Living With Asthma and Keeping it Under Control
Asthma Attack Triggers and Treatments
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes the airways to constrict while excess mucus builds up. As a result, the condition can lead to coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Some people experience relatively mild asthma attack symptoms, but for others, there may be severe asthma symptoms that can be debilitating.
Asthma cannot be cured, but it can definitely be kept under control. It’s important to know all about asthma signs and symptoms and how to treat and effectively manage them.
Asthma symptoms generally vary depending on the individual. Some people may have frequent severe asthma attack symptoms while others have mild asthma attack symptoms. Others may only experience signs and symptoms at certain times, such as while exercising, if their condition is exercise-induced. In general, asthma signs and symptoms include the following:
- Chest tightness or chest pain.
- Coughing and wheezing that can worsen with a respiratory viral condition like the flu or a cold or from something as mundane as laughing too hard.
- Shortness of breath.
- Whistling sound and wheezing while inhaling and exhaling.
- Difficulty sleeping that is caused by coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Severe asthma attack symptoms adults experience can come about as a result of not receiving a maintenance medication, excessive activity or a bad cold or other illness that goes directly to the lungs. There are additional signs that asthma may be getting worse that include the following:
- Asthma symptoms are increasingly present and becoming more bothersome.
- The individual feels the need to use their inhaler more frequently.
- Breathing has become more and more difficult, with a peak flow meter showing that when the individual gets a breathing test with an allergist.
Some symptoms of asthma only appear in certain situations, such as the following:
- Exercise-induced asthma, which can worsen when the air is dry and cold.
- Occupational asthma, which is triggered by irritants like dust, certain gases and chemical fumes at the individual’s workplace.
- Allergy-induced asthma, which is triggered by allergens like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander and other allergen substances.
When to See a Doctor
Certain asthma attack symptoms can be severe and require immediate medical attention. This is because severe asthma symptoms can be life-threatening.
It’s important to see your doctor and work with him or her to decide what course of action to take when your symptoms flare up. You also have to work together to determine what you need to do when you require emergency treatment.
Severe asthma attack symptoms adults and children can experience include the following:
- Wheezing and shortness of breath that worsens quickly.
- No relief after using a rescue inhaler.
- Shortness of breath even when performing minimal activities.
There are a variety of treatments available for asthma that can alleviate asthma attack symptoms. Many of these have proven effective even in providing relief to individuals who suffer from severe asthma attack symptoms.
Additionally, prevention is key to stopping symptoms before they even manifest. This means you must learn what triggers your asthma and to ensure that you are taking the right preventative medication to keep it under control. You should also have a rescue inhaler on hand at all times in case of an attack.
The following long-term asthma control medications may be used to manage your condition and keep your symptoms at bay:
- Inhaled corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory medications that are inhaled. They require use for a few days to weeks before providing you with the desired effect and have fewer side effects.
- Leukotriene modifiers: These are oral medications that can help to alleviate symptoms for up to 24 hours.
- Long-acting beta agonists: These are inhaled drugs that open up your airways. They are meant for use with an inhaled corticosteroid.
- Combination inhalers: Combination inhalers are made with a combination of a long-acting beta agonist and corticosteroid.
- Theophylline: This is an oral medication that keeps the airways open by relaxing muscles around them.
When you work with your doctor and take the right medication that works for you, your asthma symptoms can be managed. You can enjoy a normal life without worry.