Reducing Your Risk Of Copd
Doctors recommend that you quit smoking to prevent COPD. Quitting can also prevent many other smoking-related illnesses like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and more.
Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke is another way to reduce your risk, in addition to avoiding chemicals in the air or dust particles at work or at home.
Many people ignore the early signs of COPD, like shortness of breath. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any symptoms of COPD.
And Heres What You Can Expect With Treatment Which Is Generally Either Long
One of the most important ways to treat asthma is to avoid being exposed to your triggers, Dr. Wilgus says. Of course, that can feel impossible if your trigger is something thats seemingly everywhere, like dust or pollen. Though you can definitely take steps to reduce your exposure to those, avoiding them entirely is tough. Luckily, there are medications that can help when youve done everything you can trigger-wise.
Asthma medications generally fall into two categories: long-term preventive medications and fast-acting drugs that can help when youre having an asthma attack or on your way to one. Long-term preventive medications like allergy medications and inhaled anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are designed to help control your asthma so youre less likely to have an asthma attack in the first place, the Mayo Clinic says. Quick-relief medications , like short-acting beta agonists that you use via an inhaler, can help relax your airways when theyre acting up enough that your asthma is noticeably worse.
Whatever you do, dont resign yourself to living with asthma symptoms like trouble breathing and coughing all the time. Asthma is a very controllable illness as long as the signs and symptoms are not ignored, Dr. Parikh says.
Identifying Asthma Triggers With Allergy Testing
Determining what triggers a persons asthma is often difficult.
Allergy testing is appropriate when there is a suspicion that some avoidable substance is provoking attacks. Skin testing can help identify allergens that may trigger asthma symptoms. However, an allergic response to a skin test does not necessarily mean that the allergen being tested is causing the asthma. The person still has to note whether attacks occur after exposure to this allergen. If doctors suspect a particular allergen, a blood test that measures the level of antibody produced in response to the allergen can be done to determine the degree of the person’s sensitivity to the allergen.
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What Happens When A Cat Has An Asthma Attack
Feline asthma-very similar to human asthma-is a chronic inflammation of the small passageways of a cats lungs. When an asthma attack occurs, these passageways thicken and constrict, making it very difficult for a cat to breathe. This often leads to respiratory distress, which can become grave in a matter of minutes.
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Asthma Doesnt Go Away On Its Own
It can be tempting to ignore these symptoms and hope it goes away on its own, but this isnt something you should ignore, says Dr. Gerber.
Acute asthma attacks can damage the lungs over time, and can even be potentially life threatening
Therefore, its important to do everything you can to control asthma.
This starts with getting an accurate diagnosis, making a treatment plan with your doctor, and then doing your best to structure your daily life to avoid triggers and manage your symptoms.
Next, learn strategies to manage allergy-induced asthma.
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Difference Between Asthma And Pneumonia
The main difference is that asthma is a chronic, noninfectious condition, whereas pneumonia is a lung infection.
Asthma causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. It mainly affects the bronchioles, which are the tiny branches of the airways in the lungs.
Asthma is not a curable disease, though a person can manage its symptoms with the right medications. Asthma triggers can lessen over time and as a person learns to manage their illness.
Pneumonia is an infection that can occur in one or both of the lungs. It causes inflammation in the air sacs, not the bronchioles.
Pneumonia can cause the lungs to fill with fluid, making breathing painful and difficult. It is treatable.
While asthma and pneumonia can cause many similar symptoms, they are different diseases with different treatment and care approaches.
Whats The Connection Between Asthma And Pneumonia
People who have chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma may be at higher risk of developing pneumonia.
If you have asthma and get the flu, your symptomsand your complicationsmay be worse than they are for someone who doesnt have asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , people with asthma who get the flu are more likely to develop pneumonia as a complication.
Some of the key differences between the conditions can be seen in the table below.
- Viral pneumonia symptoms start out much like those of the flu and include fever, muscle pain, and dry cough. As it progresses, the cough gets worse and you may produce mucus. Shortness of breath and fever can follow.
- Bacterial pneumonia symptoms include a temperature that could go as high as 105°F . Such a high fever can lead to confusion and delirium. Your pulse and breathing rates may rise. Your nail beds and lips may turn blue due to lack of oxygen.
Researchers arent sure exactly what causes asthma. There may be an inherited tendency to develop asthma. There may also be environmental factors.
Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of things, such as:
- viruses, including the flu virus
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What Is Asthma Anyway
First up, a little anatomy refresher: Your airways, which extend between your nose and mouth and your lungs, have the very important job of carrying air in and out of your body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When you have asthma, triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, cold air, cigarette smoke, exercise, and respiratory infections like colds cause your airways to get inflamed, according to the NHLBI. That inflammation can cause swelling, which in turn can prompt the muscles around your airways to tighten, making it hard to get air in and out. At the same time, your airways might also expel more mucus than they usually do, making it even harder to breathe.
Experts dont know exactly what causes some people to get asthma when others dont, but its pretty safe to assume that its probably a combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. For example, if someone in your immediate family has asthma, youre more likely to have it too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Beyond that, the general cause is a stronger-than-normal response from your immune system to certain triggers, which is why you get all that inflammation when people without asthma dont, says the NHLBI.
What Happens When You Vape
Both smoking and vaping involve heating a substance and inhaling the resulting fumes. With traditional cigarettes, you inhale smoke from burning tobacco. With vaping, a device heats up a liquid until it turns into a vapor that you inhale.
Vaping is a delivery system similar to a nebulizer, which people with asthma or other lung conditions may be familiar with, says Broderick. A nebulizer turns liquid medicine into a mist that patients breathe in. Its a highly effective way of delivering medicine to the lungs.
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How Will You Describe An Asthma Attack
If you ask this question to n number to asthmatics, you will get n number of different answers. Mostly people do not have the same feelings regarding an asthma attack. It is very true that asthma varies from person to person and so does its symptoms. In fact, a single person can get different types of asthma attacks. So, let us check out how do people define their feelings regarding an asthma attack
There is a huge weight on my chest.
Can you imagine a huge weight, probably an elephant sitting on someones chest and squashing them hard? Exactly that feeling. The weight feels so heavy that there is hardly any space for the air to get in and out. It is very difficult to breathe, no matter what position you are in.
I feel like Im drowning.
This is the most common answer that asthmatics give. The attack feels like you are drowning, you are trying hard to breathe but it is impossible. This suffocation is terrible and dreadful.
It is impossible to catch the breath as I cough so much.
Normally, coughing makes people short of breath. Coughing out the mucus in lungs really makes breathing difficult. It is also possible to get short of breath if you are having a ticklish feeling in your lungs.
There is a tight feeling inside the chest.
It is like you are wearing extremely tight clothes and trying to breathe through a straw. You struggle to take in air and it does not go in. People gasp for breath in such times. This tight feeling is due to the airway tightening.
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.
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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 To The Lungs In Asthma
Asthma is a condition in which the airways of the lungs become either narrowed or completely blocked, obstructing normal breathing. This obstruction of the lungs, however, is reversible, either spontaneously or with medication . That is why asthma is technically called Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease . The basic abnormality causing asthma is the hyper responsive reaction of the body to specific and non-specific stimuli.
Air reaches the lung through the windpipe , which divides into two large tubes , one for each lung. Each bronchi further divides into many little tubes , which eventually lead to tiny air sacs , in which oxygen from the air is transferred to the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide from the bloodstream is transferred to the air.
Although the airways normally have the potential for constricting in response to allergens or irritants, the asthmatics airways are more prone to constriction due to increased response to allergens. This insult makes the airways more prone to infection leading to inflammation and swelling causing further constriction of the pipes. Infection also causes increased mucus production and this clogs the narrowed airways.
Once the airways have become obstructed, it takes more effort to force air through them and breathing becomes labored. This forcing of air through constricted airways can make a whistling sound, called wheezing. Irritation of the airways by excessive mucus may also provoke coughing.
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How Is Asthma Diagnosed
To diagnose asthma, doctors will ask questions about a child’s health, problems with breathing, and family medical history. They’ll also ask about any allergies, illnesses, and exposure to things that may make breathing worse.
Kids will have a physical exam and may have a lung function test. This usually involves testing breathing with a spirometer, a machine that analyzes airflow through the airways.
Reducing Lung Cancer Risk With Asthma
A nationwide study of over 37,000 people with asthma suggests that controlling inflammation with the disease may indeed lower lung cancer risk.
In this 2018 study, it was found that people with asthma who used inhaled corticosteroids on a regular basis were, on average, 58% less likely to develop lung cancer.
In this 2018 study, it was found that people with asthma who used inhaled corticosteroids on a regular basis were, on average, 58% less likely to develop lung cancer.
Certainly, this potential benefit of inhaled corticosteroids needs to be weighed against the risks and side effects of steroid inhalers, such as easy bruising and more. Whether or not controlling your asthma makes a significant difference, however, is only one concern. Even if these inhalers don’t make a difference with regard to lung cancer risk, living with asthma that is under control is simply a happier way to live.
If you have asthma and are worried about the potential risk of lung cancer, there are several things you can do to lower your risk.
- Don’t smoke
- Check your home for radon
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Practice caution with chemicals you are exposed to at work and at home
- Know your risk factors
- Undergo CT lung cancer screening if you quality
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How Are These Conditions Ruled Out And Asthma Correctly Diagnosed
To make an asthma diagnosis and make sure your symptoms are not caused by another condition, your doctor will review your medical history, family history, and symptoms. They will be interested in any history of breathing problems you might have had, as well as a family history of asthma or other lung conditions, allergies, or a skin disease called eczema, which is related to allergies. It is important that you describe your symptoms in detail , including when and how often they occur.
You will be asked if you smoke now or have ever smoked. Smoking with asthma is a serious problem. Smoking is also a major factor in certain asthma mimics, including COPD and cancer. You will also be asked about past exposure to harmful chemicals, possibly at a job.
Your doctor will also perform a physical examination and listen to your heart and lungs.
There are many tests your doctor might perform, including lung function tests, allergy tests, blood tests, and chest and sinus X-rays. All of these tests can help your doctor determine if you have asthma and if there are other conditions affecting it.
For more information, see WebMD’s article on Asthma Tests.
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.
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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.
A Typical Treatment Plan
A common treatment plan for a typical person with moderate asthma is:
- A preventer inhaler , taken each morning and at bedtime. This usually prevents symptoms throughout the day and night.
- A reliever inhaler may be needed now and then if breakthrough symptoms occur. For example, if symptoms flare up when you have a cough or cold.
- If exercise or sport causes symptoms then a dose of a reliever inhaler just before the exercise usually prevents symptoms.
- The dose of the preventer inhaler may need to be increased for a while if you have a cough or cold, or during the hay fever season.
- Some people may need to add in an LTRA and/or a long-acting bronchodilator if symptoms are not controlled with the above.
At first, adjusting doses of inhalers is usually done on the advice of a doctor or nurse. In time, you may agree an asthma action plan with your doctor or nurse.
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