/ Asthma
Asthma Symptoms & Treatments

Asthma Symptoms & Treatments

Asthma is a condition that affects 8% of the population. This lung disease causes the airways to narrow due to widespread inflammation of the lungs and airways. While childhood asthma attacks are more common, there is an equal number of adult & child sufferers. Fortunately, asthma is a condition which you can manage with proper medication. We'll be taking a look at the causes and symptoms of asthma, and showing you which types of treatment are available.

Asthma's Four Main Groupings

There are four different classifications of asthma. They all share the same symptoms. Here's a look at each.

  • Atopic asthma - This is the most common type of asthma. It is hereditary. Most patients also exhibit a number of other allergic diseases such as eczema and hay fever. Atopic asthma normally shares triggers with other allergic reactions.
  • Non-atopic asthma - Non-atopic asthma occurs as a respiratory infection in patients with no family history or other allergic diseases.
  • Drug-induced asthma - There is a low chance that aspirin will cause drug-induced asthma in certain patients. Medicines like NSAIDs and aspirin block COX1 enzyme production which can reduce the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Without adequate natural protection against inflammation, asthma ensues.
  • Occupational asthma - Prolonged repeated exposure to certain chemical compounds can induce occupational asthma.

General Symptoms of Asthma

Acute asthma attacks occur when the muscular layer covering the bronchi contract, as the muscles contract, the airways narrow. Any existing inflammation worsens the reaction, making it even more difficult to breathe. The prolonged inflammation caused by asthma makes the airways extremely sensitive. A number of underlying triggers can then cause an attack. The general symptoms of an asthma attack are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Long expiration (taking long to blow out all your air)
  • Forced expiration
  • Excessive strain and use of muscles to breath
  • Hyperinflated lungs
  • Drowsiness
  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Cyanopsis (blueing of the lips)
  • Lower oxygen saturation measured in blood tests

An Asthma Attack

Acute asthma episodes, or asthma attacks, occur when the airways narrow too rapidly. An episode can occur spontaneously, but almost always follows a trigger. Most attacks occur 10 to 15 minutes after exposure to the trigger.

The onset is characterized by extreme shortness of breath, followed by tightening of the chest. As the panicked patient gasps for air, bouts of coughing and deep wheezing emanate. Although not always present, the attack can also cause the patient to cough up thick, yellow sputum.

Not all attacks occur as quickly. Late phase asthmatic responses can happen after an hour, with symptoms persisting for days. However, most symptoms of an asthma attack subside within an hour after receiving treatment. Asthma sufferers don't always manifest symptoms in-between attacks.

Common Asthma Attack Triggers

Many things can trigger an asthma attack. Any pre-existing allergic reactions are likely to trigger an attack. Common asthma triggers include:

  • Sinusitis
  • Flu
  • Respiratory infections
  • Rigorous exercise
  • Extreme heat
  • Extreme cold
  • Extreme emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Pollen
  • Dust Mites
  • Insect & animal excretions
  • Smoke
  • Chemical fumes
  • Pungent odors

Diagnosing Asthma

An asthma diagnosis involves a number of possible investigations. When you treat asthma online with the help of PlushCare, the perfect medicine is found in no time. Firstly, your healthcare professional will evaluate your personal health history where any hereditary conditions will be identified.

A PlushCare phycisian will also guide you through the process of allergy testing as well as blood tests to find allergic tendencies. Knowing your allergens helps set out the best treatment plan.

There are also quite a few breathing tests which can be conducted. Lung function is most often tested using spirometry. After blowing into a spirometer, your lung function is evaluated. The peak expiratory flow rate exam is also used, as well as many other pulmonary function tests.

After undergoing a diagnosis, a doctor will normally prescribe you an inhaler. If your lung function improves over a short period of time, asthma is typically confirmed and you should continue with regular check ups and prescription refills.

Asthma Treatments

Treating asthma involves multiple types of medication. The most reliable way to determine what you need is to visit a physician or to treat asthma online with the help of PlushCare.

Rescue inhalers are used to treat acute asthma attacks. Long-acting inhalers stop exercise-induced asthma. Simply use it a few hours before sport and the chances of an attack are lowered. You can also get preventative medications such as chromones, corticosteroids and leukotriene receptor antagonists.

Prescription asthma medication is vital to mitigating the symptoms of asthma and controlling the condition. Over-the-counter asthma inhalers are recommended for emergency use only. Always consult a healthcare professional for the perfect medication to suit your condition.

Finding Long Term Relief From Asthma

Those affected by asthma will experience symptoms periodically throughout their lives. Managing your triggers is the key to living a normal life. Once you have the right rescue and long-term medication, the effects of this lung disease are minimized.

Always go for regular checkups so that you can have lung function tests like those for peak flow and spirometry carried out. This will guarantee that your asthma causes no complications as you age. If you are looking for the best way to manage your asthma, then treat asthma online with the aid of PlushCare. A real-time diagnosis will evaluate your condition, arrange your medication for delivery, or set up a consultation with a specialist when needed.

Read More About Asthma Symptoms and Treatments

Doctor on phone

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Read More