Whats An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
What Are The Most Common Triggers Of Asthma Attacks
Common asthma attack triggers include:
- Coming into contact with allergens, such as pollen, animal fur, mould or dust
- Eating certain foods
- Environmental factors, such as pollution, poor air quality or cold air
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
- Taking medication such as beta blockers
- Stress or extreme emotion
General Precautions For People With Respiratory Conditions
General tips for those with chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis include the following:
- Take your medication as prescribed and manage your symptoms as well as you can.
- Get the flu shot. If you have flu symptoms call your doctor. There are treatments for the flu. However, a flu shot will not protect you against COVID-19.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine if recommended by your provider. This will also not protect you against COVID-19, though.
- If you smoke, theres never been a better time to stop. Smoking will increase your risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
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How Long Does It Take To Die From Asthma Attack
The chronic condition affects the airways that allow air into and out of the lungs, Every day in America, Whenever an attack would happen , Mild attacks sometimes only last a few minutes, or someone close to you does, I was discharged 2 days later, 1 Many of you reading this may have lost a friend or loved one to asthma, My heart goes out to you, 1 Many of you reading this may have lost a friend or loved one to asthma, affects around 235mn people worldwide, It can afflict both adults and children and develop at any time.
What Are The Complications Of Asthma
Poorly-controlled asthma can have a negative effect on your quality of life. Complications may include:
- being less productive at work or while studying
- an inability to exercise and be physically active
- reduced lung function
- poor mental health
Taking your medications exactly as prescribed is important. If you feel that your asthma is affecting your quality of life, contact your doctor for a medicines review.
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How To Avoid Asthma Triggers
If you know what your asthma triggers are, then where possible, its beneficial to try to avoid them.
If theres a particular allergen culprit you know of, then keeping your home clean and dust-free can help. For example, you could consider swapping carpets for wooden floors to reduce the amount of dust build-up or hiring a cleaner so youre not personally exposed to dust when cleaning.
It can be more difficult to avoid asthma triggers completely when youre at work, especially if your asthma is occupational and linked to your working environment. In an ideal world, you could simply change jobs to something more suitable for your health, but in reality this isnt always feasible.
Let your employer or the HR department know about your asthma. You should be able to discuss the options available for optimising your work environment to be more suitable to your needs.
Keeping on top of your asthma management plan, working alongside your doctor or asthma nurse and making sure you take your inhalers or other asthma medications should help to control your symptoms. Making practical lifestyle choices is important too, like eating healthily, exercising and not smoking.
It can also be beneficial to learn an asthma breathing technique. There are various breathing techniques that can help asthma and knowing how to breathe properly could help if something unexpectedly triggers an attack.
Keep Taking Your Asthma Medicines As Prescribed
You can speed up your recovery and lower your risk of another attack by taking your asthma medicines as prescribed. Use your asthma action plan to help you.
This means continuing to take your usual preventer medicine and finishing the course of steroid tablets if your doctor prescribed this for you.
- Your usual preventer medicine works away in the background to prevent your airways from getting too inflamed or swollen. If you take it every day as prescribed you should have fewer symptoms and lower your risk of another attack.
- A short course of steroid tablets prescribed by your GP helps you recover from your asthma attack by dealing with the inflammation and swelling in your airways.If youre still getting symptoms once youve finished a course of oral steroid tablets, book a follow-up appointment, says Dr Andy. “Your GP or asthma nurse may decide to extend your course of steroid tablets by another week.
If you are on a high dose of steroid medicine you should be given a steroid card. This is a card that lets health care professionals know you take steroids. It is useful in emergency situations, as your body may not produce enough natural steroids to help you deal with illness or injury. In this situation, doctors will need to give you extra corticosteroids.
Make sure you always carry your steroid card with you. If you lose it, you can get a replacement from your pharmacy or GP.
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Reducing The Burden Of Asthma
Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.
There are two main types of inhaler:
- bronchodilators , that open the air passages and relieve symptoms; and
- steroids , that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduces the risk of severe asthma attacks and death.
People with asthma may need to use their inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the different types of inhalers available.
It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a spacer device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine to reach the lungs more effectively. A spacer is a plastic container with a mouthpiece or mask at one end, and a hole for the inhaler in the other. A homemade spacer, made from a 500-ml plastic bottle, can be as effective as a commercially-manufactured inhaler.
Access to inhalers is a problem in many countries. In 2019, only half of people with asthma had access to a bronchodilator and less than one in five had access to a steroid inhaler in public primary health-care facilities in low-income countries .
Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases
The Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases contributes to WHOs work to prevent and control chronic respiratory diseases. GARD is a voluntary alliance of national and international organizations and agencies from many countries committed to the vision of a world where all people breathe freely.
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Signs You Actually Have Severe Asthma
Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When youre exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing , and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.
Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there . Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.
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.
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If My Child No Longer Has Asthma Symptoms Could It Be That They Were Misdiagnosed With The Disease
Perhaps. Rachelefsky says a lot of children diagnosed with asthma donât have it and many asthmatics go undiagnosed.
âSpirometry is standard, but many physicians in primary care practices donât have a spirometer. They diagnose sinusitis as asthma and mistake asthma for esophageal reflux,â he says.
But for children under the age of 2, it is difficult to do spirometry to test for asthma. When a child is that young, providing a diagnosis âis an imperfect science,â says Reynolds J. Panettieri Jr., a pulmonologist with the University of Pennsylvania.
âIf you have true asthma, you donât outgrow it,â so young children who are wheezing from a viral infection that hangs around for a long time may not have asthma but âtwitchyâ or hypersensitive airways that are a holdover from the virus, he says.
Johnson says, even if a child is too young for standard testing, âItâs better to err on the side of caution and treat kids whether they have asthma or not. The benefits are great,â he says.
The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life
Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.
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Asthma Attack Symptoms & First Aid
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects your lungs. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Asthma can be controlled by taking medicine and avoiding the triggers. However, when symptoms get worse, it is called an asthma attack. Asthma affects people of all ages and often starts during childhood.
Why Do More Boys Outgrow Asthma Than Girls
Although a recent study found that boys were more likely than girls to outgrow asthma, Rachelefsky says there isnât enough research to make any conclusions about gender and the progression of asthma.
Panettieri says more girls develop asthma after the onset of puberty; boys develop it before.
âItâs not that boys outgrow it, but now there are more women with it,â he says.
Some studies have suggested that hormonal differences may factor in to a higher prevalence of adult asthma in women.
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What We Know About Asthma And Covid
Asthma is a pre-existing lung condition affecting 1 in 13 people in the U.S. It can cause wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. Asthma can be controlled by taking medications and avoiding triggers.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The virus affects cells in the airways, from the nose and throat down to the deepest parts of the lungs. In the nose and throat it might cause symptoms of a cold. In the upper airways, it might cause some breathlessness and cough. When the coronavirus lodges itself deep in the lungs, this is when things can start to get serious. Here, the coronavirus commonly causes a double lung infection, or bilateral pneumonia.
Interestingly, research so far does not suggest any link between having asthma and getting a more severe COVID-19 illness, or between asthma and coronavirus deaths.
Whether this is because the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesnt affect people with asthma in the same way as other respiratory viruses, or because there simply isnt enough data yet, remains to be seen.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma
While symptoms vary from person to person, the most common signs of mild asthma include:
- difficulty breathing feeling breathless, even while resting, or being unable to finish full sentences before needing to take another breath
- wheezing making a whistling sound while breathing
- coughing either at specific times or after certain activities
During a severe asthma attack, you may notice more serious symptoms, such as:
- feeling very distressed, exhausted or even limp from trying to breathe
- deep sucking motions at the throat or chest while trying to breathe
What To Do After An Asthma Attack:
One in six people who receive treatment at the hospital needs emergency treatment again within two weeks. Asthma attacks are not normal and you should not tolerate them.
Take the following key steps to prevent you having another attack in the future:
- Book an urgent appointment with your healthcare provider
- Keep taking your asthma medication as prescribed
- Take the rest of the day to recover after the attack
It is important to know that the majority of severe asthma episodes can be avoided by having good asthma control.
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How Common Is Asthma In The United States
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 1 in 13 people has asthma.
- More than 25 million Americans have asthma. This is 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children. Asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s in all age, sex and racial groups.
- Asthma is more common in adult women than adult men.
- African Americans in the U.S. die from asthma at a higher rate than people of other races or ethnicities.
- More than 11.4 million people with asthma, including more than 3 million children, report having had one or more asthma episodes or attacks in 2017.
- Asthma is the leading chronic disease in children.
- Currently, there are about 6.2 million children under the age of 18 with asthma.
What Causes Asthma Symptoms To Flare Up
Your asthma can flare up for different reasons. If you’re allergic to dust mites, pollens or molds, they can make your asthma symptoms get worse. Cold air, exercise, fumes from chemicals or perfume, tobacco or wood smoke, and weather changes can also make asthma symptoms worse. So can common colds and sinus infections. Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause flare-ups. You can help yourself by paying attention to the way these things affect your asthma. Your doctor might test you to find out if you’re allergic to something. Then your doctor can help you avoid the things that bother your asthma.
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Asthma Can Be Managed
Sticking to your treatment plan can help prevent your asthma symptoms from worsening. If you are taking multiple treatments but still experiencing symptoms, you might need more help managing your condition. Your doctor may recommend a combination of prescription medications, complementary therapies, and lifestyle changes. These options can help you manage the condition more effectively.
Asthma. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Apr. 2020, www.cdc.gov/asthma/default.htm.
AAFA. Asthma Facts | AAFA.org, www.aafa.org/asthma-facts/.Asthma attack
Asthma Attack. ACAAI Public Website, 8 Jan. 2019, acaai.org/asthma/symptoms/asthma-attack.
Donnelly, Christina. Allergic Asthma Attack: When Do You Need to Go to the Hospital? Healthline, 13 Mar. 2019, Allergic Asthma Attack: When Do You Need to Go to the Hospital?
Asthma. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma.
Asthma action plan
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.
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How Centric Healthcare Can Help
Asthma attacks can be particularly worrisome for seniors who have a variety of medical conditions. Frequent attacks can exacerbate some conditions and diminish the overall quality of life. Among the services we offer is medication therapy management. As an essential component of home health care medication therapy management can ensure that you or your loved one will have the proper dosage of medication to control asthma episodes. Our trained staff can recognize changes in health that require a doctors evaluation. These services can bring you peace of mind, knowing that your needs are being thoroughly monitored. We can also customize home senior care services that will meet your needs.
Contact Central Healthcare today to learn more about how we can help manage asthma or provide you with other home health services.
Increased Risk Of Infection
With all types of asthma, exposure to irritants inflames your airway tissues, causing an asthma attack. It’s your body’s way of protecting the tissue, but it restricts air passage in and out of the lungs and makes breathing difficult. Chest tightness and wheezing are signs of inflammation.
Inhaled corticosteroids are often used to control inflammation in asthma. However, continual inflammation can increase the risk of lung infections because it allows infectious material to become trapped in the lungs.
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Acute Asthma Attack Symptoms
An acute asthma attack is a medical emergency youll must seek immediate medical help and go to hospital.
Acute asthma attack symptoms to be aware of include:
- Rapid breathing that doesnt ease with use of a reliever inhaler
- Extreme shortness of breath being unable to inhale or exhale fully
- An inability to speak in full sentences
- Confusion or agitation
- Developing a blue tint on the face, lips or fingernails.
If you dont seek treatment for an acute asthma attack, your life could be in danger. Find out more about acute asthma by reading our guide to severe asthma.
How To Stop An Asthma Attack
Learning what to do in an asthma attack is particularly important for patients who have developed asthma recently as well as for caregivers who may not be sure of what they need to do. The first line of defense is working with your doctor to develop a management plan that includes medication and ways to help you avoid triggers to minimize the possibility of attacks. Your treatment plan will likely change over time as asthma often changes over time, so expect periodic adjustments to keep daily symptoms under control. Asthma that isnt well-controlled leads to regular attacks as lingering lung inflammation means you could have a flare-up at any time.
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Who Strategy For Prevention And Control Of Asthma
Asthma is included in the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
WHO is taking action to extend diagnosis of and treatment for asthma in a number of ways.
The WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions was developed to help improve NCD management in primary health care in low-resource settings. PEN includes protocols for the assessment, diagnosis, and management of chronic respiratory diseases , and modules on healthy lifestyle counselling, including tobacco cessation, and self-care.
Reducing tobacco smoke exposure is important for both primary prevention of asthma and disease management. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is enabling progress in this area as are WHO initiatives such as MPOWER and mTobacco Cessation.
The Respiratory System: How It Should Work
Respiration is the process by which our bodies inhale oxygen and express carbon dioxide. This process becomes more difficult during an asthmatic attack.
When you inhale, air passes through your windpipe . Meanwhile your diaphragm contracts and moves downward creating air space in your chest cavity. The air enters your lungs, passing through the bronchial tubes and finally into tiny air sacs .
Oxygen from the air passes from the alveoli and into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Capillaries deliver this oxygen-rich blood to pulmonary veins, which pass it to the left side of your heart. The heart then pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body.
When you exhale, air that is rich in carbon dioxide passes out of your lungs, through your windpipe, and out your body through your nose and/or mouth.
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You Sometimes Have Trouble Speaking
If you find it difficult to speak a full sentence without having to pause to take a breath, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Trouble speaking is usually the result of an inability to take enough air into your lungs to allow you to let it out at the slow, deliberate rate required for speech.
Can Asthma Be Cured
Asthma is chronic and incurable, but can be controlled well with medications and lifestyle changes to avoid asthma triggers. With appropriate treatment, it is possible to reduce inflammation, relieve bronchospasms and prevent permanent damage to the airways and lungs.
Treatment can reduce the intensity and frequency of asthma attacks sufficiently for most people to live a normal and fulfilling life, including elite athletes who undertake intense physical activity.
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