HomeFactsWhat Happens During An Acute Asthma Attack

What Happens During An Acute Asthma Attack

What Is Asthma Attack

What Severe Asthma Looks Like | WebMD

Asthma can flare-ups are when asthma symptoms get worse. They happen when airways get more irritated and inflamed than usual.

During an asthma attack , you might have:

  • trouble breathing
  • a whistling sound while breathing
  • a cough
  • a fast heartbeat

Some flare-ups are serious, but others are mild. Flare-ups can happen suddenly or build up over time, especially if people dont take their asthma medicines as directed.

Things that bring on a flare-up are called triggers. Triggers vary from person to person, but common ones include:

  • allergies to things like pollen, mold, and pet dander
  • irritants and pollutants in the air
  • respiratory infections, like colds or flu
  • weather conditions
  • exercise
  • gastroesophageal reflux

An important part of managing asthma is avoiding triggers. Your childs doctor will work with you to create a care plan that helps prevent flare-ups as much as possible.

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Table 1 Inflammatory Cells Involved In Asthma

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Expert panel report 3 : Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma – Full Report 2007; pg 16-18; Kraft M. N Engl J Med. 2011;365:1141-1144; Berger A. BMJ. 1999;319:90.

Medications that block interleukins are under investigation right now.10,11 These medications may be helpful for people with moderate to severe asthma and high eosinophil levels.

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.

Your healthcare provider may order a chest X-ray, blood test or skin test. Your provider may order spirometry. This test measures airflow through your lungs.

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How Do Normal Airways Work

When we breathe in, air moves through our airways from our nose or mouth, down a large hollow tube in the front of the neck called a windpipe or trachea and into our lungs.

The trachea divides into two;tubes called bronchial tubes in the lungs. They look like upside-down trees. As the bronchial tubes pass through the lungs, they divide into smaller air passages called bronchioles . At the end of each bronchiole are tiny air sacs that fill up with air, like tiny balloons, each time we breathe in. These are called alveoli .

Air comes into our lungs each time we breathe in. This air has oxygen in it. Oxygen has a special job. It helps feed, or give energy to, all parts of our body so we can walk, talk, eat and exercise.

What To Do If You Have An Asthma Attack

If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:

  • Sit upright and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
  • Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
  • If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
  • Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.

    Try to take the details of your medicines with you to hospital if possible.

    If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.

    This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.

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    Can Asthma Be Cured

    Most people with asthma are able to control their condition if they work together with a health care provider and follow their treatment regimen carefully.

    People who do not seek medical care or do not follow an appropriate treatment plan are likely to experience worsening of their asthma and deterioration in their ability to function normally.

    Mild To Moderate Attack

    Reassure the patient; place him in a 1/2 sitting position.

    Administer:;salbutamol;: 2 to 4 puffs every 20 to 30 minutes, up to 10 puffs if necessary during the first hour. In children, use a spacer1;to ease administration . Single puffs should be given one at a time, let the child breathe 4 to 5 times from the spacer before repeating the procedure.;prednisolone;PO: one dose of 1 to 2 mg/kg

    If the attack is completely resolved: observe the patient for 1 hour then give outpatient treatment:;salbutamol;for 24 to 48 hours and;prednisolone;PO to complete 3 days of treatment.

    If the attack is only partially resolved, continue with;salbutamol 2 to 4 puffs every 3 to 4 hours if the attack is mild; 6 puffs every 1 to 2 hours if the attack is moderate, until symptoms subside, then when the attack is completely resolved, proceed as above.

    If symptoms worsen or do not improve, treat as;severe attack.

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    How Long Do Asthma Attacks Last

    There is no set time for how long an asthma attack lasts. As a guideline, you might only have a mild asthma attack for a matter of minutes before you manage to get your symptoms under control and they begin to ease off.

    If you have severe asthma, an asthma attack can last longer, from hours to days. Severe asthma is harder to get under control and often doesnt respond in the same way to medications as mild asthma. A severe asthma attack is a medical emergency and you need to call for help for emergency help straight away.

    How Do Your Airways Work When You Have Asthma

    What happens during an asthma attack

    When you have asthma, your airways aren’t able to function as well as they should.

    • Wheezing
    • Chest tightness

    Asthma causes inflammation, or swelling, in the lungs. It can also cause squeezing, called bronchoconstriction , and extra sensitive or twitchy airways.

    When something bothers your airways, you have trouble breathing. This is;called an asthma attack or episode.;It gets harder to breathe because the tiny muscles around your airways squeeze tightly and they have swelling inside.

    Your airways will make more mucus inside your airways, which makes it even harder to breathe. These changes in your airways can cause coughing and wheezing.

    There is no cure for asthma. But you can take steps to manage it. If you have asthma, it’s important to see an asthma specialist, like an allergist or pulmonologist, to come up with the right asthma treatment plan. Medicines and avoiding asthma triggers can help reduce swelling and relax tight muscles in your airways.

    ASTHMA Care for Adults

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    What Triggers Asthma Attacks

    When you experience an asthma attack, your airways narrow and it gets more difficult to breathe. An asthma attack can come on slowly and gradually, for example, if your usual symptoms arent so well controlled or if youve not been using your preventer inhaler as regularly as you should be. If youve got an upper airway infection then this can also trigger an asthma attack.

    Other factors that can trigger asthma attacks include a sudden change in the temperature and cold weather, environmental factors, allergens and even stress or certain foods and drinks.

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    What Is An Asthma Action Plan

    Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.

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    When To See A Medical Professional

    See your provider or go to the emergency room if:

    • An asthma attack requires more medicine than recommended
    • Symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
    • You have shortness of breath while talking
    • Your peak flow measurement is 50% to 80% of your personal best

    Go to the emergency room if these symptoms occur:

    • Drowsiness or confusion

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    How Do You Know When An Asthma Attack Is Severe

    You should seek medical attention immediately if you’re experiencing;severe breathlessness or wheezing , you can only speak in short phrases, you have to strain your chest muscles to breathe, you have low peak flow readings on a;peak flow meter or using an inhaler does not improve your symptoms, Mayo Clinic says.

    Those;experiencing asthma attacks can show a progression of symptoms, said;Mogayzel.

    Often, someone will have trouble breathing and be short of breath. Soon, their nostrils may flare or you may see their skin pulling into their ribs. They then may not be able to form complete sentences.

    In severe cases, someone may become pale or;cyanotic . They may also become non-responsive altogether. “Those things are really a sign of life-threatening asthma when you get to that point,”;Mogayzel said.

    Depending on the person, the progression of symptoms can be rapid, he added. The symptoms can also vary depending on person.

    Identifying when an exacerbation requires medical treatment may also be difficult because someone with asthma may already have baseline of symptoms that makes it hard to detect changes in, said;Dr. Alfin G. Vicencio,;chief of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology at Mount Sinai.

    If symptoms don’t get better or get worse after following the treatment steps a doctor prescribes, emergency care may be required.

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    After An Asthma Attack

    You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.

    About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so it’s important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.

    Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.

    For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.

    How To Avoid Asthma Triggers

    If you know what your asthma triggers are, then where possible, its beneficial to try to avoid them.

    If theres a particular allergen culprit you know of, then keeping your home clean and dust-free can help. For example, you could consider swapping carpets for wooden floors to reduce the amount of dust build-up or hiring a cleaner so youre not personally exposed to dust when cleaning.

    It can be more difficult to avoid asthma triggers completely when youre at work, especially if your asthma is occupational and linked to your working environment. In an ideal world, you could simply change jobs to something more suitable for your health, but in reality this isnt always feasible.

    Let your employer or the HR department know about your asthma. You should be able to discuss the options available for optimising your work environment to be more suitable to your needs.

    Keeping on top of your asthma management plan, working alongside your doctor or asthma nurse and making sure you take your inhalers or other asthma medications should help to control your symptoms. Making practical lifestyle choices is important too, like eating healthily, exercising and not smoking.

    It can also be beneficial to learn an asthma breathing technique. There are various breathing techniques that can help asthma and knowing how to breathe properly could help if something unexpectedly triggers an attack.

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    How Do You Monitor Asthma Symptoms

    Monitoring your asthma symptoms is an essential piece of managing the disease. Your healthcare provider may have you use a peak flow meter. This device measures how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. It can help your provider make adjustments to your medication. It also tells you if your symptoms are getting worse.

    Stage : An Asthma Trigger Start A Chain Reaction

    Asthma

    Asthma is a very complicated disease that involves many cells overreacting to an asthma trigger or potential threat.

    The lungs are massive vessel-like organs in the chest cavity. They are the largest and most essential part of the respiration system. The air we breathe enters and exits our lungs through two passages; the bronchioles and the bronchi. Lungs main responsibility is to take oxygen from the atmosphere and transport it into the blood stream. It then sends carbon dioxide from blood into the atmosphere.;

    An asthma trigger is an environmental factor that stimulates the lungs to react abnormally. It can be any food, drink, or smell. For example, cigarette smoke is a very potent trigger. Others include animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, molds and pollen.;

    Triggers are everywhere and different for every person. You will have to watch your breathing and see what affect it on a daily basis.

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    What Do I Do If I Have An Asthma Attack

    If you or a loved one is having an asthma attack and the symptoms donât get better quickly after following the asthma action plan, follow the red zone or emergency instructions and contact your doctor or right away. You need urgent medical attention.

    1. Give asthma first aid.

    If the person doesnt have an plan:

    • Sit them upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
    • If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, help them take it.
    • If the person doesnât have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit. Do not borrow someone elseâs. The medicine in it may be different than the needed rescue medicine. Also, using someone elses inhaler has a slight risk of passing on an infection.

    2. Use an inhaler with a spacer, if possible.

    • Remove the cap and shake the inhaler well.
    • Insert the inhaler into the spacer.
    • Have the person breathe out completely and put their mouth tightly around the spacer mouthpiece.
    • Press the inhaler once to deliver a puff.
    • Have the person breathe in slowly through their and hold their breath for 10 seconds.
    • Give a total of four puffs, waiting about a minute between each puff.

    3. Use an inhaler without a spacer, if necessary.

    4. Continue using the inhaler if breathing is still a problem.

    5. Monitor the person until help arrives.

    • Do not mistake drowsiness as a sign of improvement; it could mean asthma is getting worse.
    • Do not assume that the personâs asthma is improving if you no longer hear wheezing.

    6. Follow up.

    Mystery Of How Eating Causes Asthma Attacks

    Many people ask the question How can eating something cause me to have an asthma attack in my lungs.

    The answer is simple, but to understand this question, you first must gain an understanding of what;asthma;is. It is also essential to understand how asthma is developed and the difference between normal respiratory defence mechanisms for fighting foreign particle attacks in the lungs in comparison to what happens in an asthma attack.

    Unlike other respiratory conditions like cystic fibrosis, COPD and Bronchiectasis, asthma is actually a hypersensitivity condition. An asthma attack is actually an immune response to enzymes, proteins and anti-enzymes released by a parasite or an antigen.

    As a part of the bodys immune response in an asthma attack, apart from the standard respiratory responses of inflammation and excess secretion of mucus, the body also releases a number of immune chemicals including immunoglobulin E or IgE .

    The release of IgE induces constriction of the smooth muscles around the outside of the airways, also known as Bronchoconstriction. This constricts the airways more and works towards helping to amplify the cough mechanism and expel the parasite from the lungs.

    We have similar defence systems in other parts of our bodies, including the large and small intestines of our digestive system. All of these systems are connected through our circulatory system where the immune system works its magic. Let me explain this further and how it all works.

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    Blood Oxygen Level Tests

    During a severe asthma attack, it may be necessary to check the level of oxygen in your blood. This can be done using a pulse oximeter. A pulse oximeter is a small device thats placed on the end of your finger. The test takes a few seconds to complete and can even be performed at home.

    Shop for a pulse oximeter to use at home.

    Most of the time, asthma exacerbations can be managed at home or with a visit to your doctor. The asthma plan you developed with your doctor can help you manage your symptoms and acute attacks.

    However, acute exacerbations often result in a trip to the emergency room. Emergency treatment may include:

    • inhaled beta-2 agonists, such as albuterol
    • corticosteroids, such as fluticasone

    An acute exacerbation requires close monitoring. Your doctor may repeat diagnostic tests several times. You wont be discharged until your lungs are functioning adequately. If your breathing continues to be labored, you may have to be admitted for a few days until you recover.

    You may need to take corticosteroids for several days following the exacerbation. Your doctor may also recommend follow-up care.

    What Types Of Asthma Are There

    Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

    Asthma can be:

    • Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
    • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

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    Care Advice For Asthma Attack

  • What You Should Know About Asthma:
  • Over 10% of children have asthma.
  • Your childs asthma can flare up at any time.
  • When you are away from your home, always take your childs medicines with you.
  • The sooner you start treatment, the faster your child will feel better.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
  • Asthma Quick-Relief Medicine:
  • Your childs quick-relief medicine is albuterol or xopenex.
  • Start it at the first sign of any wheezing, shortness of breath or hard coughing.
  • Give by inhaler with a spacer or use a neb machine.
  • Repeat it every 4 hours if your child is having any asthma symptoms.
  • Never give it more often than 4 hours without talking with your childs doctor.
  • Coughing. The best cough med for a child with asthma is always the asthma medicine. Caution: dont use cough suppressants. If over 6 years old, cough drops may help a tickly cough.
  • Caution: if the inhaler hasnt been used in over 7 days, prime it. Test spray it twice into the air before using it for treatment. Also, do this if it is new.
  • Use the medicine until your child has not wheezed or coughed for 48 hours.
  • Spacer. Always use inhalers with a spacer. It will get twice the amount of medicine into the lungs.
  • Asthma Controller Medicine:
  • Your child may have been told to use a controller drug. An example is an inhaled steroid.
  • Its for preventing attacks and must be used daily.
  • During asthma attacks, keep giving this medicine to your child as ordered.
  • Allergy Medicine for Hay Fever:
  • Fluids Offer More: