After Your Asthma Diagnosis
The good news is there are lots of effective medicines available to help manage your symptoms. With the right treatment plan and good support from your GP you could stay symptom free.
Here are some things you can do straight away to get off to a good start:
Use an asthma action plan
An asthma action plan is a simple tool to help you manage your asthma well. You fill it in with your GP or asthma nurse.
It tells you exactly how to manage your asthma every day and what to do if symptoms get worse. Evidence suggests that using one means youre less likely to end up in hospital with an asthma attack.
Once you’ve got your own, personalised, asthma action plan, take it along to all your appointments to make sure its always up to date.
Know how to use your inhaler
Using an asthma inhaler can be tricky to get right even if youve been using one for some time. Make sure you start using yours in the best way from the beginning. Some inhalers are best used with a spacer.
Your GP should show you how to use your inhaler and spacer in the right way, but you can also ask the pharmacist to show you when you pick up your prescription.
We have some inhaler videos too which you can watch at home.
Go to all your asthma check-ups
When youre first diagnosed, you may need to see your GP or asthma nurse a few times to check how well your treatment is working. You can also talk about how youre coping with your asthma.
If you smoke, get support to quit
Possible Risk Factors That Need More Research
Experts aren’t yet sure:
- About the effect that pets in the home have on getting asthma. A review of several studies found that having a pet cat appeared to protect against asthma, while pet dogs slightly increased the risk of asthma. The effect of other furry pets on the risk of asthma was not clear.footnote 8 If your child already has asthma and allergies to pets, having a pet in the home may make his or her asthma worse.
What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of asthma can be mild or severe. You may have mild attacks now and then, or you may have severe symptoms every day. Or you may have something in between. How often you have symptoms can also change. When you have asthma, you may:
- Wheeze, making a loud or soft whistling noise when you breathe in and out.
- Cough a lot.
- Feel tightness in your chest.
- Feel short of breath.
- Have trouble sleeping because of coughing or having a hard time breathing.
- Quickly get tired during exercise.
Your symptoms may be worse at night.
Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening and need emergency treatment.
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What Is The Outlook
Bronchitis is a temporary condition that should resolve itself with at-home care. There are, however, some who are more likely to have complications. These include the elderly, young children, and those who are immunocompromised, such as people with cancer or diabetes.
Taking medications and avoiding asthma triggers can help people avoid more acute asthma attacks if they have the condition.
People should not refrain from physical activity, even though exercise can trigger asthma attacks in some. A doctor may, instead, suggest they carry a rescue or short-acting inhaler to prevent more acute attacks.
A doctor may also recommend that the individual uses a short-acting inhaler 30 minutes before they begin to exercise.
After An Asthma Attack
You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.
About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so its important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.
Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.
For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.
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What Kind Of Physician Treats Adult Onset Asthma
Many older patients are treated for asthma by their internist or family physician however, if your asthma symptoms are not under control within three to six months, or if you have severe persistent asthma, or if you are having asthma episodes that need emergency treatment, it may be time to see an asthma specialist. Allergists/Immunologists or pulmonologists are specialists who treat asthma. Those who have completed training in those specialties are usually called board-certified or board-eligible.
Tests For Other Diseases
Asthma can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms vary widely. And asthma-like symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, such as a viral lung infection or a vocal cord problem. So your doctor may want to do one or more extra tests.
- More lung function tests may be needed if your doctor suspects another lung disease, such as COPD.
- An electrocardiogram might be done to rule out serious conditions with similar symptoms, such as chronic heart failure. This test measures the electrical signals that control the rhythm of your heartbeat.
- A bronchoscopy test can be done to examine the airways for problems such as tumors or foreign bodies. This test uses a long, thin, lighted tube to look at your airways.
- Biopsies of the airways can be done to look for changes that point to asthma.
- A chest X-ray may be used to look for signs of other lung diseases, such as fibrous tissue caused by chronic inflammation .
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count , may be done to look for signs of an infection or other condition.
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When To Call A Doctor
911 or other emergency services right away if:
- You are having severe trouble breathing. Signs of this include:
- Breathing very fast. Shortness of breath can interfere with the ability to speak smoothly.
- Appearing anxious and being unable to eat because it’s too hard to breathe.
- Using the neck, chest, and belly muscles to breathe so that the skin between, above, and under the ribs sinks inward with each breath. Your nostrils may open wide when you breathe in.
- Taking longer than usual to breathe out and sometimes having a high-pitched, musical sound when breathing in.
- Sitting up, leaning forward, or sitting with your nose tilted up as if sniffing the air.
- Having skin color that stays pale, gray, bluish, or mottled, including the tongue, lips, earlobes, and nail beds.
or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your symptoms do not get better after you have followed your asthma action plan.
- You have new or worse trouble breathing.
- Your coughing and wheezing get worse.
- You cough up dark brown or bloody mucus .
- You have a new or higher fever.
- You need to use quick-relief medicine on more than 2 days a week within a month .
- You cough more deeply or more often, especially if you notice more mucus or a change in the color of your mucus.
- You have asthma and your peak flow has been getting worse for 2 to 3 days.
If you have not been diagnosed with asthma but have mild asthma symptoms, call your doctor and make an appointment to be checked.
Pet Ideas For People With Allergic Asthma
Some pets are safer for people whove been diagnosed with allergic asthma than others. Consider getting an allergy test before bringing home a pet to confirm which animals trigger your symptoms.
Unfortunately, theres no such thing as a truly allergen-free breed of dog or cat. Even pet birds can trigger respiratory allergies.
Certain nontraditional pets that dont shed dander might be a safe option, such as:
- hermit crabs
Before you adopt a pet, you might want to set up a trial run to see how your body reacts. You could spend a few hours in the home of a friend or relative who owns a similar pet, visit an animal shelter, or borrow a pet for the day.
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Environmental Factors And Asthma
Indoor air pollution such as cigarette smoke, mold, and noxious fumes from household cleaners and paints can cause allergic reactions and asthma. Environmental factors such as pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, cold temperatures, and high humidity are all known to trigger asthma in susceptible individuals. In fact, asthma symptoms and hospital admissions are greatly increased during periods of heavy air pollution. Ozone is the major destructive ingredient in smog. It causes coughing, shortness of breath, and even chest pain and can boost the susceptibility to infection. Sulfur dioxide, another component of smog, also irritates the airways and constricts the air passages, resulting in asthma attacks.
Gas stoves are the primary source of indoor nitrogen dioxide, a common indoor pollutant. Studies show that people who cook with gas are more likely to have wheezing, breathlessness, asthma attacks, and hay fever than those who cook with other methods. It is estimated that more than half of the households in the U.S. use gas stoves.
Weather changes can also result in asthma attacks in some people. For instance, cold air causes airway congestion and an increase in mucus production. Increases in humidity may also cause breathing difficulty in a certain population.
Can I Develop Asthma Later In Life
Is Your Food Allergy Really a Histamine Intolerance? Can i develop asthma later in life is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when youre an adult. While asthma usually starts in childhood, it can begin at any age. Higher-dose steroids with long-acting beta agonists inhalers are used for exacerbations of more severe disease. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. Your GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests. Doctors dont know exactly how many adults are diagnosed with allergies for the first time.
But now that youre in it especially a runny nose and should be evaluated by a physician. I have rarely used inhalers save a few summers when the allergy season was at its highest. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, take away online porn and what do you get? Some people get asthma with exercise and some have what is known as reactive airway disease, the symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse. As a completely separate treatment I had sleep apnea so I think I need to get some ac units installed too.
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Asthma Uk Is Here To Support You
We also have lots of tips on living with asthma, from doing sports and going on holiday, to studying with asthma and having relationships.
Explore our health advice web pages and . The more you know about your asthma, the better youll be able to work with your GP or asthma nurse to manage it well.
Speak to someone about your asthma
You can also call our Helpline on 00 222 5800 to speak to a respiratory nurse specialist. Or you can WhatsApp them on 0307378 606 728.
You can ask them anything from symptoms and treatments to living life without asthma getting in the way.
Next review due February 2024
Risk Factors Triggers And Co
The role of genetic predisposition in adult-onset asthma is less clear than in atopic childhood-onset asthma. In adult-onset asthma, a family history of asthma is often lacking and atopy is not more common than in the general population. One study in a Chinese Han population found an association between genetic variants in chromosome 17q21 and adult-onset asthma, similar to that observed in childhood asthma . Although this study was flawed by the possibility of recall bias in self-reported age of asthma onset, it may point towards similar mechanisms in childhood- and adult-onset asthma, including exposure to environmental triggers such as environmental pollution or infection.
It is difficult to know exactly whether a condition is causally related or just a comorbid condition or a trigger factor. For example, obesity is a comorbid condition but is also a trigger factor for new asthma onset . In the literature, several exogenous and endogenous trigger factors have been associated with the development of asthma in adulthood which will be discussed in the following sections.
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Does Asthma Go Away As The Child Grows
There is a huge misconception that all children will outgrow their asthma. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that children can have asthma remission as adults however, about one-third of children suffering from asthma will experience symptoms when they grow up into adults. A study in 2014 showed that a second wave of symptoms can develop later in adulthood.
Other Tests For Conditions That May Mimic Asthma
There are some medical conditions that often make asthma harder to treat and control, in addition to being asthma mimics. These include allergies and GERD. If you are diagnosed with asthma, your doctor might also test you for these conditions, or treat them for several weeks to see if your asthma symptoms also improve.
For more information on allergies, GERD, and other triggers, see Causes of Asthma.
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Can Allergies Stop On Their Own
A question commonly asked at diagnosis is how likely is it that my allergy will improve with time? The severity and types of symptoms you had at your initial reaction and the number of foods to which you are allergic can help predict your chances of outgrowing the allergy. In addition, we know that milk, egg and soy allergies most often improve with time while peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish are less likely to improve.
Its not recommended you simply assume that youve outgrown a reaction to an allergen instead, you should visit an allergist for testing. For food allergies, if your test results indicate that it is safe, you will participate in an in office oral food challenge to determine if you still have symptoms.
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Can You Have Asthma And Bronchitis At The Same Time
People with asthma can also have acute bronchitis. They may notice their asthma symptoms become worse as a consequence. They may experience:
- shortness of breath
- pain and discomfort when breathing
Sometimes, people with severe bronchitis and asthma may have to go to the hospital because mucus has clogged the airways into their lungs so much.
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Aspirin And Paracetamol Intake
Among individuals with existing asthma, aspirin can acutely precipitate bronchospasm in the subset of patients with aspirin-intolerant asthma. In contrast, long-term intake of 100 mg aspirin has been shown to reduce the relative risk of a newly reported diagnosis of asthma in healthy females . Thus, in individuals without asthma, aspirin might reduce the risk of developing asthma via cyclo-oxygenase -dependent and COX-independent pathways.
On the contrary, the use of paracetamol represents a putative risk factor for the development of asthma . Glutathione depletion in the airways and increased oxidative stress may be the mechanism underlying the link between paracetamol use and asthma development.
How Can Asthma Symptoms Be Controlled Or Reduced
If your asthma symptoms are caused by allergies, take steps to control known or potential triggers in your environment. Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic. Reduce your outdoor activities when pollen counts or ozone levels are high. Choose foods that don’t contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms. Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma
Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:
Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion
Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more
Give Teens Extra Attention
Teens who have asthma may view the disease as cutting into their independence and setting them apart from their peers. Parents and other adults can offer support and encouragement to help teens stick with a treatment program. It’s important to:
- Help your teen remember that asthma is only one part of life.
- Allow your teen to meet with the doctor alone. This will encourage your teen to become involved in his or her care.
- Work out a daily management plan that allows a teen to continue daily activities, especially sports. Exercise is important for strong lungs and overall health.
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of smoking and drug use.
- Encourage your teen to meet others who have asthma so they can support each other.
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Can Asthma Be Cured
There is still much research that needs to be done to fully understand how to prevent, treat and cure asthma. Asthma Canadas National Research Program is committed to supporting leading asthma researchers and graduate student researchers working to expand our knowledge and one day, unlock a cure.