The Two Faces Of Asthma
Asthma has two parts: inflammation and bronchospasm.Inflammation is present in the airways of asthmatics all the time, even when symptoms are quiet. The inflamed airways are hypersensitive and easily irritated and will spasm with exposure to a variety of irritants such as cigarette smoke, cleaning fumes, air pollution, dust, exercises, and even cold viruses. We call the tightening and narrowing of the airways in asthma bronchospasm and it is the cause of most asthma symptoms including cough, chest tightness, and wheezing.
Although not all asthmatics are allergic, allergy is the primary cause of the inflammation found in children with asthma. In Phoenix, pollen and mold levels remain high much of the year. Other environmental factors such as the dry air and fine particulates and other elements of air pollution may contribute to airway inflammation.
So inflammation causes airway hypersensitivity which leads to bronchospasm which causes the symptoms of asthma. In other words, if we are having a lot of asthma symptoms, that fact tells us that there is significant inflammation in the airways.
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- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
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How Does Asthma Affect The Lungs And Airways
The airways inside your lungs look like an upside-down tree. The respiratory system is in the chest and is made up of several different parts:
- Upper respiratory system This is the nose, sinuses, and the parts of the airway called the pharynx and the part of the larynx above the vocal chords.
- Lower respiratory system This is the portion of the larynx below the vocal chords, the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles
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What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma In Babies
In infants and toddlers, it may be hard for parents, and even doctors, to recognize signs and symptoms of asthma. Bronchial tubes in infants, toddlers and preschoolers are already small and narrow, and colds and other illnesses can iname airways, making them even smaller and more irritated.
Asthma symptoms will vary from child to child. The challenge with infants is that they cannot tell you how they are feeling.
Babies with asthma may experience difficulty breathing you may notice their bellies moving more when inhaling or exhaling and the nostrils of their nose may flare out. You might also notice:
- Wheezing or a whistling sound when breathing
- Fast, shallow breathing
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Breathing Problems During Exercise
If you have chest tightness, cough, wheeze or shortness of breath during exercise, your doctor may perform extra tests to see if you have a type of asthma called, exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm. For some people, they will only have asthma symptoms during exercise. There are many benefits to exercise, so work with your doctor to find the best management steps and treatment options for you.
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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.
How It Is Treated
You will usually only need a rescue inhaler to treat this mild form of asthma. You dont typically need daily medication since your symptoms only occur occasionally. However, your medication needs will be assessed based on how severe your attacks are when they do occur. Your doctor may also prescribe allergy medications if your asthma is triggered by allergies.
If your asthma is exercise induced, your doctor may instruct you to use your rescue inhaler before exercise to prevent symptoms.
What Is A Chest Ct Scan
Unlike a traditional X-ray, a chest CT creates 2-dimensional, cross-sectional images. The series of computerized views taken from different angles create detailed pictures of your chest area. The computer collects the images and arranges them in order for your doctor to view.4
For a CT scan, you will be instructed to lie flat on the CT scan table. You will move quickly through a scanner, which is a doughnut-shaped device. You may be told to lie still and hold your breath for a few seconds. A CT scanner is open and much less noisy than an MRI, and a CT scan takes less time. If your doctor wants the CT scan done with contrast, you will get an intravenous injection. This may give you a warm feeling throughout your body, but it is just temporary. At the end of the scan, you can go about your activities as usual.4
If You Suspect You Might Have Asthma Definitely Head To The Doctor
Your doctor will probably give you a physical exam first to examine the general state of your health. After that, theyll likely put you through some lung function tests, such as a spirometry, which checks how much air you can exhale after taking a deep breath as well as how fast you can expel air, according to the Mayo Clinic. Or they may do a peak flow test, which measures how hard you can breathe out. If you cant exhale enough air or breathe out quickly, it may be a sign your lungs arent working well, which could point to asthma, Dr. Benzaquen says.
There are other exams they can use, too, like exposing you to methacholine, a known asthma trigger, to see if your airways narrow, or allergy testing, since allergies and asthma are so often connected.
If you are diagnosed with asthma, itll be within one of four categories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mild intermittent asthma means you have minimal asthma symptoms for up to two days a week and up to two nights a month, while mild persistent asthma means youre experiencing symptoms more frequently than twice a week, but not more than once on any given day. Moderate persistent asthma ups the ante: Youre dealing with symptoms once a day and more than one night a week. Finally, severe persistent asthma involves constant symptoms most days and frequently at night too.
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Causes And Triggers Of Childhood Asthma
Common triggers include:
- Airway infections. This includes colds, pneumonia, and sinus infections.
- Allergens. Your child might be allergic to things like cockroaches, dust mites, mold, pet dander, and pollen.
- Irritants. Things like air pollution, chemicals, cold air, odors, or smoke can bother their airways.
- Exercise. It can lead to wheezing, coughing, and a tight chest.
- Stress. It can make your child short of breath and worsen their symptoms.
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Asthma is characterized by bronchial hyper-reactivity to certain physical or chemical irritants leading to release of inflammatory cells in the airways, causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Asthma is a chronic medical condition that has been increasing worldwide and is a major cause of disability, sick days in school and workplace, increased health-care expenses, and an important cause of preventable death in children and adults.
Asthma is characterized by bronchial hyper-reactivity to certain physical or chemical irritants leading to release of inflammatory cells in the airways, causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. The word Asthma is derived from the ancient Greek word aazein, which means panting or exhaling with open mouth. Asthma has different clinical types such as allergic asthma, exercise induced asthma, cough only asthma, eosinophilic asthma, nocturnal or night-time asthma, and steroid dependent asthma.
Explaining Your Symptoms To Your Gp
Its a good idea to start a diary of your symptoms before speaking to your GP. Taking note of when symptoms flare-up may help you to understand your triggers. This diary will then help your GP to understand and properly assess your condition. You could also try filming your symptoms if they are hard to describe.
There are several different tests for asthma – so your GP wont be able to diagnose you straightaway. Our advice on diagnosing asthma explains this process in more detail.
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Can You Prevent Asthma
You need to know hoGw to prevent or minimize future asthma attacks.
- If your asthma attacks are triggered by an allergic reaction, avoid your triggers as much as possible.
- Keep taking your asthma medicines after you are discharged. This is extremely important. Although the symptoms of an acute asthma attack go away after appropriate treatment, asthma itself never goes away.
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.
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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.
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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Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your risk factors for asthma and your symptoms. They may ask also about any known allergies. This includes how often symptoms occur, what seems to trigger your symptoms, when or where symptoms occur, and if your symptoms wake you up at night.
During the physical exam, your doctor may:
- Listen to your breathing and look for symptoms of asthma
- Look for allergic skin conditions, such as eczema
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How Is Cat Asthma Diagnosed
Chest x-rays, listening to breaths with a stethoscope, and collecting samples are methods the vet uses to determine if asthma is the cause of your cats symptoms.
However, cat asthma is usually only diagnosed when other conditions are ruled out10. Some conditions that may have similar symptoms include:
- Feline Heartworm
- Foreign Bodies
The vet may administer special tests to see if any of these conditions are the cause of the symptoms. Taking a video of your cat coughing can help your vet determine if asthma is the cause.
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Who Can Interpret Chest X
Many doctors are trained to interpret chest X-rays. In addition to radiologists, who have special training in reading all radiology films, primary care physicians, internists, pediatricians, emergency room doctors, anesthesiologists, heart doctors , lung doctors and lung surgeons are the doctors who frequently interpret chest X-rays as a part of their routine practice.
What Does An Asthma Attack Feel Like
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I have been asked this more times than I can count by both non asthmatics as well as fellow asthmatics. I found myself giving the same answer over and over. When I was in college studying and training to be come a Respiratory Therapist, I started asking people the same question. Now I always ask my asthmatic patients when I am at work in the hospital the same question I have been asked for over two decades.
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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.
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- Don’t have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but don’t have a spacer
- Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
- Asthma limits exercise or sports
- Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
- Use more than 1 inhaler per month
- No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
- You have other questions or concerns
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How Do You Stop An Asthma Attack
Asthma episodes can be mild or severe. You need to follow your Asthma Action Plan. An asthma action plan is a treatment plan from the doctor will help provide guidance on what to do when its hard to breathe. It outlines the medications to use and how to limit your activity if needed. Learn more about asthma symptoms, triggers and treatment so you can prevent asthma attacks and learn how to treat an asthma attack if you do have one.
It is important to understand what triggers your asthma symptoms. Asthma is not a one-size-fits-all disease what sets off symptoms for you or someone in your family may be quite different from what affects others. When you understand whats happening inside your lungs and how they respond to allergens and irritants like pollen, dust mites or smoke, you can take steps to prevent or minimize symptoms.
Can A Siamese Cat Be Predisposed To Asthma
It doesnt appear that one sex is more susceptible to asthma, and although some studies suggest that Siamese cats may be predisposed to asthma, this has not been definitively proven. Cats suffering from asthma may show signs of difficulty breathing, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing or hacking, open-mouthed breathing, or vomiting.
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What To Expect When Having A Chest X
X-rays are usually taken by a trained and certified radiology technician. Patients who are undergoing an X-ray of the chest will put on a special gown and remove all metallic items, including jewelry so that they dont block the X-ray beam from penetrating the body.
The X-ray technician may ask the patient to inhale deeply and hold her breath during the procedure to inflate the lungs and make the various chest tissues more visible. X-rays may be taken from the front, back and side views, and from different camera angles while sitting, standing or lying down.
Once the X-ray has been taken, the exposed film is placed into a developing machine and the image is examined and interpreted by a radiologist . After the radiologist reviews the X-ray, he or she will send a report to the doctor who ordered the test. This doctor will then discuss the results and recommended treatment options with the patient.
The risks of chest X-rays are minimal, especially because todays high-speed film does not require as much radiation exposure as the type of film used years ago. However, any exposure to radiation has some risk, which is why the technician asks the patient to wear a lead apron over the reproductive parts of the body or the extremities to shield from exposure. Pregnant women should ask their physicians before having an X-ray taken, as this could harm the fetus.
Severe Asthma Attacks Often Have Symptoms Similar To Those Of Milder Attacks But They Are More Severe And May Not Respond To Treatment
A diagnosis of asthma is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the symptoms, how often the symptoms occur, and how well they respond to treatment, says , an allergist and immunologist at Ben Sawyer Primary Care in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, which is part of the Medical University of South Carolina Health System.
For any category of asthma, symptoms can either be intermittent or persistent , Dr. Streck explains.
Anyone with asthma is at risk of having an asthma attack , when the muscles around the airways contract and the airways produce more mucus, which narrows the bronchial tubes through which we breathe, according to Mayo Clinic. Other asthma symptoms tend to worsen during an asthma attack.
An asthma attack may be considered minor if symptoms get better with home treatment an attack is considered severe when they do not. Anyone with asthma can experience a severe asthma attack.
Even if someone has baseline mild asthma, they can have a severe exacerbation or attack, says Streck. Sometimes people with a mild case of asthma that is generally very well-controlled can have attacks that are very severe, she says.
There are three main components to an asthma attack, says Streck.
An attack is severe if it is difficult to control and manage with at-home treatment.
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