Common Conditions

Asthma: Symptoms, Treatment, Medication & Inhalers

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airway of the lungs. Asthma causes breathing difficulty and performing some physical activities hard or impossible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that nearly 27 million Americans suffer from asthma. It is also found to be a common illness among American children: 1 out of every 12 children has asthma.

To understand and learn more about asthma, its symptoms, and causes, it is important to understand what happens when you breathe. 

Typically, when you breathe, air goes into your nose, passes through your throat, airways, and finally into your lungs. Your lungs are also lined by various other minute air passages that carry oxygen from the air to your bloodstream.

Asthma is the condition when the lining of your airways swell and the muscles around them tighten. The airways are then filled by mucus. This reduces the amount of air that can pass through. In severe cases, these conditions can also lead to an asthma attack.

Symptoms

The symptoms of asthma vary from individual to individual. Asthma sufferers have varying degrees of attacks and frequencies of attacks. The signs and symptoms of asthma include the following.

· Chest pain or tightness

· A wheezing sound when exhaling

· Shortness of breath

· Sleeping trouble due to coughing or wheezing

· Coughing or wheezing attacks

The following are signs your asthma is worsening or getting severe:

· Asthma symptoms showing up more frequently.

· Using the quick-relief inhaler more regularly.

· Difficulty in breathing increases and worsens.

Certain situations can flare up asthma symptoms as well. Occupational asthma is asthma that triggered by irritants found in the workplace. Common triggers are chemicals, gases, dust and fumes. Exercise-induced asthma is asthma that worsens in cold or dry air. Allergy-induced asthma is induced by substances present in the air. These substances may include pollen, particles of skin, mold spores, cockroach waste, pet dander, and other similar irritants.

Treatment

There are three categories of treatment equipped to cure asthma. These categories are: first-aid treatments, breathing exercises, and asthma control medications. Your doctor will determine the best treatment method suitable for you. They will take into account which asthma you suffer from, your triggers and your age. 

Here is a look at each treatment type:

First-Aid Treatments: These medications are used during events of an asthma attack. The treatment included in this category provide quick relief and help you breathe normally again. Rescue inhalers, bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory, and nebulizers relax the tightened muscles and improve the inflammation preventing your breathing. People suffering from an asthma attack should sit upright and a rescue inhaler or nebulizer administered to them. Two to six puffs of the medication will help ease the symptoms. In case the symptoms persist (for 20+ minutes), give another round of medication.

Breathing Exercises: Through practice, breathing exercises help you breathe more air in and out of your lungs. Though it takes time, it can increase your lung capacity and cut down severe asthma symptoms.

Asthma Control Medication: If taken daily, these medications prevent symptoms from surfacing. Some rescue treatments mentioned above like inhalers and nebulizers can also be used daily. However, based on how severe your asthma is, the dosage will be adjusted by your doctor.

Severe asthma attacks can act as a possible threat to your life. Thus, you need to work with your doctor to figure out what to do when asthma symptoms worsen. During emergency asthma attacks, don’t wait to get an appointment with your doctor. For immediate care and treatment come to BASS Advanced Urgent Care.