Apr 21, 2022 Asthma
Asthma is a common disease that affects the lungs, where airways become narrow due to irritation. It causes sufferers to wheeze, cough, and have difficulty breathing.
It is caused by the inflammation of the bronchioles in the lungs which restrict the amount of air absorbed by the lungs. This is triggered by certain situations, for example, intense exercise, pollen, dust, cold temperatures or acid reflux.
Although it is more common for asthma to start in childhood, adults can develop symptoms as well. You are more likely to suffer from asthma if there is a family history of asthma, if you have allergies, or you smoke.
Intermittent = Generally, sufferers have mild attacks that have a long space between them. Lung function is often relatively normal between each incident.
Moderate = Attacks are more frequent and can occur between attacks. Lung function can be abnormal in between incidents.
Severe = This is when the sufferer encounters frequent and severe attacks. In between incidents, symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing persist.
If you have ever had a persistent cough that encourages you to try to clear your lungs but never produces any phlegm then you may have asthma. The cough is caused by the aioli in the lungs becoming inflamed and tricking the body in believing that the lungs are congested.
The cough only lasts as long as the trigger is present and disappears as soon as it has gone. If you do have this type of cough think about when it occurs and what could be causing it.
Sighing possibly readdresses the balance of air entering and leaving your lungs due to the airways becoming narrower. Make sure that you tell your doctor that you sigh a lot because it may help them to diagnose you correctly.
Another reason why you may be feeling tired could be due to sleep disturbances caused by chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing during the night. Lack of sleep can make life more difficult and cause your daytime asthma symptoms to worsen.
Stress and anxiety can trigger asthma attacks because the body’s chemistry changes when we feel these emotions.
When you have asthma your lung capacity decreases causing you to literally fight for breath. Breathing becomes shallow and more rapid because your body instinctively tries to draw more oxygen in.
When you are tested for asthma you will have a Peak Flow test which will look to see what your maximum lung capacity is. Sufferers will have reduced capacity and will be prescribed medication that reduces inflammation and increases lung capacity.
The best course of treatment for asthma comes in the form of an inhaler. It is common for people to have two inhalers, one which is a preventer and one which is a reliever.
Preventer inhalers are normally brown and are taken in the morning and evening to prevent the onset of an attack. Whereas, reliever inhalers are normally blue and are used during an attack to relieve the inflammation in the lungs quickly by relaxing the airways.
There are many types of inhaler to suit the needs of both children and adults. Your doctor will assess you and prescribe the most suitable treatment and incorporate it into your asthma action plan.
It is important to use the inhaler correctly, as you may not get an accurate dose that you need. Inhaling too much may result in lightheadedness, increased heart rate or feeling shaky. These symptoms normally subside quickly but should be mentioned to your doctor.
An asthma action plan provides an insight into the nature of your asthma. The plan is used to help you monitor the severity of your condition. The form is available online or from your doctor’s surgery.
The form requires you to provide information about triggers, medication, everyday care, what to do when you feel ill and what happens during an attack.
You must keep the form available at all times just in case you have to go to the hospital. The plan must be kept up to date and reviewed at least once a year to monitor your health and the effectiveness of your treatment.
Travelling with asthma requires a degree of preparation which includes:
Visiting your doctors for a check-up
Updating your asthma plan and getting any immunisation required for your journey.
Taking your asthma plan, travel insurance and European Health Insurance Card on your trip, so you can record any changes necessary.
Making sure you have enough medication to last the duration of your trip.
Packing a print out of your usual medication just in case you require medical intervention.
For more information, The British Lung Foundation provides very comprehensive guidelines on travelling with asthma.
As with all illnesses you must make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you have asthma because symptoms can be similar to other illnesses.
The main symptoms of asthma are wheezing, shortness of breath and persistent coughing.
When you visit your doctor you will be asked if there is a family history of asthma. You will also have a Peak Flow test to test lung function, and you may be given medication to open your airways to measure lung capacity.
It takes longer to diagnose children because more observation is required to determine the cause of the symptoms.
SimplyMeds Online prescribe a range of asthma treatments, including Ventolin Evohaler which contains Salbutamol that relieves symptoms by relaxing the muscles in the lungs. It is administered through a fine mist and stops wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath relatively quickly.
It is important to have a consultation before purchasing any asthma treatment as your doctor can inform you of the best course of action.
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