What Do The Talk With The Doctor And The Physical Examination Involve
Asthma is diagnosed based on an in-depth talk with a doctor followed by a physical examination. The symptoms associated with can also be signs of other health problems, so when you describe your symptoms to the doctor, it’s important to tell him or her everything you have observed and experienced related to the symptoms. This includes worries and concerns, as well as ways that the symptoms affect everyday life. Any of these clues may help to track down the cause.
In order to get a clearer picture, your doctor will ask you a number of questions, such as
- what symptoms occur and when,
- under what conditions they go away,
- whether you have any other illnesses, especially allergies,
- whether you frequently had coughs or wheezing as a child,
- whether anyone in your family has or any allergies,
- whether you are taking medication and, if so, which medication.
- whether you are exposed to specific substances at home or at work, and
- whether you have any particular physical or emotional problems.
In the physical examination the doctor will then check your general health as well as the function of your lungs, heart and circulation. This is also done to rule out any other illnesses.
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.
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.
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Why May Further Tests Be Needed
Asthma symptoms can vary a lot over time. Even if you have , your doctor may not find any signs of asthma when checking your lung function for the first time. Nearly all of the tests measure how narrow your are. But if you happen to be symptom-free when the test is done, your bronchi will be almost normal too. People who smoke, are overweight, or generally unfit may also have typical asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, despite not having asthma. To make sure you get an accurate result, the following things may be done after the first reading:
- You may be given a substance which causes the airways of people with to temporarily become narrower .
- You may be asked to get on a treadmill or an exercise bike. In people with , the lung function reading is often worse following vigorous physical activity .
- You may be given an inhaler to open your airways. If your lung capacity improves after using the inhaler, it is a sign that you have asthma .
Lung x-rays or blood tests are generally only used if the symptoms and findings aren’t very typical of , and the doctor would like to rule out another disease. This is because the breathing difficulties could also be caused by other illnesses such as pneumonia or chronic obstructive .
Are Asthma Medicines Safe When You’re Breastfeeding
Asthma medicines do get into your breast milk, but the amounts are very low and are safe for the baby. If you take high doses of certain asthma medicines, like theophylline, your baby may become irritable or have trouble sleeping. To help prevent this, take your asthma medicines 3 or 4 hours before the next feeding. Your provider and your babys provider can help you adjust your medicine schedule so you and your baby can get the health benefits of breastfeeding.
Last reviewed: November, 2013
Heart Conditions Associated With Shortness Of Breath
Heart Attack: The pumping actions of your heart and breathing are closely related during a heart attack. When your heart is not pumping efficiently, you may experience shortness of breath. A heart attack will also cause chest pain and fatigue. Medications such as beta-blockers, antiplatelet drugs, and nitroglycerin are commonly used to treat heart attacks. The shortness of breath will only occur during the heart attack.
Congestive Heart Failure: CHF occurs when your heart muscle becomes weakened and unable to pump blood effectively. As a result, fluid builds up in and around the lungs, causing pressure and shortness of breath. Medications can be used to treat CHF, but preventative care is more effective. Following a heart-healthy diet and getting regular exercise can promote heart health. Without treatment, surgery may be needed.
Arrhythmia: Irregular heartbeats affect your heart rate causing it to beat too fast or too slow. As the rate of your heart changes, so will your breathing patterns and you will experience shortness of breath. Arrhythmias are treated with medications and devices that help to regulate the heartbeat.
Congestive cardiomyopathy: This is a hereditary or acquired disease of the heart muscle that makes it difficult for your heart to pump. Without treatment, it can lead to heart failure. The obstructed blood flow with this condition can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness. Treatment will require medications and possibly surgery.
The Basics Of Diagnosing Asthma
Your doctor will probably start your examination by delving into your past medical history and asking whether any of your relatives have allergies or asthma. You’ll also be asked to describe your symptoms, their severity, and what, if anything, is triggering them.
Triggers could include cold air, dust, hairsprays, perfumes, household cleaner vapors, cigarette or cigar smoke, and air pollution, Asciuto says.
Doctors also try to narrow down the list of culprits by asking these additional questions:
- Is your cough worse at night?
- Do you have more symptoms when youre at home or at work?
- Do you have other health problems that could be causing these symptoms, such as a sinus infection or acid reflux?
Next, your doctor will listen to your breathing with a stethoscope and may order one or more of these diagnostic tests:
Its also important to note that you can have asthma without experiencing any of the hallmark symptoms. There’s no single patient profile for asthma, says Dr. Fineman. “Some will have more coughing, some more wheezing, and some have more problems breathing with exercise, he says.
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How Is Shortness Of Breath Treated
Treatment for shortness of breath depends on the underlying cause. Once your doctor examines you and provides a diagnosis, treatment may involve one or more of the following:
- Medication. Your doctor may prescribe medications like bronchodilators to help you breathe easier or steroids to reduce swelling in your lungs.
- Prescription supplements. If youre anemic, you may need to take prescription supplements to raise your iron levels.
- Surgery. Surgery may be a treatment option for certain conditions, such as chronic blood clots or structural problems with your heart.
- Oxygen therapy. If you have an infection such as COVID-19, you may be given oxygen therapy to help support your breathing. You may also be given supportive drugs such as antiviral medications.
- Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection, you may be given antibiotic medication.
- Avoiding tobacco and allergy triggers. Your doctor may recommend that you or avoid secondhand smoke to help you breathe more easily. Its also important to avoid exposure to allergy triggers or other potential lung irritants.
- Lifestyle changes. If obesity is a contributing factor, your doctor may recommend changing your lifestyle habits. This will likely include eating a balanced diet and exercising more often.
Other steps you can try to help prevent and manage shortness of breath include the following:
You may be at a higher risk of shortness of breath or other related conditions if you have:
What Is Good Asthma Care
Your doctor or nurse will tailor your asthma treatment to your symptoms. Sometimes you may need to be on higher levels of medication than at others.
You should be offered:
- care at your GP surgery provided by doctors and nurses trained in asthma management
- full information about your condition and how to control it
- involvement in making decisions about your treatment
- regular checks to ensure your asthma is under control and your treatment is right for you
- a written personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse
It is also important that your GP or pharmacist teaches you how to properly use your inhaler, as this is an important part of good asthma care.
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Asthma Symptoms: 5 Signs Your Shortness Of Breath Is Serious
If you suffer from shortness of breath, youre not alone. Its a common symptom and one that prompts many people to see a doctor or seek other medical treatment. Knowing when your shortness of breath is an emergency isnt always easy. It can be the result of hyperventilation, acid reflux, or a panic attack cases when shortness of breath usually recedes on its own or more serious issues involving your respiratory health. There are many possible causes of shortness of breath, as well as signs that its time to seek medical help.
Iii: Anxietyhead Games And Shortness Of Breath
Maybe you feel so stressed that its obvious that the stress is squeezing the breath out of you or maybe its not. If youre not sure, its time to ask yourself some hard questions: could that be me? Could I be choking myself? Almost literally? Dont underestimate this possibility.
Anxiety excessive worry, either too much, or too long, or both13 is a surprisingly potent and amazingly common cause of many odd symptoms. Shortness of breath and chest pain are among the most frequently reported.
Although its common, anxiety is badly neglected as an explanation for many problems. Even though its almost the same thing as stress, many people dont recognize that they are anxious, or they deny it or minimize it. And many people just dont know that shortness of breath can be caused by anxiety! It really can.
Theres no clear explanation for how anxiety causes shortness of breath, chest pain, or any other strange symptom: its just one of those things. And while anxiety can cause shortness of breath as a direct and immediate symptom, it can also probably cause trouble indirectly by chronically eating away at us in other ways, like creating the dysfunctional breathing pattern discussed above.
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About Shortness Of Breath
To understand shortness of breath, its important to first understand how normal breathing takes place in the body. Its a complex process that uses chemicals and mechanical processes to ensure that every cell of the body has the oxygen it needs to function and perform activities. The following images illustrate every step in the process:
Natural Treatment For Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath can be triggered by illness and fatigue, but it can also be a symptom of a serious underlying condition. Serious heart conditions such as heart attack, heart disease, and heart failure can all cause shortness of breath.
Medical treatment will be required for serious conditions, as treatment will prevent serious damage and death. There are also natural treatments you can use to support heart health and reduce risks.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, is proven to support heart health in several ways. This essential vitamin naturally lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for heart attack and heart failure. High cholesterol increases the risk of clogged and damaged arteries, and niacin prevents this. By also lowering blood pressure, niacin protects the heart and blood vessels from stress and damage that can trigger heart failure.
Another beneficial and natural ingredient is red yeast rice. This fermented rice contains compounds that lower cholesterol and work as effectively as the top prescription medications. Red yeast rice also lowers blood pressure and blood glucose levels naturally.
Blood glucose levels are important to heart health, as those with diabetes have a significant risk of heart failure. High blood glucose levels damage heart tissues, and red yeast rice can prevent this by naturally controlling these levels.
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Explaining Your Symptoms To Your Gp
Its a good idea to start a diary of your symptoms before speaking to your GP. Taking note of when symptoms flare-up may help you to understand your triggers. This diary will then help your GP to understand and properly assess your condition. You could also try filming your symptoms if they are hard to describe.
There are several different tests for asthma so your GP wont be able to diagnose you straightaway. Our advice on diagnosing asthma explains this process in more detail.
How Do I Know If My Asthma Is Not Well
A good way to know if your asthma is not well-controlled is by answering these questions:
- Do you have asthma symptoms more than two times a week?
- Do you take your quick-relief medicine more than two times a week?
- Do you wake up from asthma more than two times a month?
- Do you use oral corticosteroids more than two times a year?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk with your doctor.
If your asthma is not well-controlled, your daily activities may be limited. You may miss work or school. You may increase your chances of having complications from a respiratory infection. And you may be at greater risk for going to the emergency room, staying in the hospital, or even dying from asthma.
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Can Anxiety Make You Forget To Breathe
You may have experienced episodes that made it feel nearly impossible to catch your breath. Its frightening and very real. Anxiety can affect your ability to breathe and the way you breathe can also influence your anxiety levels. You can take control of the way you breathe to minimize anxiety breathing symptoms.
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Will An Inhaler Help With Shortness Of Breath
If youre struggling with shortness of breath, you may wonder if an inhaler can help. Inhalers are a common asthma treatment, and they can also be helpful for shortness of breath.
There are two main types of inhalers: bronchodilators and corticosteroids. Bronchodilators open up the airways by relaxing the muscles around them. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the airways.
Inhalers can be used to relieve symptoms of shortness of breath. If youre having trouble breathing, your doctor may recommend using a bronchodilator inhaler. This can help open up your airways and make it easier to breathe.
Corticosteroid inhalers are often used to prevent shortness of breath. If youre at risk for shortness of breath, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid inhaler. This can help reduce inflammation in your airways and make it less likely that youll have an asthma attack.
If you have asthma, you may need to use an inhaler regularly. If youre only using an inhaler for occasional shortness of breath, you may not need to use it daily. Talk to your doctor about how often you should use your inhaler.
Inhalers are a safe and effective way to treat shortness of breath. If youre struggling to breathe, talk to your doctor about whether an inhaler may be right for you.
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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.
A Problem With Your Lungs Or Airways
Sudden breathlessness could be an asthma attack. This means your airways have narrowed and youll produce more phlegm , which causes you to wheeze and cough. Youll feel breathless because its difficult to move air in and out of your airways.
Your GP may advise you to use a spacer device with your asthma inhaler. This delivers more medicine to your lungs, helping to relieve your breathlessness.
Pneumonia may also cause shortness of breath and a cough. Its usually caused by an infection, so youll need to take antibiotics.
If you have COPD, its likely your breathlessness is a sign this condition has suddenly got worse.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma
People with asthma usually have obvious symptoms. These signs and symptoms resemble many respiratory infections:
- Chest tightness, pain or pressure.
With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms with every flare. You can have different symptoms and signs at different times with chronic asthma. Also, symptoms can change between asthma attacks.
What Causes Shortness Of Breath In Asthma Patients
Various factors can cause shortness of breath. Some of these factors are as follows:
Consumption of certain medications such as Amphetamine, Adenosine, Brufen, etc
- Certain diseases include acute rheumatic fever, pneumonia, pregnancy, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, etc.
- Certain exercises and work-outs
The pattern of shortness of breath will help the doctor identify the type of asthma you suffer from.
People with bronchial asthma generally suffer from breathing difficulties early in the morning. In contrast, people suffering from cardiac asthma need to wake up due to breathlessness a few hours after bed.
They need to sit upright to catch their breath. In patients diagnosed with heart failure and cardiac asthma, prolonged periods of lying down will lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs, leaving them gasping for breath.
When people suffering from bronchial and cardiac asthma exert themselves, they may suffer shortness of breath.
In the case of people suffering from bronchial asthma, the symptoms are triggered due to intense exercise and become worse after exercise rather than during it.
In case of patients suffering from cardiac asthma may suffer from breathing difficulties even while doing less vigorous exercises such as climbing stairs.
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