Asthma Control

Asthma is a lung condition in which the airways are narrow, swollen, and produce extra mucus which restricts the flow of air to and fro the lungs. Asthma can affect the young and old; it can start at childhood or later in adulthood.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms depends on the type of asthma but general symptoms include;

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightening or pain
  • A wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, cough or wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks worsened by respiratory virus

Symptoms can worsen overtime if

  • Attacks are more frequent
  • Increased difficulty in breathing
  • Frequent need of inhaler

Symptoms may flare up for different reasons such as

  • Partaking in strenuous physical activity such as exercise
  • Inhaling of chemical fumes, dust or gases may trigger symptoms
  • Allergic reactions to airborne substances

CAUSES

The causes of asthma are unclear but could be a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Asthma Triggers

  • Physical activity
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants
  • Certain medications e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen
  • Strong emotions and stress
  • Airborne substances
  • Respiratory infections
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some food and drinks

RISK FACTORS

  • Blood relative with asthma
  • Allergic condition e.g. atopic dermatitis
  • Overweight
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke, exhaust fumes and occupational triggers.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR

  • If you think you or your baby have asthma
  • To monitor asthma after diagnosis
  • If symptoms get worst
  • To review treatment

Severe asthma attacks can be life threatening and you may need to visit the emergency room sometimes. Signs to know emergency asthma

  • Rapid worsening of shortness of breath
  • Frequent use of inhaler without improvement
  • Shortness of breath when participating in minimal physical activity

TREATMENT

Inhaler is used to generally treat asthma. An inhaler is a device that allows an asthma patient to breath in medicine to relieve symptoms. The two main types include;

  • Reliever inhaler: this is used to quickly relieve asthma symptoms for a short period
  • Preventer inhaler: this is used daily to prevent the symptoms of asthma from occurring

COMPLICATIONS

  • Symptoms may interfere with work, sleep, school or recreational activity
  • Emergency room visits
  • Side effects from long term use of medications

PREVENTION

There is no prevention for asthma, but the symptoms can be managed to lead a standard life

  • Follow asthma action plan
  • Get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia
  • Identify and avoid triggers
  • Monitor breathing
  • Identify and treat attack early
  • Take prescribed medication
  • Monitor increasing use of relief inhaler

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