How Is Nocturnal Asthma Treated
There is no cure for nighttime asthma, but daily asthma medications, such as inhaled steroids, are very effective at reducing inflammation and preventing nocturnal symptoms. Since nocturnal asthma or nighttime asthma may occur anytime during the sleep period, asthma treatment must be sufficient to cover these hours. A long-acting bronchodilator delivered in an asthma inhaler can be effective in preventing bronchospasm and symptoms of asthma. If you suffer from nocturnal asthma, you may also benefit from a long-acting inhaled corticosteroid. If you suffer with GERD and asthma, ask your doctor about medication that reduces acid production in the stomach. Avoidance of potential allergy triggers such as dust mites, animal dander, or feathers in a down comforter may also be very helpful in preventing allergies and asthma and nocturnal asthma attacks.
In addition, using your peak flow meter, you can monitor how your lung function is altered throughout the day and night. Once you notice this altered pattern of lung function, talk with your doctor about a plan to resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms. According to your type of asthma and asthma severity , your doctor can prescribe treatment to help you resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms so you can sleep like a baby.
Youre Using Your Inhaler More Than Usual
If youve been having to use your quick-relief inhaler more often than usual, or youve started to feel like it doesnt help as much when you do use it, your severe asthma may be getting worse.
It can be hard sometimes to keep track of exactly how many times you use your inhaler during a given week. You may want to start keeping track of your usage in a journal or in the note-taking app on your phone.
Keeping a log of your inhaler usage can also help to identify what may be triggering your severe asthma symptoms. For example, if you mainly use your inhaler after being outdoors, an outdoor trigger like pollen may be causing your asthma to flare up.
Does Asthma Get Worse At Night
Asthma is worse at night than during the day because the body is in a supine position, and you have a higher exposure to allergens than you would when walking around. Exacerbated symptoms make it difficult to sleep and cause coughing, wheezing, and sneezing. We recommend a humidifier, air purifier, and keeping your bedroom clean to reduce indoor allergens.
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When To See The Doctor
A good rule of thumb is you should visit your doctor if you have asthma and you wake up in the night more than once per week after using treatments. Your doctor can evaluate what may be causing your symptoms and help modify your treatment plan. Checking your breath in a peak flow meter at night may also be helpful.
If you are not diagnosed with asthma but have asthma-like symptoms at night, you should report the episodes to your doctor. While you may not have asthma, your doctor can point you in the right direction for treatment.
Your Gp Or Asthma Nurse Can Help Your Asthma Symptoms
Theres a lot your GP or asthma nurse can do to help stop symptoms building up to an asthma attack. Book an appointment now to get the support you need to lower your risk.
Your GP/asthma nurse can:
- Talk to you about why your asthma symptoms have got worse
- Check youre taking your preventer medicine every day. If you havent been taking it regularly, they can suggest ways to get into a good routine with it so its easier to remember.
- Look at your inhaler technique to make sure youre getting the medicine you need
- Suggest a higher dose, or more puffs, of your preventer inhaler for a while
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How Is An Asthma Flare
The best thing to do first if your asthma symptoms are getting worse is to use your rescue or quick-relief medicine. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure what to use for quick-relief medicine. The usual inhaler dose is two to four puffs every 20 minutes for a total of three doses, or one nebulizer treatment if you have a home nebulizer.
You should be able to tell how serious the flare-up is after you use your quick-relief medicine. If you have a peak flow meter, check your PEF again after you use the quick-relief medicine. If your PEF is still very low, your flare-up is serious.
Your doctor may have given you a written Asthma Action Plan with directions for treating mild, moderate and severe flare-ups. If you don’t have an action plan, ask your doctor for written directions about treating asthma flare-ups. If you have the symptoms of a serious flare-up or if your PEF is less than 50 percent of your personal best, call your doctor right away or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room .
Keep Your Room Very Dark Or Use An Eye Mask
Our apartment gets a bit more light than wed like, so we found that eye masks made a BIG difference no more waking up with the early morning sunrise! We LOVE these PrettyCare 3d sleep masks because theyve beveled around your eye, making them super comfortable. Plus, you basically get two for the price of one , so theyre a great deal.
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Other Tips For Sleeping With Asthma
Other ways to reduce asthma symptoms at night include:
- Cut down on allergens in your bedroom. Consider using an air purifier next to your bed and keep airflow in your room through the night.
- Wash your bedding in hot water every 1-2 weeks to get rid of dust mites and other irritants that may be on your sheets.
- Consider switching to bedding made of natural cotton, as opposed to synthetic polyester depending on your allergies.
- Keep pets off your bed, especially when youre in it.
- Keep asthma medication on your nightstand or another easily accessible place, and take them as directed by your doctor.
- Set the thermostat in your bedroom slightly higher in the evenings. Sleeping in a cold environment can be an asthma trigger.
You Wake Up Coughing And Wheezing During The Night
If youre ever jolted awake in the middle of the night by a fit of coughing or wheezing, you may need to modify your severe-asthma management plan.
Properly managed asthma shouldnt wake you up from sleep more than one or two nights a month. If youre losing sleep due to your symptoms more than this, it may be time to discuss treatment modifications with your doctor.
Your peak flow readings are a measurement of how well your lungs are functioning at their best. This measurement is usually tested at home with a handheld device called a peak flow meter.
If your peak flow levels drop below 80 percent of your personal best, thats a sign that your severe asthma is poorly managed. Another sign that your asthma is getting worse is if your peak flow reading varies greatly from day to day. If you notice low or inconsistent numbers, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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What To Do During An Asthma Attack Without An Inhaler At Night
Follow these tips to survive a night-time asthma attack without an inhaler:
- Sit straight to keep your airways open
- Stay calm, as stress or panic can worsen your symptoms
- Take long, deep breaths to reduce symptoms
- Asthma can be triggered by dust, cigarette smoke, and other allergens. Stay away from triggers and go to any area with clean air.
- A cup of coffee can open up your airways and provide you some relief
- Seek emergency medical attention if symptoms persist
Youre Coughing And Wheezing More During The Day
Another sign that your severe asthma may be getting worse is if youre coughing or wheezing more often. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan if you constantly feel like youre about to cough. If you find yourself wheezing with a whistle-like sound more than once a day, seek your doctors opinion as well.
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Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets
Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:
- easy bruising
- muscle weakness
With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.
You will need regular appointments to check for these.
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Bodys Response When Sleeping
The bodys response to asthma is the lowest mostly during the wee hours of the morning. Reason being, the production of hormones varies as per the body clock and the asthma fighting hormone is at its lowest point at this time. Its very common to hear nocturnal asthma patients complaining of waking up fighting for breath in the early morning hours.
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Wash Your Bedding Weekly
If you can, wash your bed sheets and blankets in hot water once a week. A water temperature of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit kills most allergens and bacteria. After bedding is washed, dry it on the hottest setting possible. The high heat kills any remaining allergens and sterilizes the material.
Dont place the clean bedding back on the mattress unless its completely dry. Damp bedding can lead to mold and mildew growth, triggers of nighttime asthma symptoms.
When Should I Go To The Er
Don’t be embarrassed to get medical help if you think you need it. These situations call for emergency care:
- You take your asthma medicine and your flare-up doesn’t get any better.
- You feel a little better after taking your medicine, but your symptoms come back quickly.
- You have frequent wheezing, a lasting cough, or chest pain.
- Your lips and fingernails are bluish or grayish.
- You have trouble breathing, talking, or walking.
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Nocturnal Asthma Medical Treatment
There is no cure for nocturnal asthma, although there are treatments to get it under control. Discuss your symptoms with your GP or asthma nurse and they will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for you. Medical treatment for nighttime asthma could include:
- Preventer inhaler. This delivers a dose of steroid medicine that you breathe in to damp down inflammation and swelling in the airways. Using a preventer inhaler regularly builds up protection so you are less sensitive to triggers. Good day-time control of your asthma will reduce flare-ups at night.
- Reliever inhaler. This delivers a dose of fast-acting medicine such as salbutamol that will open up the airways and help relieve the symptoms of nocturnal asthma. Keep it beside your bed so you can use it as soon as you have an attack at night.
- Combination inhalers. If your other inhalers are not helping, you might need a combination inhaler that mixes the medication and stops symptoms occurring while also providing relief if they do occur.
- Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists . This medicine is given in tablet-form and sometimes used in addition to inhalers to help with severe asthma symptoms and night-time attacks.
When Should I Call My Doctor
If your child suffers from NA regularly, call your child’s doctor to talk about making changes to their treatment plan.
Sometimes medications used to take care of asthma can cause sleep problems. Talk to your child’s doctor if your child can’t sleep because of their asthma medication.
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.
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You Sometimes Have Trouble Speaking
If you find it difficult to speak a full sentence without having to pause to take a breath, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Trouble speaking is usually the result of an inability to take enough air into your lungs to allow you to let it out at the slow, deliberate rate required for speech.
Heres Why Your Asthma Gets Worse At Night
Having your sleep interrupted is annoying at best and, especially if it happens often, meltdown-inducing at worst. But when you wake up in the middle of a coughing fit or because you feel like youre breathing through a straw, the whole experience can take a terrifying turn.
Unfortunately, thats what some people with asthma have to deal with. It is very common for asthma to get worse at night, pulmonologist Ryan Thomas, M.D., director of the Multidisciplinary Severe Asthma Team at Michigan State University, tells SELF. This phenomenon, which experts sometimes refer to as nocturnal asthma, can make it far too difficult to get the amount of rest you need. It can also be a sign that you need to take steps to subdue your asthma before it gets even worse.
Your airways, which extend between your nose and mouth and your lungs, carry air in and out of your body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Pretty key job, huh? But if you have asthma, those airways can get all puffy and inflamed when youre exposed to triggers like animal dander , pollen, mold, cold air, cigarette smoke, exercise, and respiratory infections like the flu, the NHLBI says. That swelling can then cause the muscles around your airways to tighten, and your airways may also expel more mucus than they usually do. The end result is the opposite of breathing easy: You might experience asthma symptoms like wheezing , coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain or tightness.
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Why Is My Child’s Asthma Worse At Night
There are no proven reasons why asthma may be worse at night. Possibilities may include:
Allergen exposure. If youâre around items that trigger or cause you to have symptoms, thatâs allergen exposure. Common triggers include:
- Dust mites
- Allergens and mold that can build up in bedding, pillows and mattresses
Sleeping position. If youâre leaning back or lying down, this can cause drainage or postnasal drip, less lung capacity and more resistance in your airways.
Gastroesophageal disease . GERD involves the stomach and esophagus or the part of the body that connects the throat and stomach. GERD symptoms can make asthma worse.
After lying down to sleep, stomach contents or acid can come back up into the esophagus. If your child wakes up from the discomfort, your child can aspirate or fluid can get in their lungs. This can cause coughing and difficulty breathing.
Air conditioning. AC cools down the air in a building. If your body’s airways are cooled by AC while you sleep, this can trigger asthma. Many homes in Seattle don’t have AC. Remember when you travel, your hotel may have AC.
What Happens During An Asthma Episode
During normal breathing, the airways to the lungs are fully open. This allows air to move in and out of the lungs freely. Asthma causes the airways to change in the following ways:
These changes narrow the airways. Breathing becomes difficult and stressful, like trying to breathe through a straw stuffed with cotton.
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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.
Take Action Now To Lower Your Risk Of An Asthma Attack
If youre getting more asthma symptoms its a sign that your airways are getting more inflamed and narrow. This makes it harder for air to get through and means an asthma attack is more likely.
The sooner you can treat the inflammation in your airways, the sooner you can lower your risk of an asthma attack.
See your doctor today
- Ask the receptionist for an urgent same day appointment. Tell them your asthmas getting worse and you need to see a GP or asthma nurse for urgent advice to avoid having an asthma attack.
- If you cant get an urgent same day appointment, or your GP surgery is closed, . They may be able to arrange for you to be seen at a walk-in centre or by an out of hours doctor.
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