Difficulty breathing is not just a problem that is associated with someone who is out of shape or someone who is sick. In fact, there are many people who have a difficult time breathing because they suffer from a common medical condition. Asthma is prevalent today, and if it affects you, you are not alone.
In fact, asthma is becoming far more common that it once was. Research shows that 1 out of 12 Americans are treated annually for the condition. Also, it is more common for it to start in childhood however can actually appear at any age. So, it is entirely possible for you to develop this condition as an adult. And, once you have the condition you usually have it for life. Therefore, it is important to understand it, in case you are at risk.
Those that suffer from asthma often suffer with asthma attacks. What is an asthma attack? When you have an asthma attack it basically means that you experience trouble breathing. This is because your airways become irritated, they produce extra mucus, and become narrower as a result. This results in making it much harder to breathe normally.
Common symptoms of asthma
- shortness of breath
- tightness in your chest
While these symptoms do not seem severe, they can lead to asthma attacks. When a person suffers from an asthma attack they cannot breathe. Therefore, an asthma attack can be very scary and life threatening. Interestingly, a person can go from coughing to a life-threatening situation in a matter of seconds. This is why asthma is so scary. Many wonder why these attacks happen. It obviously makes sense that coughing and shortness of breath can bring them about. However, the exact cause of one of these attacks is not always obvious.
Asthma attacks are usually caused by:
- infections such as colds and flu
- irritants such as cigarette smoke and dust
- allergies to pollen, medicines, animals, house dust mites or certain foods
- exercise (especially in places where the air is dry and cold)
- emotions – laughing or crying very hard can trigger symptoms
Once you have asthma it is not something that can be cured. However, with decent medical care you can live a normal life without asthma having too much of a negative effect on you. As with most ongoing medical conditions the way it affects people varies and therefore if you are diagnosed then you and your GP with sit down to discuss a treatment plan that works best for you.
Treatment for asthma symptoms
Inhalers – Every asthma sufferer will have at least one type of inhaler. They work in two ways. First, you take them at regular intervals (advised by your GP) to prevent an asthma attack, and then you take them during an asthma attack to relieve symptoms. Inhaled are filled with a gas that pushes the right amount of medication directly into your lungs.
It is important that you continue to use your inhaler even if you haven’t experience symptoms for some time. It is the good upkeep on a medical schedule that can prevent attacks from happening. As soon as you stop this you will find that your symptoms start to reoccur. If you have a severe asthma attack or flu like symptoms which make it hard to breathe for a long period of time then it is likely that your doctor will prescribe you a course of steroids. These have build up your lungs strength and fit off the symptoms of asthma./p>
In the rare occasion these treatments are ineffective then you could be prescribed courses of tablets including montelukast (Singulair), zafirlukast (Accolate) or theophylline (eg Slo-Phyllin).
Some asthma sufferers are also given nebulisers. You will likely be asked to use one of these if you are admitted to hospsital with breathing problems also. These make a mix of water and asthma medicine. This mist is generally easier to breathe in than the medication from standard inhalers.
Asthma Symptoms over the long term
Asthma is a life threatening condition if it is not treated correctly however is manageable as long as the right steps are taken. As a sufferer you will start to learn the things in and around your home that may trigger an attack. This means that you can learn to avoid these completely and have more of a chance of being attack free. You will also learn to recognize when you are starting to feel breathless and if you are about to have an attack. This gives you the opportunity to administer treatment and hopefully stop attack from progressing.
If the symptoms of an attack do not subside within a few minutes then you should call for emergency assistance. It is important to let an expert help you handle your situation. They can take control of the situation and avoid a life-altering situation. Know your limits. This way you understand when to call and what you can handle on your own. In doing so, you will prevent unnecessary episodes.
Asthma often runs in the family so if you are a sufferer and have children you should look for signs of them developing the condition. As soon as you start to suspect that they are showing any of the asthma symptoms you should book an appointment to see your doctor. You will have to watch your children carefully. They are not as responsible at a young age; therefore it is vital that they receive help when asthma attacks come. These attacks can be life threatening for the little ones as well.
Finally, it is important to understand that asthma is not your fault. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you. Many people suffer with this condition and you are one of them. Therefore, do your part to manage the symptoms. In doing so, you will find that you will live a completely normal and enjoyable life that is free from too much trouble.