Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects people of all ages. The condition results in the narrowing of airways, which restricts airflow to the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and causing symptoms like coughing, wheezing, production of extra mucus and shortness of breath. This condition develops when there is inflammation, swelling or tightening of the muscles in the air passage. A variety of factors increase and cause the risk of asthma, and there is no known cure developed to reverse its effects. Thus, recognizing the symptoms in time and receiving the correct treatment is the best way to effectively manage such a condition.
Asthma symptoms vary from person to person, but here are some commonly experienced symptoms:
- Coughing- Coughing in asthma is usually dry but may also be associated with hyper-secretion of mucus caused by inflammation of the airways.
- Wheezing- Wheezing is a whistling high-pitched sound that is experienced while breathing and is a common symptom of asthma in children.
- Shortness of breath- Difficulty in breathing may occur only during intense exercise or while the body has caught an infection.
- Tightness, pain, or pressure in your chest- Pressure on the chest is caused due to contraction of the airway muscles.
- Trouble sleeping because of breathing problems- Symptoms like coughing and breathlessness often make it impossible to sleep at night.
In case your body shows any symptoms, consult a doctor as soon as possible and develop an asthma action plan, if needed.
Understand your triggers and learn to avoid them
An asthma trigger is any substance or irritant that causes the exacerbation of asthma symptoms. Triggers vary from individual to individual but some commonly found triggers are as follows:
This is a broad category including pet dander, mould, cockroach waste and the following:
- Paint- The fumes in paint can easily trigger asthma.
- Dust mites- You can avoid these by keeping your surroundings clean and dust free.
- Spices- Some spices like cinnamon and cardamom can cause asthmatic attacks.
- Air fresheners- These are used to eradicate bad odours but can also irritate the respiratory system.
- Smoke- Another commonly experienced irritant known to intensify asthma symptoms.
- Exercise-Do not perform over intensive activities.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease-A condition wherein stomach acids build up and affect parts of your throat.
Learn the correct use of inhalers
Your doctor can show you how to use your inhaler correctly so that the medication reaches the airways and eliminates the irritants while reducing the inflammation. Request your doctor to observe you while using your inhaler so that he or she can advise you on how to enhance your inhalation technique.
Smoking and asthma do not go well. If you smoke and have asthma, you should quit smoking since it will help minimize the danger asthma puts you in. Smoking causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs, thus aggravating asthma. This renders asthma medication redundant as it reverses the effects of the medicine. If you have asthma but don’t smoke, you should avoid any and all external sources of smoke as well because they can make your condition more severe.
Each day, record your symptoms in an asthma journal. Keeping track of your symptoms; this might help you determine when you need to create or change your asthma treatment plan. Keep track of your symptoms and show your journal to your doctor so that he can suggest more specific medication.
Using a Peak Flow Meter
Peak-flow meters are small, handheld devices used to monitor asthma. It measures the peak expiratory flow rate, which indicates how much obstruction is present in the lungs.
A healthy individual has a peak flow of between 350 and 650 l/min. Asthmatics have peak flows of between 200 and 400 l/min. A severe attack might even result in a peak flow of less than 100 l/min.
A person with asthma needs to be committed to the asthma treatment required in order to achieve a successful outcome. This will also improve the quality of life for the patient.