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What Can You Do For Chronic Asthma

Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets

Asthmatic Breathlessness – Self Help

Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:

  • easy bruising
  • muscle weakness

With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.

However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.

You will need regular appointments to check for these.

Want to know more?

What Is An Asthma Trigger

A trigger is anything that irritates your airways. Asthma is caused by two types of triggers.

  • Allergic trigger: cause allergic reactions. Allergic triggers include things like dust mites, pollens, moulds, pet dander,
  • Non-allergic trigger: are usually irritants. Non-allergic triggers include things like smoke, cold air, certain air pollutants, intense emotions

Learn more about different types of asthma triggers and how to manage them.

How Is The Condition Diagnosed

To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. You also may be tested for allergies.

Your internist or family physician may refer you to an allergist or pulmonologist for specialized testing or treatment.

After middle age, most adults experience a decrease in their lung capacity. These changes in lung function may lead some physicians to overlook asthma as a possible diagnosis.

Untreated asthma can contribute to even greater permanent loss of lung function. If you have any asthma symptoms, dont ignore them, and dont try to treat them yourself. Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.

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Your Mental Health And Asthma

Asthma can very much affect your mental and emotional health, and vice versa: Your mental and emotional health can affect your asthma. According to the AAFA, there is evidence that emotions like anger, fear, excitement, and laughter may trigger asthma flares, possibly because your breathing changes when you experience strong emotions. Anxiety and stress may be associated with poor asthma control, too.

What About Smokers Cough

Asthma 101

Smoking can cause chronic cough, but a nagging smokers cough isnt normal. If you are a smoker, get help to quit smoking.

You may be so used to your smokers cough that you cant tell if it has changed. Are you coughing more than you used to? For longer at a time? Or has your cough changed? Are you coughing up streaks of blood or more phlegm ? Any of these may be a sign that something is wrong.

A nagging smokers cough should not be ignored. A chronic cough in a smoker or former smoker may be a sign of COPD . Discuss your cough with your doctor.

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Complementary And Alternative Medicine For Asthma

Some complementary or alternative therapies may help with asthma management. They include breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, caffeine, and dietary supplements, such as vitamin D. Theres also some evidence that certain teas, such as licorice, fennel, eucalyptus, and green and black tea, may have some beneficial effects on lung function and may be good for people with asthma.

Other complementary and alternative medicine approaches that have been touted as being helpful for asthma but dont yet have solid scientific evidence to back them up include Himalayan salt lamps, essential oils, and accupressure.

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If you want to try some complementary and alternative therapies for asthma, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider first. Some supplements may interact with your medications or cause health problems, and just because something is promoted as natural, it doesnt mean its safe, advises the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Never use complementary therapies as substitutes for the conventional asthma treatments prescribed by your doctor.

The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life

Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.

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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 research 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.

Talking To Your Healthcare Professional

Childhood Asthma: What Can I Do About It?

Having open and honest discussions with your healthcare professional about your asthma and medication will help get the right treatment for you.

While it can seem unfair that you have to take lots of medicine compared with most people with asthma, remember that these treatments could be saving you from having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

And severe asthma can change over time so you may be advised by your healthcare professional to take different medicines or different doses depending on your symptoms, triggers and written asthma action plan.

Whats key is that you have an honest and productive relationship with your healthcare professionals so you can get the support you really need.

Taking your medicines as agreed with your healthcare professional is crucial, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s in-house GP. But we know that some people do not take all their medications regularly as prescribed. Its important that youre honest about how you use your medicines. Otherwise your healthcare professional may think you need more medicines or higher doses that really arent necessary.

Many people avoid using their inhalers because of worries about side effects. If you have concerns about your medicines that are stopping you taking them as prescribed, let your healthcare professional know.

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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.

What Is An Asthma Action Plan

An asthma action plan is a set of instructions for managing your asthma or your childs asthma. The plan is made by you and your doctor together, and then written down for you to keep.

An asthma action plan includes:

  • a list of the persons usual asthma medicines, including doses
  • instructions on what to do when asthma is getting worse, when to take extra doses or extra medicines, and when to contact a doctor or go to the emergency department
  • what to do in an asthma emergency
  • the name of the doctor or other health professional who prepared the plan
  • the date.

Everyone with asthma should have their own, personalised asthma action plan. Asthma action plans should be checked and updated at least once a year. Bring your action plan or your childs action plan whenever you visit your doctor.

We have a number of asthma action plan examples available as well as action plans in other languages.

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Lifestyle Changes To Help Severe Asthma

As well as medication, there are lifestyle changes you can make that can help.

  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise routine. If youre taking long-term high doses of oral corticosteroids, they can increase appetite and cause weight gain. It can be difficult to manage your weight with severe asthma, as your symptoms may make exercise more difficult, and you may lack energy and motivation if youre feeling unwell. But even by making small changes to your diet and activity levels, you can make a difference.
  • Quit smoking.Smoking is a major risk factor for asthma attacks, as well as being associated with numerous other health problems. If you smoke and have asthma, you should try to quit. Seek help from your doctor, nurse or a smoking cessation group to help make the change.
  • Do breathing exercises. Regularly practising breathing exercises can be beneficial as they help to improve lung capacity, strength and health. There are various methods suitable for asthmatics, some of which are taught by experts or physiotherapists, and theyre easy to learn and practice at home.
  • Reduce your stress levels. To reduce stress which can be a key trigger for asthma incorporating yoga, meditation or mindfulness practice into your lifestyle may be helpful.

Useful treatment tools

Other Medication And Asthma Triggers

Taking Control of Your Chronic Asthma

Some medication for other health conditions can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger an asthma flare-up or attack.

It is very important that you inform your doctor and pharmacist that you have asthma when a new medicine is prescribed to you or when you are buying over-the-counter medication or complementary therapies.

If you feel a particular medicine is making your asthma worse, treat your symptoms and contact your doctor immediately.Some medicines known to trigger asthma symptoms in some people include:

  • aspirin contained in some medication, such as pain relievers
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • beta-blocker tablets often used to control high blood pressure
  • beta-blocker eye drops to treat the eye condition glaucoma
  • ace inhibitors often used to control high blood pressure.

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Drugs And Medication For Asthma

Everyone with asthma has unique needs and considerations. Treatment for asthma may include taking preventive medications, using a certain type of inhaler when you experience flare-ups, and lifestyle changes. Your doctor will help design a specific asthma treatment plan that works for your lifestyle and particular needs.

Asthma medications generally fall into two types: quick-relief and long-term control medications.

Fast-acting medications relieve asthma symptoms when they happen they include these options:

  • Short-Acting Beta2-Agonists Albuterol , levalbuterol , terbutaline, and others are inhaled to quickly reduce swelling in the lining of the airways and relax the smooth muscles to ease breathing.
  • Anticholinergics This category includes ipratropium . Anticholinergics open the airways by relaxing the smooth muscles around the airways and also reduce mucus production. They work more slowly than short-acting beta2-agonists.
  • Combination Quick-Relief Medications Containing both an anticholinergic and a short-acting beta2-agonist, these are available as an inhaler or nebulizer, according to the AAFA.

Long-term control medications, which you may need to take daily through an inhaler or in pill form, reduce inflammation in your airways and make them less sensitive to triggers. Some long-term control medicines for asthma include these varieties:

Can People With Asthma Wear Face Masks

Yes, people with asthma can wear face masks.

The CDC recommends that you wear a mask in public indoor spaces even if you are fully vaccinated. The WHO recommends wearing a fabric mask that allows you to breathe while talking and walking quickly.

For people with very mild asthma or well-controlled asthma, its probably not going to be an issue, said Dr. David Stukus, member of the Medical Scientific Council for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America . For people who have very severe disease and have frequent exacerbations, ER visits, hospitalizations, require lots of medications and frequent symptoms, it might cause more issues for those folks.

If youre having trouble wearing a mask, try a different fabric or fit. Wearing some kind of breathable face mask is better than nothing. According to the WHO, medical masks when worn the right way do not cause you to breathe in more carbon dioxide or reduce your oxygen levels. Other studies back this up as well. And a face mask made of three layers probably wont fit tightly enough to affect your oxygen either. If your mask is uncomfortable, try a new type of mask.

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What Can You Do To Prevent Asthma

Asthma is an illness distressing the airways that carry air to and from your lungs. Individuals who suffer from this enduring condition are said to be asthmatic. The inside walls of an asthmatics airways are engorged or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways tremendously sensitive to exasperations and upsurges your vulnerability to an allergic reaction.

If you are asthmatic, you need to follow all the measures that help to reduce your exposure to asthma triggers. The asthma triggers worsen your symptoms to such an extent that an asthma attack occurs. Fortunately, by following the preventive measures that we highlighted in our todays article, you can control your asthma and prevent an asthma attack.

How Asthma Attacks Happen

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When you have an asthma attack, your airways narrow and it gets hard to breathe. This can result from spasms of the muscles around the airways, inflammation and swelling of the mucosal membrane that lines them, or high amounts of mucus inside them. You might have shortness of breath, wheeze or cough as your body tries to get rid of mucus.

Why do you have asthma and your friend doesn’t? No one knows for sure. Allergies play a role for many people, as do genetics.

If you or a loved one has asthma, it’s important to understand what your triggers are. Once you figure that out, you can take steps to avoid them. As a result, youâll have fewer and less severe asthma attacks.

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What Are Other Benefits To Wearing Face Masks

Pollen can trigger asthma. Wearing a mask can help keep pollen from getting into your nose and lungs. Even though a mask can help prevent symptoms, consider going outside when pollen counts are lower.

Changes in the weather can also be an asthma trigger, so keep it in mind when wearing a mask. When its cold, wearing a face mask can warm and humidify the air you breathe. Hot and humid weather can make wearing a mask more uncomfortable. Consider going out at times of the day when the weather is milder.

Exercise is important for people with asthma. Stay active but avoid situations where you would need a mask. If you are outside on a trail or in a park, you probably wouldnt need to wear a mask. Consider working out outside or at home instead of going to a gym or exercise class that may require a mask.

Masks also can protect you from respiratory infections like the flu, COVID-19, and even the common cold. Masks provide protection for people who are immunocompromised.

Signs Symptoms And Complications

How often signs and symptoms of asthma occur may depend on how severe, or intense, the asthma is and whether you are exposed to allergens. Some people have symptoms every day, while others have symptoms only a few days of the year. For some people, asthma may cause discomfort but does not interfere with daily activities. If you have more severe asthma, however, your asthma may limit what you are able to do.

When asthma is well controlled, a person shows few symptoms. When symptoms worsen, a person can have what is called an asthma attack, or an exacerbation. Over time, uncontrolled asthma can damage the airways in the lungs.

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How Common Is Cough In People With Asthma

Asthma is the second most common cause of chronic cough.4 It is responsible for chronic cough in 24% to 29% of adult non-smokers.4

Cough is the most commonly reported asthma symptom.3 In one study, 88% of people who went to the emergency room for an asthma flare-up reported cough as one of their symptoms.5 It may last for up to three weeks after an asthma attack.3

For about 57% of people with asthma, it is the only symptom they have.3 This type of asthma is called cough-variant asthma.3

Can Medicine Alone Help My Asthma

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Not usually. Although medicines help a lot, they may not be able to do the job alone. You have to avoid the things that cause or trigger your asthma symptoms as much as you can. Asthma triggers can be found outside or inside your home, school, or workplace.

Improving the indoor air quality in your home is an important part of asthma control. Your indoor air can be more polluted than outside air. Our interactive Healthy Home can show you ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home. A healthier home can reduce your exposure to allergens and irritants.

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Managing Your Chronic Asthma Condition

No one should be in denial about having asthma. Ignoring the condition can mean living with uncontrolled symptoms, frequent asthma attacks, and complications. Controlling asthma may reduce the need for certain asthma medications. The following steps can be taken to help you cope better with living with asthma:

  • Work with a doctor to achieve the best control of the illness. From medications to lifestyle and environmental changes, your doctor will work with you to monitor and treat your condition. Follow the asthma self-management plan provided by the doctor.
  • Use asthma medications correctly. This includes taking your medication on schedule and using inhalers correctly. Ask for instructions, a demonstration and feedback on your technique before taking your inhaler home. In a 2014 study published by Nature Partner Journal of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, researchers found that more than 80% of adults demonstrated poor technique when using an inhaler.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of an asthma attack. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Know when to reach for that quick-relief medicine prescribed by your doctor.
  • Use a peak flow meter to monitor your asthma. How quickly and how much air you can blow out of your lungs is a sign of how well you are controlling your asthma. A peak flow meter lets you measure the amount of air you can blow out.

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