What is a Nocturnal Asthma?


Waking up in the night breathless, coughing and wheezing are some indications that you have nocturnal asthma. More commonly known as knighting asthma, nocturnal asthma gets worse during the night. IIeen Gilbert, MD and pulmonary specialist at Froedtert and Medical College Wisconsin proclaims that even in healthier people, lung functions best between noon and 4 pm while it’s the worst between 3 and 4 in the morning.

The decrease in body’s circadian rhythm which is responsible for hormone production to ebb and flow is one of the prime reasons for diminished lung functionality. The hormones that protect against asthma symptoms are at their lowest during the late-night hours. Therefore, having asthma it’s quite probable that you wake up coughing and wheezing during these wee hours in the morning.

Nocturnal asthma can also be caused if you have a sinus infection or postnasal drip. Lying down flat allows nasal secretions to accumulate in the nostril airways causing trouble during the sleep. Having pet allergies and sleeping with your pet dog or cat in the same room can worsen the situation if you are asthmatic patient. Clifford Bassett, MD, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care Centre New York states that dust mites in the bedding are another prime reason for nocturnal asthma.

The diagnosis of asthma is performed using peak flow meter which is also used for nighttime asthma diagnosis. As part of the asthma care plan, patients are provided with peak flow meter which is basically handheld devices. These devices are used to monitor the severity of narrowing or spasm of airways during different times of the day.

Recent studies have indicated that around 30 to 70 percent patients report suffering from nighttime asthma at least once a month. Nocturnal asthma isn’t a stand-alone asthmatic problem but rather you can have it in case you have any other form of asthma. You can have exercise-induced asthma, occupational, non-allergic asthma and still have nighttime asthmatic episodes.

Gilbert emphasized the fact that having non-controlled asthma can result in nocturnal asthma. You need to be vigilant to note down the patterns in your asthmatic attacks to deduce reasonable conclusions. If you experience nocturnal asthma twice in a month, you need to have a controlling therapy. Simply taking the inhaler during the night won’t benefit the treatment, therefore, you need to have thorough preventive measures for it to not happen.

For many patients, sleeping with asthma can be quite troublesome especially when they are sleep deprived. In children, the reduced sleep may result in less attention span, mood swings and difficulty in the classroom. You are prone to accidents if you are overtired hence analyze your asthma quite analytically.

Nocturnal asthma is a severe form of asthma and its patients are more prone to death, therefore, you need to do these tips for attaining a good night’s sleep. Look for comfortable pillows without allergy or mites. Keep the pets outside your room and take your medications regularly and without any pauses in between.