What is asthma?
People with asthma have inflamed and swollen airways that are hypersensitive. They become sensitive to things that usually do not bother other people. In addition, when the airways become irritated, they react by getting narrower. This condition results in wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and trouble breathing. Exercise, cold air, infections, aspirin, smoke, and other irritants such as perfume or pet dander can bring on asthma attacks. Nevertheless, medications and Ventolin evohaler can help ease the symptoms.
How common is asthma in the UK?
Asthma is currently the most common long-term condition in the UK. For example, one in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults has asthma. It is clear why finding alternative ways to deal with this respiratory infection is becoming more and more necessary.
What are some of the symptoms of asthma?
The main symptom is wheezing, which may start quickly during an asthma attack. Other symptoms may include the following-
- High-pitched sound
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Some people with asthma also have a feeling of not being able to get enough air. Nevertheless, using medications and rescue treatments such as Ventolin evohaler can relieve your symptoms.
How does asthma affect people’s lives?
People with asthma often miss school or days off work because of their symptoms, including breathlessness. They might also need to take time off for hospital treatment. Asthma can harm people’s lives by limiting how they feel, what they can do, and how long they live. However, it is possible to control the condition with the correct treatment.
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma attack is a sudden and severe episode of asthma symptoms. They can include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. In addition, an asthma attack can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
What are the signs of an asthma attack?
The signs of an asthma attack can vary from person to person. However, use your Ventolin evohaler immediately when you expect to get an attack. Symptoms may include-
Coughing usually starts dry but can become wet and productive of mucus (phlegm). The cough may be critical in the hours of darkness.
Wheezing is a sharp shrilling noise when you breathe. It often gets louder as the attack becomes worse. Moreover, each breath you take may feel different.
- Chest tightness
Chest tightness is pressure or pain. It is common to experience chest tightness in the center of your chest, around where your heart is. Moreover, you may also feel it in your throat or neck. The ache can be jagged or dull and range from placid to critical. The pain often worsens when you breathe, cough, or make any other movement that puts pressure on your chest.
It can be mild to severe and is often the first symptom of an asthma attack. Your ability to get enough air into your lungs may become more difficult. In addition, it may feel like you are working too hard or not getting enough air while you are resting. Use your Ventolin evohaler as soon as possible if you experience shortness of breath.
If you have asthma, even everyday tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs or carrying groceries may leave you feeling short of breath.
Many people with asthma feel panicky or scared during an attack because they cannot breathe.
What can trigger an asthma attack?
The list of asthma triggers is a long one. Thousands of substances can trigger an asthma attack.
- Keeping a diary can help
The best way is to keep a diary of when you have your attacks. Make a note of the things that seem to come on them. However, this is not always easy. Some people find it hard enough to get out of bed in the mornings.
- Contact your doctor
If you are finding it tough to identify your triggers, your doctor may be able to help. He or she may suggest doing some allergy tests or exposure tests to see what sets off your asthma.
Once you know your triggers, avoid them. Moreover, carry your Ventolin evohaler when you go outside your home, especially in winters or in a polluted area.
- If you have allergies, you can try taking medication
- If the weather has been dry, keeping a humidifier in your room might help
However, you could try staying indoors more often or getting a humidifier. Alternatively, if it is cold or wintery outside, wearing warm clothes might help. Some people find exercising outside when it is warm and sunny is a trigger. Therefore, if you are one of these people, try exercising indoors or at cooler times of the day. If pollution is your problem, try to avoid busy streets and areas with a lot of traffic.
Asthma triggers can vary from person to person. Therefore, it is significant to see what yours are and take steps to avoid them.
Your doctor will be able to offer advice and suggest things you can do to help identify your triggers. However, remember, the best way to manage asthma is to treat it effectively with preventer inhalers such as Ventolin evohaler or tablets (controller medicines) all year round.
What if your asthma attacks are frequent?
If you find your asthma attacks are happening more often than ever now and again, it may be a good idea to go back, see your doctor. Let him or her check your condition is under control.
How is asthma diagnosed?
Asthma is diagnosed with-
- A detailed medical history of symptoms and triggers (such as allergies or eczema)
- Blood tests to measure components such as eosinophils or IgE to exclude other conditions
- A lung function test
This test involves measuring the amount, rate, and depth of breaths you can do in a certain time. It can show how much your lungs are affected by asthma.
Diagnostic tests are significant to rule out the possible cause. While you and your doctor await the results, he or she may recommend using medications and probably Ventolin evohaler for emergency cases.
Spirometry is the most common test. Here, your doctor may ask you to blow into a tube. At the same time, a machine measures your breathing. It may show how well your lungs are working.
- An X-ray of your chest
Doctors do this test to check for other problems, which could be causing your symptoms, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
- A skin prick test to check for allergies
This test can help measure how well your asthma is controlled and how much medicine you need. Your doctor may ask you to take a dose of medicine, which will open your airways (bronchodilator), and then breathe into a machine that measures how well your lungs work.
If you have allergic asthma, always carry your Ventolin evohaler whenever you go outside your home. It becomes crucial, particularly in winters and springs.
- A test called exhaled nitric oxide
Exhaled nitric oxide test examines the proportion of nitric oxide in your breath. Nitric oxide is a gas made by cells inside your airways. These are called epithelial cells. If you have levels of nitric oxide in the breath, it indicates that you have asthma. This helps to confirm the diagnosis.
- A CT scan
A CT scan uses powerful computer technology to create images of your body. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have a severe attack. Moreover, you may also undergo this test to check for other problems such as an enlarged heart.
How can asthma be treated?
Usually medications are one of the best asthma treatment that you can avail. They are inhaled by either a metered-dose inhaler or an asthma spacer. However, oral medications are also used sometimes. Doctors may also prescribe several different types of medication to treat asthma symptoms. Most children outgrow their symptoms by the time they are 18. However, many adults have asthma for the rest of their lives.
There are two basic types of medications, which can treat asthma. They are-
- Quick-relief medications
- Long-term control medications
Quick-relief medications are also known as rescue medications. They are used to provide short-term relief from asthma symptoms. Moreover, these medications work quickly to open up the airways in your lungs so you can breathe easier.
Short-acting beta-agonists are the most common type of rescue medication. These medications include-
- Albuterol (Ventolin evohaler, Proventil)
- Levalbuterol (Xopenex)
- Pirbuterol (Maxair)
In addition, other short-acting adrenergic bronchodilators include terbutaline (Brethine) and isoproterenol (Isuprel).
Long-term control medications
Long-term control medications are used to prevent asthma symptoms from happening in the first place. These medications work overtime to keep the airways in your lungs open. However, the most common type of long-term control medication is an inhaled corticosteroid. Other long-term control medications include-
- Long-acting beta-agonists
- Comolyn sodium (Intal)
- Nedocromil sodium (Tilade)
There are various forms of asthma medications. Nevertheless, your doctor may help you figure out which medications are best for you. It is significant to take your medications as prescribed, even if you feel better. Skipping doses or not taking your medications can make your asthma worse.
How lethal can skipping asthma medications be?
Skipping asthma medications can be deadly. However, it is one of the leading causes of death for people with asthma. When you do not take your medications and use Ventolin evohaler as prescribed, you are putting yourself at risk for a serious asthma attack.
In addition, skipping your medications can also lead to other health problems. When you do not take your medications, you put yourself at risk of developing other respiratory infections. These infections can make your asthma worse and can even lead to death.
If you have a respiratory infection, it is vital to take your medications as prescribed. Neglecting your medications can be deadly. Moreover, make sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your medications.
How can you prevent asthma?
Along with using your Ventolin evohaler and taking your medications, you need to implement some preventive measures to avoid asthma attacks. By following these 10 easy steps, you can prevent asthma and significantly reduce your risk of an asthma attack-
- Clean your surroundings
Keep the floors and walls free of dust. Moreover, wash surfaces with soap and water, especially if someone in your household has asthma.
- Avoid triggers
Avoid long-term exposure to cockroaches, rodents, and molds by controlling these pests in your home.
- Keep a check on the temperature
Put plastic covers over mattress and pillows. Now, wash your bedding weekly at hot temperatures. Keep it at least 60 degrees C or 140 degrees F.
- Wash rugs and carpets weekly
Rinse the rugs and carpets at least once a week. It will help avoid the triggers such as cockroaches ‘ waste. Moreover, if you have pets at home, cleaning rugs and carpets become more crucial.
- Take medications on time
Take your prescribed medications as directed and keep a Ventolin evohaler with you at all times. In addition, see your doctor regularly for checkups and get a flu shot every year.
- Look for a humidifier
Set up a home humidifier to reduce indoor air dryness. It makes breathing more difficult during the winter months. A clean furnace also can help by sending particles from dust and dander up through the vent system.
- Keep your pet clean
Grooming your pet with a damp cloth rather than a brush can cut down on allergens in your home.
- Do not go outside when the air value is pitiable
Pollution can trigger an asthma attack. Therefore, if you have such a respiratory infection, avoid going outside if you see air quality poor.
- Get over nicotine addiction
Quit smoking and avoiding being around people who are smoking can help put off the risk of a severe attack.
Asthma is a frequent lung sickness that causes difficulty breathing. It is caused by inflammation in the airways, making the airway muscles twitch and narrow. Moreover, it makes it difficult to move air in and out of the lungs. The condition further leads to wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath.
There is no cure for asthma. However, medications and Ventolin evohaler can manage many of the symptoms. That is why people with asthma need to get help so they can lead active lives.