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Can You Die In Your Sleep From Asthma

What To Do During An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler At Night

Follow these tips to survive a night-time asthma attack without an inhaler:

  • Sit straight to keep your airways open
  • Stay calm, as stress or panic can worsen your symptoms
  • Take long, deep breaths to reduce symptoms
  • Asthma can be triggered by dust, cigarette smoke, and other allergens. Stay away from triggers and go to any area with clean air.
  • A cup of coffee can open up your airways and provide you some relief
  • Seek emergency medical attention if symptoms persist

Avoiding Nighttime Asthma And Improving Sleep

Asthma can make it challenging to get quality sleep, so its helpful to cultivate habits that support sleep health. Focusing on improving sleep hygiene is a significant first step. By developing a regular sleep schedule and healthy daytime routines, people with asthma can reduce unnecessary daytime fatigue and focus on controlling their asthma symptoms.

Asthma triggers in the bedroom may increase the risk of nocturnal asthma and lost sleep. In addition to working with a doctor to find solutions for reducing or eliminating asthma triggers, below are a few tips specific to designing the ideal bedroom environment and avoiding nighttime asthma:

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Why Should I Quit Smoking

You may have started smoking because friends do or because you grew up in a house where other people smoked. No matter why you started, if you’re thinking about quitting, it would probably help your asthma.

Here are some other reasons to quit:

  • Smoking can undo the effect of any long-term control medicine you’re taking.
  • Smoking can force you to use your quick-relief medicine more often.
  • Smoking can disturb your sleep by making you cough more at night.
  • Smoking can affect how well you do in sports or other physical activities.
  • Worst of all, smoking can send you to the ER with a severe asthma flare-up.

If you decide to quit, you don’t have to go it alone. Get support from other people like friends, family, or other smokers who are trying to quit. Ask your doctor about medicines or things you can do to crave cigarettes less. Your doctor wants to help you quit!

Does Honey Treatment Help In Improving Sleep With Asthma

Coughing is one of the symptoms of nocturnal asthma, which can be reduced by taking two teaspoons of honey with warm water or cinnamon before you go to bed. Honey can increase saliva production, which can ease your cough by lubricating your airways and reduce inflammation in the bronchial tubes that causes breathing difficulty.

Asthma And Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which the airways narrow or collapse during sleep. Asthma and OSA share similar symptoms and appear to have a bidirectional relationship. This means that having one of these respiratory conditions increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with the other. OSA is particularly common in people with asthma who also snore and those with poorly-controlled asthma symptoms.

People with asthma may find it helpful to talk to their doctors about obstructive sleep apnea. Because asthma puts a person at an increased risk of developing OSA, research suggests that periodic evaluations for OSA may help patients with asthma. Fortunately, treating OSA can often reduce asthma symptoms.

If You Suspect You Might Have Asthma Definitely Head To The Doctor

Your doctor will probably give you a physical exam first to examine the general state of your health. After that, theyll likely put you through some lung function tests, such as a spirometry, which checks how much air you can exhale after taking a deep breath as well as how fast you can expel air, according to the Mayo Clinic. Or they may do a peak flow test, which measures how hard you can breathe out. If you cant exhale enough air or breathe out quickly, it may be a sign your lungs arent working well, which could point to asthma, Dr. Benzaquen says.

There are other exams they can use, too, like exposing you to methacholine, a known asthma trigger, to see if your airways narrow, or allergy testing, since allergies and asthma are so often connected.

If you are diagnosed with asthma, itll be within one of four categories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mild intermittent asthma means you have minimal asthma symptoms for up to two days a week and up to two nights a month, while mild persistent asthma means youre experiencing symptoms more frequently than twice a week, but not more than once on any given day. Moderate persistent asthma ups the ante: Youre dealing with symptoms once a day and more than one night a week. Finally, severe persistent asthma involves constant symptoms most days and frequently at night too.

What Are The Warning Signs

Being aware of the warning signs of severe asthma and a severe asthma attack are crucial, so that you can take action quickly.

The symptoms of severe asthma include:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain.

Sometimes the symptoms of severe asthma can get worse or more frequent prior to a severe asthma attack occurring. For example, you may find that asthma symptoms are being more disruptive to your daily life or usual activities, or you may be needing to use your inhaler more often than usual. You could also find you are having bad asthma at night.

If you become aware that your usual symptoms are worsening, speak to your doctor or asthma nurse. A review of your medication may be beneficial and a change in regime could help to prevent a severe asthma attack occurring.

If a severe asthma attack does occur, then the key warning signs for you or other people to look for include:

  • Developing a blue tint on the face, lips or fingernails
  • Rapid breathing
  • Extreme shortness of breath unable to inhale or exhale fully
  • Unable to speak in full sentences
  • Confusion or agitation
  • No relief from using a reliever inhaler.

If these symptoms occur, go to hospital or seek emergency medical attention immediately. A severe asthma attack is a medical emergency. If you dont seek treatment, your life could be at risk.

Emergency contacts

When you need to call for emergency help, every second counts. Knowing what number to call to summon help is crucial.

What Causes Shortness Of Breath

Many conditions cause shortness of breath at night. Chronic shortness of breath occurs when you experience the symptom for more than a month. According to an article in American Family Physician, 85 percent of conditions that trigger chronic shortness of breath relate to your lungs, heart, or mental health.

Shortness of breath can occur if your body cant adequately pump oxygen into your blood. Your lungs may be unable to process the intake of oxygen or your heart may not able to pump blood effectively.

Shortness of breath when you lie down is called orthopnea. When the symptom occurs after a few hours of sleep, it is called paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.

Different lung conditions can cause shortness of breath. Some are chronic or life-threatening and others can be treated.

What Makes Asthma Worse

“The array of triggers are very individualized. One kid may be triggered by a hundred different things whereas another may be triggered by one or two things,” Vicencio said.

Patients may also react differently to different triggers, and some may cause a mild reaction while others cause a life-threatening asthma attack, Mogayzel said.

Exposure to smoke, allergens like pollen or animal dander or strong smells can be a trigger, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Mold and poor air quality can also make asthma worse, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Physical activity and cold, dry air can also worsen symptoms, the CDC.

A respiratory infection like a common cold can be one of the most common triggers, especially in young children, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says.

Additionally, some often have a symptom of asthma, like a chronic, seasonal cough, that goes undiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed as a common respiratory infection.

“These don’t sound very ominous from a symptom stand point, but it’s not just the symptom itself … it’s really the pattern,” Vicencio said.

What Are The Costs Of Asthma

  • From 2008-2013, the annual economic cost of asthma was more than $81.9 billion including medical costs and loss of work and school days:8
  • $3 billion in losses due to missed work and school days 
  • $29 billion due to asthma-related mortality, and
  • $50.3 billion in medical costs
  • The annual per-person incremental medical cost of asthma was $3,266 .8
  • Among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is one of the top causes of missed school days. In 2013, it accounted for more than 13.8 million missed school days.9
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    • Don’t have written asthma action plan from your doctor
    • Use an inhaler, but don’t have a spacer
    • Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
    • Asthma limits exercise or sports
    • Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
    • Use more than 1 inhaler per month
    • No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Ensuring You Get The Assistance You Need

    Make sure that your family, friends, and those close to you know what to do if you have an attack. Keep a copy of your medications and emergency contacts, including your doctor, on your phone so that you can show it to others who may come to your aid during an attack.

    If your asthma is very severe, you may consider getting a medical ID bracelet that can alert first responders to your condition. Additionally, there are even phone apps available that can help you and your doctor monitor your symptoms.

    Some risk factors for death from asthma include:

    • uncontrolled asthma or noncompliance with an asthma treatment plan
    • previous severe asthma attacks or hospitalizations due to asthma
    • poor lung function, as measured by peak expiratory flow or forced expiratory volume
    • having been put on a ventilator for asthma previously

    Some groups have an increased risk of death due to asthma:

    • According to the World Health Organization (

    Besides the potential to be fatal, there are several other complications that can occur due to asthma. These can include:

    • symptoms that disrupt your day-to-day activities or hobbies
    • increased absences from school or work
    • permanent narrowing of your airways, which can affect how you breathe
    • side effects from medications that youve been using to control your asthma
    • repeated visits to your doctor or the emergency room
    • psychological side effects, such as depression

    What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack

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    If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:

  • Sit upright and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
  • Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  • If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
  • Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.

    Try to take the details of your medicines with you to hospital if possible.

    If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.

    This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.

    What Causes An Asthma Attack

    An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone elses asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you cant avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu.

    Get Tested For Sleep Apnea

    People with asthma have a high risk of developing sleep apnea. Congestion from asthma causes snoring and may halt breathing for a few seconds at a time. If you wake up feeling tired, moody, and sore each morning, despite getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea.

    If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to long-term effects, like excessive daytime sleepiness and more serious medical conditions, like insomnia and acid reflux Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceor GERD).

    What Is Nocturnal Asthma

    Asthma is a long-term, chronic respiratory disease, caused by the inflammation of the airways. When this condition worsens overnight, we call it nocturnal asthma or nighttime asthma. Regardless of the type of asthma you have, including allergic, non-allergic, occupational, and exercise-induced asthma, nocturnal asthma can occur more than once a month.

    Over the past decade, the prevalence of asthma in adults and children has increased in the United States. The California Health Interview Survey states that 15.9% of asthma cases were reported in Orange County in 2015-2017. Although there is no cure for asthma, the symptoms can be managed through long-term medications and short-term quick-relief inhalers. A few home remedies and other tips can also help patients with nocturnal asthma sleep better.

    What Should I Avoid While Taking Unisom

    Unisom may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

    Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, cough, allergy, or sleep medicine. Many combination medicines contain antihistamines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of this medicine.

    Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, cough, allergy, or sleep medicine. Antihistamines are contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of a certain drug. Check the label to see if a medicine contains an antihistamine.

    Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of doxylamine.

    Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Unisom can decrease sweating and you may be more prone to heat stroke.

    Does Steam Or Vaporizer Reduce Chances Of An Asthma Attack At Night

    Generally, steam or vaporizer can liquefy mucus when breathing problems are caused by an allergy or cold. This can help a person feel better. On the other hand, asthma is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Steam or vaporizer can cause irritations and worsen breathing problems.

    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:

    How Is Nocturnal Asthma Treated

    In addition, using your peak flow meter, you can monitor how your lung function is altered throughout the day and night. Once you notice this altered pattern of lung function, talk with your doctor about a plan to resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms. According to your type of asthma and asthma severity , your doctor can prescribe treatment to help you resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms so you can sleep like a baby.

    Effects Of Pregnancy On Asthma

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    There is no significant risk to you or your unborn child if your asthma is well controlled, but uncontrolled asthma can cause serious complications. For you, the mother, these complications include high blood pressure, toxemia, premature delivery and, rarely, death. For your baby, complications include increased risk of stillbirth.

    While pregnant, about a third of women with asthma experience improved symptoms, about a third have worse symptoms and about a third experience no change.

    Studies on the overall effect of pregnancy on asthma have found the following:

    • While pregnant, women with severe asthma are more likely to see their asthma worsen, whereas women with mild asthma are more likely to see improvement or no change.
    • The change a woman experiences during her first pregnancy is usually similar in future pregnancies.
    • Asthma is most likely to worsen during weeks 24 to 36. About 10 percent of women with asthma have symptoms during labor and delivery.
    • If asthma symptoms change during pregnancy, they usually return to pre-pregnancy status within three months of delivery.

    Can You Die From An Asthma Attack

    People with asthma can sometimes have asthma attacks. When this happens, their airways become inflamed and narrowed, making it hard to breathe.

    Asthma attacks can be serious and can also be fatal. During a ere asthma attack you may not get enough oxygen into your lungs and can even stop breathing.

    Receiving proper treatment for an asthma attack is vital. Thats why its so important to follow the asthma action plan youve developed with your doctor and to seek emergency treatment when necessary.

    Read on to learn more about asthma attacks, when to seek emergency care, and the risk factors associated with asthma death.

    The symptoms of an asthma attack can include:

    • coughing or wheezing
    • having trouble breathing
    • a tight feeling in your chest

    A mild asthma attack may last only a few minutes and respond to rescue medication. However, moderate or severe asthma attacks may last longer and, in some cases, dont respond to rescue medication.

    asthma emergency!

    Recognizing the warning signs that an asthma attack may be coming can help you to summon help quickly if one does occur. Some warning signs to look out for include:

    • asthma symptoms that have become more frequent or disruptive to your day-to-day activities
    • needing to use your rescue inhaler more often
    • having symptoms that are keeping you up at night

    Vaping And Lung Damage

    • Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
    • Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
    • Vaping can even cause death .
    • Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
    • For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
    • Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
    • Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.

    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.

    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.

    Stress And Anxiety Management

    Anxiety that builds up can lead to panic attacks. If you experience frequent anxiety, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can help you work through your anxiety and reduce the likelihood of external stressors triggering a panic attack.

    Even if you dont have an anxiety disorder, stress itself is a fact of life. However, stress can also trigger your asthma, so its important to manage it as best as you can.

    Some steps you can take to reduce everyday stress include:

    • relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises
    • regular physical exercise
    • reduced intake of alcohol and caffeine
    • getting enough sleep

    After An Asthma Attack

    You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.

    About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so it’s important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.

    Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.

    For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.

    How Should I Handle My Child’s Na

    Each person is different. If you lessen the amount of time your child spends around triggers, that will help with their asthma symptoms and NA. It’s also important to keep the sleeping area clean. 

    Change sheets regularly. Wash bedding in hot water. Wipe down shelves, ledges and nearby furniture to lessen the amount of dust in the room. Don’t let your child sleep in the same room with pets. 

    Try to use allergy-free sheets. Make sure pillows have a cover and look for allergy-free material. 

    Try to have your child sleep at a slight incline. If you lift your child’s head four to six inches by adding blocks under the bed post, this can help with GERD symptoms. 

    Using a humidifier also helps to keep the air moist in your child’s room. 

    What To Do When Asthma Stops You Sleeping

    • If you have asthma symptoms, sit up and take your reliever inhaler as prescribed. 
    • Always make sure your inhaler is beside your bed before you go to sleep, so you dont have to search for it in the middle of the night.
    • Give yourself a bit of time to check your reliever medicine has dealt with your symptoms before you go back to sleep, says Dr Andy Whittamore. This is better than falling asleep straight away only to wake up soon after with asthma symptoms because your reliever didnt help enough.
    • Some people find propping themselves up with extra pillows helps as it keeps the airways open.

    When Should I Call My Doctor

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    If your child suffers from NA regularly, call your child’s doctor to talk about making changes to their treatment plan. 

    Sometimes medications used to take care of asthma can cause sleep problems. Talk to your child’s doctor if your child can’t sleep because of their asthma medication. 

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.

    Dying From An Asthma Attack

    What if someone you know or love dies from an asthma attack? Years ago, I wrote an article about a young woman, Laura Levis, who died of an asthma attack. Her husband, Peter DeMarco, wrote a heartfelt letter to the hospital staff who kept his wife alive after she stopped breathing during a severe asthma attack.

    At first, it seemed that her asthma attack came on strong and fast and she just didn’t get to the ER in time. Later, her husband found that by the time she got medical help, it was too late. She stopped breathing outside the ER. He said there were a series of mistakes that night, one of those was confusion over which door was the right door to the ER. And why one of the doors was locked.2

    Peter DeMarco said:

    Of all the mistakes that contributed to Laura’s death, perhaps most glaring was how the hospital lacked a simple, emergency-room sign above any door. Confused by this, Laura tried the wrong door, which was locked. Her attack overcame her before she could make it to the right door.

    Four years later, Peter lobbied the Governor of Massachusetts to make changes in all hospitals. These standards will go into effect after the pandemic winds down. Laura’s Law will make ER entrances easy to find with standards for lighting, ER signs, security guards on staff, and a panic button.


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