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How Do I Get Asthma

Children With Allergies Can Go On To Develop Asthma

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

If your child tends to get allergies theyre said to be atopic. Being prone to allergies is usually something that runs in families. And if your child has one allergy theyre more likely to get another one.

For example, children with eczema, and a family history of allergy, are more at risk of developing asthma than other children.

GPs and researchers talk about the atopic march, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UKs in-house GP. This is when allergies appear in children in a certain order, depending on their age.

Sometimes allergies overlap, and sometimes your child will switch from one allergy to another. A small child with eczema may go on to have a food allergy, and then, as they get older, hay fever, and then asthma.

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Drugs And Food Additives

Beta blockers, which often are prescribed for high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraine headaches and angina, can cause bronchospasm, an airway tightening. Patients with asthma should consult their allergist about the use of these medications.

Food additives rarely trigger asthma. The most common food trigger for asthma is sulfite, a preservative used in such products as frozen potatoes and some beers and wines.

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 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.

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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.

What Causes An Asthma Attack

Asthma: When breathing becomes difficult

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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What Types Of Asthma Are There

Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:

  • Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
  • Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

Asthma has multiple causes:

  • Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
  • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

Asthma can also be:

  • Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
  • Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.

In addition, there are these types of asthma:

Diagnosing Asthma In A Young Child Can Be More Challenging Because:

  • Children under six years of age are not generally able to do a lung function test
  • Symptoms such as cough and wheeze are fairly common in very young children who do not have asthma

However, a diagnosis of asthma can be made in a young child. Your health-care provider will assess:

  • What symptoms does the child have?
  • When do the symptoms occur ?
  • Is there a history of allergies or asthma in the family?
  • Does the child have any signs of allergies
  • Do the symptoms improve when taking asthma medications?

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Medications are usually needed for asthma, even if its mild asthma. New asthma medications are continually being discovered and there are several effective asthma drugs in the market that help get asthma under control.

There are two types of asthma medications: controllers and relievers.

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Are There Special Considerations In Treating Asthma In Older Adults

Yes. First of all, treatment of asthma for older adults can be complicated by the fact that so many older people take multiple medications for various health conditions. Some asthma medications can react with those other treatments, causing unpleasant side effects. In addition, other medications may actually worsen asthma symptoms.

Secondly, older patients are more likely than younger patients to have mental confusion or memory problems. This may be the result of normal aging or of an illness, such as Alzheimers disease. Whatever the cause, these problems can make it difficult for certain older patients to follow treatment instructions especially if that person takes medications for a variety of health conditions.

Additionally, many asthma medications come in the form of an L-shaped metered dose inhaler which requires a certain degree of manual coordination and dexterity. Older people are more likely to have difficulty with this type of medication device, and in using it, may not receive the correct dose. Treatment with a dry powder inhaler or oral medications can help older asthma patients avoid problems with use of L-shaped inhalers.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma

How do I know if I have asthma?

If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.

The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.

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Does A Cpap Help In Asthma Attack At Night

If there is an issue of carbon dioxide retention during an asthma attack, your doctor is more likely to recommend a BiPAP , as opposed to a CPAP . However, many patients with mild asthma have reported of using a CPAP machine without any problems.

Visit your doctor as soon as you suspect that you have asthma or asthma-like symptoms. Seeking immediate medical attention from an urgent care near you can also help you control an asthma attack and manage the symptoms. Visit our Woodbridge Walk-In Urgent Care in Irvine, Fountain Valley Urgent Care, or Costa Mesa Urgent Care to get seen.

Am I Having An Asthma Attack

The signs of worsening asthma can be uncomfortable but should still be easy enough to manage until youre able to see a doctor.

If you experience a more sudden and severe onset of symptoms that deviate from your normal symptoms, you may be having an asthma attack or exacerbation. This can include extreme difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, cough, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

If you or someone around you experiences symptoms of an asthma emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency department.

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Where To Learn More

Your doctor, pharmacist, or Certified Respiratory Educator can:

  • Explain how each of your asthma medications work
  • Discuss any concerns about potential side effects
  • Show you how to use your medication inhalation advice

Ontario residents can reach our Certified Respiratory Educators through our toll-free Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG .

Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers

6 things to do if you

Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.

Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.

The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.

Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.

Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.

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How To Tell If You Have Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory condition caused by inflammation and constriction of the airways. Its a long-term condition that requires lifelong management and treatment to help prevent symptoms and reduce your chances of having an asthma attack.

But how do you know for sure if you have asthma? If youre experiencing a cough or shortness of breath, learn what differentiates asthma from other respiratory conditions and how a doctor can confirm a diagnosis, so you can get the right treatment for your symptoms.

Why Is My Asthma Worse At Night

Asthma that gets worse at night is sometimes called nighttime asthma or nocturnal asthma. There are no definite reasons that this happens, but there are some educated guesses. These include:

  • The way you sleep: Sleeping on your back can result in mucus dripping into your throat or acid reflux coming back up from your stomach. Also, sleeping on your back puts pressure on your chest and lungs, which makes breathing more difficult. However, lying face down or on your side can put pressure on your lungs.
  • Triggers in your bedroom and triggers that happen in the evening: You may find your blankets, sheets and pillows have dust mites, mold or pet hair on them. If youve been outside in the early evening, you may have brought pollen in with you.
  • Medication side effects: Some drugs that treat asthma, such as steroids and montelukast, can affect your sleep.
  • Air thats too hot or too cold: Hot air can cause airways to narrow when you breathe in. Cold air is an asthma trigger for some people.
  • Lung function changes: Lung function lessens at night as a natural process.
  • Asthma is poorly controlled during the day: Symptoms that arent controlled during the day wont be better at night. Its important to work with your provider to make sure your asthma symptoms are controlled both day and night. Treating nighttime symptoms is very important. Serious asthma attacks, and sometimes deaths, can happen at night.

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Does Steam Or Vaporizer Reduce Chances Of An Asthma Attack At Night

Generally, steam or vaporizer can liquefy mucus when breathing problems are caused by an allergy or cold. This can help a person feel better. On the other hand, asthma is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Steam or vaporizer can cause irritations and worsen breathing problems.

There Are Many Different Types Of Asthma Brought On By Many Different Triggers

Asthma

If youre struggling with asthma symptoms trouble breathing, a persistent cough or tightness in the chest an allergist can help you take control by providing a diagnosis and identifying the underlying causes.

Learn about the triggers and treatment for allergic asthma and how an allergist can help you manage allergy and asthma symptoms.

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How Is Asthma Treated

Asthma can be controlled, but there’s no asthma cure. There are, however, certain goals in asthma treatment. If you are unable to achieve all of these goals, it means your asthma is not under control. You should contact your asthma care provider for help with asthma.

Treatment goals include the following:

  • Live an active, normal life
  • Prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms
  • Attend work or school every day
  • Perform daily activities without difficulty
  • Stop urgent visits to the doctor, emergency room, or hospital
  • Use and adjust medications to control asthma with little or no side effects

Properly using asthma medication, as prescribed by your doctor, is the basis of good asthma control, in addition to avoiding triggers and monitoring daily asthma symptoms. There are two main types of asthma medications:

Asthma medications can be taken by inhaling the medications or by swallowing oral medications . If you are also taking drugs for other conditions, you should work with your providers to check drug interactions and simplify medications when possible.

Diet Will Help Keep Asthma Under Control

Weve all heard you are what you eat. And its so true. If you eat junk, youre going to be feeling like junk and coughing up junk when your asthma kicks in.

But dont get too hung up with what youve read online. Its not about some restrictive diet, being vegan or vegetarian or gluten free. You can be all or none of those things and it wont necessarily affect your asthma.

The best diet for asthma is really just the healthiest diet that works for YOU specifically. You need to discover what your personal food intolerances are. Remember that being intolerant to a food doesnt have to mean you turn blue and die after eating something, like with a peanut allergy. It can simply be that a certain food leaves you feeling acidic or phlegmy, or just generally unwell after eating.

But sometimes its not so easy to determine which foods are causing reactions over the course of a day. Each day you eating dozens of different things, with potentially hundreds of ingredients.

This is why I encourage everyone to start keeping a food journal. Very simply, this is a journal where you write down what youve eaten and then how you feel 1-2 hours later. If a food makes you plegmy and heavy-chested, stop eating that food for a week and see what happens. Likewise, if a food makes you feel good and full of energy , eat more of that food.

Learn more about how to journal for asthma management.

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How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Exercise

Your provider will ask about your symptoms, including when you have them and how long they last. After listening to your lungs, your provider will ask you to perform an activity that usually triggers your symptoms . Then your provider will measure your lung function with a spirometry test.

During spirometry, you exhale as much air as you can as fast as possible. You breathe into a tube attached to a machine called a spirometer. The machine measures how well your lungs work after exercise.

What Can I Do To Manage My Childs Asthma

Asthma anatomical vector illustration infographic diagram

When a baby or toddler has a chronic illness, parents can feel stressed to their limits. Here are some coping tips:

  • Learn the warning signs for increasing asthma in infants and toddlers. Know your childs particular asthma symptom pattern.
  • Develop an asthma care plan with your childs doctor. Make sure the plan has a course of action to follow if asthma symptoms get worse. Understand when your child needs emergency care.
  • Follow your childs Asthma Action Plan every day! Dont change the plan until you consult your health care provider. Even if your childs symptoms are gone, stick with the plan until you discuss changes with the doctor.
  • Teach your toddler or preschooler to tell you when they are not feeling well.
  • Work out an emergency plan of action to follow if your child has a serious asthma episode. What hospital will you use? Who will take care of your other children? How does your medical coverage provide for emergency care?

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Youre Coughing And Wheezing More During The Day

Another sign that your severe asthma may be getting worse is if youre coughing or wheezing more often than usual.

Talk with your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan if you constantly feel like youre about to cough. Also speak with them if you find yourself wheezing with a whistle-like sound more than once a day.

Asthma Action Plans For Children

An asthma action planis a clear written summary of instructions for when your childs asthma symptoms change. Everyone with asthma should have a personalised asthma action plan written by their doctor.

Your childs asthma action plan will tell you:

  • how to recognise when your childs asthma is getting worse or an attack is developing, and the steps you should take to manage it
  • symptoms that are serious, indicating a need for urgent medical help
  • your childs asthma triggers.

Make sure you understand and can follow the asthma action plan from your doctor.

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What Is Severe Asthma

Severe asthma is often harder to control than mild to moderate asthma. It may require higher dosages and more frequent use of asthma medications. If youre not managing it properly, severe asthma can be dangerous and even life threatening in some cases.

Its important that youre able to recognize when your condition isnt properly managed. Doing so can help you take steps to find a more effective method of treatment.

Here are eight signs that your severe asthma is getting worse and what to do next.

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