Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes narrowing and inflammation in your airways, leading to production of excess mucus. Although the condition has no cure, its symptoms can be controlled to ensure that you maintain a normal life. This article explores facts related to asthma symptoms and treatment.
The symptoms of asthma vary from one patient to another, and may be continuous or may only last for a short moment. The symptoms that you may experience as an asthma patient include shortness of breath; thoracic tightness and pain; wheezing sound when breathing out, especially in children; and difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing. When your asthma is characterized by the need to use an inhaler, worsening difficulty breathing and frequent symptoms, it implies that the condition is deteriorating.
As an asthmatic, you may experience worsening symptoms of this condition after exposure to allergens such as pollen and cockroaches, or after undertaking physical exercise. Chemical fumes, dust and scents found in your workplace may also trigger the symptoms of asthma.
Because asthma can be life-threatening, especially in severe cases, it is advisable for you to seek immediate medical attention when the symptoms persist. Scenarios indicating that you need emergency medical attention include lack of improvement despite using an inhaler, and occurrence of shortness of breath resulting from light physical exercise. You are also a candidate of emergency treatment when you experience shortness of breath that deteriorates quickly.
Seeking emergency medical care when the symptoms of asthma worsen enables you to receive early diagnosis and treatment. This prevents you from developing asthma-related complications such as airway remodeling, which is a condition in which the airways become permanently narrow, and side effects resulting from prolonged use of asthma medications.
Prior to visiting a doctor, be sure to prepare for the appointment. To do this, you should make a record of all the symptoms you experience because the doctor may want to know them, and write down all medications and dietary supplements you take, as well as the questions you intend to ask the doctor. The symptoms you experience help the doctor in the diagnosis of your asthma.
During the appointment, the doctor may want to know the symptoms you experience, certain things or activities that worsen the symptoms and when the symptoms started. Other information that the doctor may want to know includes whether your symptoms are sporadic or continuous, your family’s asthma history, other chronic conditions you suffer from and things that improve your symptoms.
The treatment of asthma focuses on relieving the symptoms by learning to avoid your triggers and monitoring your condition to ensure you can live a normal life. The treatments for asthma include medications and bronchial thermoplasty. The medications that a doctor may prescribe in the treatment of your asthma depend on factors such as your symptoms, age and triggers. Asthma medications include long-term asthma control medications, quick-relief medications and allergy medications.
The long-term asthma control medications are taken on daily basis to keep the condition under control throughout, reducing the chances of asthma attack. These medications include leukotriene modifiers such as montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton; combination inhalers including luticasone-salmeterol, formoterol-mometasone and budesonide-formoterol; and inhaled corticosteroids, which fight inflammation and include fluticasone, flunisolide, ciclesonide and budesonide.
The quick-relief medications act quickly to relieve asthma symptoms on short-term basis. You can take these medications when an asthma attack occurs or just prior to physical exercise as your doctor may recommend. Ipratropium and short-acting beta agonists are some of the quick-relief medications you can take to relieve your asthma symptoms.
The allergy medications are appropriate when allergens cause your asthma. Examples include allergy shots, which stop the response of your immune system to allergens, and omalizumab, which works by distorting the normal functioning of your immune system.
Bronchial thermoplasty is rare treatment and not all asthma patients are candidates for it. It is applicable in severe cases of asthma where other treatment methods such as the use of long-term asthma medications or inhaled corticosteroids fail to be effective. This treatment method works by preventing the airways from constricting. This way, you can breathe with ease and avoid asthma attacks.
Some natural remedies can bring relief from asthma symptoms. Caffeine is by far one of the most cost-effective natural treatments. Numerous studies have proven that caffeine can improve lung function. Unfortunately, experts don’t recommend caffeine as a substitute for doctor-prescribed medications. It’s more for temporarily relief opposed to long-term control of asthma.
Performing yoga is a great way to help overcome asthma. It can lower stress, which is a well-known cause of asthma flare-ups. The deep breathing exercises may also help you to control symptoms. Research shows that yoga can actually reduce your dependence on asthma inhalers.
Taking vitamin D supplements is yet another natural way to control your asthma symptoms. During a study performed by London researchers, it was found that vitamin D dramatically lowers the risk of an asthma attack. In fact, participants in the study were 50 percent less likely to be hospitalized. Although sunlight naturally triggers your body to produce vitamin D, excessive exposure to the sun increases your risk of skin cancer. This is why vitamin D supplements are encouraged. Salmon and eggs are also packed with this vital nutrient.
If you have asthma, consider adjusting your diet. Certain foods can help clear mucus from the lungs, which will ultimately improve your breathing. Some of the foods that help get rid of phlegm include garlic, onions, lemon, celery, and watercress. On the other hand, stay away from processed foods that contain sulfites. These compounds can trigger wheezing and full-blown asthma attacks.