Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that makes breathing very difficult for many people. Asthma occurs at any age but is more common in children than adults. According to research, nearly one in thirteen school-age children have asthma and the rate is also rising in preschool-aged children. The exact cause of this disease is not known. There is no cure for asthma, but asthma attacks can be prevented and controlled with proper diagnosis, treatment, education and close monitoring so that people can lead normal and healthy lives.
Asthma is a life-threatening disease but it can be managed to minimize the symptoms so that people living with the disease can make lifestyle changes and proper medication to live active and productive lives. How to prevent an asthma attack will help you to identify what is causing your symptoms, so keep on reading.
According to research, more than twenty-six million Americans have asthma. This causes millions of lost school and work days every year and it is also the third leading cause of children to be admitted to hospital. Working with your doctor is the key to manage your asthma successfully. You can find out what is causing the problem that put you at risk for your asthma attack, the steps to take when you have symptoms and know when to seek immediate help for your condition.
During an asthma attack, the airway to the lungs narrowed, inflamed and swollen. Most people experience a tight feeling in the chest, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing and fear that sometimes is close to panic. This is not a pleasant experience for anyone. Having an episode of asthma can last minutes or even days. Asthma symptoms can be different for each person, but wheezing is one of the most common ones, where you may notice a whistling sound when you breathe. This can sometimes happen when you exercise or have a cold as well.
What can cause your symptoms
When people with asthma are exposed to triggers, (something that irritates the lungs) they will experience an asthma attack. For people with asthma, respiratory infections, allergens, chemicals, strong odors, molds, physical activity, emotions, seasonal changes, air pollution, and smoking can irritate the lungs. These are triggers because they cause changes in the airways. Understanding what triggers your asthma, will help you manage your disease. Talk with your doctor to identify your triggers and work on ways to avoid these triggers, or limit your exposure to it. Allergy testing may help you to identify your triggers. Your doctor can help you recognize what makes your allergy worse and help you find solutions to reduce and avoid your asthma attacks.
Some of the risk factors for asthma
Although the exact cause of asthma is not known, according to research, several factors are included such as obesity, genetics, allergic reactions, airborne irritants such as pet dander, dust mites, mold, chemicals and air pollution, smoking during pregnancy, and frequent respiratory infections as a child.
What are flare-ups or asthma attacks
When you experience a trigger, the insides of your airways swell more. This makes the space for air to move in and out of the lungs much smaller. The muscles that wrap around your airways also can tighten, making it much harder to breathe. This is called an asthma flare-up or an asthma attack. You may feel tired after an attack and may be at greater risk of having another flare-up for several days after having an episode. After a flare-up, you should avoid triggers and monitor your symptoms to prevent further attacks.
Know the warning signs
Most asthma attacks start slowly, and you can often stop an episode by using your medication. Anyone with asthma should learn and know the warning signs, which include, wheezing, a faster than normal breathing, an itchy or a sore throat, tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, coughing, or a drop in your peak flow rate. This is measured by a device called a peak flow meter (spirometry). When you blow into this device, it measures the amount of air you can blow out, which is called a peak flow rate. This is a good device to have. You can talk to your doctor about this when you are working on your plan. The best advice for most people at the first sign of an attack is to take their medication and rest.
How to manage and prevent attacks
Many people can reduce attacks by avoiding what triggers the attacks such as allergens (dust mites, molds, etc), smoke, viruses and other respiratory infections, foods or medication that trigger attacks and emotional stress. To avoid irritants, wear a face mask when you are doing gardening or mowing the lawn and stay away from damp weedy areas. Try to stay indoors on hot windy days if you have allergies, and plan your activities for later in the evening. Allergies can cause the lining of your bronchial tubes to become swollen, which can lead to an attack.
Knowing and managing triggers is a key part of asthma management. You will have to focus on the triggers or factors in the environment that will bring on asthma symptoms. Triggers are different for each person, and they can be indoors or outdoors. Make sure you have your inhaler with you at all times, if you use one. If you have an attack, it is important to relax and breathe slowly. If you can do this, try to concentrate on relaxing your entire body while taking deep breaths. Try pursing your lips as if you are whistling. Breathing through the small opening forces air to stay in your lungs keeping the breathing tubes open. According to research, drinking warm fluids, like warm tea, can be helpful to make your bronchial tubes relax. Coffee is the best warm beverage because the caffeine in the coffee is a natural bronchodilator.
Take care if you have to exercise
Many people who have asthma tend to avoid exercise because they find that it makes them feel too tired and out of breath, but it is a good idea to exercise regularly, and as time goes by it will help to make your breathing much easier. Walking is always an ideal exercise. Keep a scarf or a mask over your mouth and nose to help warm the air before it reaches your lungs. If it is too difficult to walk, try swimming as the warm humid air you breathe while swimming helps to relax the airways in your lungs.
Try to learn as much as you can about what brings on a problem for you and know what precautions can lessen the frequency and severity of attacks, so if you have an attack, you will know how to deal with it. After you have learned about your asthma and taking the right steps to manage the disease, make sure the places you visit most often do not increase your chances of an asthma emergency.
Although there is no cure for asthma, the disease can be controlled with drug therapy, rest, relaxation, and avoidance of what is causing the problem. Bronchodilators may be used to enlarge the bronchial tubes to relieve distress. Expectorants may also be prescribed to thin secretions to make it much easier to cough up. How to prevent an asthma attack should help you to know your symptoms to decrease distress. Work with your doctor to get the help and treatment you need and learn what you can do to create a healthy living environment for you and your family.
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and Wellness, Success, and to help others succeed as well. Learn how to build a successful business online. Click here to know how.