Uncontrolled Asthma Vs Severe Asthma: How To Get The Right Diagnosis
- Lung Health and Diseases
More than 25 million Americans struggle with asthma, a chronic condition that makes breathing difficult. Whether you have lived with asthma since childhood or developed it later in life, it is important to monitor your symptoms and avoid your triggers to manage the disease. Many times, regular flare-ups can be treated with a combination of quick-relief and controller medications. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to get your symptoms under control.
If you feel asthma is interfering with your life, it can be frustrating to know what to do next. This is when it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of severe asthma.
Daily symptoms, such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, are signs of uncontrolled asthma and may require the use of quick-relief medication a few times a week or even daily. In addition, you may commonly experience nighttime flare-ups and may even have to visit the emergency room. As you might expect, with these symptoms you may miss work, stop exercising, and have difficulty performing daily tasks. If you have signs of uncontrolled asthma as listed above, you will want to discuss this with you physician because you may be able to find a solution.
But what if you continue to struggle?
Think you may have severe asthma? Take our Asthma Control Assessment, to help identify if your asthma is uncontrolled and access a downloadable summary to take with you to your next doctors appointment.
What Happens During An Asthma Flare
During a flare-up, you might have:
- trouble breathing
- a whistling sound when you breathe
Flare-ups happen when the airways in the lungs get more irritated and swollen than usual. Your lungs might make a sticky mucus, which clogs the airways. The muscles around the airways will also tighten up, making them really narrow. This clogging and narrowing make it tough to pull air in and push air out.
Some flare-ups are mild, but others are serious. If the flare-up is severe, a person might:
- struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
- not be able to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
- have retractions while breathing in
Flare-ups can happen suddenly. They also can build up over time, especially if you haven’t been taking your asthma medicine.
How Can Adult Onset Asthma Be Managed
If you manage your asthma, you can expect to lead a normal lifestyle. Basically, there are four key steps to managing asthma successfully:
1. Learn about asthma and stay up-to-date on new developments.
2. Take prescribed medications. Dont make any changes until you check with your physician. Dont use over- the-counter medications unless prescribed by your physician!
3. Check your lungs daily at home by using a peak flow meter. Asthma patients often can detect lung changes with a peak flow meter before they actually experience any changes. Visit your physician regularly for further in-office tests. Lung testing is painless and provides valuable data that helps your physician make adjustments in your medication.
4. Make an asthma management plan with your physician. A plan establishes guidelines that tell you what to do if your asthma symptoms get worse.
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What Are Adult Onset Allergies
Adult-onset allergies are those allergy symptoms that manifest later in life. This could be anywhere from younger adulthood, such as in a persons 20s, to a persons senior years, when they are 70 or 80 years old. Typically, if you lived through your 20s and your 30s without any new allergies, the chances of getting adult-onset allergies diminishes.
The strangest part about adult-onset allergies is that you can wake up today irritated by an allergen that didnt bother you yesterday. You could have been in contact with said allergen every single day for years with no adverse effects. Now, you have a runny nose, itching eyes and uncontrollable sneezing around that allergen.
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.
Read Also: Can You Buy Asthma Inhalers Over The Counter
How Serious Is Asthma
Tragically, three people die every day because of asthma attacks and research shows that two thirds of asthma deaths are preventable.
The reassuring fact is that most people with asthma who get the right treatment and take it correctly can manage their symptoms and get on with what they want to do in life.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
You can develop asthma at any time in your life. Its possible not to have asthma as a child and develop it later as an adult. Its also possible to have long periods where asthma is inactive, and then have symptoms return later in life.
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Symptoms Like Coughing Wheezing And Feeling Breathless Could Mean You Have Asthma See Your Gp To Confirm A Diagnosis Of Asthma And Start Treatment
- tightness in the chest
- feeling short of breath.
Not everyone with asthma will get all of these. For example, not everyone wheezes. But if youre experiencing one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP.
Most people with well-managed asthma only have symptoms now and then. But some people have symptoms a lot of the time, particularly the small percentage of people with severe asthma.
A key thing with asthma is that symptoms come and go – you may not have them all the time.
Why its important to see your GP to confirm a diagnosis
If youve noticed asthma-like symptoms, dont ignore them. Make an appointment with your GP or an asthma nurse as soon as you can.
The quicker you get diagnosed, the quicker you can get the right medicines to help you deal with your symptoms.
Asthma is a long-term condition that needs regular preventer treatment. If its not treated, it could lead to an asthma attack which can be life-threatening.
Asthma Attacks Vs Panic Attacks
If you have both asthma and an anxiety disorder, it can be hard to tell the difference between an asthma attack and a panic attack. Both cause a feeling of tightness in your chest and difficulty breathing, but wheezing and coughing are typically only associated with asthma attacks. Panic attacks can also cause you to hyperventilate and take in too much oxygen, while asthma attacks significantly decrease your oxygen intake.
Because stress is such a common asthma trigger, living with both an anxiety disorder and asthma can often feel like a vicious cycle. A mental health professional can help you find effective ways to manage stress and reduce the likelihood of a stress-induced asthma attack.
Also Check: Over The Counter Asthma Medication
After Your Asthma Diagnosis
The good news is there are lots of effective medicines available to help manage your symptoms. With the right treatment plan and good support from your GP you could stay symptom free.
Here are some things you can do straight away to get off to a good start:
Use an asthma action plan
An asthma action plan is a simple tool to help you manage your asthma well. You fill it in with your GP or asthma nurse.
It tells you exactly how to manage your asthma every day and what to do if symptoms get worse. Evidence suggests that using one means youre less likely to end up in hospital with an asthma attack.
Once you’ve got your own, personalised, asthma action plan, take it along to all your appointments to make sure its always up to date.
Know how to use your inhaler
Using an asthma inhaler can be tricky to get right even if youve been using one for some time. Make sure you start using yours in the best way from the beginning. Some inhalers are best used with a spacer.
Your GP should show you how to use your inhaler and spacer in the right way, but you can also ask the pharmacist to show you when you pick up your prescription.
We have some inhaler videos too which you can watch at home.
Go to all your asthma check-ups
When youre first diagnosed, you may need to see your GP or asthma nurse a few times to check how well your treatment is working. You can also talk about how youre coping with your asthma.
If you smoke, get support to quit
Docs Could A Healthy Person Develop Asthma Out Of Nowhere
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Your Gp Or Asthma Nurse Can Help Your Asthma Symptoms
Theres a lot your GP or asthma nurse can do to help stop symptoms building up to an asthma attack. Book an appointment now to get the support you need to lower your risk.
Your GP/asthma nurse can:
- Talk to you about why your asthma symptoms have got worse
- Check youre taking your preventer medicine every day. If you havent been taking it regularly, they can suggest ways to get into a good routine with it so its easier to remember.
- Look at your inhaler technique to make sure youre getting the medicine you need
- Suggest a higher dose, or more puffs, of your preventer inhaler for a while
Half Of Kids With Severe Asthma May Grow Out Of It
University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & ChildrenÃ¢s
Fully half of children and adolescents being treated for severe asthma will improve over a three-year period, according to a new 11-institution longitudinal study of children and teens ages 6 to 17 being treated for severe asthma. This major finding provides evidence for the idea that some of these patients can outgrow their severe asthma while on proper treatment.
It is good news, says Kristie Ross, MD, Division Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology at UH Rainbow Babies & Childrens Hospital and lead author of the study.
Many children who have severe asthma during earlier childhood seem to improve during adolescence, she says. We know these patients did well even though their level of controller therapies decreased over time. Its reassuring to know that decreasing the dose of controller medicines can be safely done with close monitoring.
Although severe asthma affects approximately 4 percent to 5 percent of children with asthma, it accounts for a disproportionate fraction of the morbidity, mortality and cost of asthma.
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What Can I Do To Reduce Asthma Symptoms
- Learn your childs triggers.
- Allergens like dust mites, pets, pests, molds and pollen can play a role in some childrens asthma. Discuss with your health care provider whether an evaluation by an allergist may be helpful.
- Follow your asthma management plan and give the medicines prescribed by your childs doctor.
- Avoid smoking near your child.
People Who Develop Asthma Later In Life Are Also Less Likely To Experience Remission
The age of asthma onset may also be a factor. One old, large 1999 study found that middle-aged and elderly adults who developed asthma later in life were less likely to experience remission.
Researchers in the study above determined that of 6,610 people, only 6 percent reportedly entered remission within 10 years.
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Should I Use My Inhaler If I Have Covid
I am a doctor and I have practiced medicine for almost 20 years now. Covid is a viral infection that has been known to lower the immune system and one of the many things that can happen if a person has an lowered immune system is getting an infection that it would not otherwise get. Just because you have Covid does not mean you will get a cold or a flu or an infection when exposed to a virus. However, it does mean that your defense system is weakened and that you are more likely to get an infection. Thus, I always suggest my patients to avoid contact with anyone who is sick and wash your hands regularly. It is also recommended to stay away from people with symptoms like coughing, vomiting and sneezing. Stay home until your symptoms are gone. If you have a cough, cough into your elbow instead of into the air. Use your inhaler if the symptoms worsen. I hope this helps!.
Can Children Outgrow Asthma And/or Allergies
Asthma is a chronic state of hyper-responsiveness. While some children have asthmatic symptoms that clear up over the course of their adolescence, others have symptoms that worsen. The tendency to have overly sensitive airways usually remains. There is no way, unfortunately, to predict a childs future with asthma.
For allergies, it is erroneous to believe children outgrow them as they would a pair of shoes. However, allergies may improve over the course of time, especially during puberty.
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What Can I Do To Avoid Adult Asthma
Take care of yourself the best you can! Eat well, exercise regularly and avoid chronic exposure to certain work hazards like unclean air or smoke. Get outside and into the fresh air as often as you can !
If you do end up developing asthma as an adult, its not the end of the world. You just have to give yourself adequate rest after activities and know your limits.
Can You Just Get Asthma Out Of The Blue
over a year ago
Hello there chronic_smoker,
It is probably that your excessive smoking has leaded you tothe asthma condition. It is possible to get asthma if you have been sufferingor struggling with bronchitis. Allergic bronchitis, when things getcomplicated, or left untreated, can lead to asthma.
I presume that you have been consulting with your doctor,and that he has prescribed you salbutamol sulphate inhaler. Any additionalquestions regarding your condition you must ask your doctor. He is a medicalexpert and it is his duty to answer everything you want to know.
Unfortunately there is no cure for asthma, and it willreoccur from time to time with severe trouble to breathe. Carry inhalereverywhere you go and you should be able to stop asthma attacks.
Anchy91233723 over a year ago
jakethesnake95239245 over a year ago
Hey, I have asthma and it’s simply the swelling of the bronchial tubes and overproduction of mucus lining making it hard to breath. Therefore, I am almost certain that it doesn’t come out of the blue, and if it did not that abruptly. I believe your body is just trying to cough up the tar build-up in you lungs from smoking those cigarettes and your wheezing and other symptoms are caused by that. hope i helped.
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How Is Asthma Treated
Asthma can be controlled, but there’s no asthma cure. There are, however, certain goals in asthma treatment. If you are unable to achieve all of these goals, it means your asthma is not under control. You should contact your asthma care provider for help with asthma.
Treatment goals include the following:
- Live an active, normal life
- Prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms
- Attend work or school every day
- Perform daily activities without difficulty
- Stop urgent visits to the doctor, emergency room, or hospital
- Use and adjust medications to control asthma with little or no side effects
Properly using asthma medication, as prescribed by your doctor, is the basis of good asthma control, in addition to avoiding triggers and monitoring daily asthma symptoms. There are two main types of asthma medications:
Asthma medications can be taken by inhaling the medications or by swallowing oral medications . If you are also taking drugs for other conditions, you should work with your providers to check drug interactions and simplify medications when possible.
Can You Just Start With Asthma
You should start by asking your doctor if you need a follow-up visit. You will probably just need some education about asthma and some medicine to prevent asthma attacks. If you were diagnosed with severe asthma, you may need other treatments as well, such as medications and breathing devices. You may also need to follow a special asthma action plan to keep yourself healthy and avoid asthma attacks..
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Can You Outgrow Asthma
Those who have asthma are aware that the condition is incurable. However, there may be stretches of times where asthma attacks and other symptoms dont flare up. While these are nice periods of relief, this doesnt mean your asthma has disappeared. Instead, going months between episodes is a testament to your asthma management plan. Avoiding asthmatic triggers, taking your medication or a combination of the two is working well for you.
You may have heard of instances where children with asthmatic symptoms seemingly stop experiencing their symptoms, out of the blue. The children dont report any further breathing difficulties and go on with their lives. Is there some reality to this or is it just a myth? It is possible to outgrow your asthma? If so, how? Does everyone outgrow their asthma or is it just certain people? Why?
In this article, well answer all those questions and more.