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What Is The Symptoms Of Asthma

What Are Asthma Symptoms

Asthma Myth: What are the symptoms of asthma

Asthma symptoms can differ for each person, but here are some of the most common:

  • Wheezing. You may notice a whistling sound when you breathe. Sometimes this happens only when you exercise or have a cold.
  • Frequent cough. This may be more common at night. You may or may not cough up mucus.
  • Shortness of breath. This is the feeling that you can’t get enough air into your lungs. It may occur only once in a while, or often.
  • Chest tightness. Your chest may feel tight, especially during cold weather or exercise. This can also be the first sign of a flare-up.

Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers

Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.

Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.

The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.

Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.

Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.

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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What Is An Asthma Flare Up

An asthma flare-up is when asthma symptoms start up or get worse compared to usual. The symptoms wont go away by themselves and need treatment.

These flare-ups can happen quite quickly but they can also come on gradually over hours or days .

The term asthma attack is confusing because it means different things to different people from a bout of wheezing after running for the bus through to being admitted to hospital for asthma.

An asthma flare-up can become serious if not treated properly, even in someone whose asthma is usually mild or well controlled. A severe flare-up needs urgent treatment by a doctor or hospital emergency department.

Last reviewed Mar 2019

What Types Of Asthma Are There

Asthma symptoms in children, adults, and more

Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:

  • Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
  • Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

Asthma has multiple causes:

  • Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
  • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

Asthma can also be:

  • Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
  • Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.

In addition, there are these types of asthma:

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What Are The Treatments For Asthma

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 airway’s ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so it’s important to discuss them with your provider.

Tests Of Bronchial Hyperreactivity

When spirometry is normal, but symptoms and the clinical history are suggestive of asthma, measurement of airway responsiveness using direct airway challenges to inhaled bronchoconstrictor stimuli or indirect challenges may help confirm a diagnosis of asthma.

Tests of bronchial hyperreactivity should be conducted in accordance with standardized protocols in a pulmonary function laboratory or other facility equipped to manage acute bronchospasm. Bronchopovocation testing involves the patient inhaling increasing doses or concentrations of an inert stimulus until a given level of bronchoconstriction is achieved, typically a 20% fall in FEV1. An inhaled rapid-acting bronchodilator is then provided to reverse the obstruction. Test results are usually expressed as the provocative dose or provocative concentration of the provoking agent that causes the FEV1 to drop by 20% . For methacholine, most pulmonary function laboratories use a PC20 value less than 4-8 mg/mL as the threshold for a positive result indicative of airway hyperreactivity, supporting a diagnosis of asthma. However, positive challenge tests are not specific to asthma and may occur with other conditions such as allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . Therefore, tests of bronchial hyperreactivity may be most useful for ruling out asthma among individuals who are symptomatic. A negative test result in a symptomatic patient not receiving anti-inflammatory therapy is highly sensitive .

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Having An Asthma Action Plan

You and your doctor will also put together an asthma action plan. This is a personalised set of instructions that includes a list of your usual asthma medications and doses, guidance on what to do in different situations , and your doctors contact details.

Some Asthma Symptoms Are Only Present During An Asthma Attack

Symptoms of Asthma

An asthma attack is when a persons asthma symptoms become worse or more noticeable. During an attack, the muscles around the airways tighten more than usual, and the airways produce an overabundance of mucus.

The typical signs of an asthma attack can include any of the following:

Wheezing This refers to a whistling or squeaky, almost musical sound during breathing.

Shortness of Breath This simply means feeling like you cant get enough air into your lungs.

Rapid Breathing In response to not getting enough air in each breath, your body may speed up your rate of breathing.

Coughing A cough during an asthma attack may contain phlegm.

Chest Tightness This can take the form of pain, pressure, or feeling like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.

Not everyone with asthma experiences symptoms the same way, and asthma symptoms can differ between attacks. Asthma attacks require immediate treatment with a rescue or quick-relief inhaler or other medication recommended by your doctor.

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Chest Tightness Or Pain

Chest tightness or pain is a common sign of asthma. It can be a key symptom that helps you identify the condition when youre not experiencing other symptoms. Chest tightness is often experienced as a squeezing sensation in your chest, making it difficult to take a deep breath. The feeling can be mild to severe and may come on suddenly or gradually over time.

Chest tightness may also be accompanied by coughing or wheezing. If youre experiencing chest tightness, this could indicate that youre having an asthma flare-up and should take medication immediately.

Identifying Asthma Triggers With Allergy Testing

Determining what triggers a personĂ¢s asthma is often difficult.

Allergy testing is appropriate when there is a suspicion that some avoidable substance is provoking attacks. Skin testing Skin testing Allergic reactions are inappropriate responses of the immune system to a normally harmless substance. Usually, allergies make people sneeze the eyes water and itch… read more can help identify allergens that may trigger asthma symptoms. However, an allergic response to a skin test does not necessarily mean that the allergen being tested is causing the asthma. The person still has to note whether attacks occur after exposure to this allergen. If doctors suspect a particular allergen, a blood test that measures the level of antibody produced in response to the allergen can be done to determine the degree of the person’s sensitivity to the allergen.

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How Can I Prevent And Treat Asthma Symptoms

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed. There are two steps to controlling asthma: taking medicines and avoiding or limiting asthma triggers.

To prevent asthma symptoms:

  • Avoid or limit contact with your asthma triggers andallergens. Use AAFAs Healthier Home Checklist to identify asthma triggers and allergens in your home and make your indoor environment healthier.
  • Get vaccinated. Respiratory infections like colds and the flu can worsen asthma. Get a flu vaccine every year. Keep your lungs healthy by getting other vaccinations as recommended.
  • Create an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor. Follow it when you have symptoms. If you are having trouble staying in the Green/Go Zone, your asthma may not be well-controlled. Talk with your doctor about your treatment plan.
  • Take your asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a medicine to control your asthma, take it as directed. This may be as needed or every day. Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
  • Take care of your general health. It can be hard to take care of your health but doing so can help you better manage asthma. Try to get plenty of sleep and exercise. Eat healthy foods as much as possible, stay hydrated, and find ways to manage stress.

To treat sudden asthma symptoms:

Asthma Medicines: Control and Quick-Relief or a Combination

Postoperative And Rehabilitation Care

What Are The Causes Of Asthma?

Patients with asthma need life-long follow up for monitoring of the disease, quality of life, and functional status. At each visit, compliance with medications should be emphasized.

Asthma is not a curable disorder, and patients need life long monitoring. Patients should be educated about the need for monitoring of the disease and compliance with medications. The patient should be given a written asthma action plan.

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Strengths And Limitations Of The Analysis

Our study had several strengths. First, this comprehensive meta-analysis presented the symptoms and clinical history of asthma in > 55,000 subjects with asthma from 67 studies performed in countries around the world. Second, the methodology we followed was compliant with the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. Third, with the limitations of existing questionnaires, new instruments developed using the metadata of a large population should be more robust for the diagnosis of asthma.

Our study also had several limitations. First, we only included observational studies, but this would not affect the results because we considered only the baseline criteria for analysis this was also the reason for not performing a subgroup or sensitivity analysis. Second, we could only identify respiratory medical history from the literature, and, therefore, classification of history according to system organ class was not possible. Third, there was a high degree of heterogeneity among the included studies, which required the use of a random-effects model. Finally, we considered all of the variants of asthma together and not as different entities. Due to these limitations, the results must be interpreted with caution.

Worsening Or Severe Asthma:

Increased frequency and/or severity of asthma symptoms may require a change in the treatment regimen or an increase in the amount of medication taken. A course of corticosteroid medication injected into a blood vein or in tablet form, may be prescribed until symptoms are controlled. Severe asthma attacks may require hospitalisation to control symptoms. Relieving medication may need to be given using a nebuliser or intravenously .

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What To Do During An Asthma Attack Or Flare

An asthma attack can come on gradually or quite quickly .The symptoms to look out for include:

  • Increasing wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing.
  • Needing to use a reliever again within three hours of last taking it.
  • Waking often at night with asthma symptoms.

An asthma attack can become life threatening if not treated properly, even in someone whose asthma is usually mild or well controlled.

If someone is getting an asthma attack, follow the instructions in their asthma action plan. If they dont have an action plan or you arent sure what to do, follow the four steps of asthma first aid.

Natural Selection And Evolution

What is asthma?

Mutations alter an organism’s genotype and occasionally this causes different phenotypes to appear. Most mutations have little effect on an organism’s phenotype, health, or reproductive . Mutations that do have an effect are usually detrimental, but occasionally some can be beneficial. Studies in the fly suggest that if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, about 70 percent of these mutations are harmful with the remainder being either neutral or weakly beneficial.

studies the distribution of genetic differences within populations and how these distributions change over time. Changes in the in a population are mainly influenced by , where a given allele provides a selective or reproductive advantage to the organism, as well as other factors such as , , , and .

Over many generations, the genomes of organisms can change significantly, resulting in evolution. In the process called , selection for beneficial mutations can cause a species to evolve into forms better able to survive in their environment. New species are formed through the process of , often caused by geographical separations that prevent populations from exchanging genes with each other.

DNA can be manipulated in the laboratory. are commonly used enzymes that cut DNA at specific sequences, producing predictable fragments of DNA. DNA fragments can be visualized through use of , which separates fragments according to their length.

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What Causes Asthma Flare

People with asthma have airways that are overly sensitive to some things . Being around triggers can bring on asthma symptoms.

The most common trigger in kids are viral respiratory infections, such as colds. Other common triggers include:

  • viral infections

Many people with asthma also have allergies, which are another important flare-up trigger.

If not treated, a flare-up can last for several hours or even days. Quick-relief medicines often stop the symptoms pretty quickly. A person should feel better once the flare-up ends, although this can take several days, especially if a viral infection was the trigger.

Study Selection And Quality Assessment

We planned to include all original research articles , surveys, observational studies, case-control studies, cohort studies, and randomized controlled trials that reported, determined, or discussed the frequency of asthma symptoms along with the medical history and comorbidities at the time of enrollment in the study. The studies were considered relevant for inclusion if they had enrolled asthma subjects age 14 y, were published in English, and described the signs and clinical history of asthma at baseline. The initial screening included selection of articles based on the title and abstract, which was followed by another step of evaluation using the full text. Studies were excluded if they had designs other than those mentioned in the inclusion criteria or did not include adequate presentation or discussion of the clinical symptoms of asthma.

Prior to screening, all duplicate records were deleted. The remaining articles were screened independently by 2 researchers , with one of the reviewers being a senior academic. Completely nonrelevant articles were excluded by evaluating the titles and abstracts. The 2 reviewers assessed the eligibility of the remaining articles using full text. Any disagreement regarding the inclusion of any study was resolved after discussion or intervention by a third reviewer if consensus was not reached after discussion.

Flow chart.

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How Do I Know If My Asthma Is Not Well

A good way to know if your asthma is not well-controlled is by answering these questions:

  • Do you have asthma symptoms more than two times a week?
  • Do you take your quick-relief medicine more than two times a week?
  • Do you wake up from asthma more than two times a month?
  • Do you use oral corticosteroids more than two times a year?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk with your doctor.

If your asthma is not well-controlled, your daily activities may be limited. You may miss work or school. You may increase your chances of having complications from a respiratory infection. And you may be at greater risk for going to the emergency room, staying in the hospital, or even dying from asthma.

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