Dealing With Asthma
Considered to be an inflammatory disease of the airways, asthma typically causes attacks of wheezing, tightness in the chest, coughing and a marked shortness of breath. During an asthma attack, the muscles around the airways grow tighter, causing the lining of the airways to swell and reduce the amount of air that passes through.
Asthma is thought to be triggered by elements in the environment around the sensitive person. Not unlike allergy sufferers, some of the potential triggers of an asthma attack include: pet hair, dust, cold weather or other extreme temperature changes, pollution, mold, pollen, colds, stress and smoke. Some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as NSAIDs and aspirin have been shown to provoke asthma symptoms in some patients, as well as some chemicals found in food products.
Allergies and Asthma
It is common for patients thought to have asthma symptoms to undergo allergy testing to help identify their particular triggers. An arterial blood gas test may also be done to measure a patient’s Eosinophil count, which measures the presence and number of a particular white blood cell, as well as testing for the presence of IgE, a protein found in the immune system that is known as an immunologic, all of which require oxygen to exist.
Other tests that may be done are a battery of lung function tests, especially one to determine peak flow measurements. The doctor will instruct the patient on how to use the peak flow meter, and it can be an important guide to use in asthma management thereafter, by helping a patient measure how quickly they can move air through their lungs. By knowing your peak flow, you can determine when an asthma attack is coming on, even before you begin to show any symptoms.
To date, there is no proven cure but there are measures that can be taken to manage and reduce asthma symptoms over time. By working with your doctor, asthma therapy will help any patient lead a normal life. This will include asthma treatments, depending upon the severity or frequency of attacks, and a personal asthma management plan to reduce or avoid triggers in the environment.
The two most common medications used in asthma treatments include long-term control medications and quick relief medications. Some of the long-term control medications that are used include long-acting bronchodilators to keep airways open, inhaled corticosteroids to prevent inflammation and leukotriene inhibitors to reduce the triggering of attacks. Quick relief, fast acting medications include inhalers, which contain bronchodilators and corticosteroids, usually in the form of an “ampi pen”, for a quick stick implementation directly into the bloodstream.
Prevention of Asthma Symptoms
It has been proven that asthma symptoms can be reduced by removing or avoiding known triggers such as carpets from the patient’s environment. It is also advisable to cover bedding in allergy proofed casings to protect against dust mite exposure and to use unscented detergents and cleaning materials to prevent potential reactions. Mold can be prevented by keeping the humidity inside a house low and being sure to fix any leaks around the house that may mold.
If during the allergen test the patient was found to test positive for pet dander, instead of removing the animal completely, other steps like installing filters to trap the dander and keeping the pet out of the patient’s bedroom will suffice.
Removing all tobacco smoke from the environment is the first step any family should take to alleviate asthma symptoms, and not just by stepping outside to smoke. When you return inside, you are still carrying the allergen trigger in your clothes and hair.
Should your asthma symptoms become more than you can handle, come to Owl Now Urgent Care immediately. We can give you the asthma relief you need to live your life on your terms!