Soak Up Some Sunshine
Or take vitamin D supplements. Both are ways to boost your levels of vitamin D. Some research has linked a vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of asthma attacks, though the evidence is far from consistent, says Rachel Taliercio, DO, whos on the staff of Cleveland Clinics Respiratory Institute. A 2014 Israeli study found that, among over 21,000 adults diagnosed with asthma, those with lower blood levels of vitamin D were more likely than others to experience an attack over 12 months. I think that if a patient has had good treatment for asthma and is still not controlled, maybe he should be checked for his vitamin D levels before adding on more medications, the lead author, Ronit Confino-Cohen, MD, told the New York Times. Maybe supplementation would do the job. Here are some foods that are high in vitamin D you can start enjoying more.
The Common Cold The Flu And Asthma
The common cold and the flu are respiratory conditions that can lead to coughing, wheezing, and congestion. These symptoms, in turn, can lead to an asthma flare-up. The flu can cause inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can trigger asthma symptoms. This is one reason the CDC recommends all asthma patients get the flu vaccine and take precautions to avoid getting the flu.
Asthma is one of the leading causes of missed school and work, but it doesnt have to be. Asthma and allergy specialists can help identify your asthma triggers. Board-certified allergists will also develop a treatment and action plan to get your asthma under control. If you or a family member has uncontrolled asthma, schedule an appointment with our board-certified asthma specialist today and breathe easier.
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Look Beyond The Obvious
There are some well-known and obvious triggers you should avoid when you have asthma cold air, dust mites, pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, and pet dander among them. But what about your favorite candle, thunderstorms, aspirin, or even traffic? Several odd or unusual things can trigger an asthma attack. If you have asthma, its important to identify your own particular triggers so you can try to avoid or at least be better prepared for a potential attack.
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Tips To Reduce Exposure To Pollen
The season for pollen allergies can last for several months and occurs when plants are flowering. The timing of your own personal allergy season will depend upon which plants you are allergic to, and when they flower.
A direct way to manage pollen allergies is to reduce your exposure to pollens. Pollen counts are published in the media and can help you to plan to avoid exposure.
To reduce your exposure to pollen during peak times:
- Stay indoors in the morning, if possible grass pollens mainly circulate in the morning.
- Avoid mowing the grass, or wear a mask when you mow if someone else is doing the mowing, stay indoors while they do so.
- Keep windows closed in your home and car.
- Avoid picnics in parks or in the country during the pollen season.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Plant a low-allergy garden around your home, especially near the windows of your home.
What To Do If Youre Having An Attack
Weve previously discussed what to do if youre having an asthma attack without your inhaler. Now lets talk about what to do if youre experiencing an asthma attack and do have your inhaler.
If youre having an asthma attack, take the following steps:
Its also important to see your doctor after an asthma attack, even if you feel better. Its possible that your asthma medications or asthma action plan may need to be adjusted. This can help to reduce your chances of having another asthma attack in the future.
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Whats The Best Body Position For An Asthma Attack
Generally speaking, sitting up straight is the best position for an asthma attack. This is because sitting up allows air to more effectively enter your lungs while bending over or lying down may constrict your breathing.
A 2017 study investigated lung function in a small group of 20 people with asthma. Lung function was found to be highest when participants were in the standing position, followed by the sitting position. Function was lowest when participants were lying down.
Another investigated the effect of body positioning on the lung function of healthy people and those with certain health conditions. In people with lung diseases like asthma, lung function was found to be higher in more erect positions.
Asthma Defense To Parasitic Attacks
In the case of someone who develops asthma, it is believed that the 1st attack by a specific parasite is from a small number of parasites.
Because of this, the defence uses the same 3 forms of defence mechanisms as mentioned in the Normal Defense to Parasitic Attack above, plus 1 more form of defence.
Because of the small number of parasites, the lungs decide to employ a 3rd form of defence to help remove the parasites quicker and help reduce the amount damage to the airway walls, mucus buildup and inflammation of the tissue. This, in turn, has the potential to reducing the damage from the parasitic attack in a shorter period of time.
This form of defence is known as Bronchoconstriction This is where the muscles of the airways spasm or contract, to assist in the removal of the mucus from the airways, while also assisting in amplifying the effect of the cough, in removing the parasites.
The asthma attack and Bronchoconstriction are only employed if secretions reach the skin/tissue within the organ like the lungs.
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What Happens If Iignore My Asthma
It may be tempting to ignore your asthma to seeif it will go away. However, ignoring your condition will not make it go away,and it could make it difficult for you to control your asthma. Having poorcontrol over your asthma can be dangerous, and it may mean that you will bemore affected by it over the long term.
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:
- 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 and are used for intermittent and chronic asthma.
- 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 of chronic asthma.
- Biologic therapies for asthma: These are used for severe asthma when symptoms persist despite 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 another type of asthma inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.
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Sinusitis And Other Upper Respiratory Infections
Much like asthma causes inflammation in the lining of your airways, sinusitis causes inflammation in the mucus membranes that line your sinuses. This makes the membranes put out more mucus. If you have asthma and your sinuses get inflamed, your airways may too. Prompt treatment of a sinus infection can relieve asthma symptoms.
Common Asthma Attack Triggers
An asthma trigger is an irritant that causes the airways to become inflamed and constrict. Constriction of airways marks the start of an asthma attack and can cause other symptoms like wheezing.
There isnt one single trigger of asthma. What triggers an asthma attack for one person might not be the same for another. Youll know what causes an asthma attack for you if youre exposed to an irritant and have shortness of breath or start wheezing. The most common triggers are:
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How Do You Stop An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler
If you are diagnosed with asthma, you should make sure you have an inhaler with you at all times. However, if a worst case scenario occurs and you experience when you dont have a reliever inhaler with you, there are practical steps you can take to ease your symptoms.
- Stay as calm as you can find a way to reduce any anxiety, such as holding someones hand or playing music
- Sit upright this will help keep your airways open
- Breathe slowly and deeply slowing down your breathing can reduce the risk of hyperventilating
- If something appears to have triggered your asthma, such as breathing in cold air or being exposed to smoke, move away from the trigger
- Try breathing exercises the pursed lip breathing technique can help you deal with shortness of breath
- Have a drink containing caffeine there is some evidence to suggest that caffeine can help improve airway function for up to four hours.
Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, so at the very least, aim to keep a spare reliever inhaler in your handbag, locker at work or coat pocket.
Pollen As An Asthma Trigger
Pollen is naturally released into the atmosphere by plants, trees and weeds at certain parts of the year. It is made of different types of proteins that most of people dont react to. But, the research seems to suggest that roughly one in five people will experience a hyperactive response to pollen, leading to the release of histamine into the system and the subsequent symptoms such as:
- Itchy or red eyes
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What Happens If An Asthma Attack Is Not Treated
Without immediate asthma medication and asthma treatment, an asthma attack may become more severe. Your breathing may become more labored, and wheezing may get louder. If you use a peak flow meter during an asthma attack, your reading will probably be less than your personal best
Without treatment, your lungs will continue to tighten during the asthma attack and you may be unable to use the peak flow meter at all. Gradually, your lungs may tighten so much during the asthma attack that there isnt enough air movement to produce wheezing. This is called silent chest and it is a dangerous sign.
If you do not receive adequate treatment for an asthma attack, you may eventually be unable to speak and can develop a bluish coloring around your lips. This change of color is the result of oxygen deprivation in your blood. Without immediate aggressive treatment in an emergency room or intensive care unit, you may lose consciousness and eventually die.
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More Tips To Manage Asthma Triggers
This is an important guide your doctor can prepare for you to help you stay ahead of asthma at all times.
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What Are Asthma Triggers
Asthma triggers are things in your environment that cause worsening of asthma symptomsor asthma attacks. Triggers can be anywhere, and avoiding triggers that are under your control will help you be better prepared to deal with triggers that are more difficult to avoid like pollen, smog and viruses.
Triggers often bring on asthma attacks. It is important to avoid your triggers in order to keep airway inflammation to a minimum and reduce your asthma symptoms. Your personal triggers can be very different from those of another person with asthma. Knowing what your triggers are is an important part of managing your asthma.
Taking steps to ensure your asthma is properly managed is the key to living a symptom-free life. Speak with your healthcare provider about taking a controller medication, creating an Asthma Action Planand proper inhaler technique. Since some asthma triggers are impossible to avoid, its important to always carry your reliever medication with you just in case of a trigger causing an asthma attack.
How Can I Tell What Causes And Triggers My Asthma
Figuring out what was going on around you when you had an attack is the first step to identifying your triggers.
Your doctor may also do blood testing or ask you to use a device called a peak flow meter. It measures how much air you exhale and how quickly it comes out. It can alert you to changes in your breathing and the onset of asthma symptoms.
Ask your asthma doctor if using a peak flow meter would help you narrow down the causes of your asthma.
It can be tough to identify them all, and they can change. For example, you might not have been bothered by tree pollen when you were a child, only to have a problem with it as an adult.
Even when you know your triggers, you might have a hard time avoiding them in certain situations. For example, you may notice that your workplace is cleaned with a cleaning product that bothers your lungs.
Thatâs why itâs so important to work closely with the doctor who treats your asthma. They can help you think of strategies to avoid triggers, or at least cut down on the amount of time you spend near them. They can also make sure you have the right medication when an asthma attack does strike.
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Why Might Someone With Asthma Be Without An Inhaler
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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How This Attack Leads To Asthma From Food
Now, youre probably asking how everything above relates to eating food and getting an asthma attack.
Well, the outcome for developing asthma from the 1st attack from this type of parasite, the way the body reacts to the invasion determines how the bodys adaptive immune system is set up for all future attacks.
In the case of asthma, the adaptive immune system develops memory cells for employing this defence mechanism for this type of parasitic or allergen attack for all future attacks. If the body has no further attacks in a set period of time , then the memory cells may be discarded as they arent considered to be needed, but if you receive another in the next couple of years, then the memory cells are retained.
This is similar to a vaccine needing to be delivered multiple times for effectiveness.
Because the defence mechanism is based in the immune system, which works hand in hand with the circulatory system, it affects the whole body, not just 1 or 2 organs.
So every time that secretions from this type of parasite are experienced in any part of the body which employs a similar defence mechanism , then any part of the body can experience an effect, similar to an asthma attack for this part of the body as well as others.
Some examples include:
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Air Pollutants Can Irritate Your Airways
Exposure to air pollution such as second-hand tobacco smoke, smoke from fire, dust, and exhaust can increase your chance of an asthma attack. Small particles can get into your lungs and irritate your airways making your asthma worse.
During the summer months, ozone action days or days with higher pollution levels can lead to asthma attacks. Monitoring the weather, pollen, and pollution levels can help you prepare for the day.
Know When To Get Help
Warning signs of a potential asthma attack include:
- Needing more rescue inhaler medication .
- A cough that gets worse.
- Feeling like you canât breathe or like someoneâs sitting on your chest.
- Waking up at night feeling like you canât breathe.
- Not being able to be active or exercise without getting winded or wheezing.
Use your asthma rescue inhaler medication as soon as you start to feel an attack come on. If it doesnât seem to work and you feel like you still canât breathe, call 911 so you can get to an emergency room right away.
If you have a steroid medicine at home , you can take it on your way to the ER.
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