Can Asthma Be Prevented
Asthma cant be prevented entirely, but there are some practical ways to reduce the risk of an asthma attack and live well with asthma.
- Get vaccinated for influenza: flu and other respiratory viruses are common triggers for asthma.
- Manage any allergies: asthma and allergies are closely linked, so treating allergic rhinitis and avoiding or managing any allergy triggers will help with your asthma.
- Live smoke-free: quit smoking if you smoke, and avoid any second-hand smoke .
- Eat well: a balanced diet helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese makes asthma harder to manage.
- Care for yourself: mental health and asthma are linked, so let a trusted friend or your doctor know if you have been feeling sad or anxious, or dont enjoy things as much as before.
- See your doctor regularly: asthma needs to be regularly assessed and managed, and your medication needs may change over time. Ensure your asthma action plan is up to date by checking in with your doctor regularly.
Personal Asthma Action Plan
As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.
If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.
The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.
As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.
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What Happens During An Asthma Episode
During normal breathing, the airways to the lungs are fully open. This allows air to move in and out of the lungs freely. Asthma causes the airways to change in the following ways:
These changes narrow the airways. Breathing becomes difficult and stressful, like trying to breathe through a straw stuffed with cotton.
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Can You Really Grow Out Of Asthma
Ã¢If you have asthma your airways are inflamed and sensitive to triggers such as cold air, pollution, cold and flu viruses or allergies that set off your asthma symptoms ,Ã¢ says Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK.
Ã¢For some children diagnosed with asthma, the condition might improve or disappear completely as they get older but for many people, asthma is a lifelong condition,Ã¢ he adds.
However, it may not always be asthma causing the problem. Asthma-like symptoms can be down to allergies, which is why it may appear that a child has outgrown their asthma.
Ã¢True asthma does not go away, just as diabetes or hypertension donÃ¢t go away,Ã¢ states Dr Thomas Antalffy, inventor of the Smart Peak Flow device.
If you feel your asthma symptoms are relieved, it may simply be lying dormant so itÃ¢s important to be vigilant.
Ã¢There may be periods where your symptoms do not affect your day-to-day life and these periods could last years or even decades. However, asthma symptoms can be triggered again by a change in circumstances, such as a new workplace, stress, or hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause,Ã¢ says Whittamore.
Ã¢If youÃ¢re taking your asthma medicines as prescribed and feeling well, this is a sign that they are working,Ã¢ so donÃ¢t assume you no longer need treatment, he warns.
If symptoms do come back, itÃ¢s vital that you donÃ¢t ignore them and that you speak with your GP.
Can you really Ã¢grow outÃ¢ of asthma?
Signs Of Good Asthma Control
- You dont have any breathing difficulties, cough or wheeze most days
- You sleep through the night without awakening due to asthma symptoms like cough, wheeze, or chest tightness
- You can exercise without having any asthma symptoms
- You dont miss any work or school due to asthma
- You have a normal lung function test
- You do not need to use your reliever inhaler more than 3 times per week
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Watch How To Help Someone Who Is Having An Asthma Attack
What is asthma?
Asthma is a medical condition that affects the airways the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When someone has an asthma attack, these tubes become narrowed, making it difficult to breathe in and out.
How can I tell if someone is having an asthma attack?
People with asthma should be able to let you know if they are having an attack.
Someone having an asthma attack will have difficulty breathing and speaking, and may cough and wheeze. They may be very anxious and distressed as they struggle to breathe.In some cases, their lips, earlobes and nail beds may turn greyish-blue because there isnt enough oxygen in their body.
What sort of medication will someone with asthma use?
Someone who has asthma will normally have an inhaler that their doctor has prescribed. They may also have a spacer, which makes the inhaler more effective.
If someone is having an asthma attack they should know how to use their inhaler and spacer but they may need your help in finding them.
What does an inhaler look like?
Inhalers can come in many different sizes and shapes. Inhalers to relieve asthma attacks are usually blue. Inhalers that prevent asthma attacks may be brown or white.
How do you use an inhaler?
If a person has asthma they should know how to use their inhaler, they may need your help getting it for them. They should take it as normal. If that doesnt help they can take one or two puffs every 30 or 60 seconds until theyve had 10 puffs.
Warning Signs Of An Asthma Emergency
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.
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What Do I Do If Im Having An Asthma Attack
How much time you have once you start feeling symptoms before you enter a full-blown attack is different person-to-person sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, Dr. Patel says.
Ideally though, as an asthmatic, you and your doctor have already worked out a plan of action in case an attack ever happens. Typically, it looks something like: Use your rescue inhaler once, then wait 15 minutes and check your symptoms . If they haven’t improved, take another two puffs of your rescue inhaler. Check levels and symptoms again in 15 minutes. If they aren’t better, call your doctor.
If your symptoms are severe like its really hard to breathe or speak head to the hospital, Dr. Sporter advises.
What Are The Signs That The Person Has Died
- The person is no longer breathing and doesnt have a pulse.
- Their eyes dont move or blink, and the pupils are dilated . The eyelids may be slightly open.
- The jaw is relaxed and the mouth is slightly open.
- The body releases the bowel and bladder contents.
- The person doesnt respond to being touched or spoken to.
- The persons skin is very pale and cool to the touch.
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What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack
A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.
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.
There Are Four Key Symptoms That You Should Monitor To Help You Keep Your Asthma Under Control:
- Daytime SymptomsHow often do you have asthma symptoms during the day, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath?
- Nighttime SymptomsDo you wake up at night with asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath?
- Quick-Relief or Rescue Inhaler UseHow often do you use your quick-relief or rescue inhaler to relieve asthma symptoms?
- Activity LevelDo you have difficulty performing normal activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, daily chores or playing with the kids?
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Question : Do You Make A Wheezing Sound When You Breathe Out
You answered no.
- Asthma is caused by an irritation of the airways, medically known as the bronchi.
- When they become inflamed, the walls of the bronchi swell and tighten, causing them to narrow.
- They may become coated with mucus, obstructing them further.
- This causes a whistling sound when trying to expel the used air.
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Can Gerd Cause Asthma
We dont know the exact relationship between GERD and asthma. More than 75% of people with asthma have GERD. They are twice as likely to have GERD as people without asthma. GERD may make asthma symptoms worse, and asthma drugs may make GERD worse. But treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD can injure the lining of the throat, airways and lungs, making breathing difficult and causing a persistent cough, which may suggest a link. Doctors mostly look at GERD as a cause of asthma if:
- Asthma begins in adulthood.
- Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, exercise, at night and after lying down.
- Asthma doesnt get better with standard asthma treatments.
If you have asthma and GERD, your healthcare provider can help you find the best ways to handles both conditions the right medications and treatments that wont aggravate symptoms of either disease.
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Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack
Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:
- your symptoms are getting worse
- your reliever inhaler is not helping
- you’re too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you cannot catch your breath
- your peak flow score is lower than normal
- children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache
The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.
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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What Do I Do If I Have An Asthma Attack
If you or a loved one is having an asthma attack and the symptoms donât get better quickly after following the asthma action plan, follow the “red zone” or emergency instructions and contact your doctor or right away. You need urgent medical attention.
1. Give asthma first aid.
If the person doesn’t have an asthma plan:
- Sit them upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
- If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, help them take it.
- If the person doesnât have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit. Do not borrow someone elseâs. The medicine in it may be different than the needed rescue medicine. Also, using someone else’s inhaler has a slight risk of passing on an infection.
2. Use an inhaler with a spacer, if possible.
- Remove the cap and shake the inhaler well.
- Insert the inhaler into the spacer.
- Have the person breathe out completely and put their mouth tightly around the spacer mouthpiece.
- Press the inhaler once to deliver a puff.
- Have the person breathe in slowly through their mouth and hold their breath for 10 seconds.
- Give a total of four puffs, waiting about a minute between each puff.
3. Use an inhaler without a spacer, if necessary.
4. Continue using the inhaler if breathing is still a problem.
5. Monitor the person until help arrives.
- Do not mistake drowsiness as a sign of improvement it could mean asthma is getting worse.
- Do not assume that the personâs asthma is improving if you no longer hear wheezing.
6. Follow up.
What Triggers An Asthma Attack
Different people have different asthma triggers. Most commonly, its either environmental allergens like dust, pollen, and animal dander or air pollutants, like smog, wildfire smoke, or cigarette smoke, says Vandana A. Patel, M.D., medical director for pulmonary rehabilitation and ICU services at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., and clinical advisor for online pharmacy Cabinet.
With winter approaching, there’s another factor to keep in mind. “Extremes in weather can also trigger symptoms so, either hot or cold air,” Dr. Sporter adds. Very cold, dry air can cause airways to become irritated and swollen, which worsens asthma symptoms.
Exercise can also trigger asthma in some people, though this is its own branch of the condition , she explains.
Dr. Sporter adds that respiratory infections, especially viruses, are a major trigger in many asthmatics.
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What If I Have Asthma And Coronavirus
Though asthma does not in itself put you at greater risk to contract coronavirus, those individuals with some forms of asthma may be at risk for complications and may get sicker from coronavirus. The Surgeon General of the United States, recently brought this to the attention of the American public. However, according to the CDC, this concern applies only to individuals with persistent moderate to severe asthma though there is no published data that actually supports this assertion at this time. Fortunately, the vast majority of individuals with asthma have intermittent asthma meaning they have infrequent symptoms and use a rescue inhaler less than 2x/week not including preventative use before exercise. Individuals with moderate persistent asthma are usually on a maintenance inhaler which contains moderate to high doses of inhaled steroids with or without long acting bronchodilators. Individuals with severe persistent asthma are on higher doses of inhaled steroids with or without biologic therapy and have significant limitations in lung function.
Since coronavirus can infect your respiratory tract , the COVID-19 respiratory virus, like other respiratory viruses like influenza, can precipitate an asthma attack and possibly lead to a viral pneumonia and in the worse case acute respiratory failure from ARDS .
Asthma Attack = Heavy Chest
The main sensation I feel when as asthma attack begins to occur is a feeling of weight on the chest. Each breath takes extra effort.
And each breath feels like its not enough, because each breath is not getting enough oxygen to the blood stream. This is true even when I take what feels like a deep breath its just never deep enough.
For me, asthma attacks almost feel like when youve stuffed yourself on a big meal, and you feel overfull and have acid reflux.
So if you dont have asthma, imagine youve just eaten the biggest, most acidic meal of your life. Youve never felt so full. And youre sitting on your couch breathing heavy. Youve got a general sense of discomfort and burning in your upper chest area and throat.
And no matter which way you adjust your body, whether you sit up or sit down or move around or lie down the awful feelings persist.
Thats what an asthma attack feels like. Except with indigestion, you just have to wait for the food to digest. For asthmatics, its not so easy.
With uncontrolled asthma, an asthma attack will likely get worse and worse until its treated with medicine.
I talk about how its important for asthmatics to try to use their rescue inhaler less during tough moments, but a true asthma attack will need intervention.
This is why its crucial for people with asthma to always keep their rescue inhaler close by.
Even if you manage your asthma well like I do , you never know when you might need it.
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How Is Asthma Treated
Take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an attack to control your asthma.
Everyone with asthma does not take the same medicine.
You can breathe in some medicines and take other medicines as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two typesquick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If you need to use your quick-relief medicines more and more, visit your doctor to see if you need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help you have fewer and milder attacks, but they dont help you while you are having an asthma attack.
Asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Ask your doctor about the side effects of your medicines.
Remember you can control your asthma. With your doctors help, make your own asthma action plan. Decide who should have a copy of your plan and where he or she should keep it. Take your long-term control medicine even when you dont have symptoms.