Manage Your Asthma At Homes
Ask your doctor about asthma training or support groups to help you keep asthma under control. Education can help you understand the purpose of your medicines, how to prevent symptoms, how to recognize asthma attacks early, and when to seek medical attention.
As part of your asthma action plan, your doctor may show you how to monitor your asthma using a peak flow meter. You can compare your numbers over time to make sure your asthma is controlled. A low number can help warn you of an asthma attack, even before you notice symptoms.
Keeping a diary may help if you find it hard to follow your asthma action plan or the plan is not working well. If you have any of the following experiences, record them in the diary and make an appointment to see your doctor. Bring the diary with you to your appointment.
- You are limiting normal activities and missing school or work.
- You use your quick-relief inhaler more than two days a week.
- Your asthma medicines do not seem to work well anymore.
- Your peak flow number is low or varies a lot from day to day.
- Your symptoms occur more often, are more severe, or cause you to lose sleep.
If your young childs asthma is not well-controlled, you may notice that he or she is coughing more at night and eating less. Your child also may seem more tired , irritable, or moody.
Make healthy lifestyle changes
Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following heart-healthy lifestyle changes to help keep asthma symptoms in check.
Tests Of Bronchial Hyperreactivity
When spirometry is normal, but symptoms and the clinical history are suggestive of asthma, measurement of airway responsiveness using direct airway challenges to inhaled bronchoconstrictor stimuli or indirect challenges may help confirm a diagnosis of asthma.
Tests of bronchial hyperreactivity should be conducted in accordance with standardized protocols in a pulmonary function laboratory or other facility equipped to manage acute bronchospasm. Bronchopovocation testing involves the patient inhaling increasing doses or concentrations of an inert stimulus until a given level of bronchoconstriction is achieved, typically a 20% fall in FEV1. An inhaled rapid-acting bronchodilator is then provided to reverse the obstruction. Test results are usually expressed as the provocative dose or provocative concentration of the provoking agent that causes the FEV1 to drop by 20% . For methacholine, most pulmonary function laboratories use a PC20 value less than 4-8 mg/mL as the threshold for a positive result indicative of airway hyperreactivity, supporting a diagnosis of asthma. However, positive challenge tests are not specific to asthma and may occur with other conditions such as allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . Therefore, tests of bronchial hyperreactivity may be most useful for ruling out asthma among individuals who are symptomatic. A negative test result in a symptomatic patient not receiving anti-inflammatory therapy is highly sensitive .
Symptoms Of Asthma Include:
People at risk for asthma often have a family history of asthma but it can occur in patients with any family history of the disease. Although it was previously thought that the onset of asthma only occurred in childhood, we now know that there are patients for whom asthma starts in adulthood. In fact, patients with asthma that starts in adulthood tend to have more severe disease that does not respond as well to treatment. Asthma is more common in those who have a history of allergies or atopy . When asthma starts in childhood it may resolve in the late teens and early 20s. Patients will report that they have grown out” of their asthma. However, in some cases, there is a period of minimal asthma symptoms as a young adult but a recurrence of asthma later in life. Therefore, patients that grow out of their asthma must recognize the possibility of a recurrence and pay attention to any asthma symptoms that return later in life and should seek treatment if this occurs. While boys are more likely to have asthma during childhood, more females have asthma as adults.
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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.
Having An Asthma Action Plan
You and your doctor will also put together an asthma action plan. This is a personalised set of instructions that includes a list of your usual asthma medications and doses, guidance on what to do in different situations , and your doctors contact details.
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What Are Common Ways To Diagnose Asthma
Personal and medical history. Your doctor will ask you questions to understand your symptoms and their causes. Bring notes to help jog your memory. Be ready to answer questions about your family history, the medicines you take and your lifestyle. This includes any current physical problems. Shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness in your chest may show asthma. This also includes all previous medical conditions. A history of allergies or eczema increases your chance of asthma. A family history of asthma, allergies or eczema increases your chance of having asthma, too. Tell your doctor about any home or work exposure to environmental factors that can worsen asthma. For example, these might include pet dander, pollen, dust mites and tobacco smoke. The doctor may also ask if you get chest symptoms when you get a head cold.
Physical exam. If your doctor thinks you have asthma, they will do a physical exam. They will look at your ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin, chest and lungs. This exam may include a lung function test to detect how well you exhale air from your lungs. You may also need an X-ray of your lungs or sinuses. A physical exam then allows your doctor to review your health.
How To Tell If You Have Asthma
When something triggers your asthma symptoms, the membrane lining your airways swells, the muscles around the tubes constrict, and the airways fill with mucus. As these tubes narrow it becomes more difficult to breathe, causing symptoms such as wheezing and coughing, congestion, shortness of breath, and chest tightness or pain. If you have asthma, performing normal daily activities can be strenuous, and it may take longer to recover from a respiratory infection, such as a cold or flu.
An asthma attack or flare-up is a sudden worsening of these symptoms, including severe wheezing, uncontrollable coughing, rapid breathing, sweating, and anxiety. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.
But not everyone experiences asthma in the same way. Symptoms vary from person to person, can change with age, differ between attacks and may intensify during exercise, with a cold, or under periods of elevated stress.
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Causes And Triggers Of Asthma
Asthma is caused by swelling of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.
It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.
Common asthma triggers include:
- infections like colds or flu
Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.
What Is Acute And Chronic Asthma Exacerbation
Asthma is defined as a serious inflammatory disorder of the airways associated with the airways hyperresponsiveness and airflow obstruction that is often reversible either spontaneously or with treatment.
Asthma Exacerbations are of two types Acute Asthma Exacerbations and Chronic Asthma Exacerbations. Acute Asthma Exacerbations are sudden in onset and Chronic Asthma Exacerbations are a long-term syndrome.
Chronic Lung Diseases Including Copd Asthma Interstitial Lung Disease Cystic Fibrosis And Pulmonary Hypertension
Chronic lung diseases can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. These diseases may include:
- Asthma, if its moderate to severe
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- Having damaged or scarred lung tissue such as interstitial lung disease
- Cystic fibrosis, with or without lung or other solid organ transplant
- Pulmonary hypertension
Having HIV can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.
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Bipoc Communities And Asthma
The causes driving these disparities are multifactorial.
Journal of Clinical Asthma and Immunology American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
“Poverty, exposure to pollution, and limited access to medical care play a big role in racial disparities in asthma,” says Kenneth Mendez, AAFA’s president and CEO.
“These factors are interrelated and intergenerational, he explains. Discriminatory housing policies, for example, have caused long-lasting residential segregation, in which poverty is concentrated in Black and Hispanic communities, which then perpetuates a cycle of limited access to education, employment, and quality healthcare services, he says. This residential segregation is also responsible for the disproportionate proximity of minority populations to sources of pollution, such as industrial centers, major roadways, oil and gas refineries, distribution hubs, and traffic-related pollution, which can put people at higher risk for asthma and having worse outcomes, Mendez explains.
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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.
Treatment And Medication Options For Asthma
There is no cure for asthma, but you can alleviate and prevent your symptoms through quick-relief and long-term control medication. Long-term control medication works to reduce inflammation to make your airways less sensitive to asthma triggers. Its usually taken daily through an inhaler or as an oral pill. Quick-relief medicines help to relieve symptoms when they happen, relaxing the tight muscles around your airways and easing the flow of air.
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Favorite Blogs About Living With Asthma
The Asthma Allergies Children blog is the work of two physicians, both trained in allergies and immunology. The blog covers topics like medication adherence, cost of care, doctors pet peeves, integrative medicine, new research, and other news. For timely takes on noteworthy topics, check it out.
Stephen Gaudet was born with severe asthma more than 60 years ago and started his blog back in 2004. The blog chronicles the trials and tribulations asthma has caused him, as well as the victories. To date, Gaudet has completed 21 races and nine marathons . Read more about his debilitating diagnosis and how he has overcome it.
Additional reporting bySari Harrar.
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.
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How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Asthma
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, including information about your parents and siblings. Your provider will also ask you about your symptoms. Your provider will need to know any history of allergies, eczema and other lung diseases.
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.
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Diagnostic Tests For Asthma
Your doctor may ask you to perform the following tests to determine whether your symptoms are caused by asthma.
- Pulmonary function tests, such as spirometry, which involves breathing in and out through a tube connected to a computer. This measures how much and how fast the air moves when you breathe in and out with maximum effort.
- Spirometry with bronchodilator tests to measure how much and how fast air moves in and out both before and after you take an inhaled medicine to relax the muscles in your airway.
- Bronchoprovocation tests to measure how your airways react to specific exposures. During this test, you inhale different concentrations of allergens or medicines that may tighten the muscles in your airways. Spirometry is done before and after the test.
- Peak expiratory flow tests to measure how fast you can blow air out using maximum effort. This test can be done during spirometry or by breathing into a separate device, such as a tube.
- Fractional exhaled nitric oxide tests to measure levels of nitric oxide in your breath when you breathe out. High levels of nitric oxide may mean that your lungs are inflamed. This test is done in adults and children age 5 and older.
- Allergy skin or blood tests, if you have a history of allergies. These tests can tell your doctor which allergens, such as pet dander or pollen, causes a reaction from your immune system.
Medical Conditions In Adults
- This list is presented in alphabetical order and not in order of risk.
- CDC completed an evidence review process for each medical condition on this list to ensure they met criteria for inclusion on this webpage.
- We are learning more about COVID-19 every day, and this list may be updated as the science evolves.
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How Is Asthma Diagnosed
Your health care provider may use many tools to diagnose asthma:
- Physical exam
- Medical history
- Lung function tests, including spirometry, to test how well your lungs work
- Tests to measure how your airways react to specific exposures. During this test, you inhale different concentrations of allergens or medicines that may tighten the muscles in your airways. Spirometry is done before and after the test.
- Peak expiratory flow tests to measure how fast you can blow air out using maximum effort
- Fractional exhaled nitric oxide tests to measure levels of nitric oxide in your breath when you breathe out. High levels of nitric oxide may mean that your lungs are inflamed.
- Allergy skin or blood tests, if you have a history of allergies. These tests check which allergens cause a reaction from your immune system.
Modern Perspectives On Asthma
In the 1980s, a better comprehension of asthma as an inflammatory condition developed.
Clinical trials during the previous decade had demonstrated the helpful effects of corticosteroid medication in the daily management and control of asthma.
The role of the immune system in causing this inflammation and the need to manage asthma on an on-going basis, even when symptoms do not occur, has only become clear in more recent years, especially within the decade.
Future treatments might involve trying to identify and alter the genes that cause certain changes in the lung tissue cells and the way they communicate with immune cells, such as T-cells, that cause inflammation.
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Dna Sequencing And Genomics
, one of the most fundamental technologies developed to study genetics, allows researchers to determine the sequence of nucleotides in DNA fragments. The technique of , developed in 1977 by a team led by , is still routinely used to sequence DNA fragments. Using this technology, researchers have been able to study the molecular sequences associated with many human diseases.
As sequencing has become less expensive, researchers have of many organisms using a process called , which utilizes computational tools to stitch together sequences from many different fragments. These technologies were used to sequence the in the completed in 2003. New technologies are dramatically lowering the cost of DNA sequencing, with many researchers hoping to bring the cost of resequencing a human genome down to a thousand dollars.
came about due to the ever-increasing demand for low-cost sequencing. These sequencing technologies allow the production of potentially millions of sequences concurrently. The large amount of sequence data available has created the subfield of , research that uses computational tools to search for and analyze patterns in the full genomes of organisms. Genomics can also be considered a subfield of , which uses computational approaches to analyze large sets of . A common problem to these fields of research is how to manage and share data that deals with human subject and .