How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma
It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.
During a checkup, a doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night. He or she will also ask whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will then ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. He or she will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. Finally, the doctor will ask questions about your home and whether you have missed school or work or have trouble doing certain things.
The doctor may also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath before and after you use asthma medicine.
What Can Trigger Asthma Symptoms
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by many things. These include, but are not limited to:
- temperature changes
- viruses, such as the common cold
These triggers cause the airways to react, resulting in constriction and inflammation. In asthmatics, the airway is what we call hyper-reactive, meaning more easily irritated. This hyper-reactiveness is what causes the symptoms associated with asthma, such as cough and difficulty breathing.
Children Do Not Outgrow Their Asthma
Its also a misconception that all children outgrow their asthma.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, children may experience remission from asthma as adults, but about one-third of children with asthma will have symptoms as adults.
A 2014 study found that its possible to experience a second peak of symptoms later in adulthood.
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Life Expectations Lifespan And Maximum Survival
From the perspective of studying aging, there is a significant difference between average and maximum life span. The average life span is the average age reached by members of a given population, and life expectancy is the number of years an individual can expect to live. On the other hand, the maximum life span refers to a measure of the maximum amount of time one or more members of a population has been observed to survive between birth and death .
Over the past decades, with the introduction of modern sanitation, refrigeration and other public health measures including vaccination, antibiotics, and aggressive cardiovascular preventive as well as surgical procedures, there has been an increase in average life span . Early deaths have been diminished and more individuals are reaching old age. In the United States today, life expectancy now approaches 80 years . However, the maximum life span, which is 122 years old, has remained unchanged by the public health initiatives mentioned above .
Although several theories have been proposed, none suffice to account for the complexities of aging. Life span is finite and varies generally from species to species and much less so within species. Variations in maximum life span among different species are often associated with differences in the metabolic rates of oxygen consumption, metabolic potential , and the level of oxidative stress .
World Population Growth trends from 1950 and projected to 2050.
Cardiac Asthma Is Not The Same As Asthma
Although they share a name, cardiac asthma is not a type of asthma. Asthma is caused by the narrowing and inflammation of the airways in the lungs, while cardiac asthma is coughing or that occurs due to left-sided heart failure. Treatments for cardiac asthma typically are the same as those for heart failure. Cardiac asthma prognosis depends on several factors, including what stage your heart failure is in, your diet, and lifestyle elements, such as exercise routine and tobacco and alcohol use. The mortality rate for heart failure at one year is 22% and at five years is 43%.
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Can Cats Have Asthma
You just got home from a long shift and flop down on the sofa to watch some TV and unwind. Then you hear what seems to be the familiar sounds of your cat coughing up a hairball. Except this time, it isnt just a few hacks but a long, repeated string of them.
When you get up to see what is going on, you find your cat crouched on the floor with her neck outstretched, and she is coughing heavily. As you watch, it becomes clear that she is really distressed and that the fit isnt passing quickly.
This might be a sign that your cat has asthma.
Sometimes I Need Emotional Support
Everyone reacts differently to a long-term condition. Some people with asthma tell us they’re afraid of having an asthma attack. Others say they find it hard to accept the impact asthma has on their life. Some studies show that depression is far more common among people with asthma than people without it.
So a little understanding about the challenges of asthma can go a long way if you want to find out more, read our pages on emotional support for people with asthma.
I practice meditation, and Ive have had some cognitive behavioural therapy through the NHS Time to Talk programme, which Ive found very useful for asthma its all about challenging negative thoughts. I have to accept that I have asthma and theres no cure thats a fact. But what I can change is the way I feel and think about it, and what I do to manage it, like taking my medicines and keeping active. Peter, 52
If someone you know has severe asthma, you can find more helpful ideas and tips about supporting and caring for them here.
Why not speak to our friendly asthma nurses? Whether your question is about your own asthma or how to support a friend, relative, student or work colleague, they can help.
Call 0300 222 5800 . Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.
Next review due November 2022
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Having Compromised Airways Is Scary And Can Take A Psychological Toll
JoJo ONeal, 55, of Orlando, Florida, was diagnosed with severe asthma in 2004. She now runs a Lets Kick Asthma support group, where she has an activity called the Straw Challenge: Anyone who doesnt have asthma is asked to take a cocktail straw, hold their nose, and only breathe through the straw for 15 seconds. Most people dont make it through those 15 seconds they begin to panic, she says. And thats when I tell them, Imagine. At times it may not be that severe, but it can be. The psychological aspects of going through an asthma attack can really mess with your mind.
Testing For Severe Asthma
Before you can be tested for severe asthma, you will need a referral from your primary healthcare asthma provider to either an asthma specialist or allergy specialist . The specialist will review your medical history, your current asthma treatment plan and do a physical exam to assess your symptoms. If the specialist thinks you may have severe asthma, they will discuss additional testing with you to determine your specific type. This often starts with testing to identify a biomarker.
Biomarkers help determine what is causing the inflammation in your airways. Taking a blood sample, analyzing a mucus sample or taking a breathing test that measure substances in your breath droplets are all common tests doctors use. These tests are performed in a doctors office or an outpatient clinic setting. Your specialist will recommend one or more of these tests based on your medical history and current symptoms. Once the biomarkers are identified, your doctor can determine the type of severe asthma and the different treatment options that are available to treat that specific type.
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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.
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
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What Is Severe Asthma
Someone with severe asthma has a specific type of asthma which doesnt get better with the usual medicines.
Even if someone takes those medicines exactly as prescribed, a different approach is needed to control symptoms and reduce frequent asthma attacks.
Other causes and triggers for the symptoms have also been ruled out as much as possible.
Around 4 out of 100 people with asthma have severe asthma, which is about 200,000 people in the UK.
If your GP or asthma nurse suspects you have severe asthma they may refer you to an asthma specialist clinic for an in depth assessment.
Your GP or asthma nurse will continue to look after your asthma while you are waiting to see the specialist team and will continue to share responsibility for your care even when you are seeing them.
We dont understand yet why some people get asthma and some people get severe asthma, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s in-house GP.
We know that each individual with asthma can have different triggers and a different chemical reaction in their airways.
Thats why Asthma UK is supporting research looking into what goes on in the body to cause severe asthma, and what makes it so much harder to control with the usual asthma medicines.
What Is An Asthma Action Plan
Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.
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How Is It Treated
There are two parts to treating asthma, which are outlined in your asthma action plan. The goals are to:
- Control asthma over the long term. Your asthma action plan tells you which medicine to take. It also helps you track your symptoms and know how well the treatment is working. Many people take controller medicineâusually an inhaled corticosteroidâevery day. Taking it every day helps to reduce the swelling of the airways and prevent attacks. Your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to use your inhaler correctly. This is very important so you get the right amount of medicine to help you breathe better.
- Treat asthma attacks when they occur. Your asthma action plan tells you what to do when you have an asthma attack. It helps you identify triggers that can cause your attacks. You use quick-relief medicine, such as salbutamol, during an attack.
If you need to use the quick-relief inhaler more often than usual, talk to your doctor. This may be a sign that your asthma is not controlled and can cause problems.
Asthma attacks can be life-threatening, but you may be able to prevent them if you follow a plan. Your doctor can teach you the skills you need to use your asthma action plan.
How To Tell You Have Asthma
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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I Need To Be Prepared At All Times For An Asthma Attack And Others Can Help
When you have asthma, its very much a family thing all hands on deck, says Kendra Sommer, who is in her mid-twenties,and was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child in 1994 but now has milder, well-controlled asthma.
Sommer runs a production company in Green Bay, Wisconsin, called Cruisin with Kendra and travels frequently: When I go on flights, my rescue inhaler is always in the carry-on its always nearby.
Asthma Attacks And What Makes Them Worse
Your airways narrow when they overreact to certain substances. These are known as asthma triggers. What triggers asthma symptoms varies from person to person.
When asthma symptoms suddenly occur, it is called an asthma attack . Asthma attacks can occur rarely or frequently. They may be mild to severe.
Although some asthma attacks occur very suddenly, many become worse gradually over a period of several days. In general, you can take care of symptoms at home by following your asthma action plan. A severe attack may need emergency treatment and in rare cases can be fatal.
Asthma is classified as intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, and severe persistent.
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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.
Will Asthma Symptoms Return After Remission
One characteristic of asthma is inflammation, which changes the way your lungs function. Even if your asthma improves, its important to remain vigilant againstyour triggers.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, colds and allergies are the most common triggers especially in children.
Its possible to experience improved asthma for a long period of time, and then for your symptoms to return during allergy season or if you get sick.
Other possible asthma triggers are:
- cigarette smoke
Theres also a greater chance that your symptoms will return if you have:
- a personal or family history of asthma
Smoking or living with someone who does can also increase your risk of developing returning asthma symptoms.
You may not be able to entirely prevent your asthma symptoms from returning, but managing and treating your condition can help reduce their recurrence. Avoiding your triggers is one way you can help prevent asthma flare-ups.
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What Action Should You Take If You Or Someone Youre With Is Having An Asthma Attack
Most asthma patients will have an asthma action plan in place, which outlines what to do in such an event. However, if youre not familiar with their plan, or the asthma attack catches you or them off guard, there are a number of practical steps to take to help deal with the situation.
- Phone the medical emergency number of the country youre in, or get someone else to phone for you, and ask for an ambulance
- Remain as calm as you can, as stress can make asthma worse. Be calm and reassuring if youre with someone whos having an attack
- Breathe slowly and deeply, or encourage the person youre with to do so
- Sit upright in a comfortable position and loosen any tight clothing leaning forward slightly may aid breathing during an asthma attack, so try sitting the wrong way round on a chair and lean forward onto its back
- Use your asthma reliever inhaler while you wait for help if there is a spacer to hand, use that to deliver the medication, as a spacer helps the puffs of an inhaler get into the airways more efficiently
- Stay with the person until help arrives and keep monitoring them. If they seem drowsy or exhausted, it could mean their asthma is getting worse.
Be aware that cold air can make asthma symptoms worse, so avoid taking someone having an asthma attack outside.
Other Things Play A Role
Lists of good and bad places to live with asthma often include a look at other things like:
- Poverty: More people living in poverty means fewer people with access to medical care.
- Lack of insurance: Again, it means fewer people with asthma will be getting care.
- Number of asthma doctors: Without enough specialists, people who canât travel easily wonât get care.
- Number of ER visits: A high ranking means people arenât seeing a doctor regularly.
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