After An Asthma Attack: Changing Your Asthma Management Or Asthma Attack Treatment
“After an asthma attack evaluation, your doctor may want to step up treatment, step down treatment, change treatment, or increase your doctor visits,” said Bernstein.
Some signs that your treatment plan may need to change include:
- Frequent asthma attacks
- Needing to take more asthma medication than prescribed
- Waking up at night with asthma symptoms
- Daytime activity limited by asthma
- Continued cough, congestion, and mucous production
- Poor peak flow rates
Knowing what to do after an asthma attack is part of learning how to manage your asthma. Each asthma attack is a chance to learn more about your asthma triggers and your asthma medications. Sharing this information with your doctor gives you and your doctor the opportunity to make the right adjustments to your asthma action plan â and that could mean fewer asthma attacks in your future.
How Are These Conditions Ruled Out And Asthma Correctly Diagnosed
To make an asthma diagnosis and make sure your symptoms are not caused by another condition, your doctor will review your medical history, family history, and symptoms. They will be interested in any history of breathing problems you might have had, as well as a family history of asthma or other lung conditions, allergies, or a skin disease called eczema, which is related to allergies. It is important that you describe your symptoms in detail , including when and how often they occur.
You will be asked if you smoke now or have ever smoked. Smoking with asthma is a serious problem. Smoking is also a major factor in certain asthma mimics, including COPD and cancer. You will also be asked about past exposure to harmful chemicals, possibly at a job.
Your doctor will also perform a physical examination and listen to your heart and lungs.
There are many tests your doctor might perform, including lung function tests, allergy tests, blood tests, and chest and sinus X-rays. All of these tests can help your doctor determine if you have asthma and if there are other conditions affecting it.
For more information, see WebMD’s article on Asthma Tests.
Asthma: An Invisible Illness
And, besides, I didnt look any different. Its not like I had a broken leg and had a cast. There is no cast over asthma. There is no giant A printed on my forehead to indicate “Asthma. The truth is, you cannot see asthma. And, short of a full-fledged asthma attack it is invisible.
So, I looked on this day the same as I did the last time we played football. You see, you cannot see asthma. You cannot see the asthma genes, nor the abundance of abnormal immune cells and chemicals that would have caused asthma if I would have played football that day.
Then a week later they would want to play football again. There was still snow on the ground. There was still smoke in the air. There were still asthma genes in me. They had to have known I still had asthma. And it was only a week earlier that I explained why I couldnt play. But here I found myself explaining what its like to have asthma all over again.
You see, I dont blame my brothers. Its human nature for them to want to play football and for them to expect me to participate. I mean, for crying out loud, I played on most days. In fact, I would have been more disappointed if they didnt attempt to get me to play than to have to explain again why I cant.
So, whats it like living with asthma? How would you describe it? Let us know in the comments below.
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Vaping And Lung Damage
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
- Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
- Vaping can even cause death .
- Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
- For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
- Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
- Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.
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.
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How Do Your Airways Work When You Have Asthma
When you have asthma, your airways aren’t able to function as well as they should.
- 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
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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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.
Recover Your Breath And Restore Control
Asthma affects millions of people, and although there are plenty of treatments to manage common daily symptoms, asthma attacks claim many lives each year. One major issue is the confusion surrounding what qualifies as an emergency, and what to do during an asthma attack: asthma sufferers are used to dealing with some respiratory discomfort, so when symptoms are on the rise, many people ignore the problem. Thats a dangerous decision.
Whether youve experienced a severe asthma attack or not, its important to know how to get the oxygen your body needs, and help you to avoid more serious complications.
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What Are Common Asthma Attack Triggers
An asthma attack happens when someone comes in contact with substances that irritate them. Healthcare providers call these substances triggers. Knowing what triggers your asthma makes it easier to avoid asthma attacks.
For some people, a trigger can bring on an attack right away. Sometimes, an attack may start hours or days later.
Triggers can be different for each person. But some common triggers include:
- Air pollution: Many things outside can cause an asthma attack. Air pollution includes factory emissions, car exhaust, wildfire smoke and more.
- Dust mites: You cant see these bugs, but they are in many homes. If you have a dust mite allergy, they can cause an asthma attack.
- Exercise: For some people, exercising can cause an attack.
- Mold: Damp places can spawn mold. It can cause problems for people with asthma. You dont even have to be allergic to mold to have an attack.
- Pests: Cockroaches, mice and other household pests can cause asthma attacks.
- Pets: Your pets can cause asthma attacks. If youre allergic to pet dander , breathing in the dander can irritate your airways.
- Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in your home smokes, you have a higher risk of developing asthma. The best solution is to quit smoking.
- Strong chemicals or smells.
With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms. You may have different signs at different times. And symptoms can change between asthma attacks.
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Know The Asthma Symptoms In Children
Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.
For more detail, see WebMDâs Asthma in Children.
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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.
Care Advice For Asthma Attack
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What Is The Most Important Thing To Know If You Have Asthma During Coronavirus
The most important thing an asthmatic individual should do at this time is make sure their asthma is well controlled and that they follow coronavirus precautions to prevent getting infected. Having your asthma controlled well helps keep your lung function at a higher level allowing you a better chance of getting through coronavirus in your lungs.;
Coronavirus decreases the functioning of your lungs. For example, a well-controlled asthmatic with 90% of lung function will have an easier time of handling a coronavirus infection in the lungs that decrease lung function to 60%. Compare this to a poorly-controlled asthmatic who starts at 70% of lung function and drops to 40% with a coronavirus pneumonia. Starting at a higher lung function by well-controlling and treating your asthma, will help you better fight a coronavirus infection.
Seeing your health care provider at this time is critical for you to improve your chances to beat coronavirus.;
Stress And Anxiety Management
Anxiety that builds up can lead to panic attacks. If you experience frequent anxiety, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can help you work through your anxiety and reduce the likelihood of external stressors triggering a panic attack.
Even if you dont have an anxiety disorder, stress itself is a fact of life. However, stress can also trigger your asthma, so its important to manage it as best as you can.
Some steps you can take to reduce everyday stress include:
- relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises
- regular physical exercise
- reduced intake of alcohol and caffeine
- getting enough sleep
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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.
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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Acute Asthma Attack Symptoms
An acute asthma attack is a medical emergency youll must seek immediate medical help and go to hospital.
Acute asthma attack symptoms to be aware of include:
- Rapid breathing that doesnt ease with use of a reliever inhaler
- Extreme shortness of breath being unable to inhale or exhale fully
- An inability to speak in full sentences
- Confusion or agitation
- Developing a blue tint on the face, lips or fingernails.
If you dont seek treatment for an acute asthma attack, your life could be in danger. Find out more about acute asthma by reading our guide to severe asthma.
Know The Early Symptoms Of Asthma
Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. These signs may start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that your asthma is worsening.
In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop you from going about your daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma attack or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs of an asthma attack include:
- Frequent cough, especially at night
- Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
If you have these warning signs, adjust your medication, as described in your asthma action plan.
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