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Do People With Asthma Cough

What To Do When Asthma Stops You Sleeping

Why Do People Cough? | Asthma
  • 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.

Having An Asthma Action Plan

You and your doctor will also put together an asthma action plan. This is a personalised set of instructions that includes a list of your usual asthma medications and doses, guidance on what to do in different situations , and your doctors contact details.

How To Know If Your Seemingly Harmless Cough Is Actually Asthma

Having a cough is a clear sign that something just isnt right in your lungs. It can be easy to chalk it up to something like a lingering cold, your partners smoking habit, or another obvious culprit, but sometimes a cough can actually point to a sneaky health condition like asthma.

For the record, you dont just have to live with a constant cough, even if it feels like yours has been with you since birth. I have patients who come in and say, I dont have any problems, but I have a cough, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF. But a cough is never normal.

If youre coughing, it means your lungs are trying to eject irritants or goopy fluids like mucus, the Mayo Clinic explains. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that coughing happens to be a hallmark of asthma, which messes with the tubes that carry air in and out of your body. Under normal circumstances, these airways do their job with no trouble. But if you have asthma, your airways overreact to triggering substances by tightening, swelling, and pumping out too much mucus. All that adds up to having more trouble breathing than usual. You may also experience symptoms like wheezing , chest pain or tightness, and yup, a cough, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute .

So, how do you know if your hacking might indicate that you have asthma? Here are signs to keep in mind.

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What Are The Treatments For Asthma

If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include

  • Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for you, you should not smoke or allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
  • Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
  • Control medicines. You take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.

If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.

Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.

Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airways ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so its important to discuss them with your provider.

What Causes An Asthma Cough

Asthma: In Depth

An asthma cough still remains a condition, which is not completely understood. Therefore, its causes are also unclear. However, it seems like an asthma cough develops mostly after the following instances:

  • Exposure or breathing in cold air
  • Regular exposure to allergens and pollutants
  • Any upper respiratory tract infection, particularly sinusitis
  • Regular intake of aspirin
  • Consuming beta blockers for treating heart disease, heart failure, migraines, palpitations, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions

You need to be aware that beta blockers are also found in some eye drops that are used for treating certain eye problems like glaucoma. Regularly using these eye drops can also trigger an asthma cough.

In fact, allergies have been proven to have a clear connection with asthma. Many studies have shown that nearly 85% of all patients with asthma tend to have some form of nasal allergies. There seems to an immunological link associated with an asthma cough as well because of the fact that allergies are a resultant of our immune system causing an overreaction to an allergen that generally will not cause any reaction.

While anyone can get cough variant asthma at any time in their lives, it is usually more common in children who already have childhood asthma.Certain people, though, are at a higher risk for developing an asthma cough. Some of these risk factors that doctors assess and take into consideration before making a diagnosis of cough variant asthma include:

Also Check: Why Does Asthma Cause Coughing At Night

Can Asthma Be Prevented

Asthma cant be prevented entirely, but there are some practical ways to reduce the risk of an asthma attack and live well with asthma.

  • Get vaccinated for influenza: flu and other respiratory viruses are common triggers for asthma.
  • Manage any allergies: asthma and allergies are closely linked, so treating allergic rhinitis and avoiding or managing any allergy triggers will help with your asthma.
  • Live smoke-free: quit smoking if you smoke, and avoid any second-hand smoke .
  • Eat well: a balanced diet helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese makes asthma harder to manage.
  • Care for yourself: mental health and asthma are linked, so let a trusted friend or your doctor know if you have been feeling sad or anxious, or dont enjoy things as much as before.
  • See your doctor regularly: asthma needs to be regularly assessed and managed, and your medication needs may change over time. Ensure your asthma action plan is up to date by checking in with your doctor regularly.

What Other Tools Can I Use For Monitoring Asthma Control

Peak Flow Meter

Sometimes doctors recommend a peak flow meter a handheld device that measures how well air moves out of your lungs. A peak flow meter, when used every day, can spot reduced airflow before you notice the signs and symptoms of an asthma episode.

Peak flow meter readings can help you monitor your asthma control. But they are just one tool. Your peak flow meter reading is not the only indicator of asthma control. Always follow your Asthma Action Plan.

Pulse Oximeter

Doctors use pulse oximeters to measure how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Some people with asthma may experience a drop in their oxygen levels in their blood.

Pulse oximeters you can buy online and use at home are not as accurate as medical grade devices. Monitoring your blood oxygen levels with pulse oximeters is not a recommended part of home management of asthma.

Lung Function Tests

Your allergist or pulmonologist may use different lung function tests to assess your asthma control. Learn more about the tests used to diagnose and monitor asthma.

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Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets

Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:

  • muscle weakness

With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.

However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.

You will need regular appointments to check for these.

Want to know more?

Prevention Of Asthma Coughing

Why Do People Cough? | Asthma

Preventing an asthma cough can be done in a few simple steps. If you are typically coughing more at night, it may be beneficial to place a humidifier in your bedroom. If the air outside is bothering you, then it is best to limit time outdoors. If allergens are the trigger of asthma, then it is essential to also treat the

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Identifying An Asthma Cough

Coughing has a purpose. Your body has you cough to remove foreign particles and bacteria to prevent possible infections.

Coughing in people with asthma can be helpful because its one of the bodys natural defense mechanisms.

There are two main types of coughs: productive and nonproductive.

When a cough is productive, it means that a noticeable amount of phlegm is expelled. This enables the lungs to get rid of harmful substances. A productive asthmatic cough will expel phlegm and mucus from the lungs.

But in most cases with asthma, the cough is considered a nonproductive dry cough. Its a response to an irritant that forces the bronchial tubes to spasm or constrict.

Swelling and constriction of the airways which prompts this type of nonproductive cough characterizes asthma.

An asthma cough is also often accompanied by wheezing. This is a high-pitched whistling sound caused by a constricted airway.

How To Prevent A Coughing Fit

To prevent a coughing fit, a person will need to identify and treat the underlying cause of the cough.

People with chronic respiratory conditions will require medical treatments to reduce the frequency and severity of coughing fits.

Those who develop coughing fits in response to certain allergens or irritants should try limiting their exposure to those substances.

Another option for people with allergies is to take antihistamines. These drugs help suppress the immune systems response to environmental allergens, thereby preventing coughing fits.

Quitting smoking will also help prevent coughing episodes.

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What Asthma Treatment Options Are There

You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:

  • Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen and are used for intermittent and chronic asthma.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms of chronic asthma.
  • Biologic therapies for asthma: These are used for severe asthma when symptoms persist despite proper inhaler therapy.

You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or another type of asthma inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.

Reducing The Burden Of Asthma

Asthma Attack Symptoms &  First Aid

Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.

There are two main types of inhaler:

  • bronchodilators , that open the air passages and relieve symptoms and
  • steroids , that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduces the risk of severe asthma attacks and death.

People with asthma may need to use their inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the different types of inhalers available.

It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler, especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a spacer device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine to reach the lungs more effectively. A spacer is a plastic container with a mouthpiece or mask at one end and a hole for the inhaler in the other. A homemade spacer, made from a 500ml plastic bottle, can be as effective as a commercially manufactured inhaler.

Access to inhalers is a problem in many countries. In 2021, bronchodilators were available in public primary health care facilities in half of low- and low-middle income countries, and steroid inhalers available in one third.

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Can Adults Get Whooping Cough

Prior to availability of vaccines, whooping cough predominantly affected children. Now, more than one-half of whooping cough cases occur in adolescents and adults. Severe disease is still more likely in infants and children. The severity of disease is typically milder in adolescents and adults due to prior vaccination, although they can still transmit the infection to unvaccinated infants and children that are at risk for severe disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease refers to a group of chronic lung conditions that obstruct airflow in and out of the lungs.

COPD can inflame and thicken the airways within the lungs, and it can damage the lung tissue responsible for exchanging gases.

Chronic coughing and shortness of breath are common symptoms of COPD. Other possible signs and symptoms of COPD include:

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How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms

Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.

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How To Treat Asthma Cough

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

Treating an asthma cough involves taking controller medications. Corticosteroids for inhaling will help reduce the inflammation in the lungs, which is said to be the biggest cause of an asthma cough. Inhaled corticosteroids are usually a long-term solution for cough variant asthma. For getting relief in the short term, oral corticosteroids are usually prescribed. Quick-relief inhalers are recommended to keep handy to take care of coughing and wheezing incidences. These quick-relief inhalers, though, are only meant for using once or twice in a week. You may also use them before exercising or if you are suffering from a disease and are generally feeling unwell, triggering a bout of coughing.

Oral medications for relieving asthma cough include leukotriene modifiers such as montelukast, brand name Singulair. These drugs work by treating the symptoms of asthma which are associated with allergic rhinitis.

There are also some alternative treatments that you can opt for treating an asthma cough. However, you should not stop taking your prescribed medications for other complementary treatments such as homeopathy. Your doctor will be the best person to advise you on whether the following options can provide relief in cough variant asthma:

  • Herbal therapy with gingko and dried ivy

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Could My Cough Be Covid

Cough can be a symptom of asthma, hay fever, cold and flu, or COVID-19.

Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital respiratory clinician Dr. John Blakey told Asthma Australia that people with an asthma cough may have found it challenging amid the COVID-19 heightened concern when it comes to displaying respiratory symptoms.

Under these circumstances, we would encourage people to keep it simple, be transparent about their cough and be willing to say, Its my normal asthma cough, he says.

He says when considering if the symptom could be from COVID-19 think about whether there are other issues such as a sore throat, fatigue, runny nose or congestion, or breathlessness.

A major factor is whether the person has been in contact with a COVID-19 case or a person who has been overseas recently.

He also suggests asking yourself if the cough is more persistent or produces unusual mucous or has worse symptoms in the nose especially with the sense of smell.

For more information on asthma symptoms, call 1800 ASTHMA and speak to an Asthma Educator.

Get more support for your asthma management by joining Asthma Assist.

References

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Why Do Some People Cough At Night

Well, its normal to cough at night if you are sick. But if you dont have a cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia, you shouldnt be coughing at night. Nocturnal asthma can be caused by a variety of things, such as:3,4

  • Changes in the circadian rhythm that can cause hormone changes
  • Sinuses draining
  • Increased airway resistance due to airways narrowing during sleep

For the last couple of weeks, I have been waking up coughing during the night. This is not like me at all. And Im not sick, so I shouldnt be coughing.

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Why Is Asthma Keeping Me Awake

Its common for asthma symptoms to come on at night, but you shouldnt have to put up with them. Night-time asthma symptoms are a sign that your asthma isnt well controlled, and you may be at risk of an asthma attack.

If your symptoms come on early in the morning, it could be a sign your asthma has been difficult through the night, even if you werent aware of it.

Here are some reasons why your symptoms may come on at night:

There is also evidence to suggest that a lack of sleep can make your asthma symptoms worse. If youre struggling with sleep and its affecting your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.

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