Millions of people suffer from asthma every year, including a significant proportion of children. However, the condition can affect us at any age and in varying degrees of severity.
If you’ve noticed some trouble breathing of late or if you have a child, partner, or another person in your life who seems to be in this position, it’s vital to learn about asthma in case that’s the problem.
Asthma is a chronic, long-term disease. It affects the airways, the tubes the bring air into our lungs. Asthmatics end up with limited airflow because of inflammation and from the bronchial tubes getting narrower than standard. Also, the muscles surrounding our lungs are meant to be relaxed, but people with asthma typically have sensitive and inflamed muscles instead.
There are multiple stages or levels of asthma, too. It can be referred to as mild intermittent, where you only have mild symptoms that don’t last for more than a few days, and your daily activities don’t get interfered with, or mild persistent asthma, which is similar, but you have issues more often, up to a few days per week.
Moderate persistent asthma is the type where you get symptoms every day and at least one night per week, but they’re not there every single night. This asthma may affect some of your daily activities. The most full-on level of asthma is severe persistent. If you have this type, you’ll have symptoms multiple times per day and most nights, and your daily activities will be significantly limited.
Symptoms of Asthma
People can have different symptoms when they’re asthmatic, meaning there’s no single experience all sufferers have. However, here are some of the most common factors to look out for that could indicate you have asthma:
- Shortness of breath, where you find it hard to get enough air into your lungs to sleep, eat, or even speak.
- Difficulty breathing, accompanied by wheezing that creates a whistling sound emanating from your airways.
- Persistent coughing or a recurring cough that typically happens most at night or first thing in the morning.
- More mucus production, with significant amounts of phlegm or other thick fluid building up in the airways.
- Tightness in the chest, where it feels like you have pressure on that part of your body or it feels heavy and thus hard to breathe properly.
- Trouble breathing when exercising.
- Interrupted sleep patterns because of breathing issues.
Risk Factors and Common Triggers
You are generally more at risk of developing asthma if you had a severe respiratory infection when you were a child, have a parent with the health condition, or were exposed to some industrial dusts or chemical irritants in the workplace or at home, etc. Such issues can include fumes, wood dust, mold, cigarette smoke, dust mites, and air pollution.
Having an allergic condition can also increase your risk. For instance, those with hay fever or eczema can be more prone to getting asthma. Also, people who are obese are at a higher risk of developing asthma. Various things can also trigger an asthma attack, such as irritants in the air, pet hair, smoke (including smoke from fires in the surroundings), mold, and some disinfectants. Sinus infections can cause asthma in some people, too.
How to Get Diagnosed
Based on some of the symptoms mentioned above, do you think you might have asthma? If so, it’s time to book in to see your regular doctor or another qualified healthcare provider. It’s crucial to find out ASAP if you have asthma, even if it doesn’t feel that bad, just in case you find yourself dealing with a severe asthma attack one day that could lead to scary health problems and even death.
The physician will need to conduct various tests and ask you questions to diagnose asthma. They will get you to do some lung and other breathing tests and make sure they have a comprehensive rundown on your personal and family medical histories. Plus, doctors need to rule out other medical conditions that can sometimes come across as asthma, such as cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
If you get diagnosed with asthma, your doctor should give you a customized treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and any other health concerns you’re dealing with. Usually, the main treatment option is asthma medications designed to minimize asthma symptoms. You can often get a handy online doctor prescription without any difficulties these days, so it’s worth asking your physician if they can send you scripts digitally.
Asthma is a serious health concern that shouldn’t be ignored. Pay attention to any symptoms that indicate you could be struggling with this condition, and seek a diagnosis ASAP.