Treating Asthma Chest Pain
Before treating your symptoms, your doctor will want to make sure your chest pain is caused by asthma and not any other conditions.
If you experience chest pain due to asthma, your physician will probably prescribe an individualized treatment plan. Follow their instructions carefully to lessen your chances of developing symptoms.
When youre having an asthma attack, you may be told to use an emergency or rescue inhaler to relax your airways and improve your symptoms. In one study, using inhaled albuterol resulted in improvement in 70 percent of children and adolescents with asthma-induced chest pain who performed exercises on a treadmill.
Signs Of Asthma Absolutely Everyone Should Know
You might think you know the signs of asthma because hey, it seems like one of those health conditions that is absolutely unmistakable. Its kind of obvious if you justcant really breathe, right? Sure, but asthma symptoms can present with a lot more complexity and subtlety than that. Many people do not realize they have asthma and deal with daily symptoms, Purvi Parikh, M.D., an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, tells SELF. Because of that, you should be aware of the signs of asthma so you dont write them off for months or even years without realizing you have this persistentand ultimately treatablehealth condition.
What Is An Asthma Attack
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways become narrower than normal and can cause difficulty breathing.
The severity of an asthma attack can range from mild to very serious. Some asthma attacks may require prompt medical attention.
The preferred way of treating an asthma attack is to use a rescue inhaler, which contains medication that expands your airways.
But what if youre having an asthma attack and dont have your rescue inhaler available? There are several things that you can do while you wait for your symptoms to subside or for medical attention. Read on to learn more.
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How To Tell You Have Asthma
Asthma is a complex disease to diagnose, and only a healthcare professional is able to make a proper diagnosis.
If you are concerned that you may have asthma, contact your healthcare provider. In order to confirm an asthma diagnosis, your healthcare provider will take into account your medical and family history, allergies, and conduct lung function testing such as spirometry.
Signs You Actually Have Severe Asthma
Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When youre exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing , and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.
Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there . Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.
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Symptoms After An Asthma Attack
How you feel after an asthma attack will depend on how severe the attack was and what triggered it.
If the attack was triggered by an irritant, such as cold weather, pollutants or allergens such as pollen, animal fur or dust, you should recover relatively quickly.
If your asthma attack was caused by an infection, such an upper airway infection, then it might take longer for you to recover. You may have symptoms such as fatigue and exhaustion after your asthma attack.
Do follow any recovery guidance given to you by a doctor or medical professional. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, take your medication and attend any necessary follow-up appointments.
If you havent seen your doctor or asthma nurse for a routine appointment recently, book one as soon as possible.
What Do I Do While I Wait For My Pcr Test Result
You must stay at home until you get your test result;unless you have had both COVID vaccinations, and it has been fourteen days since your second jab.
Self-isolating can be difficult, but its important as it will help stop the spread of COVID-19. Support is available, whether its help with everyday tasks like food shopping, or financial support if you cannot work.
Read more about the help and support available to you, wherever you live in the UK.
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Create An Asthma Action Plan
For anyone who has asthma, an asthma action plan is essential for preventing symptoms that can progress to a full-on asthma attack. This is a written document you and your asthma doctor will develop together based on your asthma triggers, usual symptoms,;peak flow readings, and;what you should do at different stages of progressively worsening symptoms.
A typical asthma action plan uses the color coding of a traffic light and is divided into three zones.
|;Green||Your asthma is under control, your peak flow readings are within your healthy range, and you feel well.|
|;Yellow||Your symptoms are worsening and/or your peak flow readings are declining.|
|;Red||Your symptoms are dangerously severe and you should get emergency help right away.|
In terms of prevention, the action plan will identify all of your known triggers and ways to avoid them. It also will list your medications and how you should be taking them.
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When To See A Doctor:
Most people dont go to the doctor for a little coughing or mild allergies, but asthma isnt always easy to diagnose, and if you think you might have it, its important to find out. If you find yourself having repeated periods of breathlessness, coughing, or wheezing, you should speak with your doctor. This is especially true if theres no apparent reason for these episodes, or if seemingly minor activities trigger them.
Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose your asthma, but you may be referred to a lung or asthma specialist for more specific treatment. If youre worried about your lung health, you may find this article about checking your lung health at home helpful.
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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.
Emergencies And Your Asthma Action Plan
You and your doctor need to create an asthma action plan that details what to do when you are in different zones green, yellow, or red:
- Green zone: You are free of symptoms and can do your usual activities. Peak flow readings are 80% to 100% of your personal best. Youre doing well. If you use daily control medicine, you should take it as usual.
- Yellow zone: You have symptoms of asthma. Or your peak flow readings are between 50% and 80% of your personal best. Your asthma is worsening. You may need medicine to prevent a more serious asthma attack.
- Red zone: You have symptoms of an asthma emergency. Peak flow readings are 50% or lower of your personal best. You are having a severe attack and need asthma emergency treatment.
Most important, your written asthma action plan spells out what you should do in an asthma emergency.
Since every persons asthma is different, you need to have a custom-tailored asthma emergency treatment plan.
Your plan might include the following steps:
- Use your emergency inhaler as prescribed.
- Take a peak flow reading if you can.
- Get to an emergency room or call 911.
Dont delay. Waiting too long to get asthma emergency treatment can be deadly.
An asthma action plan should also include:
- Your name
- The name and number of your family doctor
- The name and number of your local hospital
- Your personal best peak flow meter reading
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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.
How To Stop An Asthma Attack
Stopping an asthma attack is easier if you know what to do once one starts. In some cases, it may not be possible to stop an asthma attack entirely without an inhaler. However, there are certain steps you can take to lessen the duration and intensity of an asthma attack. These include:
- Use your inhaler
- Stay calm
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Learn To Recognize Symptoms
It is important to recognize the early warning signs of an asthma attack and treat them right away. Appropriate management early on may prevent a trip to the emergency room or;keep you out of the hospital.
Early warning signs of worsening asthma and an impending asthma attack include:
- A drop in peak expiratory flow rate
- Increased cough/chronic cough
- Some difficulty performing normal daily activities
- Individual factors noticed over time that indicate worsening asthma or an asthma attack
These symptoms are likely to be listed in the yellow zone of your asthma action plan, so you should deal with them accordingly. This may mean taking extra doses of rescue medication and starting a course of;oral corticosteroids.
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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.
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Asthma Attack = A Symphony In Your Chest
Whenever he listened with his stethoscope, my doctor would always tell me that it sounded like a miniature symphony was playing in my chest.
At the time I giggled at the funny metaphor, but its actually quite accurate.
As your airways constrict and fill with mucus, only tiny passages are left for the air to travel through. This makes for a very noisy, whistle-y breathing experience.
So if you think you might be having an asthmatic episode, try blocking your ears with your fingers and taking a deep slow breath. Do you hear that symphony?
And if its your child or other loved one and youre trying to assess what the problem is, try putting your ear to their chest while they try to breathe.
If you hear the little whistles and wheezes that are synonymous with an asthma attack its time to act.
Asthma Symptoms Vs Coronavirus Symptoms
Currently, we are worried that every sniffle and cough may be COVID-19. This worry is extremely valid; COVID-19 is still in its infancy and there is much that we do not know.
Fortunately, if you have asthma, most of your coughing and wheezing may not be related to COVID-19. Knowing how to identify the symptoms may help you differentiate.
Though there is a long list of COVID-19 symptoms, there are common symptoms frequently associated with upper respiratory infections:
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Medication Keeps My Asthma Attacks At Bay
15 years ago I had been ill with pneumonia and it left me with a long-term cough. One warm summer evening I was walking with my friend when suddenly I felt like I couldnt breathe. The feeling of suffocating was so strong that I had to stop and sit down on a bench. My friend wanted to call an ambulance, but I asked her to wait. After calming down and resting a little, I felt better and she was able to walk me back home.
Still, the heavy feeling in my chest only passed after I took a hot shower at home. The next morning, I visited my doctor and I was asked to track down my peak flow measurements. The diagnosis was clear: I had asthma.
I have learned to recognise the first signs of an attack. Normally I start wheezing after exercising. But a couple of times I have woken up in the night feeling I cant breathe. Its always such a scary experience. Thats why I normally keep my rescue inhaler next to me on my nightstand. I also carry another one in my golf bag when I am out playing. These days I rarely need them because my asthma is well managed with regular preventive medication. Overall, asthma doesnt much affect my daily life even though I exercise and play golf a lot. Only if I get a cold or a flu, my symptoms seem to become worse and it takes a while to get better. Thats why during the flu season, I double my medication and take a flu vaccination as my doctor has advised.
Monitor Your Peak Flow
Checking your peak expiratory flow rate a measure of how quickly your lungs expel air during a forceful exhalation after you fully inhaleis key to asthma attack prevention. PEFR is determined using a simple handheld device called a peak flow meter.
Depending on the severity of your asthma, your doctor may want you to check your peak flow several times a day, once a day, every few days, or just at certain times.
The most common recommendation is once a day in the morning before taking your asthma medication.
If your peak flow numbers are declining, your asthma is getting worse and you need to act quickly to prevent an;attack. Follow the instructions in your asthma action plan to prevent the symptoms from becoming more severe and turning into a full-blown attack.
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Getting Asthma Under Control
Breathing is just such an easy, natural thing to do for most people, Alba says. Imagine struggling to do what others can do so easily. Having to constantly worry if you will be able to breathe can certainly take a toll on your physical and emotional health.
People with asthma may isolate themselves to avoid their asthma triggers, she explains. Symptoms can also impact sleepso having headaches and feeling tired and moody can be asthma warning signs.
If you suspect you might have asthma, your doctor can confirm a diagnosis and work with you to design your asthma action plan.
This personalized program includes steps you can take to manage your conditionlike medication adherence, trigger avoidance, lifestyle changes and home remedies, and check-ins with your doctor.
Once you have a plan in place, its essential to stick with iteven if you dont experience any more symptoms.
Asthma is a long-term condition, Dr. Grayson says, and there are things happening in your lungs that you cant feel or sense. While you may not need to take medication for life, only your doctor can determine the right treatment plan for you.
But if you are taking your asthma medication as directed and still having flare-ups, make sure to check in with your doctor right away. Your treatment protocol or management plan may need adjusting.
Next, if you have allergic asthma, check out the best air purifiers for asthma.