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Why Is My Asthma Acting Up

After An Asthma Attack

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.

About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so it’s important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.

Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.

For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.

What Is An Asthma Attack

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, asthma attacks occur when an inflammation or obstruction of the bronchial tubes exists. Since these tubes allow air to enter and leave the lungs, asthma happens when air movement in and out of the lungs is restricted.

Asthma attacks are most commonly recognized by severe wheezing, consistent coughing and rapid breathing. However, people experiencing asthma attacks may also notice tightness in their chest and neck. If not enough oxygen reaches their lungs, then they may turn pale and their lips and fingernails could turn blue.

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person, but you can control them with a proper prevention routine. If your asthma is under control, then the likelihood of you experiencing an asthma attack decreases, Carrillo said.

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.

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Asthma Attacks From Indoor Air

Three years ago she helped her mother renovate the family home. As they were replacing the gyprock and paneling in the basement, they made an unsettling discovery. Thick, oozing black fungus had completely covered the back side of the gyprock and had permeated the insulation.

While they knew the basement was always damp, they had been completely unaware of the health hazard hidden behind the walls. Chase is thankful her bedroom was not in the basement, but notes, if its in the home, its still in what you breathe.

In Ottawa, Susan Clemens can relate. A few years ago, she watched with increasing distress as Angela , her young daughter, suffered frightening asthma attacks. The family was living in a small apartment building with 12 units connected to a central hallway.

The buildings owners were busily renovating apartments, and every time a tenant moved out, they would resurface the floor in the vacated unit. Chemical fumes permeated the building, and the Clemens immediate neighbor was a smoker, so the family was also breathing in second-hand smoke.

Angela was not a wheezer, but during attacks the skin between the toddlers ribs and collarbone would suck in as she struggled to breathe. Her lips would turn blue, and shed break into a sweat. Angela was diagnosed with asthma at 12 months, but didnt see a respirologist until she was 3.

What Happens During An Asthma Flare

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During a flare-up, you might have:

  • trouble breathing
  • a whistling sound when you breathe
  • a cough

Flare-ups happen when the airways in the lungs get more irritated and swollen than usual. Your lungs might make a sticky mucus, which clogs the airways. The muscles around the airways will also tighten up, making them really narrow. This clogging and narrowing make it tough to pull air in and push air out.

Some flare-ups are mild, but others are serious. If the flare-up is severe, a person might:

  • struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
  • not be able to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
  • have retractions while breathing in

Flare-ups can happen suddenly. They also can build up over time, especially if you haven’t been taking your asthma medicine.

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How Is Asthma Prevented And Treated

There is no cure for asthma. Control symptoms by taking asthma medicines and avoiding your triggers. With proper treatment and an asthma management plan, you can reduce your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

Talk to your health care provider about your asthma symptoms and be sure to discuss any changes in your asthma management or status.

Asthma Is Acting Up And Have No Inhaler What To Do

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An Asthma Plan Helps You Breathe Easy

Even if you have an asthma action plan, dont forget to stayin touch with your provider. A doctor can help monitor whether your asthma isunder control or if you have a serious need that requires attention.

And if you enter the asthma danger zone, dont dawdle message your doctor then head to the nearest emergency room for immediate care.

Is It Safe To Take Asthma Medicine During Pregnancy

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Asthma symptoms that dont stop or that get worse can be a risk to your and your baby. If you were taking asthma medicine before pregnancy, dont stop taking it without talking to your provider first.

If youre diagnosed with asthma during pregnancy, talk to your provider about the best way to treat or manage it.

If youre already getting allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. But if you arent getting allergy shots, dont start taking them when youre pregnant because you could have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

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Are Asthma Medicines Safe When You’re Breastfeeding

Asthma medicines do get into your breast milk, but the amounts are very low and are safe for the baby. If you take high doses of certain asthma medicines, like theophylline, your baby may become irritable or have trouble sleeping. To help prevent this, take your asthma medicines 3 or 4 hours before the next feeding. Your provider and your babys provider can help you adjust your medicine schedule so you and your baby can get the health benefits of breastfeeding.

Last reviewed: November, 2013

If You Suspect You Might Have Asthma Definitely Head To The Doctor

Your doctor will probably give you a physical exam first to examine the general state of your health. After that, theyll likely put you through some lung function tests, such as a spirometry, which checks how much air you can exhale after taking a deep breath as well as how fast you can expel air, according to the Mayo Clinic. Or they may do a peak flow test, which measures how hard you can breathe out. If you cant exhale enough air or breathe out quickly, it may be a sign your lungs arent working well, which could point to asthma, Dr. Benzaquen says.

There are other exams they can use, too, like exposing you to methacholine, a known asthma trigger, to see if your airways narrow, or allergy testing, since allergies and asthma are so often connected.

If you are diagnosed with asthma, itll be within one of four categories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mild intermittent asthma means you have minimal asthma symptoms for up to two days a week and up to two nights a month, while mild persistent asthma means youre experiencing symptoms more frequently than twice a week, but not more than once on any given day. Moderate persistent asthma ups the ante: Youre dealing with symptoms once a day and more than one night a week. Finally, severe persistent asthma involves constant symptoms most days and frequently at night too.

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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.

What Happens During An Asthma Episode

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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:

  • The airway branches leading to the lungs become overly reactive and more sensitive to all kinds of asthma triggers
  • The linings of the airways swell and become inflamed
  • Mucus clogs the airways
  • Muscles tighten around the airways
  • The lungs have difficulty moving air in and out
  • 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 Are Homes So Polluted

    Of concern for individuals with asthma and allergies: the most common problems were high levels of particle allergens and chemical pollutants.

    Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a number of health effects. Chemicals and airborne allergens can trigger wheezing, shortness of breath, itchy eyes and runny noses. Nitrogen dioxide, from second-hand smoke and unvented gas stoves and furnaces, leads to eye, nose and throat irritation as well as respiratory infections in young children.

    Formaldehyde can cause breathing distress and can nauseate, as can pesticides. Some chemicals, in instances of high-level exposure, can be cancer-causing.

    So how did our homes get so polluted? The North American lifestyle is much to blame. We spend on average about 90 per cent of our time indoors, and 65 per cent of our time in our own residences. Home air is what we breathe most often, and which we readily pollute with products used to keep ourselves primped and our homes polished.

    Anything with an added scent from shampoo to laundry detergent, fabric softener and all-purpose cleanser releases chemicals that hang on you and your clothes and linger in the air. That bouquet of lemon or citrus in products used to make our home sparkle in some cases will also mask dangerous chemicals in the cleaner, such as formaldehyde and ammonia.

    Then we shower often and dont always use exhaust fans when cooking, creating humid environments in which mold and dust mites thrive.

    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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    Does A Cpap Help In Asthma Attack At Night

    If there is an issue of carbon dioxide retention during an asthma attack, your doctor is more likely to recommend a BiPAP , as opposed to a CPAP . However, many patients with mild asthma have reported of using a CPAP machine without any problems.

    Visit your doctor as soon as you suspect that you have asthma or asthma-like symptoms. Seeking immediate medical attention from an urgent care near you can also help you control an asthma attack and manage the symptoms.

    Asthma Attack Triggers And How To Prevent Them

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    If youve ever had an asthma attack, you know how scary it can be when your chest tightens, making it difficult to take breaths between coughing. These are just some of the symptoms that characterize an asthma attack. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many things, making it all the more frightening when you suddenly cant breathe.

    Understanding what triggers your asthma is the first step toward preventing an asthma attack. Well explain what you need to know about common asthma attack triggers, so you can do your best to prevent symptoms from interrupting your everyday life.

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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 .

    Asthma Is A Complex Condition

    Occasionally, people with asthma experience what are known as silent symptoms. This is where the signs of the tightening of the airways dont result in the familiar asthma sounds of wheezing and coughing. If you or someone you live with, work with, or care for experiences silent symptoms, it is important they consult a doctor for an ongoing Asthma Action Plan. People around the person with asthmasuch as co-workers, school teachers or daycare educators should know about the silent symptoms so they can respond if needed. Asthma can start at any age, and can be more of a problem when it starts in older adults. Dont assume if you never had asthma as a child that its not possible to develop symptoms now. Being breathless is not a normal part of getting older, it should always be checked out by a doctor.

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    Signs Of Asthma Absolutely Everyone Should Know

      You might think you know the signs of asthma because hey, it seems like one of those health conditions that is absolutely unmistakable. Its kind of obvious if you justcant really breathe, right? Sure, but asthma symptoms can present with a lot more complexity and subtlety than that. Many people do not realize they have asthma and deal with daily symptoms, Purvi Parikh, M.D., an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, tells SELF. Because of that, you should be aware of the signs of asthma so you dont write them off for months or even years without realizing you have this persistentand ultimately treatablehealth condition.

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