Cigarette Smoke And Asthma
Cigarette smoke is a common trigger for asthma symptoms. Many other respiratory illnesses are caused and made worse by smoking, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Managing symptoms will become easier for people with asthma if they are able to quit smoking or avoid being around people who are smoking.
Although quitting can be difficult, there are many effective treatment options available which you can discuss with your doctor or pharmacist.
Video: What Happens After Being Diagnosed With Asthma
Transcript of What happens after being diagnosed with asthma?
0:00 It can be really scary to be told you have asthma and its natural to worry about how it might affect your life. The
0:08 good news is that theres lots of support out there to help you manage the condition and to help you to stay well.
0:15 You may wonder if your asthma can be cured. Well, even though we dont have a cure for asthma at the moment, theres so much we can do with the right medicines,
0:25 the right treatments, the right advice and support to help you stay well, so that the asthma wont affect your life,
0:31 whether it be work or your play. You might find that when youre just diagnosed with asthma it takes a little
0:38 bit of time to get your medicines just right so that you are living without symptoms every day. Be patient, hang on in there.
0:47 The most important thing is to develop a really good relationship with your doctor or nurse. With them you can draw up an asthma action plan, which you can
0:56 download from our website. Thatll really help you to manage your asthma well, and we know that youre four times less likely to need to go to hospital if
1:04 youve got one of these. So, if you have just been diagnosed with asthma, try and stay positive. Theres so much you can do to stay well. You can visit our website,
1:14 or phone one of our friendly asthma nurse specialists, or even join a forum. Remember that were here to help.
When To Call 999
Dont delay getting help if you have an asthma attack. Call 999 if your reliever isnt helping, or lasting four hours, or youre worried at any time.
An asthma attack is a real emergency, and could be life-threatening, says Asthma UKs in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore.
Getting help when you need it is so important, to make sure youre treated quickly. Never think youre wasting anyones time.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Asthma Without Inhaler
Is Asthma The Same For Everyone
Everyone with asthma has their own personal set of triggers and symptoms. Using a is the best way to keep a record of your individual treatment plan.
You can have a certain type of asthma too. For example, occupational asthma is caused by triggers in your workplace. Around 4% of people with asthma have a type of asthma called severe asthma, which needs specialist treatment because the usual medicines dont keep symptoms under control.
Asthma Attack Triggers And How To Prevent Them
If youve ever had an asthma attack, you know how scary it can be when your chest tightens, making it difficult to take breaths between coughing. These are just some of the symptoms that characterize an asthma attack. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many things, making it all the more frightening when you suddenly cant breathe.
Understanding what triggers your asthma is the first step toward preventing an asthma attack. Well explain what you need to know about common asthma attack triggers, so you can do your best to prevent symptoms from interrupting your everyday life.
Also Check: Remedies For Asthma Without Inhaler
Book An Urgent Appointment With Your Gp Or Asthma Nurse
Tell reception you need an urgent appointment because youve had an asthma attack. Book an appointment even if you feel better now. And even if youve been started on treatment for your asthma attack.
Even if youre OK now you still need a check-up from your GP or asthma nurse to make sure youre not at risk from another attack.
You need an urgent same day appointment if:
- you dealt with an asthma attack at home using your blue reliever inhaler but didnt need to call an ambulance.
You need an urgent appointment within two working days if:
- you were treated in hospital or by paramedics in the ambulance
- you needed to use any of your rescue pack of steroid tablets to deal with your worsening asthma symptoms.
If you had an asthma attack but didnt see your GP at the time it is still important to see your doctor or asthma nurse now, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UKs in-house GP.
Your asthma may still not be well controlled and you could be at risk of another asthma attack.
Recover more quickly from an asthma attack with support from your GP
Even though you may have dealt with your asthma attack at home, or been treated for it in hospital, its still important to see your GP or asthma nurse after having an asthma attack.
Your GP or asthma nurse can support your recovery and lower your risk of another attack.
check your medicines to see if youre on the best dose for you, and that youre taking your inhalers in the right way.
Move Away From Triggers
The presence of asthma triggers wont only cause an attack, they can also make your symptoms worse. Be sure to try to get away from things that may be triggering your asthma attack.
For example, if youre in an area where people are smoking cigarettes, you should move away promptly.
Its also important to know your triggers. Common triggers include:
- , such as pet dander, pollen, or certain foods
You should always be sure to seek immediate emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms during an asthma attack:
- your symptoms continue to get worse even after treatment
- you cant speak except in short words or phrases
- youre straining your chest muscles in an effort to breathe
- your shortness of breath or wheezing is severe, particularly in the early morning or late-night hours
- you begin to feel drowsy or tired
- your lips or face appear blue when youre not coughing
Symptoms that indicate that you could be experiencing an asthma attack include:
- severe shortness of breath
Recommended Reading: What’s An Asthma Attack Feel Like
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.
Can You Really Grow Out Of Asthma
“If you have asthma your airways are inflamed and sensitive to triggers such as cold air, pollution, cold and flu viruses or allergies that set off your asthma symptoms ,” says Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK.
“For some children diagnosed with asthma, the condition might improve or disappear completely as they get older but for many people, asthma is a lifelong condition,” he adds.
However, it may not always be asthma causing the problem. Asthma-like symptoms can be down to allergies, which is why it may appear that a child has outgrown their asthma.
“True asthma does not go away, just as diabetes or hypertension don’t go away,” states Dr Thomas Antalffy, inventor of the Smart Peak Flow device.
If you feel your asthma symptoms are relieved, it may simply be lying dormant so it’s important to be vigilant.
“There may be periods where your symptoms do not affect your day-to-day life and these periods could last years or even decades. However, asthma symptoms can be triggered again by a change in circumstances, such as a new workplace, stress, or hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause,” says Whittamore.
“If you’re taking your asthma medicines as prescribed and feeling well, this is a sign that they are working,” so don’t assume you no longer need treatment, he warns.
If symptoms do come back, it’s vital that you don’t ignore them and that you speak with your GP.
Can you really ‘grow out’ of asthma?
Don’t Miss: Is Asthma A Small Airway Disease
Breathing Tests For Diagnosing Adult
The breathing tests for asthma include:
- Spirometry how much air you can breathe out in a set time.
- Bronchodilator reversibility this is when two spirometry tests are done before and after a one-off dose of bronchodilator medication to see if the treatment helps. A positive BDR test usually confirms an asthma diagnosis.
- Peak expiratory flow monitoring measures how fast you can breathe out. You might be asked to monitor your PEF, often referred to simply as peak flow, at home for two to four weeks.
- Fractional exhaled nitric oxide measures the level of inflammation in your airways.
- Bronchial challenge investigates how sensitive your airways are to a deliberately administered irritant . This specialist test is only done under medical supervision in hospital.
Most people need just one or two tests to reach a diagnosis. After asthma is confirmed you might have one or more allergy tests to try to identify potential triggers.
Dont Miss: How To Get Rid Of Asthma Without Inhaler
Signs Symptoms And Complications
How often signs and symptoms of asthma occur may depend on how severe, or intense, the asthma is and whether you are exposed to allergens. Some people have symptoms every day, while others have symptoms only a few days of the year. For some people, asthma may cause discomfort but does not interfere with daily activities. If you have more severe asthma, however, your asthma may limit what you are able to do.
When asthma is well controlled, a person shows few symptoms. When symptoms worsen, a person can have what is called an asthma attack, or an exacerbation. Over time, uncontrolled asthma can damage the airways in the lungs.
Does Asthma Ever Go Away
Yup! A lot of kids find their asthma goes away or becomes less serious as they get older. Some doctors think this happens because the airways grow wider as a kid grows up and gets bigger. With more room in the airways, the air has an easier time getting in and out.
Some people do have asthma as adults, but it doesnt have to slow them down. Some top athletes manage their asthma while still competing at professional and Olympic levels.
Does Asthma Cause Permanent Damage
The airway obstruction of asthma is generally completely reversible and usually does not cause permanent damage to the lungs, heart, or other organs. However, severe acute episodes of asthma can be associated with life threatening events and even fatalities. Survival of severe life threatening events can be associated with damage from lack of oxygen during the severe exacerbation, and lack of oxygen to the brain can cause loss of consciousness and brain damage.
Chronic asthma with ongoing airway inflammation may also be associated with what is called “remodeling” of the airways. This describes permanent changes occurring in the tissues surrounding the airways that results in permanent narrowing of airways. The potential for this emphasizes the importance of monitoring pulmonary function in patients with asthma at regular intervals, particularly those with a chronic pattern of asthma.
Read Also: Are Chihuahuas Good For Asthma
How The Treatment Goals Are Attained
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for asthma. While treatment can control symptoms safely and effectively for most patients most of the time, it is not a simple matter of the doctor writing a prescription and the patient taking the medication. Successful treatment of asthma is likely to require several steps on the part of physician. These include:
- Confirmation of the diagnosis
- Characterization of the asthma with regard to:
- Identification of triggers
- Identification of the components of airway obstruction
The diagnosis of asthma is suspected when a patient has a history of recurrent or chronic shortness of breath, labored breathing, or cough in the absence of any other obvious reason. The diagnosis is confirmed by obtaining evidence that there is airway obstruction that reverses either spontaneously or as a result of treatment with anti-asthmatic measures. The procedures used to make the diagnosis include a careful history, measurement of pulmonary function , and therapeutic trials of medication.
Triggers of asthma, those identifiable factors that commonly worsen symptoms include:
- Viral respiratory infections
- Airborne allergens
- Inhaled irritants
- Cold air
Patients with an intermittent pattern of asthma require only intervention measures.
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.
Q: How Well Does Treatment Work For Adults With Asthma
Asthma can be more difficult to control in adults for several reasons:
- Asthma medications can be less effective later in life, particularly for those who are obese.
- Oral steroids can worsen glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis.
- Being on beta-blockers for heart problems can increase the severity of asthma.
- The lungs and chest walls are stiffer and the muscles supporting deep breathing are weaker in adults.
For these reasons, adults with asthma are at increased risk for flare-ups and even hospitalization.
Who Can Get Asthma
Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.
When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.
Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
Read Also: What Happens If You Smoke Weed With Asthma
Will Asthma Symptoms Return After Remission
One characteristic of asthma is inflammation, which changes the way your lungs function. Even if your asthma improves, its important to remain vigilant againstyour triggers.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, colds and allergies are the most common triggers especially in children.
Its possible to experience improved asthma for a long period of time, and then for your symptoms to return during allergy season or if you get sick.
Other possible asthma triggers are:
- cigarette smoke
Theres also a greater chance that your symptoms will return if you have:
- a personal or family history of asthma
Smoking or living with someone who does can also increase your risk of developing returning asthma symptoms.
You may not be able to entirely prevent your asthma symptoms from returning, but managing and treating your condition can help reduce their recurrence. Avoiding your triggers is one way you can help prevent asthma flare-ups.
Can Asthma Get Worse At Different Times In My Life
There are certain stages in your life that might affect your asthma. For example, some women find that being pregnant can make asthma either better or worse and hormonal changes, at puberty, menopause or during the menstrual cycle might have an impact too.
There are lots of other life changes that might temporarily affect your asthma symptoms. Stress, for example, whether from a relationship breakdown or family illness, can make symptoms worse.
Having frequent asthma attacks can also make asthma worse over time. Asthma attacks can cause scarring in your airways which makes them narrower. This is sometimes called airway remodelling.
If your airways are scarred and narrow, youre more likely to have worse symptoms more often.
Recommended Reading: Does Ibuprofen Make Asthma Worse
Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Dont have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but dont have a spacer
- Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
- Asthma limits exercise or sports
- Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
- Use more than 1 inhaler per month
- No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
- You have other questions or concerns
Recommended Reading: Breathing Steam For Asthma