What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.
The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.
So What Are The Symptoms You Should Watch Out For
Which signs of asthma you might experience differs from person to person and some are more common than others, Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF. Its possible that youll have such a mild reaction to one of your personal asthma triggers that you dont take much note of it. But if the effects get worse, they can turn into an asthma attack, which is a potentially life-threatening exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Thats why its so important to know the common signs of asthma, including the more subtle ones.
These are classic asthma signs you should know:
Shortness of breath: This is an obvious complication that happens when you cant get enough oxygen due to the way your airways and their surrounding muscles are reacting to asthma triggers, Sadia Benzaquen, M.D., a pulmonologist and associate professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, tells SELF.
Cough: When an irritant gets into your throat or airways, it stimulates nerves that prompt your brain to make the muscles in your chest and abdomen expel air from your lungs with a cough, according to the Mayo Clinic. Since a sensitivity to irritants can cause asthma symptoms, coughing is a hallmark sign of this condition, says Dr. Benzaquen. In fact, its the most common sign of asthma Dr. Parikh has seen people ignore.
Some people may have these less common signs of asthma:
Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
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Should I Still Wear A Face Mask
While COVID-19 cases continue to rise, wear a face mask in public places to protect yourself and others, even if you are fully vaccinated. It is especially important that you wear a face mask if you are immunocompromised or are at risk of severe disease due to other health conditions.
According to the CDC, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is airborne and spreads from person to person the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is airborne and spreads from person to person. It can spread through droplets from your nose or mouth when you breathe, talk, sing, yell, eat, sneeze, or cough. You are most likely to catch it if you are not fully vaccinated and less than 6 feet from someone who is infected.
Studies have shown many people have COVID-19 and dont show symptoms. Or they may have the virus a few days before they show symptoms. The purpose of wearing a face mask is to keep you from spreading COVID-19 to other people if you are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people with delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. This is especially important in places where you will be close to people, like while shopping, in a waiting room, or on public transportation. In Missouri, two hair stylists had COVID-19 and served 139 clients. Both the stylists and the salon clients wore face masks. None of their clients got COVID-19.
The Temperature And Air Quality In The Place You’re Exercising
Exercise is one trigger of asthma. If you combine the trigger of exercise with these other triggers from the environment around you, you’re more likely to get asthma symptoms:
- cold air
- low humidity therefore exercising in cold, dry air outside during the winter can be hazardous
- pollution in the air
- inhaled allergens: grass, pollen, ragweed, etc.
- irritants such as strong fumes from art supplies, cosmetics and smoke
- car and truck exhaust and pollutants from factories, especially sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone
- respiratory infections – a recent cold may cause a person to have more difficulty than normal with exercise
- emotional stress
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So Many Exercises So Little Time
In this day and age, it can be hard to keep track of all the fitness trends: HIIT, online personal training, even goat yoga . It can be even harder to decode which of those exercise regimens are going to work for you, especially if you have asthma. If youre one of the 20 million Americans who have asthma, read on.
Some people ask, Can I actually exercise if I have asthma? Theshort answer is yes. Fun fact: Its estimated that 1 in 12 Olympic athleteshave asthma. While you may not be an aspiring Olympian, we can provide someguidelines to know what types of exercise work best for asthma sufferers andwhich ones should be avoided. For those who are unsure if they have asthma, itshelpful to understand what exactly it is.
Asthma occurs when your bronchial tubes are permanently inflamed. The airflow to your lungs is then restricted and can cause symptoms like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. You are more susceptible to asthma if you have a family history of it or if you have severe allergies. Its difficult to perform asthma tests on children under 5, so your doctor may rely on other information to make a diagnosis. Asthma can show up later in life, too, after decades of ingesting fumes, dust, and the like. While there currently is no cure for asthma, it can still be managed so you can lead a life you love. Make an appointment with a board-certified allergist if youre unsure if you have asthma.
Diagnosing Asthma In Children Younger Than 6
It can be hard to tell whether a child under age 6 has asthma or another respiratory condition, because young children often cannot perform a pulmonary function test such as spirometry. After checking a childs history and symptoms, the doctor may try asthma medicines for a few months to see how well a child responds. About 40% of children who wheeze when they get colds or respiratory infections are eventually diagnosed with asthma.
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You Wake Up Coughing And Wheezing During The Night
If youre ever jolted awake in the middle of the night by a fit of coughing or wheezing, you may need to modify your severe-asthma management plan.
Properly managed asthma shouldnt wake you up from sleep more than one or two nights a month. If youre losing sleep due to your symptoms more than this, it may be time to discuss treatment modifications with your doctor.
Your peak flow readings are a measurement of how well your lungs are functioning at their best. This measurement is usually tested at home with a handheld device called a peak flow meter.
If your peak flow levels drop below 80 percent of your personal best, thats a sign that your severe asthma is poorly managed. Another sign that your asthma is getting worse is if your peak flow reading varies greatly from day to day. If you notice low or inconsistent numbers, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Preparing For My First Marathon
Im deep into training for the London Marathon now, and I find it very cathartic to cross each training run off the plan on my wall. In terms of support, I have a WhatsApp chat with two friends who are also running the marathon. Whenever one of us wants to back out, the other two use it to send support as needed.
The Asthma UK Marathon Facebook group is really good too its a mix of experienced marathoners and others like me who are only planning to do this once. When Im feeling a bit unwell, or like Im falling behind, its good to know that other people feel the same.
I cant afford to miss too many training runs, but I do make tweaks to it to avoid the worst of the cold and damp weather. I might go out later in the day, or move Saturdays run to Sunday if it looks warmer. And if it gets too cold Ill train indoors on a spin bike or rowing machine.
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Know The Early Symptoms Of Asthma
Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. These signs may start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that your asthma is worsening.
In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop you from going about your daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma attack or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs of an asthma attack include:
- Frequent , especially at night
- Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
If you have these warning signs, adjust your medication, as described in your asthma action plan.
Be Cautious About Outdoor Exercise
If your condition is mild and youre used to exercising outdoors it might be OK to continue. In sparse areas you might not need to wear a mask, but it is smart to carry one with you in case you end up closer to others than expected.
People with asthma might benefit from using a rescue inhaler before heading outdoors with a mask on. While not perfect, it may not be a bad idea because it can open your airways and at least improve your baseline air flow in the short term, says Dr. Elliott.
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How To Run With Asthma: Tl dr
- Roughly 15% of athletes are diagnosed with exercise induced asthma , but many people believe its a make-believe condition.
- You can still be a runner if you have exercise-induced asthma, traditional asthma, or even exercise-induced bronchospasms.
- Learning how to run with asthma means that you have to alter how you train. Primarily, you have to allow yourself more time. Because running with asthma is totally dangerous, you need to keep an inhaler handy, too.
- If youre looking for exercise induced asthma treatment, go see a doctor . What my doc said to do, and what works for me, is to use an Albuterol inhaler about 15 minutes before I run.
- Alsodont compare yourself to athletes who dont have asthma.
- You will likely progress more slowly than other people and plans say you should, but you will progress.
- Listen to your body. If it says you need to slow down or shift some training days or distances, do it.
- If you feel short of breath, tightness in your chest, wheezing, and taste metal in your mouthgo to a doctor ASAP.
Hi. Im Beej, Im a runner, and I have asthma. I know from experience how tough this road can be. And thats not even including the shock from the pavement.
I started out at 310 pounds and unable to run, and eventually lost down to 155 and doing half-marathons. And there are a few things I learned along the way that helped me get miles on my shoes and air in my lungs.
Should You Run If You Have Asthma
You went out for a morning run on Sunday. You felt great and enjoyed the adrenaline rush of your speed workout. But you havent been able to step out for training since. You have been coughing, wheezing, and experiencing shortness of breath. Normally, when you breathe, your nasal passage warms, moistens and filters the air. However, when you are running, you tend to breathe faster and through your mouth. So, the air you inhale is colder and drier.
The change in temperature and humidity can sensitize the airways, causing swelling of the inner linings, tightening of muscles, and formation of thick and sticky mucus. It might lead to wheezing, difficulty in breathing, and coughing. If you have these symptoms, you could be experiencing an asthma attack triggered by exercise such as running, and is called exercise-induced asthma .
What causes asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that occurs when the inner lining of the air passages that transport oxygen to the lungs are inflamed. The inflammation leads to narrowing of the passages and blocks the flow of air, resulting in shortness of breath.
There are numerous factors that can trigger an asthma attack like allergies to pollen, dust, mites, pollution, stress, strong emotions, extreme temperatures, exercise, or even lack of sleep.
Should you exercise if you have asthma?
How to manage EIA
1. Control your asthma
An asthma plan will cover the following:
a. What medicines to take?
b. What can trigger asthma?
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How To Breathe When Running
You are probably wondering if there is a special way to breathe while running with asthma. Well, according to experts at Asthma MD, you should focus on breathing deep in the stomach. The right and most effective breathing should come from the diaphragm and not the chest.
If you breathe through the chest this can sometimes cause hiccups, which are no fun running with.
To try this, pay attention to how you breathe just before you fall asleep. The shoulders do not rise and the stomach bulges out when you breathe in deeply. This is the same way you should breathe when running. You can put your hand on your stomach, it will help you focus.
Pursed lip breathing on the other hand helps to prevent chest pains as it regulates your breathing. I breakdown several other breathing techniques and strategies here.
Side Effects Of Exercise
Episodes of EIB can cause temporary inflammation and damage to lungs, but its reversible with proper treatment. The biggest complication associated with exercise-induced breathing difficulty is GIVING UP ON EXERCISE!
Some people with EIB feel anxiety, fear, and embarrassment about exercising. Rightfully so! Whats not scary about feeling like you cant breathe?
The truth is avoiding exercise is counterproductive. Its totally possible to have an active life while managing EIB. In fact, exercise improves quality of life.
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Asthma Symptoms Can Mimic Other Illnesses Or Diseases Especially In Older Adults For Example:
- Hiatal hernia, stomach problems, heart failure, or rheumatic arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults especially those who are or have been smokers.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so its important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
The GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed.
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Which Activities Are Ok For Kids With Eia
Exercise is a great idea for everyone, including kids with exercise-induced asthma. Besides keeping kids fit, exercise can improve lung function by strengthening the breathing muscles in the chest.
Encourage your child to be active while also keeping asthma symptoms under control by following the asthma action plan. Ask your doctor which exercises, sports, and activities are safe for your child.
These activities usually are OK for people with EIA:
- easy walking, jogging, or hiking
- shorter track and field events
Endurance sports and those requiring extended energy output can be more challenging. So can cold-weather sports, like cross-country skiing and ice hockey.
But that doesn’t mean kids can’t play these sports if they enjoy them. In fact, many athletes with asthma have found that with proper training and medicine, they can do any sport they choose.
What People With Asthma Need To Know About Face Masks During The Covid
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Asthma Attack Triggers When Running
That said, concerns about developing asthma symptoms while running are real and must be considered.
With exercise-induced asthma, it’s obviously the activity itself that triggers bronchoconstriction. In other cases, environmental factors are at play:
- Running in cold weathercan induce edema in the lungs, as well as bronchoconstriction and sudden bronchospasm.
- Pollution and allergens like pollen in the air can provoke inflammation, which partially blocks airway openings in the lungs.
These physiological responses make it hard for enough air to get into your airways when you breathe. As a result, you can feel chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath while running, and your oxygen level may become dangerously low.As such, it’s a good idea to participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program that includes guidance, supervision, and education about your asthma before you begin running on your own.