Conditions That Make Asthma Worse
There are also other conditions that can make asthma worse, including gastroesophageal reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, vocal cord disorders , smoking, anxiety or depression, allergic rhinitis/sinusitis, nasal polyps, menstruation and bronchiectasis . These other conditions are called comorbidities.
Coast Guard Asthma Policy For 2019
OMK spoke with Petty Officer Devoir, a Coast Guard recruiter stationed in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Heres what he had to say regarding the Coast Guards policy on asthma:
With the Coast Guard, if youre taking any asthma medications it is a disqualifier.
In the Coast Guard, the service person must have spirometer test, and the recruit must get doctors consultation.
The recruit will not be able to do strenuous jobs.
Well update the Coast Guards asthma policy regularly to reflect any changes.
What Are The Asthma Signs And Symptoms
Signs of an asthma attack include:
Mild or moderate
- Minor difficulty breathing with short, shallow, rapid breaths
- Chest retractions
- A whistling sound when you breathe, especially out
- Able to talk in full sentences
- May experience a dry cough that wont go away
Mild anxiety attacks may last only a few minutes. These attacks can resolve spontaneously or may require medication, typically an asthma inhaler.
What to do: Start asthma first aid
Severe asthma symptoms need medical care right away.
- Feeling panicky
- Cannot speak a full sentence in one breath
- Having trouble talking or walking
- Getting tight neck and chest muscles
A severe episode can last from hours to days.
What to do: Call an ambulance and start asthma first aid
- Turning blue with cyanosis
- Ribs or stomach moving in and out deeply and swiftly
- An expanded chest that does not deflate when you exhale
- Not responding to reliever medication
What to do: Call an ambulance and start asthma first aid
How long your asthma attack lasts can vary, depending on the cause and inflammation in the airways.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Covid
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization , COVID-19 symptoms can include:
- Nausea or vomiting
If you or someone you know has these emergency warning signs, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest that doesnt go away
- Cant wake up or stay awake
- Cyanosis which is tissue color changes on mucus membranes and fingertips or nail beds the color appears grayish or whitish on darker skin tones and bluish on lighter skin tones
According to the CDC, this list may not include all symptoms. If you have any symptoms that are severe or concerning, call your doctor.
The CDC warns that symptoms may appear two to 14 days after coming in contact with the virus.
What Is Severe Persistent Asthma
People with severe persistent asthma have asthma symptoms every day, throughout the day. As a result, your daily activities are extremely limited. You might wake up every night because of your asthma symptoms. You must use rescue medicines several times a day. Your lung spirometry tests will show severely decreased lung function.1
If you have severe asthma, you may need to see a team of specialists in addition to your regular asthma doctor. You might also seek mental health support for asthma, such as seeing a therapist or joining a support group for people with asthma.2
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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.
Other Characteristics Of Your Diagnosis
In addition to classifying your asthma based on its severity, you will also be diagnosed with a specific type of asthma. There are several, and they are based on triggers.
For example, if you meet the above criteria and physical activity is what brings on your asthma symptoms, you likely have mild persistent exercise-induced asthma. If exposure to pollen exacerbates your condition, you likely have mild persistent allergic asthma.
On follow-up visits, your healthcare provider may also assess your asthma as well-controlled, not well controlled, or very poorly controlled based on criteria that include nighttime awakenings, rescue inhaler use, and lung function.
Asthma control is not the same as asthma classification, but it also helps guide your treatment, especially because it may be difficult for your healthcare provider to reassess your asthma without medication if you rely on it.
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Is Your Asthma Still Mild Persistent
Intermittent asthma is the mildest form of asthma, with infrequent symptoms and no interference with normal activity. It is possible that, with proper trigger control and treatment, your mild persistent asthma could be downgraded to this classification.
On the other hand, while your disease can worsen due to circumstances that are out of your control, like genetics, factors like frequent exposure to asthma triggers or skipping your medications can worsen your asthma severity and push you into a more severe classification.
Moderate persistent asthma affects your daily activities and requires daily use of short-acting inhalers.
If you experience symptoms throughout the day, you may be diagnosed with severe persistent asthma.
It’s a good idea to know what differentiates mild persistent asthma from the other classifications so that you can talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms seem to be changing. In that case, it’s quite possible that your asthma classification may have changed as well.
The classifications are helpful for gauging changes in your disease. When re-evaluating you case, your healthcare provider will carefully evaluate your symptoms and diagnostic tests while taking into account the fact that your medication use colors how criteria can be considered.
Medical Exams And Records
When enlisting in any branch of the military, there is a point when you are required to undergo a medical examination as well as a medical record review conducted by subject matter experts.
As a part of your initial application, you are required to declare any medical deficiencies and release related documentation showing the extent of the disorder.
Previously, Asthma was an automatically disqualifying factor when joining the military.
This means that it was not a factor that could be waived meaning no matter what, you could not get in.
With the competition of benefits and pay in the civilian job market and ever-changing politics, branches like the Air Force and Navy decided to find ways to let more people in and essentially raise their numbers.
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Asthma Is A Complex Condition
Occasionally, people with asthma experience what are known as silent symptoms. This is where the signs of the tightening of the airways dont result in the familiar asthma sounds of wheezing and coughing. If you or someone you live with, work with, or care for experiences silent symptoms, it is important they consult a doctor for an ongoing Asthma Action Plan. People around the person with asthmasuch as co-workers, school teachers or daycare educators should know about the silent symptoms so they can respond if needed. Asthma can start at any age, and can be more of a problem when it starts in older adults. Dont assume if you never had asthma as a child that its not possible to develop symptoms now. Being breathless is not a normal part of getting older, it should always be checked out by a doctor.
Moving Forward With Asthma
As a safety measure, members that are allowed in under the new policy for enlisting with Asthma are not allowed to take on combat jobs or jobs that would require them to be subject to respiratory issues.
There are many jobs in the military in which you are not required to be out in the elements.
Some of the jobs may be in the information technology fields, medical fields, and administrative fields.
This allows members with medical issues to still serve their country while keeping their physical health in order.
The Armed Forces previously restricted entering due to Asthma because of the requirements of the training environment in relation to fitness and physical health.
Also, some jobs in the Armed Forces require members to be deployed in areas where the environment may not be conducive to breathing issues.
Moreover, in order to treat Asthma, individuals may be required to take a medication or carry around a steroid inhaler which may not always be available to them.
Applicants that have been diagnosed and experience asthmatic issues after they turn 13 can still attempt to enlist as long as they have all of their medical documentation, are in good cardiovascular shape and possibly be subject to a pulmonary function test in order for a waiver to be considered.
Once accepted in the military, the asthma condition can be better treated with free healthcare for service members.
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.
Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs and is used to diagnose and monitor your progress with treatment. Your healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test.
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Can You Test Yourself For Asthma
There is no easy way to test yourself for asthma. Asthma can only be diagnosed by a doctor. You can, however, make it easier to get a diagnosis from your doctor by keeping careful track of your symptoms. Make note of when these symptoms occur and how they make you feel. Some of the most common warning signs of asthma are:
- Attacks of coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness or squeezing feeling in chest or lungs
Sometimes asthma symptoms are induced by exercise, stress, cold temperatures, specific weather, exposure to certain contaminants , or exposure to allergens. When you visit your doctor, be sure to tell them when you experience the majority of your symptoms, so they can understand what type of asthma you have.
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Anxiety And Hyperventilation Syndrome
Both anxiety and hyperventilation syndrome may cause shortness of breath and rapid breathing during flare-ups.
While such breathing difficulties may be mistaken with asthma, these arent caused by airway constriction. Wheezing and coughing also arent typical with these two conditions.
See a doctor for any chronic coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath that doesnt seem to have an underlying cause, such as a URTI.
A doctor may also refer you to a specialist, such as an allergist, immunologist, or pulmonologist.
Seek emergency medical help if youre experiencing significant breathing difficulties or the symptoms of a severe asthma attack, such as:
- rapid breathing
What Causes Asthma Attacks
Exposure to certain irritants and substances can trigger signs of asthma attack. The most common asthma triggers are airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mould spores or particles.
An asthma attack can begin abruptly or slowly. A mild asthma attack may seem to go away and return a couple of hours later. In cases like this, the second attack is often much worse than the first.
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How Can I Prevent And Treat Asthma Symptoms
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. There are two steps to controlling asthma: taking medicines and avoiding or limiting asthma triggers.
To prevent asthma symptoms:
- Avoid or limit contact with your asthma triggers andallergens. Use AAFAs Healthier Home Checklist to identify asthma triggers and allergens in your home and make your indoor environment healthier.
- Get vaccinated. Respiratory infections like colds and the flu can worsen asthma. Get a flu vaccine every year. Keep your lungs healthy by getting other vaccinations as recommended.
- Create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor. Follow it when you have symptoms. If you are having trouble staying in the Green/Go Zone, your asthma may not be well-controlled. Talk with your doctor about your treatment plan.
- Take your asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a medicine to control your asthma, take it as directed. This may be as needed or every day. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
- Take care of your general health. It can be hard to take care of your health but doing so can help you better manage asthma. Try to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Eat healthy foods as much as possible, stay hydrated, and find ways to manage stress.
To treat sudden asthma symptoms:
Asthma Medicines: Control and Quick-Relief or a Combination
A child is more likely to have asthma if:
Other Terms Used To Describe Asthma
Aside from the chronic asthma classifications and acute asthma exacerbation, there are additional subtypes used to provide insights into your asthma. They can also help predict how you may respond to treatment.
Characterizing your asthma may help identify specific triggers and guide the development of new treatments to help manage and prevent attacks.
The below subtypes may be chronic or acute, so its important to discuss them with your doctor and follow the appropriate treatment plan for each.
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Compliance With Ethics Guidelines
The research was conducted as a market research survey in accordance with the amended Declaration of Helsinki, adhering to the ICC/ESOMAR International code on observational research and performed in full accordance with the rules of the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996. IRB approval was not necessary or sought.
Avoid Asthma Triggers In The First Place
Whether your doctor has identified the stage and severity or is yet to do the same, it is essential to identify what triggers your asthma symptoms. Avoiding them or reducing your exposure to them can help prevent and control your asthma flares, so you can avoid a severe asthma attack.
Outlined below are five ways to avoid your asthma triggers:
Dust-proof your home: Clean your home as much as you can as dust mites can trigger asthma. If your home has carpets, remove them. Wash the linens regularly and use dust-resistant bedding.
Use an air conditioner: While natural air may be enticing, it can trigger asthma as it brings along humidity, pollen, and grasses. Its best to use an air conditioner to eliminate exposure to these outdoor irritants.
Protect your face: Again, when you breathe cold air, you are at high risk of experiencing asthma flares. So, to be on the safer side, it is recommended to cover your face with a scarf or mask whenever you step out of your house.
Clean regularly: Clean the damp areas of your home at regular intervals to prevent mold accumulation. Also, remove mold traps like leaves or firewood from your yard.
Stay healthy: People experiencing normal flu or common cold can also be at higher risk of experiencing more asthma symptoms. Get required vaccines, make a habit to wash hands during seasonal transitions.
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How To Tell You Have Asthma
Asthma is a complex disease to diagnose, and only a healthcare professional is able to make a proper diagnosis.
If you are concerned that you may have asthma, contact your healthcare provider. In order to confirm an asthma diagnosis, your healthcare provider will take into account your medical and family history, allergies, and conduct lung function testing such as spirometry.
Make Sure Your Indoor Spaces Are Well
If you are staying indoors more because of COVID-19, be mindful of the quality of your indoor air. The air inside our homes can often be more polluted than the air outside. Unhealthy indoor air can be full of asthma triggers and allergens that can cause symptoms and make your asthma harder to control. Take steps to improve and maintain healthy indoor air quality.
Air circulation is important too. Keep your indoor spaces well-ventilated by opening windows or doors, using fans, running air cleaners, or using proper air filters in your HVAC system.
Current evidence shows the risk of the coronavirus spreading is much lower outdoors than indoors. Good ventilation in your indoor environment may help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It may also affect the risk of transmission .
On days when pollen is low and air quality is good, open your windows to let in fresh air. Run your HVAC system as much as possible . Use high efficiency air filters in your HVAC system and replace them at least every three months.
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