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What Happens If You Have An Asthma Attack

Blue Lips Or Fingernails


In a very severe attack, someones lips or fingernail beds might turn blue, says Streck.

When youre having a hard time getting enough oxygen, the oxygen will first go to the organs that are vital to life, she says. The heart, lungs, and brain are still trying to get the oxygen as much as possible. Your fingernails and your lips can start turning blue because theyre not getting the oxygen like theyre supposed to, says Streck. If this happens its a severe sign that a person is not doing well. Theyre not getting enough oxygen in their extremities.

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Finding Are Recyclable Asthma Inhalers The Period

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How Long Can An Asthma Flare Up Last

An asthma flare up can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few months. All of the factors mentioned above contribute to the severity of the flare up. An asthma flare up can end when the trigger is no longer present. But when asthma is severe, the airways may become swollen and the inflammation may last for a long time. There are many different triggers for asthma..

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Asthma: How Does It Affect The Body

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition causing a combination of variable respiratory symptoms which may include but are not limited to wheezing, shortness of breath, cough and excessive variation in lung function .

People with asthma have hypersensitivity to triggers that may set off symptoms. Triggers commonly include cigarette smoke, pollen, exercise and dust mites .

People may experience flare-ups when symptoms start or worsen. These require treatment and may become serious medical events .

Some individuals may only experience symptoms when exposed to a trigger, but others may experience symptoms all of the time .

Asthma is considered a spectrum of conditions with several recognised phenotypes that vary in severity .

It is estimated to affect 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 9 children in Australia, causing about 400 deaths annually. Over 2.7 million Australians have asthma, including children and adults .

Although it cannot be cured, if managed properly, those with asthma should be able to enjoy unhindered lives .

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The Late Phase Asthma Attack


About 60% of asthmatics who experience the early phase will experience this late phase. This is your bodys natural response when you are constantly exposed to an asthma trigger like dust mites, or a high dose of them.

During the early phase, mediators of inflammation are released. Some immediately cause inflammation. This is what causes your early phase asthma attack. The rest travel through your bloodstream and recruit reinforcements.

The reinforcements start arriving 4-8 hours after initial exposure to an antigen . When they arrive, the late phase asthma attack begins. These reinforcements cause persistent airway inflammation. This makes airways increasingly hypersensitive to asthma triggers. This response prolongs the asthma attack. It also increases the risk for future asthma attacks. It may last 12-24 hours . It may last even longer.1,2

Here is what happens. These are the reinforcements that are now inside your airways. They are meant to kill pathogens. Although in our case, they are abnormally recruited to kill harmless dust mites.

Interleukin 5 . Its a cytokine released by Th2 cells during the early phase asthma attack. Its role is to travel through your bloodstream and recruit eosinophils.

When eosinophils come into contact with airway cells they degranulate. This means they release their contents. These contents include a variety of chemicals. I wont list any of them here. I will save that for a future post.

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Chronic Sinusitis Complications: Decreased Sense Of Smell

Of all the chronic sinusitis complications, decreased sense of smell is perhaps the most obvious. Also known as hyposmia, nasal obstruction and inflammation to the olfactory nerve can cause a partial loss of smell.

However, if chronic sinusitis goes untreated, this could turn to anosmia, or the complete loss of smell. While steroid nasal sprays can temporarily help, its possible to incur permanent damage to your sense of smell.

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Know The Signs Of An Asthma Attack

Youre having an asthma attack if:

  • your blue reliever isn’t helping, or you need to use it more than every four hours
  • you’re wheezing a lot, have a very tight chest, or you’re coughing a lot
  • you’re breathless and find it difficult to walk or talk
  • your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can’t get your breath in properly

You may have all of these signs and symptoms. Or you may have just some of them. For example, you may not wheeze.

Know your early warning signs

An asthma attack happens when your symptoms get much worse. This can happen quite suddenly or can build up gradually over a few days.

You can stop an asthma attack before it happens, or make it less serious so you dont end up in hospital, by recognising when your symptoms are getting worse.

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What Causes Asthma Attacks

Having asthma is like having a touchy airway, says Richard Castriotta, MD, director of the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. This airway i.e., the bronchial tubes that usher air in and out of our lungs overreacts to a large number of irritants that dont bother other people, he explains.

Some doctors also describe an asthma attack as an asthma exacerbation. Thats because the airways may become tightly constricted during an asthma attack. But constriction isnt the only problem these airways also become inflamed and swollen. The exact cause of asthma is not known, but its probably a combination of genetic risk and environmental factors.

Asthma attacks often occur in response to triggers, or elements in your environment that increase the irritation in your airways. Triggers vary from person to person. You may be able to tell immediately if something causes asthma symptoms, or you might need to be tested for allergies to find out whats causing your symptoms.

According to the AAAAI, some of the most common asthma triggers are:

  • Nitrogen dioxide from gas heaters and stoves
  • Dust mites or cockroaches

How Is Asthma Prevented And Treated

How an asthma attack occurs

There is no cure for asthma. Control symptoms by taking asthma medicines and avoiding your triggers. With proper treatment and an asthma management plan, you can reduce your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

Talk to your health care provider about your asthma symptoms and be sure to discuss any changes in your asthma management or status.

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What To Do If You Are Having An Asthma Attack

If someone is having a mild asthma attack, they may be able to treat it with asthma medication, such as a quick-acting inhaler. Some mild asthma attacks may even resolve on their own.

It is important that people with asthma talk with their healthcare team about an asthma action plan. This is a plan that guides people through how to treat their asthma, depending on the symptoms they are experiencing, and what to do in case of an asthma attack.

A person will need to carry a reliever inhaler with them, which may contain asthma medication to relax the muscles around the airways. These medications include short-acting, rapid onset beta-2 agonist and anticholinergic bronchodilators.

A person can first try dealing with an asthma attack by:

  • using quick-relief medications, usually through a blue inhaler, and following their asthma action plan

In the case of a severe asthma attack, it is essential to seek medical help or call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, a person should continue to take their inhaler medication as the manufacturer outlines.

After an asthma attack, regardless of whether medical help was necessary, the following steps are important:

According to the American Lung Association, people will need to see their doctor at least once a year if they have asthma and more frequently if they have symptoms.

A person should contact their doctor straight away if they:

Anyone who experiences any of the following needs emergency medical help:

How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma

It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.

During a checkup, a doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night. He or she will also ask whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will then ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. He or she will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. Finally, the doctor will ask questions about your home and whether you have missed school or work or have trouble doing certain things.

The doctor may also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath before and after you use asthma medicine.

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Why Might Someone With Asthma Be Without An Inhaler

However, this doesnt mean that everyone with asthma has an inhaler with them at all times. Often when someone has been living without symptoms for a long time, they may assume that their asthma has gone, and so get out of the habit of carrying one. Some people might develop symptoms suddenly for the first time as an adult, with no preparation. Others might just sometimes forget. Unfortunately, not having an inhaler wont stop an attack.

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What Are The Treatments For Asthma

Asthma attack

If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include:

  • Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for you, you should not smoke or allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
  • Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to carry with you all the time. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your airways.
  • Control medicines. You take them every day to help prevent symptoms. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways.

If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.

Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.

Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airwayâs ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so itâs important to discuss them with your provider.

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Watch How To Help Someone Who Is Having An Asthma Attack

What is asthma?

Asthma is a medical condition that affects the airways the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When someone has an asthma attack, these tubes become narrowed, making it difficult to breathe in and out.

How can I tell if someone is having an asthma attack?

People with asthma should be able to let you know if they are having an attack.

Someone having an asthma attack will have difficulty breathing and speaking, and may cough and wheeze. They may be very anxious and distressed as they struggle to breathe.In some cases, their lips, earlobes and nail beds may turn greyish-blue because there isnt enough oxygen in their body.

What sort of medication will someone with asthma use?

Someone who has asthma will normally have an inhaler that their doctor has prescribed. They may also have a spacer, which makes the inhaler more effective.

If someone is having an asthma attack they should know how to use their inhaler and spacer but they may need your help in finding them.

What does an inhaler look like?

Inhalers can come in many different sizes and shapes. Inhalers to relieve asthma attacks are usually blue. Inhalers that prevent asthma attacks may be brown or white.

How do you use an inhaler?

If a person has asthma they should know how to use their inhaler, they may need your help getting it for them. They should take it as normal. If that doesnt help they can take one or two puffs every 30 or 60 seconds until theyve had 10 puffs.

How To Treat An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler

You should always take your medication even when you feel your condition has improved. Asthma requires consistent care and proper management, so you need to have an inhaler to use when you experience an attack. But what should you do if you dont have an inhaler when you have an asthma attack?

Here’s how to treat an asthma attack if you dont have your inhaler:

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What Happens If An Asthma Attack Goes Untreated

Without immediate asthma medicine and asthma treatment, your breathing may become more labored, and wheezing may get louder. If you use a peak flow meter during an asthma attack, your reading will probably be less than your personal best.

As your lungs continue to tighten during the asthma attack, you may be unable to use the peak flow meter at all. Gradually, your lungs may tighten so much during the asthma attack that there is not enough air movement to produce wheezing. This is sometimes called the âsilent chest,â and it is a dangerous sign. You need to be taken to a hospital immediately with a severe asthma attack. Call 911 for help. Unfortunately, some people interpret the disappearance of wheezing during the asthma attack as a sign of improvement and fail to get prompt emergency care.

If you do not receive adequate treatment for an asthma attack, you may eventually be unable to speak and can develop a bluish coloring around your lips. This color change, known as âcyanosis,â means you have less and less oxygen in your blood. Without immediate aggressive treatment in an emergency room or intensive care unit, you may lose consciousness and eventually die.

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How Do I Handle An Asthma Flare

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

If you feel like a flare-up is about to happen, stay calm. Let people around you know whatâs going on. Then remember your asthma action plan. Thatâs the written plan that tells you what to do next.

Stay calm and focus on what your asthma action plan says. Your doctor probably told you to use your quick-relief medicine, so do that first.

If you can figure out what triggered your symptoms , remove the trigger or yourself from the area. Sometimes thatâs all you need to get your asthma under control again.

If a flare-up is more severe, you might need to get help.

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What Happens To Untreated Occupational Asthma

Untreated occupational asthma can become serious and can cause life-threatening complications. It may lead to eternal lung damage, severe disability or even death. the severity of symptoms increases correspondingly with the amount of time you are exposed to an allergen or irritant or any other causative factor. Similarly, the rate of recovery becomes slower and slower the more you are exposed. Some permanent lung alterations can occur due to severe exposure, which is why it is important to keep yourself away from the trigger each time possible. And, in the event that this cannot be done, you need to remove yourself from the contact with the trigger as quickly as possible.

Asthma Symptoms In A Severe Allergic Reaction

People having a severe allergic reaction can also have asthma-like symptoms. If the person has an anaphylaxis action plan, follow the instructions.

Always give adrenaline injector first, then asthma reliever if someone with known asthma and allergy to food, insects or medication has sudden breathing difficulty even if there are no skin symptoms. In case of an emergency, call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.

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When To Call 999

Dont delay getting help if you have an asthma attack. Call 999 if your reliever isnt helping, or lasting four hours, or youre worried at any time.

An asthma attack is a real emergency, and could be life-threatening, says Asthma UKs in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore.

Getting help when you need it is so important, to make sure youre treated quickly. Never think youre wasting anyones time.

What Organs Does Asthma Affect

Asthma: The Silent Killer â Apothecary Journey

Asthma is a respiratory illness that affects the lungs, trachea and bronchial passages. An asthma attack occurs when the respiratory system, collectively known as the airways, constricts and prevents oxygen from flowing freely into the body, according to Dr. Miles Weinberger, professor of pediatrics at University of Iowa Childrens Hospital.

The trachea is a long air tube leading from the neck to the upper chest cavity where it bisects to form the left and right bronchi. Each bronchus forks into several tiny passageways, or bronchioles, that deliver air to small sacs in the lungs known as alveoli. A smooth muscular lining runs throughout the airways and contains a membrane that produces mucus, which normally helps the respiratory system prevent the spread of bacteria in the lungs, says Dr. Weinberger.

During an asthma attack, the muscular lining swells or tightens, causing labored breathing, and the mucus membrane produces excess fluid, filling up the narrow airways, notes the American Lung Association. An asthmatics respiratory organs are sensitive to specific stimuli, such as dust, pet dander, smoke or cold weather. Untreated or incorrectly managed asthma can lead to long-term respiratory damage from repeated inflammation. When the respiratory system is permanently scarred, medications lose their effectiveness and the lungs may not be able to distribute air sufficiently.

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