Bring Asthma Under Control
We are in peak season for asthma sufferers, so we thought this was the perfect time to educate and raise awareness of this chronic and potentially life-threatening illness which affects over 1.5 million Texans according to the CDC.
The sad reality is there is no cure for asthma, but, not everything is bad news, people can lead normal happy lives and many deaths are preventable with proper treatment and care. Read on for tips on how to control asthma and improve your quality of life.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Asthma is a chronic illness, it means you always have it, however, there are asthma attack triggers, that can cause the symptoms to worsen. Getting to know the triggers is the first step to control asthma whether it’s for you or a loved one.
What Causes an Asthma Attack?
The exact cause of the illness has not been discovered yet, but, it is known that the airways of people who have asthma are very sensitive and tend to overreact to substances you are allergic to or find irritating.
When this happens, the airways get swollen and narrower making it hard to breathe, when the symptoms become worse than usual, this is known as an asthma attack. In severe cases, the airways can close so much that vital organs don’t get enough oxygen, and this is when the disease can be life-threatening.
The good thing is you can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack, staying away from known triggers, and following your doctor’s advice.
Common Asthma Triggers
People react to different allergens, but in general, these are the most common asthma triggers:
- – Air Pollution: Air quality has a significant impact on the quality of life of people with asthma, industrial and automobile emissions are known triggers.
- – Mold: Inhaling or breathing in mold can cause an asthma attack, and certain types of mold can cause other respiratory problems.
- – Tobacco Smoke: Being around people who smoke can cause an asthma attack from breathing second-hand smoke.
- – Cockroach Allergen: We know, gross! But it has been proven that cockroaches and their droppings are responsible for asthma attacks in many instances.
- – Dust Mites: Dust mites are present in almost every home, but they don’t present a danger to all, however, if you or a loved one suffers from asthma you should know that dust mites can trigger an attack.
Ways to Control Asthma
We don’t lose hope that someday scientists will find a cure for asthma, but until then the best way to improve your quality of life is by keeping it under control.
#1 Learn which Medicines Work Best
This is a trial and error method that you and your doctor need to work together on, there are different types of asthma medications and for some patients, one medication will be enough to control their symptoms, others might need a combination of medications.
#2 Take Your Asthma Controller Medicines as Prescribed
Controller medicines are those designed to make your airways less sensitive to asthma triggers, they help prevent asthma attacks or make them less severe when they do occur. The one drawback of these medications is that it may take 2-3 weeks for them to start working, so you need to take them every day even if you are feeling fine.
#3 Always Have a Rescue Inhaler with You
Having these small, easy to use portable devices are designed to help you breathe better quickly. For this reason, you should always carry one with you in case you experience an asthma episode.
#4 Learn to Recognize Your Early Warning Signs
If there is one good thing about this illness, its that it gives you clues as to when you are about to get an attack, these symptoms include:
- – A Headache
- – Itchy Throat
- – Itchy Eyes
- – A Runny Nose
- – Chest Tightness
- – Anxiety
#5 Know Your Triggers
Preventing your triggers is vital to control asthma. Speak to your doctor to help you recognize your asthma triggers, once you know what can cause an asthma attack, you can work towards staying clear of these.
#6 Create an Asthma Action Plan
You should never ignore your asthma symptoms; many deaths are caused by patients who think their symptoms are not severe enough to go to the ER for treatment.
Our last recommendation to control asthma is to create an asthma action plan with your doctor. This plan should help you determine when to use your rescue inhaler, when to call your doctor and when to come in to visit one of our Altus Emergency centers for treatment.
#7 Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency
Even if you do everything to control your asthma symptoms, a severe attack can still happen at any time, for this reason, all of Altus Emergency Centers are open 24/7 and our staff is available to treat your symptoms and get you breathing normally again.