We all understand that we need to breathe to live. But what happens if the airways responsible for carrying air into and our lungs don’t work properly?
Well, that’s what asthma can do.
Although many of us have heard about this disease, there are still many key aspects that we must understand and important information that we must know.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease, considered a chronic lifelong breathing problem, that derives from inflammation of the lungs’ airways.
We can say that when a person has asthma, their airways are susceptible, and they can react to many things or “triggers.”
Asthma causes uncomfortable symptoms that, in some cases, can also be dangerous. However, although it is a disease that cannot be cured, there are some ways to control it.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma symptoms can vary from patient to patient. Nonetheless, we can list some as follows:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Chest tightness.
- Cough that lasts for a long period of time.
- Coughing at night or after exercising.
- Chronic cough.
- Colds of more than 10 days that go into the chest.
How do I know if I have asthma?
A doctor is the only person trained to diagnose a patient with asthma.
If you go for a checkup to see if you have asthma, your doctor will want to know if you cough a lot, have breathing problems after physical activity, if someone in your family has or has had asthma or allergies, among other things.
Your doctor can also perform spirometry, a breathing test that aims to find out if the lungs are working well by measuring respiratory volumes and flows before and after taking asthma medications.
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma “attack” or episode is the term used to define when asthma symptoms increase.
As mentioned, each person can experience different symptoms, and these can be mild or severe.
Asthma attacks can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers, and these “triggers” can also be different than someone else’s.
Anyone can have a severe asthma attack, even if they have been diagnosed with mild asthma.
Attacks can start suddenly or slowly, and they can come back even after the first one is gone – and the second one could be even worse.
What to do during an asthma attack?
People should know their triggers so they can control the situation.
They also need to be careful when they can’t avoid triggers. You can create an action plan to control an asthma attack before it occurs.
Talk to your doctor about what to do to manage asthma symptoms if they appear. Some useful tips are:
- Keep calm and try to relax. Panic can make breathing worse.
- Tell family members or co-workers that you have asthma to get help if you need it.
- Take the quick-relief medication as directed by your doctor.
- Call your doctor if the medicine does not work in ten minutes.
Remember to always talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what you can do to treat them.
As explained, asthma is an incurable disease that can affect children, youth, and adults at any stage of their lives. However, there are many ways to control it. Follow your doctor’s instructions to stay safe if you have an asthma attack!