Have Questions About Asthma? You're Not The Only One

Recent estimates from the Center for Disease Control in the United States report that over 19 million adults have asthma. That alarming statistic is even higher in our children today, with over 9 percent of children being diagnosed with this chronic condition.

Even with all of the advances in medical treatment of this disease, there are still over 500,000 hospital and emergency room visits each year that are due to asthma, with 17 million doctor visits having asthma as their main topic of conversation. While many people suffer silently, undiagnosed, thinking that periodically having difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest is a normal part of life, the reality is that these symptoms can worsen over time if they remain unchecked. Having knowledge about asthma, and knowing what to look for, are essential to it treatment and someday, to its cure.

The Five Questions

Here are some questions about asthma you might want answers to if you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms:

1. How can I discover what triggers my asthma?  

A: In order to determine what triggers your asthma, it might be helpful to see an allergist to first determine what you might be allergic to. Once skin testing and other forms of allergy testing have been completed, it will be necessary to pay attention to when and where your asthma seems to flare up, as you will need to find out if the things you are allergic to are triggering your reactions. Be sure to ask your doctor what some common triggers would be, and then do your best to minimize your exposure to them while you develop a treatment plan to stabilize your condition.

2. What are the potential side effects of bronchodilator medicine?

A: The medicine that is typically administered via a rescue inhaler to stop symptoms of an asthma attack may come with its own specific set of side effects and symptoms that are mildly unpleasant as well. Possible side effects of this medication might include:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • a headache
  • nervousness
  • tremors or shaking

While these side effects might seem unpleasant, the ability to breathe is far more important than the temporary discomfort you might feel after taking your medication. If you can, lie down and rest after you have taken your medication, and allow your body to once again come to a state of balance.

3. Do I need to reduce my level of physical activity?

A: For the most part, controlled asthma should not affect your day to day activities and even your extracurricular activities. If you know that you are prone to flare-ups during and after physical activity, have your inhaler close by so that you can take as needed to provide relief. If your symptoms persist or worsen during physical activity, despite your efforts to control or minimize asthma attacks, see your doctor to develop an alternative care plan for your condition.

4. My asthma seems worse in certain locations. How can I minimize exposure to harmful irritants?

A: Unfortunately, if your asthma seems to be worse at home or at work, you may have harmful irritants in those environments that are causing your flare-ups. At home, taking steps to thoroughly clean your environment of dust, dust mites, and mold will be helpful in reducing or possibly eliminating your symptoms. It is a bit more complicated to avoid triggers at work; talking to your boss and developing a care plan strategy with your doctor are all proactive ways to minimize exposure to your triggers while at work.

5. Should I always take my medication when I feel a flare-up coming on?

A: The answer to this question is a resounding "yes". You should always take your rescue inhaler when you find yourself experiencing symptoms of an asthma attack. Many people try to ride their initial symptoms out, only to find themselves in the emergency room when an attack quickly spirals out of control. Stay calm, have a plan of action, and let friends and loved ones know how they can assist you they are with you when you experience symptoms. Mere minutes can save you from suffering severe damage to airways and your respiratory system; the sooner you can ingest your medication, the better you will feel.

While asthma is a very inconvenient condition to experience, it doesn't have to alter the quality of your life. Talk to your doctor about your lifestyle, your habits, and your desires when crafting a care plan that works for you. Listen to medical advice, and know that taking proper care of yourself before, during, and after the appearance of symptoms will ensure that you continue to thrive and live a full and happy life.

Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

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