Have you ever had to stop to catch your breath, only to realize that you could not? Are you concerned that you might be exhibiting symptoms of asthma? Know the facts and take action so you can breathe easier.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases that affects the lungs causing wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. It is common among children as well as adults. According to the CDC, there are 26 million Americans diagnosed with asthma.
While people diagnosed with asthma technically have it all the time, asthma attacks only occurs when something bothers the lungs. Dust, dander, smoke, and air pollutants such as perfume, chemicals, or burning fields, are common triggers that may result in increased symptoms or an asthma attack.
How to Tell if You Have Asthma
If you tend to cough a lot, especially at night or if you experience chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days, it may be time to see a doctor.
Seeing a trained professional is the best way to determine if you have asthma because they have the tools and resources to check your lungs and check for allergies.
For example, if there is a high probably you have asthma she may do a breathing test called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath before and after you use asthma medicine.
Managing Asthma with Medication and Lifestyle Changes
While there is no cure for asthma, there are treatments to help. Asthmatics who are well managed should have very few attacks. There are short-acting, or rescue inhalers, such as Ventolin or Albuterol, for urgent situations or when a trigger comes about unexpectedly. There are long-acting inhalers and oral medications that can be prescribed for prevention of symptoms and maintenance of the disease.
Inhaled corticosteroids such as Flovent and Pulmicort help to reduce the swelling and constriction in your airways. Combination medications such as Advair, Symbicort, and Breo can also be used to help keep your airways open and symptoms at bay.
Many asthmatics are also plagued by allergies, so oral allergy medications, nasal sprays, or allergy shots can help to prevent issues caused by those triggers.
Asthma and Exercise
Along with being compliant with your medication regimen, overall health and wellness are vital. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your lungs strong by improving your lung capacity. The more the lungs can expand, the more oxygen they can pull into the body. Asthma does not have to limit anyone from competing in their own fitness goals. In fact, many Olympic athletes and marathon runners have been diagnosed with Asthma.
Asthma and COVID-19
Though research is ongoing, some who have had COVID-19, can also experience long-haul symptoms including difficulty breathing for weeks to months after. Furthermore, there are patients who have received a new diagnosis of asthma post-covid. Whether it is Covid-19, influenza, or any other trigger that may be affecting your lungs, do not risk the wait for treatment.
5 Benefits of Proactive Treatment
Part of staying healthy is to make sure you are staying up to date on your wellness visits. It's understandable why some put off doctor’s appointments when nothing seems wrong. But proactive treatment can reduce the risk of severe illness and injury. If you think you might have asthma, your doctor can help you get things under control and teach you give you the right tools to a potential asthma attack.
Imagine getting asthma under control so that:
- you won’t have symptoms such as wheezing or coughing,
- you’ll sleep better,
- you won’t miss work or school,
- you can take part in all physical activities, and
- you won’t have to go to the hospital.
When it comes to asthma, knowledge truly is power. After examination and testing, you'll get a better understanding of what to avoid or simply be prepared with the right tools to manage asthma or an asthma attack. If you are experiencing symptoms, asthmatic or not, speak to your physician about your lung health today.
Have questions about asthma? Learn more about asthma on the Centers for Disease Control website or schedule an appointment with your CareATC primary care provider.