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.
Treatment And Medication Options For Asthma
There is no cure for asthma, but you can alleviate and prevent your symptoms through quick-relief and long-term control medication. Long-term control medication works to reduce inflammation to make your airways less sensitive to asthma triggers. Its usually taken daily through an inhaler or as an oral pill. Quick-relief medicines help to relieve symptoms when they happen, relaxing the tight muscles around your airways and easing the flow of air.
What Are The Symptoms
Asthma can be different for everyone. Asthma symptoms can also vary over time, with few or no symptoms when asthma is well controlled. The common signs and symptoms of poorly controlled asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping because of breathing difficulty
- Being unable to take part in physical activities without breathing difficulty
These symptoms can occur slowly over hours or days, or they can come on as sudden, recurring attacks after which the symptoms can persist for some time before disappearing. If left untreated, asthma can cause permanent structural changes in your airways called airway remodelling, which is why it is important to get your asthma under control and keep treating it over the long term.
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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.
Medications For Chronic Asthma
The two categories of asthma medicines are long-term control and short-term medicines. Long-term control medicines are often taken every day to help prevent symptoms. Quick-relief medicines calm asthma symptoms fast, but they only last for a short time. Depending on the setting, one or both of these types of medications may be appropriate.
Long-term control medicines
At first, it may take a few weeks for long-term control medicines to work. You must take these medicines every day. These medicines include:
- Inhaled anti-inflammatory medicines. These medicines reduce or prevent airway swelling.
- Inhaled bronchodilators. These relax muscles around the airways.
- Leukotriene modifiers. These block the action of chemicals called leukotrienes, which are chemicals that cause airways to be inflamed and narrowed.
- Biologic therapy. These medicines target the inflammatory cells in the body that start the asthma reaction. They are often given by injection or infusion.
Quick-relief medicines quickly relax the muscles around the airways, but the relief only lasts about 2 to 3 hours. These medicines may include:
- Inhaled short-acting beta2-agonists. These help relax muscles around the airways.
- Inhaled anticholinergics. These block a chemical in the body called acetylcholine. This chemical makes airway muscles contract. It also causes more mucus in the airways.
Inhalation devices for asthma
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Causes And Triggers Of Asthma
Asthma is caused by swelling of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.
It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.
Common asthma triggers include:
- smoke, pollution and cold air
- infections like colds or flu
Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.
When To See A Doctor
Asthma is a lifelong condition that should be taken very seriously. Even if you have never experienced an asthma attack, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you notice the symptoms of adult-onset asthma. These may include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.
Asthma symptoms may start as minor but can quickly become severe or life-threatening if you dont treat them quickly. Work closely with your healthcare team and follow the individualized treatment plan they provide you to prevent your asthma symptoms from getting worse.
If you do experience asthma symptoms that worsen or dont respond to treatment, seek emergency medical attention right away.
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Breathing: Normal Airways Vs Asthma Airways
Normal: In someone with optimal lung function, air is inhaled through the nose and mouth, passing through the trachea before moving into the bronchi . The bronchi branch into smaller tubes, ending in many small sacs called alveoli. Its in the alveoli that oxygen is passed to the blood and carbon dioxide is removed.
Asthma: In someone with asthma, the airways are inflamed, and when triggered, can constrict even more, obstructing airflow to the lungs.
What Are The Different Types Of Asthma
Not all asthmas are the same. While all forms of asthma cause inflammation in your airways that makes it harder for you to breathe, some asthma types have different triggers, symptoms, and treatments.
The most common types of asthma are:
Allergic asthma: This is the most common type that occurs in response to allergens, such as pet dander or dust mites. It often begins during childhood and is connected to other familial allergic conditions.
Non-allergic asthma: This type of asthma is usually triggered by stress, viral infections, or extreme weather rather than allergens.
Exercise-induced asthma: This type occurs when your airways constrict in response to physical activity.
Job-related asthma: Also called occupational asthma, this type of asthma occurs in response to work-related exposures, such as chemical fumes or irritants in your workplace.
Eosinophilic asthma: This type is severe and difficult to control. People with this type of asthma have a high level of white blood cells called eosinophils, which can cause inflammation.
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What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you suspect you might have asthma, you should see your doctor for a professional diagnosis. Dont ignore it if you do have asthma, the sooner you get it under control, the faster you can get back to living a full and active life. For more information on how Asthma Australia is helping people with asthma to breathe so they can live freely, visit About Us.
What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
If you have a severe asthma attack, you need to get immediate medical care.
The first thing you should do is use your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than a maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should use the rescue inhaler when symptoms are bothering you and you can use it more frequently if your flare is severe.
If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:
- Anxiety or panic.
- Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Very quick or rapid breathing.
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The updated guidelines also recommend a type of drug called a long-acting muscarinic antagonist to improve symptoms for these age groups. And for young children who wheeze only when they have a respiratory tract infection , the new guidelines recommend a short course of inhaled corticosteroids plus a rescue inhaler as needed. This can prevent worsening of breathing problems and forestall the need for corticosteroid pills.
Most asthma medications are breathed in through the use of an inhaler or nebulizer. There are two main types of inhalers a metered dose inhaler , which uses a pressurized medicine-filled canister, and a dry powder inhaler , containing medicine in powdered form. A nebulizer uses a mask and delivers medication as a mist. Its important to learn the different techniques for using these devices to ensure the medicine reaches your lungs.
There are few evidence-backed natural remedies for asthma, particularly if your case is severe. But lifestyle changes, like controlling stress, and some complementary therapies, like acupuncture, may help manage symptoms.
Treatment Of Asthma In Adults
The medications and treatments for adult asthma are:
- Anti-inflammatories inhaled corticosteroids are taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms by reducing airway sensitivity and inflammation. Steroid tablets can be taken for acute flare-ups and more severe asthma.
- Bronchodilators inhaled short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators are taken occasionally to relieve symptoms. They work within a few minutes and shouldnt be needed more than three times a week.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists daily tablets to improve prevention if needed.
- Theophylline taken daily to prevent symptoms if they are still not well controlled.
- Monoclonal antibody therapy also called biological medicines or biologics, these injections block some of the bodys immune response to triggers.
- Bronchial thermoplasty is a surgical procedure done on the airway itself to reduce its thickness.
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What Causes Asthma In Adults
No one knows what exactly causes asthma or what leads people to have different experiences.
The condition exhibits recurring episodes, also referred to as attacks or flare-ups. During an asthma attack, a number of things take place, including:
Your airway lining swells
The muscles in your chest tighten
More mucus is produced in your airway
The combination of these events makes breathing more challenging and can lead to symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.
You may discover particular triggers that cause your asthma symptoms and episodes, such as:
Allergens, like pollen, pet dander, dust, and food
Having another allergic reaction, such as hay fever
Exposure to pollution, secondhand smoke, or exhaust fumes
Exposure to occupational triggers, such as farming or hairdressing chemicals
Having a parent or sibling with asthma
What Kind Of Physician Treats Adult Onset Asthma
Many older patients are treated for asthma by their internist or family physician however, if your asthma symptoms are not under control within three to six months, or if you have severe persistent asthma, or if you are having asthma episodes that need emergency treatment, it may be time to see an asthma specialist. Allergists/Immunologists or pulmonologists are specialists who treat asthma. Those who have completed training in those specialties are usually called board-certified or board-eligible.
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Sign Of Asthma In Adults Types Causes And Treatment
Asthma in adults is a serious condition that affects the air passages of the lungs. Asthma makes breathing difficult because the muscles around the airways tighten and swell. This swelling can make the airways narrower, causing wheezing which is heard when you breathe in or out. Although asthma can occur at any age, its most common in children and teens.
Asthma affects millions of people around the world. In the United States alone, over 25 million adults all over the country suffer from some kind of type of asthma.
While there is no cure for asthma, treatment can help control symptoms so that you can lead a more active life.
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Why Is My Asthma Worse At Night
Asthma that gets worse at night is sometimes called nighttime asthma or nocturnal asthma. There are no definite reasons that this happens, but there are some educated guesses. These include:
- The way you sleep: Sleeping on your back can result in mucus dripping into your throat or acid reflux coming back up from your stomach. Also, sleeping on your back puts pressure on your chest and lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. However, lying face down or on your side can put pressure on your lungs.
- Triggers in your bedroom and triggers that happen in the evening: You may find your blankets, sheets and pillows have dust mites, mold or pet hair on them. If youve been outside in the early evening, you may have brought pollen in with you.
- Medication side effects: Some drugs that treat asthma, such as steroids and montelukast, can affect your sleep.
- Air thats too hot or too cold: Hot air can cause airways to narrow when you breathe in. Cold air is an asthma trigger for some people.
- Lung function changes: Lung function lessens at night as a natural process.
- Asthma is poorly controlled during the day: Symptoms that arent controlled during the day wont be better at night. Its important to work with your provider to make sure your asthma symptoms are controlled both day and night. Treating nighttime symptoms is very important. Serious asthma attacks, and sometimes deaths, can happen at night.
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What Is Asthma Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Asthma is a common chronic lung disease in which the lungs’ bronchial tubes, or airways, become inflamed.
Want to know more about asthma? Read on to learn what experts know about this breathing disorder, why some people develop it and others dont, lifestyle changes that can help you manage asthma, and how to avoid complications linked to the condition.
Treatment Of Severe Asthma
There is no single treatment or medication solution. Everyone is affected differently and what works well for one person may have no effect on another. The same medications may be prescribed as someone who has a milder asthma, but at a much higher dose.
Treatment of severe asthma focuses on trying to control the symptoms. Youll be prescribed medication and treatment to manage the inflammation in your airways and prevent lung damage. Youll also be advised to reduce the risk of coming into contact with asthma triggers as much as possible, as this will reduce your risk of having a severe asthma attack.
As a starting point, everyone with asthma is prescribed:
- A reliever inhaler usually blue, this inhaler is used to provide relief when you need it and should be carried with you at all times.
- A preventer inhaler often brown, contains corticosteroids that help to reduce swelling and inflammation in the airways. This needs to be taken every day, as prescribed by your doctor.
If youre diagnosed with severe asthma, you should speak to your doctor about a referral to a specialist clinic. While some primary care surgeries have dedicated asthma nurses that can offer specialist support.
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What Is Severe Asthma
Severe asthma is a type of asthma that does not respond well to standard asthma treatments. The symptoms by definition, are more intense than regular asthmatic symptoms and can last for prolonged periods. Sufferers of severe asthma often find their symptoms persistent and difficult to control.
Having severe asthma can have a major impact on daily life, affecting everyday habits, work and social life.It can affect both children and adults, and can develop at any age. However, its a lot less common than a standard asthma diagnosis, affecting less than 10% of people.
Although it can be difficult to cope with, and it can take time to find the right treatment combination, it can be effectively managed. Its important that you look after yourself carefully by taking your medication exactly as prescribed, having regular asthma reviews, understanding your asthma triggers and communicating with your healthcare team, so they know when and how to adjust your medication regime.
Additional Medication For Severe Asthma
In addition to a reliever and preventer inhaler, severe asthmatics may be prescribed other treatments. You may need to try several options before your healthcare provider finds the right choice for your needs.
In addition to inhalers, treatment options include:
- Long-acting bronchodilators these can be added to a preventer inhaler and help keep the airways open for at least 12 hours.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists a non-steroid tablet that helps to calm inflamed airways, block the effects of leukotrienes and help with allergies.
- Long-acting muscarinic receptor antagonists a form of long-acting bronchodilator that can work for 12-24 hours.
- Long-acting beta-agonists another form of long-acting bronchodilator that is used to relax the muscles in the airways.
- Slow-release theophylline a non-steroid tablet that helps to relax the smooth muscles in the airways, enabling air to more easily flow through.
- Short-acting beta 2-agonists a form of quick relief medication that can be used when asthma symptoms occur.
- Daily steroids these are prescribed in tablet or liquid form and are a type of anti-inflammatory medicine. They work by helping to reduce the sensitivity in the airways.
- Monoclonal antibodies a newer form of medication for severe uncontrolled asthma. They work by blocking the activity of immune system chemicals that trigger airway inflammation.
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