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How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma

Take These Before Hitting The Gym

  • Short acting beta agonist or bronchodilator: Using this inhaler 10 to 15 minutes before exercise can prevent symptoms. It can also be used to treat symptoms after they occur.
  • Long-acting bronchodilator: Inhaled 30 to 60 minutes before exercise, it prevents symptoms for 10 to 12 hours but offers no rescue benefit once symptoms occur.
  • Mast cell stabilizers: Taken 15 to 20 minutes before exercise to prevent EIB.

When Is It Serious

To help you know when you need medical attention, use a peak flow meter every day so you know how much air typically flows out of your lungs. People with asthma have a lower air flow in and out of their lungs. By tracking your peak flow levels regularly, you can spot problems early before you experience annoying or dangerous symptoms. A meter will also tell you and your doctor how serious your asthma attacks are. That way youll know when to take medicine or seek emergency care. And peak flow readings can also help you pinpoint your asthma triggers.

Some signs that your asthma is worse:

If you need medical assistance, contact CareFinders at 1-866-608-FIND to make an appointment with a physician, or call 911 immediately if it is an emergency.

Allergic Asthma Vs Nonallergic Asthma

Allergy induced asthma is triggered by allergens in your environment. Nonallergic asthma is triggered by factors other than allergens. It may include:

  • Allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis Bronchial asthma triggered by viral respiratory infections.
  • Exercise-induced asthma This type of asthma is triggered by strenuous exercise.

Nonallergic asthma may also be caused by irritants in the air, stress, drugs such as aspirin, certain food additives, or changes in weather conditions.

How Long Asthma Lasts For

Asthma is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when you’re an adult.

In children, it sometimes goes away or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.

The symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Most people will have normal, active lives, although some people with more severe asthma may have ongoing problems.

You Live In A Cold Or Dry Environment

How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma?

EIB occurs when you breathe in air that is drier and cooler than the rest of your body, which is what happens when you inhale through your mouth while exercising, explains Dr. Ogden. This type of air is a common trigger that makes your airways narrow. If the climate you live in is particularly cold or dry, your lungs are definitely more at risk.

More Tricks For Preventing The Wheeze

Try these recommendations to reduce your risk of EIB while exercising:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or mask during exercise so the air entering your lungs is warmer and more humid.
  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before the main workout.
  • Try to breathe through your nose. Your nose is great at converting air to the best temp and moisture for your lungs.
  • In a of 64 asthmatic children, positive pressure treatment reduced EIB and lung inflammation.

You dont want to mess around when it comes to breathing. Follow your doctors recommended treatment for EIB, but you may find some of these alternative therapies are helpful too.

  • Caffeine before exercise may help prevent airway constriction.

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It might feel like taking deep breaths of very cold air on a winter day. Your breathing becomes harder and may hurt. You may cough and wheeze. Is this an asthma attack?

If you have asthma, you already know that it makes the airways of your lungs swell and narrow. The wheezing that sometimes you can hear, sometimes only a physician can hear, is when air is trying to squeeze through those little airways, explains Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center. While no one knows for sure what causes asthma, its most likely a combination of inherited and environmental factors.

Asthma Symptoms Can Mimic Other Illnesses Or Diseases Especially In Older Adults For Example:

  • Hiatal hernia, stomach problems, heart failure, or rheumatic arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults especially those who are or have been smokers.

 

How To Tell If My Cough Is From Coronavirus Or Asthma

Unfortunately, people can have both asthma and coronavirus. Here are a set of tips to help understand the symptoms that you feel.

  • Typical coronavirus symptoms include fever , joint or muscle aches and pain, as well as dry cough and significant shortness of breath. Asthma usually does not cause fever unless accompanied by a respiratory infection and usually does not cause the muscle and joint symptoms typical of coronavirus.
  • Individuals with asthma often wheeze and feel tightness in the chest. These symptoms are less frequent with COVID -19.
  • For those who have had asthma for years and have gone through flares, their symptoms are very familiar. If some of your chest symptoms are atypical for you and you have fever as well, it is worth speaking with your Asthma Center physician as to whether you have COVID 1- 19 and be tested as well as getting your asthma under control. COVID-19 can exacerbate your asthma and it is important to remember andindividual with asthma can experience symptoms from both an asthma flare and from COVID-19.
  • Seasonal asthma during the spring may be related to tree and grass pollen, and may also be coupled with allergies in the nose, throat, eyes and ears. With those individuals having typical allergy symptoms in the context of cough and even shortness of breath without fever, the latter symptoms are most likely allergy and asthma and not coronavirus. Coronavirus rarely causes sneezing, runny or stuffy nose. Both conditions can cause loss of smell.
  • 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:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Biologic therapies for asthma when symptoms persist despite being on 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 other inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.

    How Can I Be Better Prepared To Manage Asthma What Is An Asthma Management Plan

    Unfortunately, asthma cannot be cured. This makes it crucial to have your doctor create an asthma action plan to help you stay in control of your asthma.

    Your asthma action plan will outline:

    • What medication do I need?
    • How can I tell if your asthma is getting worse?
    • What should I do if my symptoms get worse?
    • What can I have an asthma attack?

    If your doctor develops an asthma action plan for you, its important to follow your asthma action plan closely. Make sure you carry and take your medications, such as an asthma inhaler.

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    Know The Early Symptoms Of Asthma

    Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. These signs may start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that your asthma is worsening.

    In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop you from going about your daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma attack or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs of an asthma attack include:

    • Frequent , especially at night
    • Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
    • Feeling very tired or weak when exercising

    If you have these warning signs, adjust your medication, as described in your asthma action plan.

    You Swim In A Chlorinated Pool

    How Do You Know if You Have Asthma and What Can You Do ...

    Generally, swimming is a great sport for people with exercise-induced asthma, because it still requires cardio demand, but the humid environment makes bronchoconstriction less likely. However, too much exposure to chlorine can irritate your respiratory tract. In fact, a study published in the journal Environmental Health found that early life exposure to swimming pools that contain chlorine was linked to early-onset asthma in children.

    You Struggle To Run Long Distances

    Do you enjoy going for 10-mile runs? That will change if you develop exercise-induced asthma. The deep breathing that running requires, plus the sheer distance, can decrease your if your airways are constricted. Youre not going to be able to run as long or as far, Dr. Ogden says. Your symptoms will kick in before the runnings over and youll find yourself struggling. In that situation, meds or an inhaler can help you power through runs from a 5K to a marathon Here are some training tips for beginners who want to run a marathon. Regardless of your symptom or your environment, seeing an asthma and allergy specialist for an evaluation will set you on the road to relief.

    What Is Asthma Anyway

    First up, a little anatomy refresher: Your airways, which extend between your nose and mouth and your lungs, have the very important job of carrying air in and out of your body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When you have asthma, triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, cold air, cigarette smoke, exercise, and respiratory infections like cause your airways to get inflamed, according to the NHLBI. That inflammation can cause swelling, which in turn can prompt the muscles around your airways to tighten, making it hard to get air in and out. At the same time, your airways might also expel more mucus than they usually do, making it even harder to breathe.

    Experts dont know exactly what causes some people to get asthma when others dont, but its pretty safe to assume that its probably a combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. For example, if someone in your immediate family has asthma, youre more likely to have it too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Beyond that, the general cause is a stronger-than-normal response from your immune system to certain triggers, which is why you get all that inflammation when people without asthma dont, says the .

    Diagnosing Asthma In Children Younger Than 6

    It can be hard to tell whether a child under age 6 has asthma or another respiratory condition, because young children often cannot perform a pulmonary function test such as spirometry. After checking a childs history and symptoms, the doctor may try asthma medicines for a few months to see how well a child responds. About 40% of children who wheeze when they get colds or respiratory infections are eventually diagnosed with asthma.

    Symptoms Of Asthma Emergencies In Children

    The signs of an asthma emergency include when the child: 

    • finds it very difficult to breathe or is not breathing 
    • is unable to speak comfortably or complete sentences without losing breath 
    • has lips turn blue 
    • has symptoms that get worse very quickly 
    • has tugging in of the skin between ribs or at the base of the neck 
    • is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler, or their reliever inhaler is not available. 

    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.

    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:

    • allergies
    • smoke, pollution and cold air
    • exercise
    • infections like colds or flu

    Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.

    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  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.

    What Causes An Asthma Attack

    How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma?

    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.

    What Types Of Asthma Are There

    Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

    Asthma can be:

    • Allergic: Some peoples can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
    • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

    Tips To Keep Your Asthma Under Control

    May 4th, 2015

    Almost three million Canadians and more than 300 million people worldwide have asthma, including many top athletes. Asthma is a common chronic lung disease that can make it difficult to breathe.  Although there is no cure for asthma, those with the condition can live healthy, active lives if their asthma is under control. 

    For World Asthma Day , the Canadian Lung Association has some helpful tips for people with asthma. 

    1.    Know your triggers and avoid themTriggers like allergens and irritants can make  your asthma symptoms worse by irritating your airways.  The best way to control your asthma is to know what your asthma triggers are and how to avoid them.

    2.    Take your asthma medication as prescribed by your doctorMany people think they can skip their asthma preventer medications when they don’t feel any symptoms that’s not true. Asthma is a chronic disease. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, even when you don’t feel symptoms. You have to manage your asthma every day, not just on days when you feel symptoms. Read more about asthma medications and how to use them.

    3.    Learn how to use your inhaler properlyYour health-care provider can show you how to use your inhaler properly so that  your medicine reaches the airways.  Ask him or her  to watch you useyour inhaler.  Your health-care provider may offer suggestions on how to improve your technique so that the medication gets to your airways. Watch our videos on how to properly use your inhalers.

    Question 5: Do You Keep Getting Chest Infections

    You answered yes.

    You answered no.

    • People with asthma have sensitive airways so are at a higher risk of developing chest infections.
    • Often following a cold or a bout of the flu, a chest infection can considerably worsen asthma symptoms.
    • If you have a chest infection which isnt clearing up, or you keep getting them again and again, consult your doctor, as this may be an indication that you have asthma.

    Breathing Problems During Exercise

    If you have chest tightness, cough, wheeze or shortness of breath during exercise, your doctor may perform extra tests to see if you have a type of asthma called, exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm. For some people, they will only have asthma symptoms during exercise. There are many benefits to exercise, so work with your doctor to find the best management steps and treatment options for you.

    Question 1: Do You Make A Wheezing Sound When You Breathe Out

    You answered no.

    • Asthma is caused by an irritation of the airways, medically known as the bronchi.
    • When they become inflamed, the walls of the bronchi swell and tighten, causing them to narrow.
    • They may become coated with mucus, obstructing them further.
    • This causes a whistling sound when trying to expel the used air.

    Occupational Asthma Is Triggered By An Irritant Youre Exposed To At Work

    If your asthma started when you changed jobs, improves when youre away from your work environment, or is triggered by chemicals that make it difficult to breathe, then you may be suffering from occupational asthma.

    Occupational factors are associated with up to 15 percent of disabling asthma cases in the United States. An estimated 11 million workers in a wide range of industries are exposed to at least one of the numerous agents known to be associated with occupational asthma. 

    More than 250 manufacturing substances have been known to exacerbate occupational asthma, such as:

    • Paints

    How To Tell You Have Asthma

    In this section: Diagnosis and Lung Testing | How To Tell You Have Asthma | Your Healthcare Team

    Asthma is a complex disease to diagnose, and only a healthcare professional is able to make a proper .

    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.

    If Your Asthma Symptoms Are Caused By Allergies Take Steps To Control Knownor Potential Triggers In Your Environment

    Differences Between Asthma and COPD That You Should Know!

    Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches, and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic.

     Reduce your outdoor activities when the pollen count or ozone level is high.

     Choose foods that dont contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms.

     Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.

     

    In order to determine relevant triggers, you may want to seek consultation with an allergist who can further define these triggers.

    In addition, anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their internist about getting a pneumonia vaccination.

     

    When To See A Gp

    See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.

    Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.

    The GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.

    Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed.

    What If I Have Asthma And Coronavirus

    Though asthma does not in itself put you at greater risk to contract coronavirus, those individuals with some forms of asthma may be at risk for complications and may get sicker from coronavirus. The Surgeon General of the United States, recently brought this to the attention of the American public. However, according to the CDC, this concern applies only to individuals with persistent moderate to severe asthma though there is no published data that actually supports this assertion at this time. Fortunately, the vast majority of individuals with asthma have intermittent asthma meaning they have infrequent symptoms and use a rescue inhaler less than 2x/week not including preventative use before exercise. Individuals with moderate persistent asthma are usually on a maintenance inhaler which contains moderate to high doses of inhaled steroids with or without long acting bronchodilators. Individuals with severe persistent asthma are on higher doses of inhaled steroids with or without biologic therapy and have significant limitations in lung function. 

    Since coronavirus can infect your respiratory tract , the COVID-19 respiratory virus, like other respiratory viruses like influenza, can precipitate an asthma attack and possibly lead to a viral pneumonia and in the worse case acute respiratory failure from ARDS . 

    You Wake Up Coughing And Wheezing During The Night

    If youre ever jolted awake in the middle of the night by a fit of coughing or wheezing, you may need to modify your severe-asthma management plan.

    Properly managed asthma shouldnt wake you up from sleep more than one or two nights a month. If youre losing sleep due to your symptoms more than this, it may be time to discuss treatment modifications with your doctor.

    Your peak flow readings are a measurement of how well your lungs are functioning at their best. This measurement is usually tested at home with a handheld device called a peak flow meter.

    If your peak flow levels drop below 80 percent of your personal best, thats a sign that your severe asthma is poorly managed. Another sign that your asthma is getting worse is if your peak flow reading varies greatly from day to day. If you notice low or inconsistent numbers, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

    How Will The Doctor Determine Which Type Of Asthma I Have

    In general, a doctor will establish your type of asthma by:

    • Examining your medical history, including your family history
    • Performing a physical examination to inspect your upper airway for signs of allergic rhinitis, check your chest for deformity, or determine the presence of polyps
    • Measuring the amount of air you can breathe in and out of your lungs with a spirometry or lung function test
    • Determining the age of onset
    • Discovering the types of cells involved in inflammation
    • Looking at the results of allergy tests
    • Examining the characteristics of your lung and tissue
    • Observing your responses to past medications

    Asthma Patterns In Children

    Every childs asthma is different. Some children have mild, occasional episodes of asthma or only show symptoms after , or when they have a . Some experience daily symptoms, while others have symptoms continuously, which limit their level of activity. 

    Each pattern of asthma requires a different treatment approach. It is important to remember that children can still have a severe and even life-threatening attack, even if they generally have mild or occasional asthma. 

    Know The Asthma Symptoms In Children

    Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.

    Not all children with asthma wheeze. Chronic coughing with asthma may be the only obvious sign, and a childâs asthma may go unrecognized if the cough is attributed to recurrent .

    For more detail, see WebMDâs Asthma in Children.

    When Should You Call A Doctor For An Asthma Attack

    If you think you or your child may have asthma, make an appointment with your health care provider. Some clues pointing to asthma include the following:

    • wheezing,
    • pain or tightness in your chest, and
    • recurrent, spasmodic that is worse at night.

    If you or your child has asthma, you should have an asthma action plan worked out in advance with your health care provider. This plan should include instructions on what to do when an asthma attack occurs, when to call the health care provider, and when to go to a hospital emergency department. The following are general guidelines only. If your provider recommends another plan for you, follow that plan.

    • Take two puffs of an inhaled beta-agonist , with one minute between puffs. If there is no relief, take an additional puff of inhaled beta-agonist every five minutes. If there is no response after eight puffs, which is 40 minutes, your health care provider should be called.
    • Your provider also should be called if you have an asthma attack when you are already taking oral or inhaled or if your inhaler treatments are not lasting four hours.

    Although asthma is a reversible disease, and treatments are available, people can die from a severe asthma attack.

    If you are having an asthma attack and have severe shortness of breath or are unable to reach your doctor in a short period of time, you must call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Have a friend or family member drive.

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