Asthma feeling: Asthma Attack: 7 People Describe What One Actually Feels Like
Asthma Attack: 7 People Describe What One Actually Feels Like
Only people who have asthma fully understand how traumatizing this health condition can be. If someone has asthma, their immune system reacts disproportionately to certain substances like pet dander or pollen, though specific triggers vary from person to person. These triggers provoke inflammation, constriction, and excessive mucus production in a person’s airways, which can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and wheezing (an alarming whistling sound during breathing).
For a glimpse into the reality of life with this health issue, we had people who have been through asthma attacks explain exactly what they feel like, plus what they do when their asthma symptoms flare up.
1. “It can feel like I’m breathing through a squished straw.”
Kate G. was diagnosed with asthma after an outdoor excursion. “I started wheezing partway up the mountain while hiking during a school field trip,” Kate, whose main triggers include physical exertion, smoke, mold, mildew, dust, cold air, and pet dander, tells SELF.
During an asthma attack, she says, “it feels like someone or something is sitting on my chest and constricting my lungs so I can only breathe in partway. It can feel like I’m breathing through a squished straw.” Sometimes she experiences feelings of panic, lightheadedness, and chest pain.
To get relief, Kate uses a fast-acting inhaler with medication to quickly open her constricted airways. (This kind of medication is called a bronchodilator.) “If I’m not near my inhaler, which is rare, I go outside and try to breathe deeply and slowly,” she says. “Lying down also helps.”
2. “It feels like someone is squeezing the air out of me.”
Kay M. had her first attack at home next to a Christmas tree, she says. “I have an allergy to evergreen trees, I later found out, and I just started gasping for air,” she tells SELF. “It starts out with a little chest tightness, and then it just keeps on going [until] it feels like someone is squeezing the air out of me.”
Kay uses a daily, long-term medication to keep her airways dilated and prevent attacks, as well as a fast-acting inhaler as needed.
3. “I try to yawn to get more air in, and my chest literally stops the yawn from happening because it’s so tight and inflamed.”
Paige J. says that her triggers include exposure to pollen, dust, and animals like cats and dogs. “I can be fine around a dog or cat for minutes or even hours at a time during the day, but later that night I’ll wake up with terrible asthma and tightness of my chest,” she tells SELF. “It’s important that family and friends realize this, because those around you can’t always see your symptoms and thus might not always take them seriously.”
In fact, Paige often gets quiet during asthma attacks. “Talking can feel like too much effort … I become 100 percent absorbed in just trying to breathe, but this often doesn’t look like a big deal from the outside,” she says. On the inside, though, she’s dealing with the terrible feeling that her lungs aren’t working. “I try to yawn to get more air in, and my chest literally stops the yawn from happening because it’s so tight and inflamed.”
Emotions Can Trigger Asthma Symptoms
Strong Emotions, Stress and Depression Can Trigger Asthma
Strong emotions and stress are well known triggers of asthma. There is evidence of a link between asthma, anxiety and depression, though the outcomes are sometimes not consistent. Anxiety and depression may be associated with poor asthma control.
Feeling and expressing strong emotions may cause asthma symptoms if you have asthma. When you feel strong emotions, your breathing changes – even if you don’t have asthma.
Some examples of strong emotions that can trigger asthma symptoms are:
It is not the emotion itself that causes the asthma symptoms. Instead, your breathing changes during strong emotions. This causes muscles to tighten up or your breathing rate to increase.
- Laughing is part of the joy of life and should not be discouraged. If laughter is an asthma trigger for you, talk with your health care provider about your asthma treatment.
- Find ways to stay calm and express yourself without yelling. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly when feeling stressed, upset or angry.
Stress and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms. By properly managing stress, patients can reduce their risk of having a stress-induced asthma attack or episode. Studies show that mindful breathing and observation can reduce stress and enhance overall health.
Techniques such as mindful breathing and observation can help patients manage stress.
Two Tips for Stress Reduction
- Start by breathing in and out slowly.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow easily.
- Try inhaling for 7 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds and letting your breath out for 7 seconds.
- While focusing on your breathing, try to let go of other thoughts and just be in the moment.
- Try doing this for three rounds.
- Pick an object from nature that’s around you.
- Focus on watching it for a minute or two.
- This could be a tree, insect or even the clouds or the moon.
- Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at.
- Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time.
- Just relax into this observation for as long as your focus allows.
Knowing how to manage asthma is important for better health and quality of life. We offer an online course called ASTHMA Care for Adults. This comprehensive program covers a full range of topics everyone with asthma needs to know. This self-paced online course is presented in different formats, such as videos, animations, handouts and more.
Medical Review August 2018.
Asthma – Asthma attacks – NHS
Asthma attacks kill 3 people in the UK each day. But many of these deaths could be avoided.
Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
Find out what your risk of having an attack is using Asthma UK’s asthma attack risk checker.
If you’re on the right asthma treatment, your chance of having an attack is greatly reduced.
Visit a doctor or asthma nurse at least once a year for a check-up and to discuss your treatment.
Symptoms of an asthma attack
Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:
- your symptoms are getting worse (cough, breathlessness, wheezing or tight chest)
- your reliever inhaler (usually blue) is not helping
- you’re too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
- your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you cannot catch your breath
- your peak flow score is lower than normal
- children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache
The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.
What to do if you have an asthma attack
If you think you’re having an asthma attack, you should:
- Sit upright (do not lie down) and try to take slow, steady breaths. Try to remain calm, as panicking will make things worse.
- Take 1 puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
- Call 999 for an ambulance if you do not have your inhaler with you, you feel worse despite using your inhaler, you do not feel better after taking 10 puffs or you’re worried at any point.
- If the ambulance has not arrived within 15 minutes, repeat step 2.
Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.
Try to take the details of your medicines (or your personal asthma action plan) with you to hospital if possible.
If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, get an urgent same-day appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse.
This advice is not for people on SMART or MART treatment. If this applies to you, ask a GP or asthma nurse what to do if you have an asthma attack.
After an asthma attack
You should see a GP or asthma nurse within 48 hours of leaving hospital, or ideally on the same day if you did not need hospital treatment.
About 1 in 6 people treated in hospital for an asthma attack need hospital care again within 2 weeks, so it’s important to discuss how you can reduce your risk of future attacks.
Talk to a doctor or nurse about any changes that may need to be made to manage your condition safely.
For example, the dose of your treatment may need to be adjusted or you may need to be shown how to use your inhaler correctly.
Preventing asthma attacks
The following steps can help you reduce your risk of having an asthma attack:
- follow your personal asthma action plan and take all of your medicines as prescribed
- have regular asthma reviews with a GP or asthma nurse – these should be done at least once a year
- check with a GP or asthma nurse that you’re using your inhaler correctly
- avoid things that trigger your symptoms whenever possible
Do not ignore your symptoms if they’re getting worse or you need to use your reliever inhaler more often than usual.
Follow your action plan and make an urgent appointment to see a GP or asthma nurse if your symptoms continue to get worse.
Advice for friends and family
It’s important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.
It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.
You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.
Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.
Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021
Next review due: 19 April 2024
Dealing With an Asthma Flare-Up (for Teens)
What’s an Asthma Flare-Up?
An asthma flare-up is when asthma symptoms get worse, making someone wheeze, cough, or be short of breath. An asthma flare-up can happen even when asthma is controlled.
Asthma flare-ups are also called asthma attacks or exacerbations.
Triggers like allergies, respiratory infections (like a cold), cigarette smoke, exercise, or even cold air can cause a flare-up and make asthma symptoms worse.
What Happens During an Asthma Flare-Up?
During a flare-up, you might have:
- trouble breathing
- a tight chest
- a whistling sound when you breathe (wheezing)
- a cough
Flare-ups happen when the airways in the lungs get more irritated and swollen than usual. Your lungs might make a sticky mucus, which clogs the airways. The muscles around the airways will also tighten up, making them really narrow. This clogging and narrowing make it tough to pull air in and push air out.
Some flare-ups are mild, but others are serious. If the flare-up is severe, a person might:
- struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
- not be able to speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
- have retractions (sucking in of muscles in the neck and chest) while breathing in
Flare-ups can happen suddenly. They also can build up over time, especially if you haven’t been taking your asthma medicine.
How Can I Spot an Asthma Flare-Up?
After you’ve had a few flare-ups, you may notice that you feel a certain way when one is coming on. Do you have a tight chest or an itchy throat? Are you feeling tired? Do you have a cough, even though you don’t have a cold?
How Do I Handle an Asthma Flare-Up?
If you feel like a flare-up is about to happen, stay calm. Let people around you know what’s going on. Then remember your asthma action plan. That’s the written plan that tells you what to do next.
Stay calm and focus on what your asthma action plan says. Your doctor probably told you to use your quick-relief medicine, so do that first.
If you can figure out what triggered your symptoms (like a pet or someone who is smoking), remove the trigger — or yourself — from the area. Sometimes that’s all you need to get your asthma under control again.
If a flare-up is more severe, you might need to get help.
When Should I Go to the ER?
Don’t be embarrassed to get medical help if you think you need it. These situations call for emergency care:
- You take your asthma medicine and your flare-up doesn’t get any better.
- You feel a little better after taking your medicine, but your symptoms come back quickly.
- You have frequent wheezing, a lasting cough, or chest pain.
- Your lips and fingernails are bluish or grayish.
- You have trouble breathing, talking, or walking.
How Can I Prevent Asthma Flare-Ups?
Asthma flare-ups can be handled, but it’s even better if you can prevent them from happening. To do that:
- Take asthma medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribed a long-term control medicine, take it each day, even when you feel fine. It needs to be taken exactly as your doctor tells you to keep protecting you against flare-ups.
- Get a flu shot each year before flu season starts.
- Avoid triggers. By knowing and avoiding your triggers, you might be able to prevent some flare-ups.
It’s important to plan ahead and know what to do. Work with your doctor to build and update your asthma action plan. That way, you know what to do if a flare-up happens and you’re in control if things get serious.
Is this your child’s symptom?
- Your child is having an asthma attack
- Use this guide only if a doctor has told you your child has asthma
Symptoms of Asthma
- Symptoms of an asthma attack are wheezing, a cough, tight chest, and trouble breathing.
- Wheezing is the classic symptom. Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling or purring sound. You can hear it best when your child is breathing out.
- The diagnosis of asthma requires attacks of wheezing that recur. The diagnosis is rarely made before 1 year of age.
Causes (Triggers) of Asthma Attacks
- Infections that affect breathing (like colds or the flu)
- Pollens (trees, grass and weeds)
- Animals (like cats or rabbits)
- Tobacco smoke
- Irritants (such as smog, car exhaust, menthol vapors, barns, dirty basement)
- Food Allergy (Serious). Asthma attacks caused by food allergy can be life-threatening (anaphylaxis). Examples are nuts or fish.
Asthma Attack Scale
- Mild: No Shortness of Breath (SOB) at rest. Mild SOB with walking. Can talk normally. Speaks in sentences. Can lay down flat. Wheezes not heard or mild. (Green Zone: Peak Flow Rate 80-100% of normal rate)
- Moderate: SOB at rest. Speaks in phrases. Wants to sit (can’t lay down flat). Wheezing can be heard. Retractions are present (ribs pull in with each breath). (Yellow Zone: Peak Flow Rate 50-80% of normal rate)
- Severe: Severe SOB at rest. Speaks in single words. Struggling to breathe. Wheezing may be loud. Rarely, wheezing is absent due to poor air movement. Retractions may be severe. (Red Zone: Peak Flow Rate less than 50% of normal rate)
- Peak Flow Meter: a peak flow meter measures Peak Flow Rates (PFR). It tells us how well a person can move air out of the lungs. A PFR can be used in children 6 years and older.
Vaping and Lung Damage
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
- Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
- Vaping can even cause death (50 in the US in 2019).
- Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
- For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
- Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
- Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.
When to Call for Asthma Attack
Call 911 Now
- Wheezing and life-threatening allergic reaction to similar substance in the past
- Start to wheeze suddenly after a bee sting, taking medicine, or eating an allergic food
- Severe trouble breathing (struggling for each breath, can barely speak or cry)
- Passed out (fainted)
- Lips or face are bluish when not coughing
- You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Lips or face have turned bluish during coughing
- PEFR is 50-80% of normal rate after using nebulizer or inhaler (Yellow Zone)
- Wheezing not gone 20 minutes after using neb or inhaler
- Breathing is much faster than normal
- Nonstop coughing not better after using nebulizer or inhaler
- Severe chest pain
- Need to use asthma medicine (neb or inhaler) more often than every 4 hours
- Fever over 104° F (40° C)
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Mild wheezing lasts more than 24 hours on neb or inhaler treatments
- Sinus pain (not just congestion)
- Fever lasts more than 3 days
- Fever returns after being gone more than 24 hours
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Don’t have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but don’t have a spacer
- Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
- Asthma limits exercise or sports
- Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
- Use more than 1 inhaler per month
- No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Care Advice for Asthma Attack
- What You Should Know About Asthma:
- Over 10% of children have asthma.
- Your child’s asthma can flare up at any time.
- When you are away from your home, always take your child’s medicines with you.
- The sooner you start treatment, the faster your child will feel better.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Asthma Quick-Relief Medicine:
- Your child’s quick-relief (rescue) medicine is albuterol or xopenex.
- Start it at the first sign of any wheezing, shortness of breath or hard coughing.
- Give by inhaler with a spacer (2 puffs each time) or use a neb machine.
- Repeat it every 4 hours if your child is having any asthma symptoms.
- Never give it more often than 4 hours without talking with your child’s doctor.
- Coughing. The best “cough med” for a child with asthma is always the asthma medicine. Caution: don’t use cough suppressants. If over 6 years old, cough drops may help a tickly cough.
- Caution: if the inhaler hasn’t been used in over 7 days, prime it. Test spray it twice into the air before using it for treatment. Also, do this if it is new.
- Use the medicine until your child has not wheezed or coughed for 48 hours.
- Spacer. Always use inhalers with a spacer. It will get twice the amount of medicine into the lungs.
- Asthma Controller Medicine:
- Your child may have been told to use a controller drug. An example is an inhaled steroid.
- It’s for preventing attacks and must be used daily.
- During asthma attacks, keep giving this medicine to your child as ordered.
- Allergy Medicine for Hay Fever:
- For signs of nasal allergies (hay fever), it’s okay to give allergy medicine. Reason: poor control of nasal allergies makes asthma worse.
- Fluids – Offer More:
- Try to get your child to drink lots of fluids.
- Goal: keep your child well hydrated.
- Reason: it will loosen up any phlegm in the lungs. Then it’s easier to cough up.
- If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Reason: dry air makes coughs worse.
- Avoid Tobacco Smoke:
- Tobacco smoke makes asthma much worse.
- Don’t let anyone smoke around your child.
- Avoid or Remove Triggers:
- Shower to remove pollens or other allergens from the body and hair.
- Avoid known causes of asthma attacks (such as smoke or cats).
- During attacks, reduce exercise or sports if it makes your child’s asthma worse.
- What to Expect:
- If treatment is started early, most asthma attacks are quickly brought under control.
- All wheezing should be gone by 5 days.
- Inhaler With a Spacer: How to Use
- Step 1. Shake the inhaler well. Then attach it to the spacer (holding chamber).
- Step 2. Breathe out completely and empty the lungs.
- Step 3. Close the lips and teeth around the spacer mouthpiece.
- Step 4. Press down on the inhaler. This will put one puff of the medicine in the spacer.
- Step 5. Breathe in slowly until the lungs are full.
- Step 6. Hold a deep breath for 10 seconds. Allow the medicine to work deep in the lungs.
- If your doctor has ordered 2 or more puffs, wait 1 minute. Then repeat steps 1-6.
- Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI): How to Use Without a Spacer (if you don’t have one)
- Step 1. Shake the inhaler well.
- Step 2. Breathe out completely and empty the lungs.
- Step 3. Close the lips and teeth around the inhaler mouthpiece.
- Step 4. Press down on the inhaler to release a puff. Do this just as your child starts to breathe in.
- Step 5. Breathe in slowly until the lungs are full.
- Step 6. Hold a deep breath for 10 seconds. Allow the medicine to work deep in the lungs.
- If your doctor has ordered 2 or more puffs, wait 1 minute. Then repeat steps 1-6.
- Ask your doctor for a spacer if you don’t have one. It will help send more medicine into the lungs.
- Older children who don’t like a spacer can be prescribed an albuterol dry powder device.
- Home Nebulizer: How to Use:
- A nebulizer machine changes a liquid medicine (med) into a fine mist. The fine mist can carry the med deep into the lungs. This is called a nebulizer (neb) treatment.
- Step 1. Prepare the medicine. First, wash your hands with soap and water. For pre-mixed single dose vials, just add one vial to the neb holding cup. For multi-dose vials, you need to do the mixing. First, add the correct amount of normal saline to the neb cup. Then carefully measure and add the correct amount of medicine to the saline.
- Step 2. Connect the nebulizer to the air compressor tubing. The air compressor is run by electricity. Portable ones run on a battery. Compressors make the jet of air that turns the medicine into a fine mist.
- Step 3. Turn on the air compressor. It will start making the fine mist that your child needs.
- Step 4 for an Older Child. Place the mouthpiece between your child’s teeth and seal with the lips. Ask your child to breathe slowly and deeply. Ask your child to hold a deep breath for 10 seconds once a minute.
- Step 4 for a Younger Child. If your child refuses the mouthpiece, use a face mask. It should cover the nose and mouth. It should fit snugly.
- Step 5. Continue the treatment until the med is gone. If the med sticks to the side of the cup, shake it a little. An average neb treatment takes 10 minutes.
- Step 6. After each treatment, take the nebulizer apart. Rinse and clean it as directed. Reason: it can’t produce mist if it becomes clogged up.
- Caution: closely follow your doctor’s instructions. Use the exact amount of med your doctor ordered. Don’t give a neb treatment more often than every 4 hours.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Trouble breathing occurs
- Asthma quick-relief medicine (neb or inhaler) is needed more than every 4 hours
- Wheezing lasts over 24 hours
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Last Reviewed: 11/28/2021
Last Revised: 10/21/2021
Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.
Asthma during pregnancy
Asthma is a lung disease that causes your airways to tighten up, making it hard for you to breathe. There’s no cure for asthma. Even if you have asthma and feel healthy, asthma flares (when symptoms become severe) can happen at any time.
Most people with asthma can keep the disease under control and avoid serious health problems. If you’re pregnant, it’s really important to work with your health care provider to manage your asthma and get medical care, if needed.
How does asthma affect pregnancy?
Asthma affects 4 to 8 out of 100 pregnant women (4 to 8 percent). If you keep your asthma under control, it probably won’t cause any problems during your pregnancy.
If you don’t control your asthma, you may be at risk for a serious health problem called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or right after pregnancy. It’s when a pregnant woman has high blood pressure and signs that some of her organs, like her kidneys and liver, may not be working properly. Some of these signs include having protein in the urine, changes in vision and severe headache.
If you don’t control your asthma, your baby may not get enough oxygen. He may be at higher risk for health problems like:
Babies who are born too small and too soon are more likely to have newborn health problems. They can have trouble breathing and lasting disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy.
What are the signs and symptoms of asthma?
You may have one or more asthma symptoms. Signs and symptoms include:
- Tightness in the chest
- Constant cough (especially at night or in the early morning)
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
What causes asthma symptoms?
One or more things can trigger your asthma. Some of the most common things that bring on asthma symptoms are:
About 7 out of 10 people with asthma (70 percent) have allergies. An allergy is a reaction to something you touch, eat or breathe in that makes you sneeze, get a rash or have trouble breathing.
Allergens are things that cause you to have allergy symptoms. Many also cause asthma symptoms. Common allergens are pollens, molds, animal dander (small flakes of dead skin), dust mites and cockroaches. Limit your contact with allergens. If you still have asthma symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Your provider may recommend that you take an allergy medicine. If you’re already getting allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. But if you aren’t getting allergy shots, don’t start taking them when you’re pregnant because you could have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Irritants are things in your environment that may hurt your lungs and trigger asthma symptoms, including air pollution, cigarette smoke and smoke from wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, cold air and strong smells, like paint or perfumes.
Infections like a cold, the flu or viral pneumonia, can trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
Exercise can cause asthma symptoms in some people. If your asthma is under control, you probably can exercise without any problems. But if exercising during pregnancy sets off your asthma, talk to your health care provider.
How is asthma diagnosed?
Asthma can be hard to diagnose. To find out if you have asthma, your health care provider takes your health history, does a physical exam and listens to your breathing.
You also may get a lung function test called spirometry. This is a test that checks how well your lungs work. During the test, you take a deep breath and exhale (blow) into a machine called a spirometer. This machine measures the amount of air you breathe in and out. It also measures how fast you can breathe. When you’re pregnant, normal changes in your body can make you short of breath. This test can help your provider know if shortness of breath is a common complication of pregnancy or if it’s caused by asthma.
How is asthma treated during pregnancy?
Your health care provider needs to monitor your lungs while you are pregnant so he can adjust your asthma medicines, if needed. Tell your provider if your symptoms improve or get worse. By limiting your contact with allergens and other asthma triggers, you may need to take less medicine to control your symptoms.
Is it safe to take asthma medicine during pregnancy?
Asthma symptoms that don’t stop or that get worse can be a risk to your and your baby. If you were taking asthma medicine before pregnancy, don’t stop taking it without talking to your provider first.
If you’re diagnosed with asthma during pregnancy, talk to your provider about the best way to treat or manage it.
If you’re already getting allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. But if you aren’t getting allergy shots, don’t start taking them when you’re pregnant because you could have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Can asthma symptoms change during pregnancy?
Yes, asthma symptoms often change during pregnancy. Sometimes they get better and sometimes they get worse. We don’t really understand what causes these changes.
Getting the flu can set off serious asthma symptoms. Be sure to get a flu shot in October or November every year.
Heartburn also can make your symptoms worse. Here’s what you can do to help with heartburn symptoms:
- Sleep with your head up on a pillow (elevated).
- Eat smaller meals several times a day.
- Don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime.
- Ask your provider about medicines you can take.
Do you need any special tests if you’re pregnant and have asthma?
If your asthma is under control and mild, you may not need any special tests. If your asthma is not well controlled or if your asthma is moderate to severe, your provider may recommend repeated ultrasounds to check to make sure your baby’s growing normally. Ultrasound uses sound waves and a computer screen to show a picture of your baby inside the womb. Your provider may start these at around 32 weeks of pregnancy.
Your provider also may recommend taking your baby’s heart rate with a fetal heart monitor. This allows him to check on your baby’s well-being.
Test results can alert your provider if you or your baby needs special care.
Can labor and birth set off asthma symptoms?
Only about 1 in 10 pregnant women with asthma (10 percent) have symptoms during labor and birth. Take your usual asthma medicines during labor and birth. If you still have asthma symptoms, your health care provider can help control them.
Are asthma medicines safe when you’re breastfeeding?
Asthma medicines do get into your breast milk, but the amounts are very low and are safe for the baby. If you take high doses of certain asthma medicines, like theophylline, your baby may become irritable or have trouble sleeping. To help prevent this, take your asthma medicines 3 or 4 hours before the next feeding. Your provider and your baby’s provider can help you adjust your medicine schedule so you and your baby can get the health benefits of breastfeeding.
Last reviewed: November, 2013
Asthma with Gastroesophageal Reflux | Cedars-Sinai
Not what you’re looking for?
Asthma is a narrowing of the breathing passages of the lungs that comes and goes. It is most often caused by an allergy or by irritants that get into breathing passages. It is estimated that over half of patients with asthma also have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Physicians look for GERD as a cause of asthma when:
- Asthma begins in adulthood
- Asthma does not improve with asthma treatments
- Asthma symptoms are worse after meals, with exercise or when lying down
Persons with the condition may experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, which is breathing that can be heard along with a tight feeling in the chest
The diagnosis of asthma is made with special breathing tests called pulmonary function tests. These tests tell the doctor if the breathing passages are narrowed. The diagnosis of asthma is made if medications that relax the breathing passages improve the pulmonary function tests and breathing.
If the doctor suspects that asthma is caused or made worse by laryngopharyngeal reflux other tests may be done.
- Laryngoscopy is used to see changes of the throat and voice box caused by laryngopharyngeal reflux.
- 24-hour ambulatory intra-esophageal pH testing. This is used to see if too much stomach acid is moving into the esophagus. Two pH sensors are used. One is at the bottom of the esophagus and one at the top. This lets the doctor tell if acid moves to the top of the esophagus.
- Impedance-pH testing. This is used to determine if too much stomach contents of any kind, acid or not, move up into the esophagus.
Asthma is treated by drugs that relax the muscle of the breathing passages. Drugs also reduce swelling and/or stop the breathing passages from responding to irritation.
Asthma caused or made worse by laryngopharyngeal reflux is assessed in the same way as the latter condition.
Ways that patients may help relieve the condition include:
- Elevating the head of the bed four to six inches
- Avoiding alcohol, chocolate and caffeine
- Avoiding overeating
- Eating or drinking nothing two to three hours before bed
- Avoiding greasy, fatty foods
- Losing weight
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Abstaining from smoking
The doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatments:
- Antacids to offset having too much stomach acid
- Anti-secretory drugs that lower acid production by the stomach. These include two types of drugs: histamine 2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors.
- Surgery to tighten the junction between the stomach and esophagus. The most common surgery is done by wrapping the top part of the stomach around the junction between the stomach and esophagus. It is then sewn in place.
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.
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90,000 Bronchial asthma – symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
The article was checked by the therapist Staurina L.N. is for general informational purposes only and does not replace specialist advice.
For recommendations on diagnosis and treatment, a doctor’s consultation is required.
Diagnostics of bronchial asthma in the Clinical Hospital on Yauza includes: consultation of the leading specialists of the clinic (allergist, therapist), spirography, laboratory examination of sputum, identification of allergens by blood tests and, if necessary, CT of the chest organs.All manipulations are performed taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient and using expert-class equipment. Complex treatment of the disease: drugs, physiotherapy, allergen-specific immunotherapy, psychotherapy.
About the development of the disease
Bronchial asthma is a pathology of an infectious-allergic nature, which is manifested by rapidly developing symptoms of choking and / or dry cough upon contact with an infectious agent, allergen or stressful situation.
In response to the action of an allergen (foreign protein) or other disease-causing factor, a spasm of the smooth muscles of the bronchi occurs, a rapidly growing edema of their mucous membrane, and the production of thick mucus increases. All this makes breathing difficult and disrupts ventilation in the lungs.
There are many factors that provoke the disease, but heredity, the body’s tendency to excessive production of IgE (atopic bronchial asthma), bronchial hyperreactivity occupy a special place among them.Allergens of various natures (food, household, natural, medicinal, professional), as well as frequent respiratory tract infections, can be the immediate cause of an attack.
The most striking symptom of the disease is directly the attack of suffocation itself, which has three stages of development:
- Harbingers : coughing, runny nose, sore throat, mood changes (excessive irritability).
- High period : feeling of acute shortage of air, inability to exhale freely, dry wheezing cough.During this period of time, the patient tries to take a forced position – he sits, leaning forward and resting his hands on his knees or the edge of the table.
- Reverse development : normal breathing is restored, the patient coughs up viscous mucus.
In some cases, status asthmaticus develops – an attack of suffocation does not stop for a long time even under the influence of drugs.
Bronchial asthma – diagnosis and treatment
In order to select the most correct therapy, in the Clinical Hospital on Yauza, patients with bronchial asthma are consulted by two specialists – a therapist and an allergist-immunologist.
- General analysis of blood and urine.
- Microscopy and bacterial culture of sputum.
- Spirography with bronchodilators, chest x-ray or CT.
- Determination of the level of specific IgE in the blood to identify the allergen.
After confirming the diagnosis, specialists prescribe a complex treatment, which consists of drug therapy, allergen-specific immunotherapy (for allergy to pollen), physiotherapy, psychotherapy.
Specialists of the Clinical Hospital on Yauza apply modern technologies in the treatment of bronchial asthma, which significantly improves health indicators. Patients can again do what they love and have active rest.
Make an appointment with the allergist of our clinic, and we will return your breathing freedom!
Prices for services You can look at the price list or specify by phone, indicated on the website.
90,000 Asthma leads to problems in sex – research
Photo author, Callie-Anne
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Kelly-Anne’s husband was afraid to start petting so as not to cause an asthma attack in his wife
Asthma often interferes with sex life, according to a survey conducted by the charity Asthma UK.
More than two thirds (68%) of patients with asthma who took part in the survey confirmed that the disease strongly affects the intimate sphere.
31-year-old Kelly-Ann wrote that she and her husband had to “temporarily give up” sex due to the aggravation of his illness.
According to experts from Asthma UK, this indicates that people do not have enough control over their illness, so they should seek help.
Kelly-Ann was not surprised by the results of the study.”People are used to suffering in silence,” she says.
“It is not customary to talk about this. Doctors, consultants, health workers, users of forums on asthma are constantly interested in how this disease affects my children, work, school, social life. But few people ask how it affects my relationship with husband. And no one is interested in whether our sex life suffers, “- says the woman.
And she suffers, and quite a lot, says Kelly-Anne.
“During sex, I often start to breathe heavily and loudly and feel like I’m about to explode, because the air can’t get out of my lungs.Then I have to pause to use the inhaler and catch my breath. “
” Of course, this is ugly and unpleasant. After I was diagnosed with asthma, I was afraid for a long time about sex and physical manifestations of feelings in general. ”
Nearly half (46%) of 544 respondents say they could feel more confident about sex if it weren’t for asthma.
At the same time, relatively few respondents – a little less than 15% – consider this disease to be the cause (or at least one of the reasons) for breaking up relations.
One woman wrote that her relationship ended in an ambulance during an asthma attack: “My partner said he couldn’t take the stress anymore. I was left alone in the hospital.”
Several people admitted that they were hospitalized for an asthmatic attack caused by orgasm, others reported that it was difficult for them to have oral sex due to breathing problems.
The organizers of the survey hope that now patients with asthma will be able to speak more freely about its effect on sex life.
“We did not expect such a strong response to our survey, nor how difficult it is for many to live with asthma,” says Dr. Andy Wittamor, general practitioner and consultant at Asthma UK.
“This disease has a profound effect on personal and sexual life and brings people a lot of inconvenience and even shame.”
“It seems that some patients find this issue too delicate to discuss with a doctor. But if asthma symptoms prevent them from having a healthy sex life, it means that the disease is out of control and they need help.”
Kelly-Ann says that honest conversation with her husband helped bring harmony back to family relationships.
“At first we didn’t share our feelings because we were afraid to upset each other even more. But that only made the situation worse,” she says.
“Once I decided to tell my husband how much I was worried about my illness and that I was becoming undesirable for him. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind.”
“Then he explained that he was afraid to start petting, knowing that it could trigger an asthma attack. He also admitted that he did not know how to talk to me about it, because of my unstable emotional state. for not being able to help me. ”
“Now we are talking about everything honestly and frankly.When it comes to our sex life, we just take it as it is. If I get severe shortness of breath, I use an inhaler. Then we just laugh and joke that this device makes me seductive. “
Five tips for asthma sufferers
Don’t be shy Remember that asthma is a common disease. It is very likely that your partner will not mind if you have to use an inhaler when dating or having sex If you already have a long-term partner, talk to him frankly.This will help both of you feel more confident and understand each other’s needs.
Find out what exactly triggers your seizures . For example, it can be alcohol, various odors, or even a rubber allergy. It is worth discussing this with your partner beforehand to avoid these factors.
Pay attention to your symptoms . If you notice asthma symptoms during sex – coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing – this may indicate that you lack the ability to fight the disease.In this case, you should consult your doctor.
Reduce risk factors . The best way to avoid asthma during sex is to learn how to manage it. This can be done in different ways: take medication, work with your doctor to develop the best inhalation regimen, use a detailed treatment protocol, and have regular check-ups.
Talk to specialists . Don’t be afraid to tell your doctor about how asthma is interfering with your relationship or intimate life.
Source: Asthma UK
Heavy breathing. How not to confuse bronchial asthma with bronchitis or allergies
Since 1998, the first Tuesday of May is celebrated all over the world as the Day of Combating Bronchial Asthma. There is something to fight with. Thanks to the development of modern medicine, patients today do not die from suffocation.
And if this happens, it is extremely rare and due to the accompanying pathologies of bronchial asthma. But the number of asthmatics is increasing.If today there are about 300 million patients with bronchial asthma in the world, then by 2025 their number may exceed 400 million.
What you need to know about “heavy breathing” (this is how the word “asthma” is translated from Greek), how not to confuse bronchial asthma with bronchitis and not lead to an exacerbation of the disease, the head of the pulmonology department of the Chelyabinsk Regional Clinical Hospital, the chief freelance specialist of the regional Ministry of Health Natalya Revel-Muroz .
A doctor’s consultation is required
– Let’s start in order. What is bronchial asthma and how is it dangerous?
– This is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract with the participation of cellular elements – eosinophils (blood cells that have a protective function) and immune mast cells. The presence of chronic inflammation leads to extensive attacks of suffocation (then the diagnosis is “bronchial asthma”) or to equivalents of asthma attacks, including shortness of breath, a feeling of congestion in the chest, paroxysmal cough.These symptoms appear intermittently and may alternate with prolonged remission with the change of seasons or with a change of residence.
– But cough and chest congestion are also characteristic of bronchitis, for example …
– Therefore, it often happens that if a patient does not have extensive attacks of suffocation, he is treated for allergies or chronic bronchitis, takes expectorants for a long time and antihistamines (antiallergenic) drugs, antibiotics, which are powerless against bronchial asthma.As a result, sooner or later, the true illness will make itself felt, but in a more severe form.
– How not to bring it to this?
– You need to give up self-medication and contact a therapist on time. Especially if you have shortness of breath, chest congestion, and a cough that is not associated with a cold. If the doctor suspects bronchial asthma, he will refer you to a study of the function of external respiration – spirography with drug tests. It will also be necessary to do fluorography, in some cases donate blood for immunoglobulin E.Since the symptoms of bronchial asthma are similar to the symptoms of other diseases, it may be necessary to consult an otolaryngologist, gastroenterologist, cardiologist. But you need to see a doctor. Since only a specialist can make the correct diagnosis. In this case, the patient is registered and has the right to receive therapeutic anti-inflammatory drugs at a regional benefit.
– I know that there are asthma schools in the pulmonary departments. Please tell us what kind of medical care it is.
– During 5-6 sessions, patients are told about what bronchial asthma is, how to provide themselves with emergency assistance. They also teach the technique of inhalation of drugs and keeping a peakfluometry diary.
– What is it?
– Just as patients with hypertension regularly measure their blood pressure, our patients constantly measure their peak expiratory flow using the peak flow method. It allows you to determine the amount and type of required therapy, the frequency and change in the treatment regimen.All this is taught to patients by our doctors at the asthma school.
– Is it true that patients diagnosed with bronchial asthma are doomed to dependence on inhaled drugs for life?
– Since asthma has a hereditary predisposition, it is impossible to achieve complete recovery. But it is possible to control your well-being, to prevent an exacerbation of the disease. If asthma is treated correctly, correctly carried out preventive measures, then it is quite easy to control it with the help of modern drugs of basic anti-inflammatory therapy and at the same time lead a full-fledged lifestyle.The earlier treatment is started, the safer and more effective it is. In my practice, there have been many athletes with this diagnosis. Yes, the patient should have emergency medications with him at all times. But inhalation drugs for basic therapy are taken in accordance with the recommendations of the attending physician at a certain time. Their advantage over pills is that they can reduce the dose of the injected drug by a factor of 100 or more, which reduces the risk of side effects. In addition, inhaled drugs have only a local effect and are not absorbed into the systemic circulation.
– What determines the frequency of use of medicinal drugs?
– From the severity of the disease. There is intermittent, that is, episodic bronchial asthma. In this case, asthma attacks are extremely rare, and the patient is limited only to emergency medications. The severity of bronchial asthma can change over time. If you follow all the doctor’s recommendations, you can control bronchial asthma well and achieve long-term remissions when there are no symptoms at all.On the contrary, non-observance of recommendations, treatment with folk remedies can provoke unexpected attacks of suffocation upon contact with a large dose of allergens, with triggers, that is, with factors that cause an exacerbation of the disease. These include exercise, viral infection, stress. If the patient develops a respiratory viral infection, it is necessary to strengthen the basic therapy, avoid stress, organize the living environment so as to reduce the number of allergens. To do this, you need to carry out wet cleaning, there should be no pets: no cats or dogs.
– What is the risk of uncontrolled use of drugs to alleviate the condition?
– Emergency medications do not cure, but an overdose of them is very dangerous. It leads to rapid heartbeat, irregular heartbeat. Although today the quality of life of patients with bronchial asthma has improved significantly and deaths have become extremely rare. At the same time, in the Chelyabinsk region, there is an underdiagnosis of bronchial asthma. About 2,500 new patients are diagnosed annually.In total, more than 40,000 adults in South Urals are registered for this disease, although, according to epidemiological studies, this figure should be at least 2 times higher. This suggests that either patients do not go to the doctor in time for help, or the diagnosis turns out to be inaccurate.
So be careful, watch your condition and be healthy!
Complex treatment of bronchial asthma in Moscow
- Reference book of diseases
- Bronchial asthma
Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease in which there is a violation of the bronchial patency.
In the bronchi of a healthy person, the lumen is free, air passes freely through the respiratory tract. Due to the development of inflammation, due to various irritants (allergens, chemical irritants, tobacco smoke, etc.), edema of the bronchial walls occurs, reduction of muscle fibers of the bronchi with the development of bronchospasm.
In the spasmodic bronchi, an accumulation of mucus occurs, which disrupts the process of free passage of air flows, such clinical symptoms appear as:
- feeling of lack of air
- expiratory shortness of breath (with predominant difficulty in exhaling)
- possible attacks of suffocation
Most adult asthma begins in childhood.The risk of its development is associated with hereditary factors, that is, genetic predisposition inherited from parents, and environmental factors, for example, the action of allergens and pollutants in the air.
Depending on the cause of the attack, asthma with a predominance of the allergic component and non-allergic asthma are distinguished.
Treatment of bronchial asthma is reduced to taking medications, taking preventive measures, preventing attacks and a certain amount of rehabilitation methods.Rehabilitation of patients with bronchial asthma will help restore body functions, performance and normal life.
The scope of rehabilitation measures includes a set of individual physical exercises, breathing exercises, general and specialized massage.
Highly qualified doctors of our rehabilitation center at the address: Moscow, Losinoostrovskaya street 45, telephone for a consultation +7 (495) 620-83-83 will help you to draw up an individual plan for diagnostics and treatment.
Asthma is a heterogeneous disease usually characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways. Asthma is characterized by symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing of variable frequency and severity, which are associated with varying degrees of difficulty in the flow of exhaled air in the airways.
Asthma Diagnostic Criteria
1. The presence of intermittent symptoms from the respiratory system
wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough; the way these symptoms are described differs depending on the origin and age, eg children may describe shortness of breath as “shortness of breath”
– usually> 1 type of respiratory symptoms (cough as the only symptom in adults is rarely caused by asthma)
– the presence and severity of symptoms are not constant over time
– symptoms often worsen at night or upon awakening
– often symptoms are caused by exercise, laughter, allergens, cold air
– symptoms often occur or worsen during viral infections
2.Confirmation of variable degree of restriction of expiratory airflow in the airway
excessive variability in lung functiona confirmed (≥1 of the studies listed below) and bronchial obstruction confirmeda
the more accurate the diagnosis is, the greater the fluctuation and the more often it is observed.
≥1 times in the diagnostic process with a decrease in FEV1, it is necessary to confirm a decrease in FEV1 / FVC (normal> 0.75-0.80 in adults and> 0.90 in children)
positive dilatation testa (the likelihood of obtaining a positive result increases if the patient cancels the bronchodilator before the test: SABA ≥4 hours before the test, LABA ≥15 hours before the test)
adults: an increase in FEV1 by> 12% and> 200 ml in comparison with the initial value, 10-15 minutes after inhalation of 200-400 μg of salbutamol (the diagnosis is more reliable if the increase in FEV1 is> 15% and> 400 ml)
children:> 12% increase in FEV1 c.n.
Excessive fluctuation of PSV when measuring, conduct 2 × s. within 2 weeks a
adults: average daily variation in PSV> 10% b
children: average daily variation in PSV> 13% b
significant improvement in lung function after 4 weeks. anti-inflammatory treatment
adults: FEV1 increase by> 12% and> 200 ml compared to baseline (or PEF by> 20% c) after 4 weeks.treatment, without respiratory tract infection in this time period
positive challenge test with exercisea
adults:> 10% and> 200 ml decrease in FEV1 from baseline
children:> 12% decrease in FEV1 c. n. or PSV> 15%
test positive (usually only in adults)
decrease in FEV1 by ≥20% compared to the baseline value after inhalation of a standard dose of methacholine or histamine or by ≥15% with a test of standard hyperventilation, using a hypertonic solution of NaCl or mannitol
excessive fluctuations in lung function during follow-up visitsa (less certain diagnosis)
adults: FEV1 fluctuations> 12% and> 200 ml when measured at follow-up visits, without respiratory tract infection during this time period
children: fluctuations in FEV1> 12% or PSV> 15% when measured at follow-up visits (also during examination during respiratory tract infection)
a These studies can be repeated during symptoms or early in the morning.
b Daily fluctuations in PSV are calculated based on PSV measurements 2 × s. (the difference between the highest and lowest values per day divided by the average value per day) and the average value of measurements per day is indicated.
v To measure PSV, you need to use the same peak flow meter, since the results of measurements carried out with different instruments can differ even by 20%. Reversibility of obstruction (improvement after inhalation of a bronchodilator) may be absent during severe exacerbation of asthma and in viral respiratory tract infection.If the result of a bronchodilator test during the first visit of the patient is negative, then the subsequent tactics depend on the availability of other tests and the need to start treatment. If you urgently need to start treatment, then you can do this and schedule diagnostic tests for the next few weeks; it is necessary to take into account other diseases that may resemble asthma (see text) and confirm the diagnosis of asthma as soon as possible.
FEV1 – forced expiratory volume in the first second, LABA – long-acting β2-mimetic, PSV – peak expiratory flow rate (the largest value out of 3 measurements), SABA – short-acting β2-mimetic.Diagnosis of asthma in already treated patients → text.
Translated with consent: Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention, © Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2015. All rights reserved. Available at: http://www.ginasthma.org
World Asthma Day
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, the prevalence of which has increased dramatically throughout the world in recent years, with occasional periods of difficulty breathing due to narrowing of the lower airways.The narrowing of the airways goes away partially or completely, either on its own or with treatment. It is believed that many people do not really know they have asthma and therefore do not receive proper treatment. At the same time, in the majority of patients with asthma, with the help of treatment, complete control over the disease can be achieved, and thus the quality of life and performance can be maintained.
Air movement in the respiratory tract
The movement of air in the body begins through the nose or mouth.If you inhale, air travels to the lungs through the trachea and lung tubes (bronchi). The bronchi end in small bubble-like formations (alveoli), where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. Oxygen is absorbed from the alveoli into the blood, and the carbon dioxide generated in the body passes from the blood to the alveoli. When released, the air is expelled from the lungs together with carbon dioxide. Normally, when breathing, all airways are open and air moves through them freely and unimpeded.
What happens in the airways in asthma?
In asthma, the airways are inflamed, irritated and narrowed, and the movement of air in them is impeded.This is due to asthmatic inflammation, which creates edema in the mucous membrane and an increase in mucus secretion. Inflammation of the mucous membrane and the narrowing of the bronchi caused by it is a protective reaction against various external stimuli. In asthma, the airways are more sensitive than usual and react easily to various stimuli. Airway constriction can be caused, for example, by irritating odors, cold weather, severe stress, and contact with animals or pollen.
The main symptoms of asthma are:
- choking feeling
- lack of air (which can also occur at night)
- wheezing and wheezing, especially on deep exhalation
- cough that occurs more frequently during the night and / or early morning
- Tension or heaviness in the chest.
Asthma symptoms can be milder or more severe, and last several hours to several days if asthma is not diagnosed and the symptoms are not treated. An asthma attack is a condition where all of the symptoms of asthma – respiratory distress, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and a feeling of heaviness in the chest – develop very quickly. The manifestation of symptoms (especially the first time) can cause feelings of fear, uncertainty, helplessness. There can be several reasons for triggering an asthma attack: excessive physical activity, various environmental factors, stress or contact with allergens.
What are the causes of asthma?
In Russia, 5-8% of the adult population suffers from asthma.
Both genetic (non-modifiable) and environmental (modifiable) risk factors contribute to the incidence of asthma in adults. Asthma onset in adulthood is most common in women. The following factors influence asthma:
- genetic predisposition, which is greater in those people whose relatives are already sick / sick with asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.
- Early childhood respiratory tract infections that may contribute to asthma at an older age
- contact with allergens in the environment, as well as with chemicals used at home and at work,
90,024 smoking and overweight.
Important to remember:
If you have or have had episodes of wheezing and wheezing in the past, especially during deep exhalation, as well as episodes of shortness of breath (shortness of breath), shortness of breath and heaviness in the chest, coughing attacks that start more often at night and / or early in the morning, then tell your doctor about them.Tell about them even if these symptoms have already passed by the time of the visit to the doctor.
To diagnose asthma , your doctor must thoroughly familiarize yourself with your health data. The doctor should also clarify what diseases you have suffered and whether you have any allergies. If, based on the history, the diagnosis of asthma is still questionable, additional tests should be done.
There is no single and specific way to diagnose asthma, and it cannot be diagnosed only on the basis of a questionnaire.Usually, the doctor begins by listening to the lungs with a stethoscope, which helps determine if there is inflammation in the airways. In the case of asthma, whistling, wheezing and / or prolonged exhalations are heard in the lungs while listening. If the above symptoms were not found during listening, this does not mean that the diagnosis of asthma has been ruled out.
If your doctor suspects you have asthma, he may order you to have a spirographic examination. If the spirographic examination did not show signs of asthma, but you still have asthma symptoms that occur day or night for an unknown reason, then you will be prescribed a trial treatment or referred to a pulmonologist for a consultation.
Spirography is an examination of the respiratory tract, during which the volume and speed of movement of inhaled and exhaled air, as well as the filling of the pulmonary tract, are assessed. Thus, we are dealing with the study of pulmonary function.
Spirography is painless and does not cause any significant harm to your well-being. In some cases, frequent, strong inhalation / exhalation can increase the pressure in the chest, abdomen and intraocular pressure and thus cause discomfort.There are contraindications for spirography, which the doctor or nurse will inform you about before the examination. The doctor and nurse will give you precise instructions on what to watch out for before coming for an examination:
4 to 24 hours before the examination.
- Avoid physical activity
- Do not smoke
- Do not come to the examination with a full stomach, but you can have a little snack two hours before the examination.
What do spirography results show?
Spirography measures the volume and / or speed of air movement that a person can inhale and exhale. The most commonly measured:
The amount of air that you can exhale forcefully within one second after maximum inhalation. This is called the forced expiratory volume in 1 second. If the airway is in order, a person can exhale most of the air in the lungs within one second.
- The maximum volume of air that you can exhale forcefully after a maximum inhalation. This volume is called forced vital capacity of the lungs.
As a result of calculating the results of spirography, the above two indicators are compared with the control indicators. Your age, height and gender affect your lung capacity and are taken into account when calculating your results.
Important to remember:
Various options are used to treat asthma. It is important to know that there is no one best treatment that works for everyone. The disease progresses differently from patient to patient, and for the medication to work, asthma treatment depends on your personal needs.
The goal of treatment is to achieve and maintain good asthma control and to improve the quality of life of an asthma sufferer. It is desirable to achieve this result with the lowest dose of drug / drugs and with the least side effects.
Asthma is well controlled if:
- Symptoms do not appear during the daytime , or they appear only briefly and no more than two days a week
- Symptoms do not appear at night , or they appear no more than two episodes per month
- Asthma does not limit physical activity
- The patient does not need for seizure treatment (fast acting bronchodilators) or uses these drugs no more than twice a week.
- Indicators of pulmonary functions remain within normal limits (at least 80% of indicators for the last five years).
- There are no more serious exacerbations , or they appear no more often than once a year.
If asthma is suspected or has already been diagnosed, it is very important that you tell your doctor about your health condition. Together with your doctor, you will find the treatment plan that best suits you.
Before visiting a doctor, track:
- Can certain activities trigger an asthma attack or respiratory distress
- Do you have breathing problems at work while at home
- You feel better
Record any occurrences noted as your doctor will need your exact descriptions.To track your asthma status, you can complete the asthma control test. This is a simple questionnaire, the sum of the items of which gives information about the state of asthma, and you can ask your district nurse for a printed copy of it.
Your doctor may ask you what symptoms you have, when they start, and how often they occur. You will be asked about other health data and may be asked if any of your relatives have asthma. Information about whether your family member has had any breathing problems, lung diseases or allergies.
A list of medicines, food supplements and vitamins that you are taking can be made for your doctor.
In the treatment of asthma, in addition to taking medications, lifestyle is also important. Try to avoid upper respiratory irritants and known allergens.
The most important respiratory irritant is tobacco smoke. Smoking is one of the most important health risks. Quitting smoking will help you to significantly improve your asthma control.
Physical inactivity is an important risk factor. An appropriate physical activity is highly recommended for asthma. Regular exercise promotes better oxygen uptake and can improve quality of life and asthma control. Influenza vaccination is not contraindicated for patients with asthma.
The goal of the pharmacological treatment of asthma is not only to relieve symptoms, but also to achieve the necessary asthma control with as few side effects as possible.
Asthma treatment is divided into basic treatment , which is used regularly to keep asthma under control, and attack treatment , which is used as needed to quickly relieve asthma attacks. For patients with mild episodic asthma, doctors recommend the treatment of seizures β 2 – short-acting agonists, for patients with persistent asthma, doctors prescribe constant baseline treatment and, if necessary, treat the seizures.
Treatment of attacks
Treatment of attacks with bronchodilators is effective in relieving existing asthma symptoms, but these anti-asthma medications do not help prevent asthma exacerbations.
β 2 Short-acting agonists , also called rapid-acting bronchodilators , help relieve asthma symptoms. They relax the muscles in the walls of the airways, help open the airways, and make breathing easier.This reduces chest tension associated with asthma, wheezing and coughing. Their action is short-lived and sometimes, if symptoms worsen, they need to be reused. Ask your doctor to write down for you what is the exact maximum number of doses for how long you can use without danger to health. In case of exacerbation of asthma, glucocorticosteroid tablets are used. Your doctor will prescribe the treatment regimen for you. In addition to the pills, you need to continue to take the inhaled drug from the basic treatment.
Before starting treatment for asthma, the physician should assess the severity of the asthma. The dose of the drug and the frequency of its use depend on this. Next, you need to find a suitable inhaler with your doctor and nurse and learn the inhalation technique. The inhalers are convenient to use, easy to carry and easy to deal with.
In the case of pharmacological treatment, the inhalation technique is very important, the attending physician or nurse will introduce you to it. Choosing the right inhaler for you is also very important.
There are several types of inhalers, so it is very important to learn a new technique when receiving the first medicine or when changing it. The best way is a visual test, which can be done, for example, during an appointment.
The local doctor or nurse teaches the correct inhalation technique
NB! Unfortunately, many asthma patients use their inhaler incorrectly. In case of incorrect use of the inhaler, the medication will not be beneficial.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy in people with bronchial asthma
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may improve quality of life and asthma control in adults with asthma, but evidence for other important outcomes is limited, so our confidence in the results is rather low. None of the studies included adolescents with asthma.
We wanted to analyze the evidence for the effect of CBT versus conventional treatment (without CBT) on a range of health outcomes for people with asthma, including quality of life, adherence to drug therapy, and levels of anxiety and depression.
People with asthma suffer from anxiety and depression more than the general population. These psychological problems are associated with worsening asthma, including worse control of symptoms and more frequent hospitalizations. CBT is a type of conversation therapy that is designed to help people become aware of how their behavior affects their thoughts and feelings, and can help people with asthma cope better with their condition. We wanted to know if using CBT helps improve the lives of people with asthma.
The evidence reviewed is current to August 2016. We included nine studies in this review, with a total of 407 participants. All participants had bronchial asthma. In three of the nine studies, participants also had a diagnosis of anxiety or depression, or both. CBT was provided either individually or in a group, lasting four to 15 sessions.
Participants who received CBT had improvements in asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ) scores and asthma control scores compared to participants who did not receive CBT.Studies have generally not reported whether CBT reduces the need for oral steroids in an asthma attack. The benefit, expressed in terms of AQLQ scores, persisted for up to a year after receiving CBT. Participants who received CBT also had better anxiety scores than participants who received conventional care. Participants who received CBT did not have a clear improvement in depression scores or better adherence to treatment.
The overall quality of the evidence presented is low due to the small number of studies included in the review, differences in study design and delivery of CBT, and because participants knew which treatment group (CBT or no CBT) they were in.