Asthma Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management
Asthma is a lung disease that is caused by the muscles of the airways being inflamed; which causes wheezing, shortness of breath, dry coughing, heavy mucus development in the airways, and tightness in the chest area and also the feeling of heavyweights on the chest area. This disease is sometimes inheritance, which comes about from parents who suffer from allergies, hay fever, or pet allergies.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Asthma
Firstly, there are certain triggers like dust, dust mites, smoke, pet dander, strong perfumes, stress, exercise or physical activity,molds, cold or dry air, and cigarette smoke, which may cause asthma symptoms to come about. Symptoms are tightening of the airways which are the muscles of the airways becoming inflamed when any of these triggers is inhaled by persons. Persons will experience heavy dry cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, feeling of being suffocated, and tired. These symptoms may be mild, or severe and the quickest treatment is the use of reliever inhaler, which all asthma persons need to have on hand.
Though asthma cannot be cured it can be controlled by medication. These medications are prescribed by a doctor who is a specialist in respiratory ailments, or a pulmonologist. They will be able to treat your symptoms with medication that will give ready relief, by prescribing preventer inhalers and reliever inhalers for treatment.
Diagnosing asthma is generally done with the patient giving the doctor a family history. Whether there is a history of persons having hay fever, allergies to any triggers, or being sensitive to any foods, plants or anything in the environment.
The doctor will listen to the chest with a stethoscope, take an x-ray of the chest area, have the person do a breathing test with a spirometer to measure how fast you are able to inhale and exhale air from the lung. The content of the air in the lung determines how inflamed the airway is. Doing some allergy test to determine the type of trigger which brings on the asthma symptoms are also done. The patient will need to keep a chart of when and what conditions or situations they notice that brings on these symptoms. With all the information, the doctor will be able to work out a plan of prescribing the correct treatment for the symptoms and triggers of asthma.
Management and Treatment of Asthma Symptoms
Drugs are generally used to manage asthma symptoms. The preventer inhalers which are corticosteroids like fluticasone or Flovent, and using beta2 agonists which are salmeterol or Advair to control severe asthma symptoms. For more acute symptoms, they will be given fast-acting bronchodilators such as albuterol or ProAir. These inhalers must be used as prescribed to ensure control and prevention of symptoms. They will ensure the patient’s asthma is controlled enough to not use the reliever inhalers in frequency.
Using the reliever inhalers more than twice per week, means the asthma symptoms are not being controlled. If this happens you must visit your doctor as there may be the need to change the medication or given a higher dose. With these treatment plans in place, you should be able to perform daily activities with ease and have an undisturbed sleep at nights.
Treating children requires more attention, as they will need help using inhalers. They may need to use a spacer to ensure the drug from the inhaler, which comes out in mists, goes directly into the lungs. Many children are not able to use the inhaler as directed and with the spacer they are able to control and use the device. The spacer is a tubular instrument with a cup like attachment on one end, that covers the nose and mouth of the child. The other end has a smaller opening that fits on the mouthpiece of the inhaler. When the inhaler’s plunger is pumped it releases the drug into the spacer and the child is able to inhale most if not all of the drug comfortably.
For both adult and child, after using the inhalers it is advised to rinse the mouth with water, as the drug may cause thrush. Washing the mouthpiece of the inhaler and the spacer is also necessary, as deposits of the drug may remain after use.
Exercise is also recommended for asthma sufferers, and if your asthma is triggered by physical activity, your doctor will be able to treat your symptoms to ensure you can enjoy your exercises.