How Do You Know If Your Asthma Is Mild Moderate Or Severe
Asthma severity is typically classified as intermittent, mild, moderate, and severe. While there are several factors that play into the classification, here are some general guidelines:
- Intermittent asthma typically means your symptoms occur less than twice a week.
- If you have mild asthma, these symptoms might happen twice a week or more, but not daily.
- With moderate asthma, you can experience symptoms every day, but you wont regularly have multiple flares.
- Severe asthma is uncontrolled, meaning symptoms kick in virtually every day, several times a day despite regular medication.
While mild and moderate asthma usually improves with treatment, thats not typically the case with severe asthma.
What Is An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily and quietly. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes your airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The lining of your airways becomes swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of your lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
When your airways get tighter, you make a sound called wheezing when you breathe, a noise your airways make when you breathe out. You might also hear an asthma attack called an exacerbation or a flare-up. Its the term for when your asthma isnt controlled.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
But having a URTI doesnt automatically mean you have asthma. While both conditions may lead to coughing, a URTI can also result in the following symptoms:
Also Check: Is Asthma Caused By Pathogens
When To See A Doctor
At the moment, theres no cure for asthma. However, there are many effective treatments that can decrease asthma symptoms. Lifestyle changes and medications can also help improve your quality of life.
If you havent been diagnosed with asthma but are experiencing symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath, you should let your doctor know. You can connect to a physician in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
Once youre diagnosed with asthma, you should see your doctor at least once a year or more frequently if you have persistent symptoms after using treatments.
- cant perform daily activities
- have a wheeze or cough that wont go away
Its important to educate yourself about your condition and its symptoms. The more you know, the more proactive you can be in improving your lung function and how you feel.
Talk with your doctor about:
- your type of asthma
- what daily treatments are best for you
- your treatment plan for an asthma attack
How Can I Prevent And Treat Asthma Symptoms
There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. There are two steps to controlling asthma: taking medicines and avoiding or limiting asthma triggers.
To prevent asthma symptoms:
- Avoid or limit contact with your asthma triggers andallergens. Use AAFAs Healthier Home Checklist to identify asthma triggers and allergens in your home and make your indoor environment healthier.
- Get vaccinated. Respiratory infections like colds and the flu can worsen asthma. Get a flu vaccine every year. Keep your lungs healthy by getting other vaccinations as recommended.
- Create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor. Follow it when you have symptoms. If you are having trouble staying in the Green/Go Zone, your asthma may not be well-controlled. Talk with your doctor about your treatment plan.
- Take your asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a medicine to control your asthma, take it as directed. This may be as needed or every day. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
- Take care of your general health. It can be hard to take care of your health but doing so can help you better manage asthma. Try to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Eat healthy foods as much as possible, stay hydrated, and find ways to manage stress.
To treat sudden asthma symptoms:
Asthma Medicines: Control and Quick-Relief or a Combination
Also Check: Are Almonds Good For Asthma
Diagnosing Asthma In Children
A child is more likely to have asthma if:
- A parent has asthma
- The child has allergies, including the allergic skin condition eczema
- Exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy or throughout childhood
- Exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollutants
- The child wheezes with viral infection
- The child is obese
To help your child’s healthcare provider make a correct diagnosis, be prepared to provide information about family history of asthma or allergies, the child’s overall behavior, breathing patterns and responses to foods or possible allergy triggers. Lung function tests are often used to make an asthma diagnosis, but they are very hard to do with young children. The doctor may use a 4- to 6-week trial of asthma medicines to see if they make a difference in your child’s symptoms.
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.
Recommended Reading: Can Urgent Care Treat Asthma
Asthma Causes And Triggers
Researchers havent yet found a clear-cut answer for what causes asthma, and it may vary from person to person. What we do know is that its often due to the immune system overreacting to a substance in the lungs, and right on cue, the asthma symptoms start.
- Strong odors, like perfume
Other possible triggers include extreme weather conditions, exercise, and respiratory illnesses. Even seemingly inconsequential actions like a display of emotion that affect normal breathingshouting and laughingcan trigger asthma symptoms.
How Is Asthma Diagnosed
If you think you have asthma, it’s important to check in with a doctor. These symptoms can be distressing, and a doctor can perform the proper tests to give you a correct diagnosis.
To diagnose asthma, a doctor will usually first ask about your personal medical history. If you have a close relative with asthma, you’re more likely to have it as well. Next, the doctor will likely do a physical examination, taking a look at your ears, nose, throat, chest, and lungs. They may want to do chest x-rays.
If those diagnostic methods point to asthma, your doctor will perform a lung function test to confirm the diagnosis. There are a few different lung function tests they may perform to measure how much you can inhale and exhale. They likely take measurements before and after you are administered a bronchodilator, which is a medicine that helps open your airways. If your lung function improves after you’re given the bronchodilator, an asthma diagnosis can be confirmed.
You May Like: How To Strengthen Lungs With Asthma
How Is Allergic Asthma Diagnosed
There are several tests that your healthcare provider can do to diagnose allergic asthma. To pinpoint allergies, your provider may do a blood test or a skin test. In these tests, your provider is looking for the effect of the allergens on your body. For a skin test, possible allergens may be applied to small areas of your skin to see how you react to each one. This can be uncomfortable, but it will show your provider what might be causing the reaction.
Your healthcare provider may also do a few tests to diagnose your asthma. These tests are used to make sure that its asthma thats causing your symptoms and no other medical condition. Tests to diagnose asthma can include:
If you have allergic asthma, your symptoms are typically triggers by something you breathe in. Determining what allergen triggered your symptoms is another part of the diagnosis process for allergic asthma. Try to keep a journal or notes of what happened when you experienced asthma symptoms. If you were outside by freshly cut grass, it could be a pollen allergy. If you were petting a dog, it could be pet dander. Figuring out what you inhaled when your symptoms started can help your provider create a plan to control your allergic asthma.
Side Effects Of Asthma Medication
If you are worried about possible side effects from asthma medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop or reduce doses of medication for your child without speaking with your doctor. Common side effects from inhaled asthma medication:
- sore mouth and throat
- fungal throat infections.
Using a spacer reduces the risk of these side effects. as does rinsing the mouth with water after using an inhaler.
- fast heart beat.
Read Also: What Foods Can Trigger Asthma Attacks
Are There Any Special Considerations For Adults Who Develop Asthma
People with multiple medical conditions need to be aware of how their illnesses and the medications they use may affect one another.
If you take more than one medication, talk with your physician about ways to simplify your medication program. Explore the possibility of combining medications or using alternate ones that will have the same desired effect. Be sure to discuss potential drug interactions with anything you take including vitamins or herbal supplements.
How Can I Handle Flare
Chances are, you won’t be able to prevent every single flare-up. That means you always need to be prepared for one, especially at school. Always be able to get to your inhaler either in your backpack or the health office. Use it whenever you need to.
If you feel a flare-up coming on, get the help you need. Don’t ignore the flare-up or hope it will go away on its own. Take charge and you’ll be breathing easier soon.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Treat Childhood Asthma Naturally
How Do You Treat Nocturnal Asthma Naturally
What is the best cough medicine for asthma?
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.
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. Youll 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. Theres 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.
You May Like: What To Do When You Can’t Breathe Due To Asthma
Can You Test Yourself For Asthma
There is no easy way to test yourself for asthma. Asthma can only be diagnosed by a doctor. You can, however, make it easier to get a diagnosis from your doctor by keeping careful track of your symptoms. Make note of when these symptoms occur and how they make you feel. Some of the most common warning signs of asthma are:
- Attacks of coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness or squeezing feeling in chest or lungs
Sometimes asthma symptoms are induced by exercise, stress, cold temperatures, specific weather, exposure to certain contaminants , or exposure to allergens. When you visit your doctor, be sure to tell them when you experience the majority of your symptoms, so they can understand what type of asthma you have.
What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
If you have a severe asthma attack, you need to get immediate medical care.
The first thing you should do is use your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than a maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should use the rescue inhaler when symptoms are bothering you and you can use it more frequently if your flare is severe.
If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:
- Anxiety or panic.
- Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Very quick or rapid breathing.
Don’t Miss: Does Coke Help With Asthma
How To Get A Diagnosis
The first thing to do is book an appointment. Your GP or an asthma nurse can help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of asthma.
They can do this by:
- talking about your symptoms, what sets them off, and when you get them
- asking if anyone else in the family has asthma
- finding out if you, or anyone in your family, have other allergies, like hay fever
- testing how your lungs are working
- listening to your chest for any sounds of wheezing
- prescribing asthma treatments to see if they make a difference
- considering any other symptoms that might suggest something else.
Alongside a full clinical assessment by your GP, youll need some asthma tests to confirm or rule out asthma. Your GP can see how your lungs are working with tests like peak flow, spirometry, and FeNo .
Your GP can usually perform these tests during the appointment, and you can see the results straight away. But you may need to do tests again on another day before your GP can confirm you have asthma.
You may be given a peak flow meter to use at home for a couple of weeks. This is so you can record your own peak flow scores in a diary.
When you take it back to your appointment, your GP or asthma nurse will be able to see a pattern of scores that could suggest asthma.
Trying out asthma treatments
Your GP or asthma nurse may prescribe asthma treatments to see if they help. This is sometimes called a trial of treatment.
If your symptoms start to get better, it suggests you could have asthma.
Question : Are Your Symptoms Worse When You Are At Work
You answered yes.
You answered no.
- Someone who works in an environment where they are exposed to dust, fumes, certain chemicals or animals, and finds their symptoms flare up at work, may have what is known as occupational asthma, which affects around one in ten people who first develop asthma in adulthood.
- Bakers, vets, nurses, hairdressers, engineers and woodworkers are just some of the jobs that can lead to occupational asthma.
Some warning signs of asthma are more serious. They include:
- Symptoms that keep getting worse, even with treatment
- Difficulty catching your breath or talking
- Sucking in your chest or stomach with each breath
- Trouble walking
- A bluish or grayish tinge to your lips or fingernails
- Flaring your nostrils as you breathe
If you have any of these asthma symptoms, call 911.
Also Check: How To Cure Asthma Without Medicine
Keep A Diary Of Your Childs Symptoms
Keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. The diary could include:
- a video or audio recording of the wheezing you could use your mobile phone
- when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night
- how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen
- how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time
- whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing or after an infection
- whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.
What Are Asthma Symptoms
The first early warning sign of asthma is arguably the one most commonly associated with the disease: wheezing, or that squeaky sound in your chest when you have trouble breathing.
You might first only hear wheezing when youre breathing out, but as the asthma attack worsens, you might also hear wheezing when breathing in. Its also important to note that during a severe asthma attack, you might not hear any wheezing, which means not enough air is moving through the airways.
People with asthma can have one of any number of symptoms, says Neeta Ogden, M.D., an asthma specialist and immunologist in New York City. The most common tend to be chest tightness, shortness of breath, or feeling like you cant get in a good breath of air.
Heres a little bit more about what to expect from the signs and symptoms of asthma:
Shortness of breath is an obvious complication that happens when you cant get enough oxygen due to the way your airways and their surrounding muscles are reacting to asthma triggers, Sadia Benzaquen, M.D., a pulmonologist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells SELF.
When your airways narrow, you dont have as much space through which to breathe. As a result, you can experience wheezing, which may sound similar to the whistling sound you might hear if you were to breathe through a straw.
You May Like: How Can You Treat Asthma