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What Helps Breathing With Asthma

Emergency Asthma Treatment At Home In Case Of An Attack

  • Do not lie down
  • Sit up straight and try to calm down
  • Take a puff from a reliever every 30 to 60 seconds
  • Breathe in through the nose and out through pursed lips
  • Breathe in through nose with hands placed on the belly and exhale
  • Try sipping warm back tea or coffee
  • Try to inhale the vapour of eucalyptus essential oil from a diffuser

Try the natural home remedies for asthma and witness your symptoms get diminished. Try to maintain an asthma diary. Write down about your symptoms when you experience them, foods that seem to trigger the symptoms, where you were and what you were doing before your asthma flared up, how often you have to use your inhaler, if at all, and other such details. It will help you and your doctor to get a better insight and control your asthmatic symptoms more effectively.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the readers situation. 

The Temperature And Air Quality In The Place You’re Exercising

Exercise is one trigger of asthma. If you combine the trigger of exercise with these other triggers from the environment around you, you’re more likely to get asthma symptoms:

  • cold air
  • low humidity; therefore exercising in cold, dry air outside during the winter can be hazardous
  • pollution in the air
  • inhaled allergens: grass, pollen, ragweed, etc.
  • irritants such as strong fumes from art supplies, cosmetics and smoke
  • car and truck exhaust and pollutants from factories, especially sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone
  • respiratory infections – a recent cold may cause a person to have more difficulty than normal with exercise
  • fatigue
  • emotional stress

What Should I Do If I Have A Severe Asthma Attack

A severe asthma attack needs immediate medical care. The first step is your rescue inhaler. A rescue inhaler uses fast-acting medicines to open up your airways. Its different than your normal maintenance inhaler, which you use every day. You should only use the rescue inhaler in an emergency.

If your rescue inhaler doesnt help or you dont have it with you, go to the emergency department if you have:

  • Anxiety or panic.
  • Bluish fingernails, bluish lips or gray or whitish lips or gums .
  • Chest pain or pressure.

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.

    The Caffeine And Asthma Connection

    Breathing Easier: How to Control Asthma

    There is one component of certain tea varieties that has been studied for its respiratory effects: caffeine.

    According to Karina Keogh, MD, a pulmonologist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, caffeine may help relax smooth muscles, like those in the lungs, and act as a bronchodilator, helping open airways.

    In fact, caffeine shares some similarities with a drug called theophylline, used to treat asthma for years before the development of the drugs primarily utilized today, says Dr. Keogh.

    Though caffeines impact on lung function seems to be modest, research has identified it as legitimate. One prior study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, for example, concluded, Caffeine appears to improve airways function modestly in people with asthma for up to four hours.

    The study found that even a low dose of caffeine had a noticeable impact on asthma patients performance in lung function tests, starting with amounts as low as 5 milligrams of caffeine per 1 kilogram of body weight.

    But although the researchers considered 340 mg to be a low dose of caffeine, thats around three 8-ounce cups of coffee or seven cups of black tea which may not feel so low to some people.

    The researchers note that while caffeine may mildly improve short-term lung function, more evidence is needed to understand whether this small improvement is associated with a better quality of life, and to see how caffeine tolerance changes this impact over time.

    Simple Breathing Exercises For Asthma Relief

    Asthma is a chronic lung disorder that can make breathing difficult. Millions of people suffer from asthma throughout the world, including about a tenth of those who live in India. There are several home remedies as well as breathing exercises that can lower the occurrence of asthma attacks and alleviate the symptoms. Also Read: Kitchen Cures To Control Asthmatic Conditions

    Especially in current times of COVID-19 pandemic, people afflicted with severe respiratory disorders must take extra care of their lungs, to avert any instances of breathing distress or grave bacterial/viral infections.Pulmonary specialists recommend breathing out old, stale air and filling in your lungs with fresh air, by means of some simple exercises. This is useful for people suffering from chronic lung diseases like asthma and COPD, as aerobic exercise improves your heart function and strengthens the muscles. This can also promote lung efficiency.

    Why Breathing Exercises Help

    When you have healthy lungs, breathing is natural and easy. You breathe in and out with your diaphragm doing about 80 percent of the work to fill your lungs with a mixture of oxygen and other gases, and then to send the waste gas out. Lung HelpLine respiratory therapist Mark Courtney compares the process to a screen door with a spring, opening and shutting on its own. “Our lungs are springy, like the door. Over time, though, with asthma and especially with COPD, our lungs lose that springiness. They don’t return to the same level as when you start breathing, and air gets trapped in our lungs,” Courtney explains.

    Over time, stale air builds up, leaving less room for the diaphragm to contract and bring in fresh oxygen. With the diaphragm not working to full capacity, the body starts to use other muscles in the neck, back and chest for breathing. This translates into lower oxygen levels, and less reserve for exercise and activity. If practiced regularly, breathing exercises can help rid the lungs of accumulated stale air, increase oxygen levels and get the diaphragm to return to its job of helping you breathe.

    What Is Oxygen Therapy

    Oxygen therapy is sometimes simply known as O2 therapy, and it is a fairly common and effective medical treatment that is used to help treat patients dealing with breathing difficulties.

    Oxygen is essential for survival, without oxygen, the human body would breakdown and die in a matter of minutes. The air that we breathe every day, the same air that we are breathing right now, contains 21% oxygen.

    Oxygen therapy is basically a treatment whereby oxygen is administered at concentrations greater than those found in the air that we breathe.

    How Does It Work?

    Oxygen therapy works by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, helping to combat low blood oxygen levels.

    When you undergo oxygen therapy, the oxygen will need to be prescribed to you by a doctor.

    A test will be carried out by your doctor to determine how much oxygen you require each minute, and then it will come down to how much you need.

    Normally it will be prescribed to you in the form of a standard oxygen concentrator, which is a machine equipped with a motor that can be battery-powered, or mains fed.

    It takes in air and filters out the other gases, leaving just the oxygen, which the patient will breathe in via a face mask or a nasal cannula.

    These also come in smaller portable sizes for when you have to leave the home.

    How Breathing Exercises Help:

    Breathing exercises help in managing asthma efficiently. Asthma patients have a shorter breathing cycle than healthy people. Moreover, they also have a habit of breathing through the mouth. This exposes their lungs to drier and cooler air at a faster rate, which acts as an asthma trigger.Also Read: World Asthma Day 2020: Learn About The Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment And Prevention

    Breathing exercises for asthma promotes:

    Shallow breathing at a slower rate

    Lowers the symptoms of asthma

    Improves the quality of life

    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.

    Practicing Buteyko Breathing Technique

    This is also a system of breathing exercises. Buteyko Breathing Technique focuses on breathing out through the nose and not the mouth. Breathing out through the mouth can dry up the mouth and the airways very fast resulting in more problems. Practising and using BBT also makes you less prone to suffering from respiratory infections. Buteyko Breathing Technique can also be instrumental in decreasing your asthma symptoms with the help of slow and gentle breathing through the nose.

    Breathing Exercises For Asthma Patients That Can Help

    Asthma sufferers have a tendency to breathe faster and shorter pace, risking the normal function of lungs.

    This makes it important for an asthma patient to actually get to know the appropriate breathing technique so as to improve and have a controlled breathing style.

    Practicing breathing exercises daily, not only helps an asthma patient to become mindful of the ways they breathe in and out but also helps them in easing their asthma symptoms and sufferings drastically.

    In This Article …

    Home Remedies For Asthma Attacks

    Asthma and Trouble Breathing Treatment

    While some asthma attacks are mild, lasting just a few minutes, others are severe and may need immediate medical treatment. Many milder attacks can be handled at home. Heres what to try.

    Avoid your triggers. If you know what your triggers are, try to stay away from them so you can avoid asthma attacks altogether. Sometimes, this isnt possiblebut if you find yourself having an asthma attack and you know why, do what you can to get away from the culprit.

    If you walked into someones house with a cat, then get outside,” says Dr. Rathkopf. “If youre outside and its cold, then get inside or cover up your mouth with a scarf.

    Follow your action plan. Every patient should leave their doctors office with an asthma action plan, says Dr. Li. These individualized plans will guide you through the best next steps during an asthma attack.

    Preparation is key, says Dr. Li. Attacks happen.

    That goes for everyoneeven if youve never had an asthma attack. Patients have felt like they cant really have asthma because theyve never had an attack, says Dr. Rathkopf. Thats fortunate for them, but it doesnt mean they couldnt have one.

    The first step after getting away from your triggeror if you cant avoid your trigger or dont know what it isis usually medication.

    Take anywhere from two to four puffs, advises Dr. Li.

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    Why Asthma Can Wake You Up At Night

    If your asthma isnt under control, you might get more symptoms at night.

    There are several reasons why this might happen:

    • At night, your body produces fewer natural steroid hormones, which can affect your symptoms and more of the cells that cause inflammation in your airways.
    • When you lie flat on your back, gravity places extra pressure on your chest and lungs, making it harder to breathe. This position can also trigger a cough, as mucus in your nose could drip down to the back of your throat.
    • Your bedroom might contain triggers that can make your asthma worse, such as dust mites in your mattress, pillows and blankets.
    • Pet hair is a common asthma trigger, so avoid letting your pet sleep on your bed, and ideally keep them out of your bedroom.  
    • Mould is another common asthma trigger, so check your bedroom for damp patches on walls and mould growing around windows.
    • Lots of people find pollen triggers their asthma symptoms. When pollen is high, try using a fan to keep your bedroom cool rather than opening a window.
    • Some people are triggered by cold air at night, or by sleeping in a cold room. If this is you, keep windows closed and keep the heating on low in the bedroom if you can. 

    If your GP has prescribed steroid pills for your asthma, youll probably be advised to take them in the morning after food, as they might cause difficulty sleeping if you take them at night, but always take them exactly as prescribed.

    How Does Dupixent Work For Asthma

    How Dupixent works in asthma is not completely understood; however, it is believed to reduce inflammation by reducing the overactive signaling of interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 , two key proteins that contribute to the inflammation that may cause moderate-to-severe asthma. This reduces the release of other inflammatory substances, such as proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, nitric oxide, eotaxin-3 , and IgE.

    Which Complementary Treatments For Asthma Have Evidence To Show They Work

    When it comes to natural and complementary treatment approaches for asthma with high-quality evidence to back up their use, exercise stands out as the intervention with the most data behind it. Although, per the American Lung Association, exercise can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms , research has shown regular exercise when done safely can help improve asthma control, too.

    If we look at exercise training, theres strong evidence that it improves cardiovascular fitness, and that it improves quality of life, says David G. Hill, MD, the director of clinical research at Waterbury Pulmonary Associates in Connecticut and a member of the American Lung Associations national board of directors.

    Scientific Reports found that for mild to moderate asthma, a 24-week exercise plan involving aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week, plus strength-training and stretching, helped improve asthma control and reduced shortness of breath.

    In another Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers found exercise helped improve asthma control when compared with breathing exercises among people with moderate to severe asthma.

    On days when the air quality outdoors is unhealthy, its best not to break a sweat outside, the American Lung Association says.

    How Is Asthma Diagnosed

    To diagnose asthma, a doctor will do a physical exam and ask about the person’s medical history, including whether anyone else in the family has asthma.

    The doctor might do tests like spirometry or peak flow meter tests. These involve blowing into devices that can measure how well the lungs are working. Allergy tests or exercise tests can tell doctors if asthma is brought on by allergens or physical activity. Doctors may use X-rays to rule out other problems.

    What Asthma Treatment Options Are There

    You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:

    • Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms.
    • Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen.
    • Biologic therapies for asthma when symptoms persist despite being on proper inhaler therapy.

    You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or other inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.

    Breathing Exercises For Asthma

    In the same way that aerobic exercise is beneficial for your heart and muscles, breathing exercises can be beneficial for your lungs. With asthma, your airways can become narrow and inflamed making it difficult to breathe, so medications such as inhalers, are prescribed to help open up the airways and improve breathing.

    In addition to medication, research suggests that breathing exercises can be a beneficial treatment for people with asthma, helping to improve breathing and quality of life.

    There are various types of breathing techniques that are particularly helpful for asthmatics. Some of the exercises help with breathing retraining, some help increase the strength of respiratory muscles, whilst others improve the flexibility of the thoracic cage .

    Breathing techniques are often recommended by a doctor or asthma clinic. To ensure you get the methods right and gain the most from it, some are best taught by an expert.

    Adding Yoga To An Asthma Treatment Plan

    An asthma treatment plan, sometimes called an asthma action plan, is a tailored guide that can help people effectively manage their asthma. A doctor devises this plan and personalizes it to an individual√Ęs needs.

    It can include things to avoid, which medications to take, and what to do in case of an asthma attack.

    Although medication is a key part of an asthma treatment plan, a healthcare professional may also comprise nondrug therapies, which can include home remedies, yoga, and more.

    Adding regular yoga practice to an asthma treatment plan strengthens the muscles, increases flexibility, and builds a connection between the body and breath.

    However, it is crucial to note that this activity is not a medically proven treatment for asthma and cannot relieve acute symptoms. With this in mind, a person experiencing worsening asthma symptoms should consult their asthma action plan.

    In addition to helping people with asthma, yoga offers various physical and mental benefits.

    Differences Between Copd And Asthma

    Breathing treatments: What can help?

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive lung disorder most commonly associated with smoking. In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms may mimic those of asthma and may even flare if the lungs are exposed to allergens, fumes, or cold weather.

    Among the differentiating early clues are fluid retention, trouble sleeping, an increasing nagging cough, and bringing up clear, whitish, or yellow phlegm.

    Shortness Of Breath And Its Causes

    Theres no clear definition of shortness of breath, but most people describe it as a feeling of being unable to get enough air, or that breathing takes more effort than usual. Some people may feel chest tightness. Shortness of breath may come on in a matter of minutes, or develop chronically over much longer lengths of time.

    In the vast majority of cases, shortness of breath is because of conditions related to the heart and lungs. Some of the more common causes include:

    • COPD
    • Asthma
    • Serious heart conditions, such as heart attacks or congestive heart failure
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Obesity
    • Bronchitis or pneumonia
    • A collapsed lung
    • If shortness of breath is chronic meaning it has lasted for weeks or longer its often due to any of the above causes.

    Who Can Get Asthma

    Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.

    Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.

    When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.

    Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.

    Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack

    Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:

    • your symptoms are getting worse
    • your reliever inhaler is not helping
    • you’re too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
    • your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you cannot catch your breath
    • your peak flow score is lower than normal
    • children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache

    The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.

    Activity Is Good For Your Asthma

    If your asthma is stopping you doing the activities you love, youre not alone. Physical activity can be more challenging when you have asthma.

    You might be worried that getting breathless means an asthma attack is on the way, or feel down and frustrated that asthma is stopping you getting fit. 

    It might help to know that getting your heart rate up can actually improve your asthma symptoms. Heres how:

    • Raising your heart rate regularly boosts your lung power, increasing stamina and reducing breathlessness
    • It supports your immune system and helps fight colds and viruses a major trigger for over 80% of people with asthma
    • Activity helps you stay a healthy weight, in turn cutting your risk of an asthma attack
    • It releases feel-good chemicals in your brain studies show that if youre stressed, or depressed, youre at higher risk of asthma symptoms

    If you have severe asthma, please use this exercise advice.  

    Contact Doctor During Office Hours

    • 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

    Tips From Other People With Asthma

    If your asthma is keeping you awake at night, youre not alone.

    In our recent sleep survey, 45% of people told us they have difficulty sleeping because of their asthma at least once a week, and nearly 50% said theyd had an asthma attack at night.

    Here are some of the things that people tell us help them get a good nights sleep, which our nurses agree might be helpful:

    • Ease a dry throat with a glass of water
    • Try a nasal saline rinse or use decongestants to unblock a stuffy nose
    • Take regular exercise
    • Relax in the evening using mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises or yoga
    • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

    If you find reading about other peoples experiences useful, or have some advice to share, join the conversations on our HealthUnlocked forum.

    Is your child disturbed by symptoms at night? Read our advice on asthma and your childs sleep.

    Getting Started Check Your Asthma Health

    Its natural to worry that exercising might set off your symptoms, especially if youre recovering from a recent asthma attack.

    Looking after your asthma is a vital first step to feeling more confident about getting active.

    1)     Take your preventer medicine as prescribed

    Your preventer inhaler helps soothe the underlying inflammation in your lungs and cuts your risk of an asthma attack.

    This means your airways will be less likely to react when you start breathing faster from exertion.

    Youll also have more protection from common triggers like pollen, pollution and mould spores.

    2)     Ask your GP or asthma nurse to support you 

    They might offer to help you monitor and review your asthma more regularly while you get more active.

    You could try asking to be referred to a respiratory physiotherapist who will teach you breathing techniques to help with your asthma, but unfortunately waiting lists are long.

    The good news is that following a breathing technique programme has been proven to work as well as seeing a physio in some cases.

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