People who have asthma have trouble breathing because the airways in their lungs are generally inflamed or become inflamed easily when exposed to a triggering factor. When an asthma attack occurs, a person’s airways experience even more inflammation and swell up, and the muscles supporting them become stiff. This leads to the familiar symptoms that accompany an asthma flare-up—severe coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in chest muscles.
Asthma is a type of allergy and is thus treated by an immunologist or allergy specialist. After identifying the specific triggering factors for a patient, the physician develops a treatment methodology that can help the patient lead a normal life. The key to managing asthma lies in avoiding the triggers so that flare-ups can be minimized, as an unexpected asthma attack can turn life-threatening in a matter of minutes.
Asthma treatment involves prescription medication in the form of an inhaler that relaxes muscles in the lungs and reduces inflammation in the airways to facilitate effortless breathing. A person who has asthma needs to carry their inhaler at all times and also needs to avoid being in situations that can bring on an asthma attack.
Some common asthma triggers are described below.
- Household allergens: Common household allergens such as dust mites, pollen, dander, mold, insect waste etc. can trigger an asthma attack in people who are allergic to these irritants. Once your doctor has identified the allergens that can cause a flare-up in your case, you can change your lifestyle to avoid exposure to these elements both inside and outside the house.
- Physical activity: Some people who have asthma may develop shortness of breath or other symptoms when running, exercising, or doing other strenuous activity.
- Stress and anxiety: Emotional problems and stress or anxiety caused by day-to-day situations can cause a person with asthma to have a flare-up.
- Medication: Many people with asthma are allergic to certain medications, including painkillers, hypertension medicines and those for heart ailments.
- Air pollution: Some people’s asthma can be aggravated by pollutants in the air, strong smells such as that of fuel and household cleaners, or fumes.
- Cigarette smoke: Many people with asthma experience an asthma attack when exposed to cigarette smoke.
- Common medical conditions: Common ailments such cough and cold, infections, acid reflux and heartburn can also trigger asthma symptoms.
- Seasonal changes: Change in season is a well-known trigger of symptoms in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Treatment of Asthma
Being a chronic illness, asthma needs to be taken seriously and you and your allergist must devise a long-term treatment plan, which usually includes administering medication that will reduce asthma symptoms as well as control inflammation of the airways.
Asthma medication comes in two forms; one that provides immediate relief in case of a flare-up and the other that, as stated previously, helps control airway inflammation and relaxes taut chest muscles. Depending on your condition, your doctor may prescribe either or both lines of treatment.
People with asthma should take only the medication that has been recommended by their doctor. Aside from inhalers, asthma medicines also come in the form of injections; however, these are used for patients with severe and frequent allergic asthma attacks.
If you’ve been prescribed the asthma medication Symbicort, you can avail significant savings when buying the medication at pharmacies across the country using the Symbicort coupon that you can get online.
Lifestyle tips to avoid asthma attack
- Persons with asthma are generally advised by their physicians to avoid elements that can trigger an attack. For instance, if insect droppings are a trigger in your case, you must make ongoing efforts to keep your surroundings clear of roaches and other common insects. The key to minimizing episodes is to always be conscious of the triggers listed by your allergist and avoid them as much as possible.
- Avoid being around people when they smoke and avoid prolonged exposure to polluted air.
- Take both your long-term medication and quick-relief medication as advised. Keep your inhaler handy—one in your bag, one each in the kitchen drawer and the bedroom, and yet another one at work.
- Ensure regular visits to your physician to discuss dosage adjustments and any alterations in your treatment plan.
- Eat healthy, sleep well and, above all, avoid stress as much as possible. Learn to deal with stressful situations in a calm manner, keeping in mind that letting stress get the better of you can result in an asthma attack anytime, anywhere.