For some people, asthma is simply a minor nuisance, but for others, it can be a huge problem that interferes with their daily activities. While asthma can’t be cured, it can be controlled. If you think you may have the symptoms of asthma, read on to find out more about the signs you should look out for and how the condition can be treated.
Asthma is a lung condition in which your airways narrow and swell, leading to difficulty breathing. This can vary in severity depending on the person and there are lots of other symptoms you might experience too. Aside from breathlessness, you may experience a feeling of tightness across the chest or hear a wheezing sound (whistling) when you breathe.
While the previously mentioned problems are common symptoms of asthma, they can also be caused by other medical conditions. There is a higher chance that they are related to asthma, however, if they are: repetitive, persistent or frequently return; if they seem more serious during the night or in the morning; if they seem to be exasperated by an asthma trigger. These triggers can include allergies like pollen and pet fur as well as exercise.
If you experience any of these issues, you should go to the doctor to make sure that you are correctly diagnosed and receive an appropriate treatment.
Another key symptom of asthma is an asthma attack. This usually occurs when your asthma symptoms worsen due to an infection or other triggers like pollen and pollution. You might notice it coming on slowly, even over a couple of days, or it could happen without warning.
If you are experiencing an asthma attack, you may find yourself breathing faster or your heart rate increasing. Tiredness, dizziness and confusion can occur as well as feeling too breathless to sleep, talk or even eat. Simultaneously, you may find that coughing, wheezing or tight chestedness becomes more serious and prolonged. In serious cases, you may even faint.
Asthma is usually diagnosed by a doctor via a physical examination. This will be done in order to rule out any other potential causes of your symptoms. The doctor might also ask you some questions about any other health problems you have or the symptoms you present with or mention.
After this, one of the more common kinds of tests used is a lung function test. The main goal of these tests is to find out how much air is inhaled and exhaled as you breathe. It’s also common for these tests to be done both before and after you take some prescribed medication as this can indicate whether it is helping your condition. If the medication aiming to open up your airways works, then there is a higher chance you are dealing with asthma.
If you are diagnosed, a doctor will also likely want to establish which kind of asthma you have. There are generally four categories. These include:
The best way to treat asthma once you know you have it is through preventative measures. This can include understanding your triggers so that you can avoid them as well as paying closer attention to your breathing to make sure you know when medication is working or failing and quickly noticing any problems.
There are lots of medications including inhalers and pills which can help you depending on your symptoms and the variety of asthma you have. Your doctor will indicate to you which of these is best suited to your condition.
If these medications don’t work for you, a more extreme treatment is bronchial thermoplasty. This involves heating the inside of your airways in order to minimise the amount of muscle, making it easier for you to breathe. This treatment is not widely available, though.
If you think you have the previously mentioned symptoms or are concerned at all about your health, why not head to Eli Waters Medical Centre? We can help with your ailments and set your mind at ease no matter your worries.