Asthma is a health condition in which your airways narrow. It expands and produces mucus, making breathing difficult and resulting in coughing, a”whistling” sound (wheezing) as you exhale, and breathing shortness.

For some with asthma, it’s just a minor issue. However, for others, it could be a serious issue that can hinder daily activities and could cause a fatal asthma attack.

Asthma isn’t curable; however, you can manage asthma. Because asthma is prone to change with time, it’s imperative to collaborate with your physician to monitor the symptoms and signs of asthma and alter your treatment if needed.

Symptoms

The symptoms of asthma vary from individual to individual. It is possible to experience frequent asthma attacks and experience symptoms only during certain instances – for example when you exercise or experience constant symptoms.

Asthma symptoms and signs are:

  • Breathing shortness
  • The chest may be tight or painful.
  • Exhaling while wheezing. It is a typical symptom of asthma in children.
  • Trouble sleeping due to breathlessness, coughing or wheezing
  • The wheezing or coughing symptoms are aggravated due to respiratory infections like the flu or cold

The signs that your asthma is likely to be getting worse are:

  • Asthma symptoms and signs are more common and uncomfortable.
  • A rise in difficulty breathing, determined by a device that is used to determine the condition of your lungs functioning (peak flow meter)
  • Use an inhaler with quick relief more frequently.

Some asthma symptoms and signs are more prominent in certain circumstances:

  • Exercise triggers asthma, which can worsen during dryness and hard times.
  • occupational asthma, triggered by irritating workplace substances like chemicals, gasses, or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma is caused by airborne pollutants like pollen, mould spores and the cockroach waste, or even dry saliva released by pets (pet dander)

When should you see a doctor?

Get emergency medical attention.

Severe asthma attacks could be life-threatening. Talk to your doctor to decide what you should do if your signs and symptoms become more powerful and when you require emergency treatment. The indications for an asthma crisis are:

  • Rapidly increasing breathlessness or wheezing.
  • There isn’t any gain from using a rapid-relief inhaler.
  • Breathing shortness while doing a minimum of physical exercise

Contact your doctor

See your doctor:

  • If you believe you may have asthma. Consult your physician if you have wheezing or coughing that lasts longer than a couple of days or any other symptoms or signs of asthma. Early treatment for asthma can help delay the damage to your lung over time and may help prevent the condition from becoming worse as time passes.
  • To monitor your asthma after being diagnosed. If you know that you have asthma, consult with your physician to ensure that it is under control. Long-term control can help you feel better every day and prevent serious asthma attacks.
  • When your asthma symptoms are getting more severe, you should seek medical attention immediately. 
  • Do not take more medicine than you are prescribed without consulting with your physician. In excess, asthma medications can trigger negative side effects and could cause your asthma to get worse.
  • To look over the treatment, you are receiving. Asthma often changes as time passes. Consult your doctor frequently to discuss your concerns and make any necessary treatment adjustments.

Causes

It’s unclear why some people have asthma while others do not, but it’s likely caused by inherited and environmental (genetic) elements.

Asthma causes

Exposure to irritants and substances that cause allergies (allergens) can cause symptoms and signs of asthma. Asthma triggers differ from one person to the next and could include:

  • Airborne allergens such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mould spores or cockroach waste particles
  • Infections that cause respiratory distress, like the common cold.
  • Physical activity pollution and irritants, such as smoking Certain medications include beta-blockers and aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB Others) as well as naproxen sodium (Aleve)
  • Anxiety can be a source of stress.
  • Sulphites and preservatives are added to food and drinks, such as dried fruits, shrimp and prepared potatoes, beers, and wine.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition where stomach acids back into your throat.

Risk factors

Many factors are believed to increase your risk of getting asthma. Which includes:

  • A blood relative who has asthma, for example, siblings or parents.
  • Being a victim of another allergy, for instance, Atopic dermatitis can cause itchy, red skin or hay fever, leading to congestion, a runny nose, and itchy eyes.
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Secondhand smoke exposure
  • Exhaust fumes or other pollutants
  • Exposed to occupational triggers like the chemicals used in agriculture, hairdressing, manufacturing, and other industries

Complications

Asthma symptoms comprise:

  • Aspects and signs that can hinder sleeping, working and other activities.
  • Absent days at school or work due to asthma flare-ups
  • An ongoing narrowing of the tubes that bring air into and out of your lung (bronchial tubes) can affect the quality of your breath.
  • Hospitalizations and emergency room visits for asthma attacks with severe severity
  • Long-term usage of certain medications to control severe asthma

The correct treatment can make a significant difference in preventing the long-term and short-term complications due to asthma.

Prevention

Although there’s no way to avoid asthma, you and your physician can devise a step-by-step strategy to manage your asthma and stop asthma attacks.

  • Make sure you follow your plan of action for asthma. With your doctor and health care provider, make a plan of action to take medication and manage asthma symptoms. Make sure you follow the schedule.
  • Asthma is an ongoing condition that requires regular surveillance and treatment. Controlling your treatment will help you feel more in charge of your own life.
  • Get vaccinated against pneumonia and influenza. Staying current with vaccinations can help prevent pneumonia and flu from triggering asthma flare-ups.
  • Be aware of and stay clear of asthma triggers. Several environmental allergens and irritants, including pollen and mould, to cold air and pollution of the atmosphere, could cause asthma attacks. Find out what triggers and worsens your asthma symptoms, and then take steps to eliminate triggers.
  • Check the quality of your breath. You may learn to spot the warning signs of a coming attack, such as mild wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.
  • However, since the function of your lungs can decline before you experience any symptoms or signs, it is important to frequently measure and record the amount of air you breathe with the peak flow measurement device. The peak flow gauge is a device that measures the amount of air you exhale. Your doctor will show you how to monitor your maximum flow at your home.
  • Be aware of and treat the symptoms promptly. If you act promptly and take action, you’re less likely suffer a serious attack. Additionally, you’ll not require more medication to manage the symptoms.
  • If your blood flow levels drop and warn you of an imminent attack, you should follow the instructions for taking your medication. Also, stop immediately any activity that might trigger the attack. If the symptoms don’t get better, seek medical assistance according to your plan of action.
  • Use your medication according to the dosage recommended by your doctor. Don’t change your medications before talking to your physician, even if your asthma appears to improve. It is good to carry your medication along to every appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will ensure you’re safely using your medicine and taking the correct dosage.
  • Be aware of the increasing rapid-relief inhaler usage. If you find yourself dependent on your inhaler for quick relief, such as albuterol, your asthma isn’t being controlled. Consult your physician about changing the dosage of your treatment.
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