What Do You Want to Know About Asthma?

Overview: Asthma Symptoms & Treatment

Asthma Symptoms & Treatment: Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways to the lungs. Know About Asthma and Shop Asthma medications.  It makes breathing difficult and can make some physical activities difficult or even impossible.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 27 million Americans who trust the source have asthma. It is the most common chronic condition among American children: 1 child from every 12 trusted sources has asthma.

To understand asthma, you must understand a little what happens when you breathe.

Normally, with each breath you take, the air passes through the nose and down into the throat, into the airways, finally reaching the lungs. There are many small air passages in the lungs that help transport oxygen from the air into the bloodstream.

Asthma symptoms occur when the lining of the airways swells and the muscles around it tighten. Then, the mucus fills the airways, further reducing the amount of air that can pass.

Typical of Asthma

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These conditions cause an “attack” of asthma, cough, and chest tightness that is typical of asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to enter and leave the lungs.

If you have asthma, your airways are always inflamed. They swell even more and the muscles around the airways can tense when something triggers your symptoms.  This makes it difficult for air to enter and leave the lungs, causing symptoms such as cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and/or chest tightness.

For many asthma sufferers, the timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity. And, some healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when they exercise. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) or exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Staying active is an important way to stay healthy, so asthma should not keep you out. Your doctor can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during, and after physical activity.

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  • People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more likely to develop asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies. This is called allergic asthma.
  • Occupational asthma is caused by the inhalation of fumes, gases, dust, or other potentially harmful substances during work.
  • Childhood asthma affects millions of children and their families. In fact, most children who develop asthma do so before the age of five.
  • An allergist/immunologist is the best-qualified doctor to diagnose and treat asthma. With the help of your allergist, you can control your condition and participate in normal activities.

Asthma Symptoms & Treatment

According to leading asthma experts, asthma symptoms and the best treatment for you or your child can be quite different from those of other people with asthma. The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a squeaky or whistling sound when you breathe. Other symptoms include:

  • Short of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing
  • Asthma symptoms, also called asthma outbreaks or asthma attacks, are often caused by allergies and exposure to allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen, or mold. Non-allergic triggers include smoke, pollution or cold air, or changes in the weather.
  • Asthma symptoms may get worse during exercise when you have a cold or during times of high stress.
  • Children with asthma may show the same symptoms as adults with asthma: cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. In some children, chronic cough may be the only symptom.

If your child has one or more of these common symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist/immunologist.

  • Wheezing or wheezing when your child exhales
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may be associated with exercise.
  • Chest tightness (a young child may say that his chest “hurts” or “feels fun”)
  • Fatigue (your child may slow down or stop playing)
  • Feeding problems or grunts during feeding (babies)
  • Avoid sports or social activities.
  • Trouble sleeping due to cough or shortness of breath

Patterns in asthma symptoms are important and can help your doctor make a diagnosis. Pay attention to when symptoms occur:

  • At night or early in the morning.
  • During or after exercise
  • During certain seasons
  • After laughing or crying
  • When exposed to common asthma triggers

Asthma Symptoms & Treatment

An allergist diagnoses asthma by taking a complete medical history and performing breathing tests to measure how well your lungs work.

One of these tests is called spirometry. You will breathe deeply and blow on a sensor to measure the amount of air your lungs can hold and the speed of the air you inhale or exhale. This test diagnoses the severity of asthma and measures how well the treatment is working.

Many people with asthma also have allergies, so their doctor can perform allergy tests. Treatment of the underlying allergic triggers of your asthma will help you avoid asthma symptoms.

 Know About Asthma: Treat Asthma

There is no cure for asthma, but the symptoms can be controlled with effective treatment and management of asthma. This involves taking your medications as directed and learning to avoid the triggers that cause your asthma symptoms. Your allergist will prescribe the best medications for your condition and provide specific instructions for using them.

Control medications are taken daily and include inhaled corticosteroids (fluticasone (Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA, Arnuity Ellipta), budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler), mometasone (Asmanex), ciclesonide (Alvesco), flunisolide (Aerobid), beclomethasone (Qvar), and others).

LABAs should never be prescribed as the only therapy for asthma. Current recommendations are to be used only together with inhaled corticosteroids. Combined medications include fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair Diskus, Advair HFA), fluticasone and vilanterol (Breo Ellipta), budesonide, and formoterol (Symbicort), and mometasone and formoterol (Dulera).

Quick-relief or rescue medications are used to quickly relax and open the airways and relieve symptoms during an asthma attack or are taken before exercising if prescribed. These inhaled bronchodilators (Brong-Koh-DIE-lay-tur) include albuterol (ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, others), levalbuterol (Xopenex HFA), and pirbuterol (Maxair Autohaler). Quick-relief medications do not replace control medications. If you rely on rescue relief more than twice a week, it’s time to see your allergist.

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Asthma Medications

Oral and intravenous corticosteroids may be necessary for acute asthma outbreaks or for severe symptoms. Examples include prednisone and methylprednisolone. They can cause serious side effects if used long-term.

These include omalizumab (Xolair) for allergic asthma and the drugs bevacizumab (Fasenra), mepolizumab (Nucala), and reslizumab (Cinqair) if your asthma occurs in association with the presence of cells called eosinophils in a blood test.

If you are pregnant, you may doubt about taking medications, including those for asthma. This can be a mistake for your health and that of your future baby. Continue to take your prescribed asthma medications and make an appointment with your allergist to discuss treatments that will help you have a healthy pregnancy.

People with asthma are at risk of developing complications from respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. That is why it is important that people with asthma, especially adults, get vaccinated annually. With the right treatment, you can minimize your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

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Topics:  Asthma, chronic disease, asthma symptoms, allergic asthma, asthma attacks, Asthma Treatment, Treats Asthma, treat asthma, asthma medications

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