A Complete Guide To Asthma
If you have or suspect you may have asthma, there are many questions you have. What are the symptoms of asthma? How is asthma treated? How can you prevent an asthma attack? Here is a total guide to asthma:
Asthma is a disease in which your airways become inflamed. Due to inflammation, muscles tighten and swell, which restricts air to the lungs, causing the symptoms of asthma.
Asthma can cause many symptoms due to the restriction of air to the lungs. Here are some of the symptoms of asthma:
- Coughing. May be severe enough to interfere with sleep.
- Wheezing, whistling, or squeaking sounds when you breathe.
- A feeling of tightness in the chest.
- Worsening symptoms during exercise
- Inability to concentrate
Signs of an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack can be life threatening. An attack occurs when the airway suddenly begins closing due to inflammation and contraction of muscles. You need to be able to recognize when you're having an asthma attack so you can seek treatment right away. Here are the signs:
- Shortness of breath or feeling like you can't get enough air
- Severe tightness or pain in the chest
- Worsening coughing and wheezing
- Trouble talking
- Tight or achy muscles in the neck and shoulders
There is no cure for asthma, but your symptoms can be managed and controlled with treatment. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and your asthma triggers and recommend treatment. Here are possible treatments for asthma:
- Quick relief medicines called bronchodilators that open up the airways and prevent or treat an attack.
- Long-term medicine that you take daily to control your asthma.
- Allergy medicine if your asthma is triggered by allergies.
- Immunotherapy if your allergies aren't controlled with allergy medicine.
- Inhaled corticosteroids that you take daily to reduce inflammation.
- Cromolyn, a medicine taken via a nebulizer. A nebulizer may be prescribed if typical inhalers aren't effective.
At-Home Management and Prevention of Asthma
There are additional steps you can take at home in addition to your medicine to manage and prevent asthma and attacks. Here are some tips:
- Practice deep breathing techniques so you can control your breathing during an asthma flare.
- Identify your asthma triggers like pollution, cold air, smoke, and perfume and avoid them.
- Take over-the-counter allergy medicine when pollen count is high.
- If you live in the city, wear a mask on high smog days.
- Replace all the filters in your home's heating and cooling system with HEPA filters. HEPA filters trap asthma triggers like mold, pollen, and dust.
Once you know what asthma is, how it's treated, and what you can do to prevent attacks, you can live a happy, healthy life with your asthma. If you have any questions, contact your doctor or asthma specialist.
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