedy the imbalances caused by constricted airways. Keep in mind that sighing, yawning and taking deep breaths can also be signs of anxiety.
Learn how to spot the signs of high-functioning anxiety.
Lifestyle Tips To Control Asthma
- Eat and exercise properly to maintain an average weight. A well-balanced diet consists of fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts, and avoiding processed foods. Being overweight can worsen asthma and make asthma medicines less effective.
- Continue taking asthma controller medicine even when feeling well.
- Nasal allergies, a condition of the upper airway, and asthma, a condition of the lower airway, are considered united airway diseases and should be treated simultaneously to achieve the best control of asthma symptoms.
Saca says there is no cure for asthma, but once diagnosed and a treatment plan is in place, you will be able to manage your condition, and your quality of life will improve.
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.
Theres also a greater chance that your symptoms will return if you have:
- a personal or family history of asthma
Smoking or living with someone who does can also increase your risk of developing returning asthma symptoms.
You may not be able to entirely prevent your asthma symptoms from returning, but managing and treating your condition can help reduce their recurrence. Avoiding your triggers is one way you can help prevent asthma flare-ups.
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.
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Managing Your Asthma Well In Later Life
Continue to have regular asthma reviews
Whether youve had asthma all your life or youve been diagnosed with it as an older adult, an asthma review helps you stay on top of any changes in your symptoms.
You can make sure your asthma action plan is up to date, review your asthma medicines, and check youre taking the lowest dose possible to stay well and avoid side effects.
Track your symptoms
Keeping track of your symptoms makes it easier to spot any changes. Write down your symptoms in a diary, notebook, or on your phone and take it along to your next appointment.
Remember to make a note of anything you were doing that day or any triggers you came across you may notice youre sensitive to new things that were not a problem before.
Dont ignore symptoms like breathlessness, says Dr Andy. Its easy to think that feeling a bit more breathless is just another sign that youre not as fit as you used to be.
But if youre feeling out of breath climbing stairs or walking uphill, see your GP to get it checked out. Breathlessness can be a sign that your asthma is not well controlled. It could also be a sign of another health condition.
Act quickly if symptoms get worse
To cut your risk of an asthma attack, take action as soon as you notice symptoms getting worse. As we get older, asthma attacks can be more severe and take longer to recover from.
Check your inhaler technique