Emotional Effects Of Asthma
An asthma attack can be really scary. Trouble breathing, leading to the sensation of “air hunger,” often causes people to feel like they are going to die. Understandably, this can be pretty upsetting. Even when you aren’t currently having asthma symptoms, the fear of another attack could cause you to feel constantly anxious and afraid. Other people react in different ways. Instead of fear, they might feel embarrassed, angry, confused, or guilty.
All of these feelings are normal.
The emotional impact asthma has on you any may depend on a number of factors, including:
- The severity of your asthma
- How much asthma limits your activities
- The level of your social and family support
- How old you were when asthma symptoms started
- Your level of asthma-related skills and knowledge
- Overall personality and coping style
A Typical Treatment Plan
A common treatment plan for a typical person with moderate asthma is:
- A preventer inhaler , taken each morning and at bedtime. This usually prevents symptoms throughout the day and night.
- A reliever inhaler may be needed now and then if breakthrough symptoms occur. For example, if symptoms flare up when you have a cough or cold.
- If exercise or sport causes symptoms then a dose of a reliever inhaler just before the exercise usually prevents symptoms.
- The dose of the preventer inhaler may need to be increased for a while if you have a cough or cold, or during the hay fever season.
- Some people may need to add in an LTRA and/or a long-acting bronchodilator if symptoms are not controlled with the above.
At first, adjusting doses of inhalers is usually done on the advice of a doctor or nurse. In time, you may agree an asthma action plan with your doctor or nurse.
What Are The Dosages Of Treatment
Everyone is different. The correct dose of a preventer inhaler is the lowest dose that prevents symptoms. A doctor may prescribe a high dose of a preventer inhaler at first, to ‘get on top of symptoms’ quickly. When symptoms have gone, the dose may then be reduced by a little every few weeks. The aim is to find the lowest regular dose that keeps symptoms away.
Some people with asthma put up with symptoms. They may think that it is normal still to have some symptoms even when they are on treatment. A common example is a night-time cough which can cause disturbed sleep. But, if this occurs and your symptoms are not fully controlled, tell your doctor or nurse. Symptoms can often be prevented – for example, by adjusting the dose of your preventer inhaler, or by adding in a long-acting bronchodilator.
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Signs Symptoms And Complications
How often;signs;and;symptoms;of asthma occur may depend on how severe, or intense, the asthma is and whether you are exposed to allergens. Some people have symptoms every day, while others have symptoms only a few days of the year. For some people, asthma may cause discomfort but does not interfere with daily activities. If you have more severe asthma, however, your asthma may limit what you are able to do.
When asthma is well controlled, a person shows few symptoms. When symptoms worsen, a person can have what is called an asthma attack, or an exacerbation. Over time, uncontrolled asthma can damage the airways in the lungs.
How Well Are Patients Achieving Asthma Control
Given the availability of evidence-based reports and guidelines, along with a range of effective medications and inhaler devices to deliver those medications to the target tissues, most patients nowadays should have well-controlled asthma. Regrettably, however, although hospital admissions and asthma mortality have decreased over recent decades, rates now appear to have plateaued,,,,,, . Several real-world surveys have indicated that, at best, only 50% of patients with asthma meet the criteria for well-controlled asthma, indicating either that these criteria are too strict or that asthma management is inadequate,,,,,.
Fig. 4: Asthma mortality over time.
Crude asthma mortality rates during the bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory eras. Reproduced from Pavord et al..
Few patients are aware of the treatment goals outlined in the guidelines. A UK-wide study showed that 58% of patients were initially satisfied with the standard of their asthma management and control. However, after being shown international asthma guidelines on the outcomes they should expect from their treatment, this declined to only 33%.
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Your Mental Health And Asthma
Asthma can very much affect your mental and emotional health, and vice versa: Your mental and emotional health can affect your asthma. According to the;AAFA, there is evidence that emotions like anger, fear, excitement, and laughter may trigger asthma flares, possibly because your breathing changes when you experience strong emotions. Anxiety and stress may be associated with poor asthma control, too.
Yoga Poses To Help With Asthma
A study published in 2015 in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research showed that higher levels of physical activity were associated with significantly better asthma control; those who exercised the most were 2.5 times better at controlling their asthma compared with people who werent physically active. And exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which can be important for asthma management; according to the NHLBI. Obesity can negatively impact asthma control, and as little as a 5 to 10 percent weight loss can help asthma symptoms.
Before embarking on any physical activity, be sure to talk with your doctor about how you can exercise safely with asthma. Your doctor may recommend strategies like warming up before workouts and taking breaks to avoid unnecessary physiological stress or overexertion, or advise which combination of medications you might need and when to take them before workouts, says Paul V. Williams, MD, an allergist-immunologist in private practice in Seattle and a clinical professor of pediatrics in the allergy division;at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Your doctor may also have tips to avoid asthma triggers, like working out indoors to avoid cold weather , checking pollen counts, or planning to steer clear of high-pollution areas before going outside for a workout, says Dr. Williams.
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Minimizing Environmental Asthma Triggers At Home And Work
You can take measures to keep your home asthma-friendly by identifying and minimizing common indoor asthma triggers, such as pet dander, mold, dust mites, chemical irritants , and cigarette smoke, advises the Environmental Protection Agency. Some smart strategies for managing asthma triggers include designating pet-free zones in the house , washing bedding and mopping and vacuuming frequently , and putting dust-mite covers on pillows and mattresses.
If youre experiencing asthma symptoms at work, speak with your supervisor and coworkers to try to identify the triggers it could be anything from moldy carpets to dust to industrial cleaning chemicals and then figure out a way to minimize your exposure.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your risk factors for asthma and your symptoms. They may ask also about any known allergies. This includes how often symptoms occur, what seems to trigger your symptoms, when or where symptoms occur, and if your symptoms wake you up at night.
During the physical exam, your doctor may:
- Listen to your breathing and look for symptoms of asthma
- Look for allergic skin conditions, such as eczema
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Tackling Inequality And Variation In Care
Although we have seen vast improvements, there is still a long way to go in stopping asthma attacks for good.; This is why we welcome the report from Getting It Right First Time , that outlines the state of current asthma care and takes forward many of our recommendations in the hope to transform care for people with asthma. GIRFT is a national programme delivered in partnership with NHS England and is designed to improve care within the NHS by tackling variations in the way services are delivered and by identifying changes that will improve care and patient outcomes.
The report finds unexplained variation across the country in hospital admissions and recommends a review of the patient pathway to ensure everyone is getting the basic care they need. We know that hospital admissions are strongly linked to health inequalities so it is great to see action to tackle the highest rates of admissions. The report also finds variation in the numbers of people being readmitted to hospital within thirty days of their last asthma attack. This is why the follow-up within two working days is so vital and we hope this report, coupled with our continued campaigning, will help ensure this happens for everyone.
Will I Have To Take Medicine All The Time
Maybe not. Asthma is a chronic condition that is controllable. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. For that reason, you may have asthma symptoms when exposed to triggers. This is the case even if you dont have symptoms very often. Your triggers can change over time, and your treatment will depend on two things: how severe your asthma is, and how often you have symptoms. If your asthma is controlled, your treatment will focus on managing symptoms and treatment of episodes when they happen.;
If your symptoms happen at certain times and you know what caused them, you and your doctor can use this information to determine the best treatment. If, for example, you have seasonal asthma because of a specific pollen allergy, you may take medicines only when that pollen is in the air. But asthma that specific is not common. Many people with asthma take some form of medicine most or all of the time.;
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Managing Your Work Life With Asthma
Asthma can affect your ability to do some jobs and work in certain environments. But it shouldnt stop you from doing your job.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology , as much as 15.7 percent of all asthma in adults is work-related. Any number of things youre exposed to every day at work may trigger symptoms, including cleaning products, paint, dust , mold, insects, and cigarette smoke.
If you are experiencing asthma flares at work, the AAAAI advises working with your doctor and employer to identify your triggers and take measures to avoid your exposure as soon as possible, since long-term exposure to allergens could lead to permanent lung damage.
Let your supervisor know if youre experiencing a problem, says Grayson. They may be able to take measures, like asking coworkers near you not to wear strong perfumes if thats a trigger, finding alternative chemicals or materials, ventilating your workspace, or eliminating sources of mold.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that gives people with disabilities the right to ask for accommodations in cases where policies, practices, or conditions leave you at a disadvantage . The ADA mandates that employers must make reasonable accommodations to allow employees to work safely, though in some cases, there may be limited options, Williams explains .
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Scale And Spread Of This Successful Application And Model
Dr. Rudin has been funded for future work by AHRQ to scale and spread this successful app and practice model. For this current research, Dr. Rudin and his team are applying user-centered design processes to enhance and adapt the app in a primary care setting, where much of asthma disease management occurs. The enhancements will include recording peak flows and details on recent symptoms and triggers, which were suggested by patients and providers during the original research project. The enhanced app and model will be rigorously evaluated with a randomized controlled trial to understand the impact of the app on quality of life and asthma-related healthcare utilization.
When To See An Allergist
An allergist can help you learn more about your asthma and develop a treatment plan that works for you. You should;see an allergist;if:
- Your asthma symptoms occur every day and often at night, limiting your activity.
- Youve had a life-threatening asthma attack.
- Your goals for asthma treatment havent been met after three to six months, or your doctor believes that you arent responding to current treatment.
- Your symptoms are unusual or hard to diagnose.
- You have conditions such as severe hay fever or sinusitis that complicate your asthma or your diagnosis.
- Additional tests are needed to find the causes of your symptoms.
- You need more help and instruction on your treatment plan, medicines or asthma triggers.
- Allergy shots might help you.
- You need oral corticosteroid therapy or high-dose inhaled corticosteroids.
- Youve taken oral corticosteroids more than twice in one year.
- You have been hospitalized because of your asthma.
- You need help to identify your asthma triggers.
Consultation with an asthma specialist is recommended if your child is 4 years old or younger and has asthma symptoms every day and three to four nights or more a month. It should be considered if your child has symptoms three days or more a week and one to two nights a month. Find out more about whats involved in;asthma screening.
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Addressing Nonpharmacologic Aspects Of Care
As outlined in previous Canadian consensus guidelines for the management of asthma, it is essential that all patients receive appropriate asthma education. Surveys of Canadians with asthma have revealed that many lack a rudimentary understanding of their medications and often confuse reliever medications with preventive medications. Furthermore, few have seen a certified asthma educator, and the vast majority do not have written action plans to guide management of exacerbations. Most rely on physicians or pharmacists to answer their questions about asthma, but the time and resources available for such counselling are often limited. Many patients have poor inhaler technique and hence fail to achieve control of their disease. Comprehensive education must include not only information about appropriate use of medications, but also the teaching and assessment of optimal inhaler technique. Even the simple-to-use dry powder inhalers can be mishandled. In addition, it is important to evaluate whether environmental factors in patients homes or workplaces may be worsening their asthma symptoms.
Asthma Symptoms In Children
Children are not always able to express in words that their asthma symptoms are worsening. They may have noticeable coughing and wheezing, but these are not always the first indications of breathing distress. Different children show asthma trouble in different ways.
Some possible indications of the beginning of an asthma episode include:
- Unusual tiredness or restlessness
- Frequent symptoms at night
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Manage Your Symptoms And Prevent Future Attacks:
- Follow your Asthma Action Plan . This is a written plan that you and your healthcare provider create. It explains which medicine you need and when to change doses if necessary. It also explains how you can monitor symptoms and use a peak flow meter. The meter measures how well your lungs are working.
- Manage other health conditions , such as allergies, acid reflux, and sleep apnea.
- Identify and avoid triggers. These may include pets, dust mites, mold, and cockroaches.
- Do not smoke or be around others who smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Ask about the flu vaccine. The flu can make your asthma worse. You may need a yearly flu shot.
Asthma Management Can Help
A single individual’s asthma does not necessarily remain in the same category permanently. A person with seasonal asthma triggers may find that at a certain time of year for instance, when ragweed pollen is in the air he or she is in a higher severity group than during the rest of the year.
Asthma that starts during childhood also may become less severe as a person grows and his or her airways become wider. For any person with asthma, effective ongoing asthma control can help them move into a less severe category.
The asthma experts at UI Health can help you bring your asthma under control. To request an appointment, please fill out the online form or call 312.996.3300.
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Natural Remedies For Asthma
Many things get credit for being natural asthma remedies. But because studies on complementary and alternative treatments for asthma have been limited, itâs not clear how safe and effective all of them are.
These natural remedies have been studied:
Acupuncture. This traditional Chinese treatment involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. While some people with asthma say acupuncture eases their symptoms, thereâs little proof that it works as an asthma treatment.
Biofeedback. Learning to control your heart rate may help you manage your asthma, but more studies are needed to confirm a benefit.
Herbs and natural dietary supplements. Many people use herbs, plants, and supplements, especially Chinese herbs, to treat asthma. Itâs not clear how well many of them work. More research is needed on supplements like magnesium and fish oil . But vitamins C, D, and E may help lower your risk of symptoms.
Plant-based diet. Several studies have found benefits for people with asthma who follow the Mediterranean diet.It involves lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil. You eat more fatty fish and poultry than red meat. Experts think this diet helps with asthma symptoms because it helps fight inflammation in your body. A similar eating plan called DASH may also improve asthma control.