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How Does Asthma Affect The Lungs And Stomach

Surprising Signs Of Adult

How Asthma Affects Your Lungs and Your Life

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That persistent cough that keeps you up at night may stem from more than just a tickle in the back of your throat. It could be adult-onset asthma.

Many people experience a jolt of disbelief when they are diagnosed with asthma later in life, especially if they have never experienced symptoms before. Asthma? That condition that causes kids to wheeze?

It turns out adult-onset asthma is far more common than many people realize. Asthma is often considered a disease of children, so adults may be surprised when they are diagnosed with asthma, says pulmonologist Javier Pérez-Fernández, M.D., the critical care director at Baptist Hospital of Miami.

The number of people with asthma grows every year. Currently, more than 26 million Americans have asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases, more than 20 million are among adults, with the greatest number of cases among ages 35 and 65.

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that can lead to coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath or wheezing. Among adults who develop asthma later in life, the symptoms may initially be more subtle than in children, which can cause patients to overlook or ignore the condition. But its important to treat symptoms as soon as possible so they dont become severe, said Dr. Pérez-Fernández, who also serves as director of pulmonology for West Kendall Baptist Hospital.

How Can Adult Onset Asthma Be Managed

If you manage your asthma, you can expect to lead a normal lifestyle. Basically, there are four key steps to managing asthma successfully:

1. Learn about asthma and stay up-to-date on new developments.

2. Take prescribed medications. Dont make any changes until you check with your physician. Dont use over- the-counter medications unless prescribed by your physician!

3. Check your lungs daily at home by using a peak flow meter. Asthma patients often can detect lung changes with a peak flow meter before they actually experience any changes. Visit your physician regularly for further in-office tests. Lung testing is painless and provides valuable data that helps your physician make adjustments in your medication.

4. Make an asthma management plan with your physician. A plan establishes guidelines that tell you what to do if your asthma symptoms get worse.

When To Seek Emergency Medical Care

Anyone experiencing any of the following emergency warning signs of flu sickness, including people with asthma, should seek medical attention right away.

People experiencing these warning signs should obtain medical care right away.

In children
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Dehydration
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions
In adults
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

These lists are not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

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Preparing For Your Gp Appointment

A little bit of preparation can help you to get the most of your first GP appointment. It may even speed up the process so you can get diagnosed more quickly.

Have answers at the ready

Think about your family history.

  • Does anyone in your family have asthma?
  • Does anyone in your family have allergies?
  • Do you have any allergies, including eczema or hay fever?

Your answers to these questions could help your GP work out if asthma is more likely.

Keep a diary of your symptoms

Note down how often and when you have symptoms. For example, are your symptoms worse at night, early in the morning, or when youre at work?

You could also make a note of what you think sets them off. Things that set off your asthma symptoms are called . Common asthma triggers include dust mites, cigarette smoke, and .

Keeping a diary or a chart of your symptoms and triggers can help your GP or asthma nurse see the pattern of your symptoms. Seeing how your symptoms are over time helps your GP to know if asthma is more likely.

Film symptoms on your phone

Asthma can come and go, so you could have no symptoms when you go and see your GP.

Try filming yourself on your phone or ask someone else to when youre having symptoms. Then you can show the GP or asthma nurse exactly what it was like, without having to try and describe it with words.

But dont delay getting help if symptoms are getting worse though!

Jot down your questions

How Is Adult Onset Asthma Diagnosed

Asthma by Jack Boschee

Asthma symptoms can mimic other illnesses or diseasesespecially in older adults. Hiatal hernia, stomach problems or rheumatoid 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. To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, do a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. In addition, you may be tested for allergies. Your primary care physician may refer you to a pulmonologist or an allergist for specialized testing or treatment. If you have any asthma symptoms, dont ignore them or try to treat them yourself! Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.

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What Stress Symptom Is Associated With The Lungs

How does stress affect the lungs? Stress and strong emotions can cause breathing difficulties such as shortness of breath and rapid breathing. In a healthy person, the effects caused by stress on the lungs are usually not dangerous, but for people with breathing problems, it could worsen the symptoms.

Why Gerd May Trigger Asthma

One possibility is that the repeated flow of stomach acid into the esophagus damages the lining of the throat and the airways to the lungs. This can lead to breathing difficulties as well as a persistent cough.

The frequent exposure to acid may also make the lungs more sensitive to irritants, such as dust and pollen, which are all known to trigger asthma.

Another possibility is that acid reflux may trigger a protective nerve reflex. This nerve reflex causes the airways to tighten in order to prevent the stomach acid from entering the lungs. The narrowing of the airways can result in asthmatic symptoms, such as shortness of breath.

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What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack

If you think youre having an asthma attack, you should:

  • Sit upright and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
  • Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  • If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
  • Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.

    Try to take the details of your medicines with you to hospital if possible.

    If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.

    This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.

    Why Might Someone With Asthma Be Without An Inhaler

    How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

    However, this doesnt mean that everyone with asthma has an inhaler with them at all times. Often when someone has been living without symptoms for a long time, they may assume that their asthma has gone, and so get out of the habit of carrying one. Some people might develop symptoms suddenly for the first time as an adult, with no preparation. Others might just sometimes forget. Unfortunately, not having an inhaler wont stop an attack.

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    A Flu Shot Is The Best Protection Against Flu

    Flu vaccination is especially important for people with asthma because they are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. Flu vaccines are updated each season to keep up with changing viruses. Also, immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against flu. A flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. This seasons flu vaccines have been updated from last seasons vaccines to better match circulating viruses. More information on why flu vaccines are updated annually is available: Vaccine Virus Selection, as well as this years flu vaccine composition.

    Immunity from flu vaccination sets in after about two weeks after getting vaccinated.

    Role Of Surgery In Gerd

    Fundoplication surgery is the most common surgery used to treat GERD. It may be used to treat GERD symptoms that have not been well controlled by medications. In fundoplication surgery, the fundus of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus and sewn into place to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter. Some relatively new nonsurgical procedures used to treat GERD are still undergoing trials to determine their long-term safety and effectiveness. These include Stretta radiofrequency procedure, in which radiofrequency energy is delivered through an endoscope to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter and EndoCinch procedure, in which an endoscopic sewing device is used to make a series of sutures that adjusts the lower esophageal sphincter so that it blocks acid reflux more effectively.

    Approach to diagnosing and managing GERD-related extra-esophageal symptoms

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    Getting The Most From Your Treatment

    • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
    • Montelukast will not give you immediate relief if you are having an asthma attack. Your doctor will prescribe a reliever inhaler for you to use if this happens. Make sure that you keep it with you all the time in case you need to use it.
    • If you find that your asthma symptoms are getting worse, or that you need to use the reliever inhaler more regularly than usual, please contact your doctor or nurse for advice straightaway.
    • Do not smoke. Smoking causes severe irritation and damage to the lungs. It will make your condition worse and will reduce the beneficial effects of your medication.
    • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. Some anti-inflammatory painkillers and aspirin can make asthma symptoms worse in some people.

    Can Certain Foods Help With Asthma

    Obesity: a risk factor for Asthma

    Theres an increasing amount of evidence that suggests certain foods can help to control asthma. One example is ginger. Researchers found that ginger, when combined with commonly used inhaled medications, enhances airway dilation. It is believed that the ginger reduces the contraction of the muscles surrounding the airways.

    A study showed that omega-3 fatty acids may help patients be less reliant on rescue medications, and improve quality of life. Its easy to get more foods high in these fats. Sources include walnuts , salmon, pumpkin seeds, and more.

    Additionally, it may help your child to get more vitamin B6. It has been shown to help with breathing early in the morning and reduce acute wheezing episodes, and its especially beneficial for patients who are dependent on a steroid for their asthma.

    It may also help your child to increase their intake of vitamin C. Studies showed that this reduced episodes of wheezing in children.

    You may want to talk to a professional before incorporating new foods into your childs diet.

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    How To Stop Asthma Cough

    This article was co-authored by Shaun Berger, MD. Dr. Shaun Berger is a board certified Pediatrician based in the San Diego, California metro area. Dr. Berger provides comprehensive primary care for newborns, children, and adolescents, focusing on preventive medicine. Dr. Berger earned a BA in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and an MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Berger then completed a residency at the UCSF/Fresno Community Medical Centers/Valley Childrens Hospital where he was elected Chief Resident. He has been awarded the UCSF Foundation Award and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 76,283 times.

    Many people are familiar with common asthma symptoms like tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. Coughing is another troublesome symptom of asthma, the inflammatory lung disease which narrows the breathing airways. To stop an asthma-related cough, identify and avoid your triggers, take medication to treat your asthma, and make yourself comfortable.

    How To Help Someone With An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler

    Asthma is a very common condition with around one in 13 of us affected. Its been increasing since the 1980s and affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Theres currently no cure for asthma, but typically with the right treatment plan and lifestyle changes, most people diagnosed with asthma are able to live normally without severe symptoms.

    However, very occasionally, a person with asthma may be caught off guard. They might find themselves facing an attack without an inhaler to help them. Fortunately, this doesnt need to be as bad as it might sound. With the right assistance, they could get through an attack using some simple coping techniques.

    If you know someone with asthma, learning more about their condition, as well as what you can do to help them, can be valuable.

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    Role Of Proton Pump Inhibitors In The Management Of Gerd

    With regard to medical therapy of GERD and asthma, studies using PPIs have had more encouraging results than those using antacids or H2 receptor antagonist. The latter have yielded inconsistent results on asthma symptoms and peak expiratory flow rates . Numerous clinical trials have investigated the effects of anti-reflux therapy on asthma control . A systematic review of all published trials concluded that medical treatment for GERD improved asthma symptoms in 69% of the patients, reduced asthma medication use in 62%, and improved PEFRs in 26% of the patients. Gibson et al. performed a systematic review of 12 randomized, placebo-controlled trials using the Cochrane methodology, and concluded that there was no overall improvement in asthma following treatment for GERD and it pointed out, as others have done, many flaws in study designs and methodologies, so no definite conclusions could be drawn. More recent studies have aimed at focusing on patients with GERD and/or difficult-to-treat asthma. One study using PPI to treat patients with asthma and GERD over a period of 3 months showed that 73% of patients experienced marked alleviation of asthma symptoms or increases in PEFRs. Treatment reduced asthma symptoms by 57% after 3 months. The patients most likely to benefit from the therapy were those with frequent regurgitation or excessive proximal esophageal acid reflux.

    Spacers For Asthma Medication

    How does severe asthma affect day to day life?

    It is recommended that all people with asthma, regardless of age, use a spacer when taking medication via a metered-dose inhaler .

    Spacers help to improve the delivery of asthma medication to the lungs and minimise side effects from medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about spacers and how they might help you manage your asthma.

    which demonstrate how to use a puffer and spacer.

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    What Symptoms Can This Cause

    So drying up of the mucous membranes of the lungs can actually affect the way that you breathe, it will restrict your breathing. Now, this can lead to queasiness. It can lead to the fact that when you start exercising, you get breathless very, very quickly. You might find that instead of going for a really good hike, you can only manage halfway down the road, and then you start to feel your lungs constricting.


    You can end up getting asthma. A lot of women in the menopause suddenly find that theyre diagnosed with asthma, although it may be more to do with the menopause, but obviously, thats something you need to talk about with your doctor.

    If youve had asthma as a child, then very often, in the menopause, you will find that it can return, and any breathing issues that you had, maybe a long time ago, because the lungs are already in a weakened state, once this drying out starts to occur, then these conditions can actually come back. And for those of you that smoke, this is a really a good time to actually try and think about quitting, because if you smoke and youre approaching the menopause, then your lungs are already in a damaged state, and you may find that smoking will make this worse as well.

    Breathlessnes/Shallow breath

    When To Call A Healthcare Provider

    • High fever
    • Symptoms that persist beyond two weeks
    • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum
    • Shortness of breath, especially if it occurs at rest
    • Chest pain
    • Rapid respiratory rate
    • Confusion or falls
    • Poor feeding or lethargy
    • Signs of dehydration such as thirst, few wet diapers, or failure to cry tears in infants
    • Nausea and vomiting

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    How Does Acid Reflux Symptom Affect Asthma Sufferers

    The estimates show that over 75 percent of patients with asthma also have frequent bouts of heartburn, clinically called gastroesophageal reflux disease . Asthma sufferers are two times as likely to have acid reflux than people who are not asthmatic. A faulty valve at the bottom of the esophagus slackens and allows stomach acid to enter the esophagus, causes heartburn. This in turn creates the heartburn associated with GERD in the chest or throat. In a normal situation the stomach acid should remain in the stomach and not flow backward into the esophagus as it does with GERD. Other symptoms of GERD could include sore throat, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, cramping and more.

    Chronic acid reflux left untreated can lead to complications such as lung damage, ulcers in the swallowing tube, which is the esophagus. In more severe cases it can cause a condition called Barretts esophagus. Barretts esophagus is a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer. In most cases of acid reflux, symptoms can be relieved through the use of over the counter medications, however, in serious conditions, surgery may be required.

    GERD and Asthma

    Doctors consider GERD to be the cause of asthma when:Asthma only begins in adulthood known as adult-onset asthmaThe asthma symptoms get worse after a meal:After exercisingWhen the asthma does not respond to asthma treatmentsThere are a few theories as to why GERD may affect asthma

    How should I deal with GERD if I have asthma?

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