Thursday, June 3, 2010

Asthma - How to Live with it

Asthma as all know is not curable but with proper long time cure can be prevented with a proper plan of action. 
Always have an action plan ready for asthma in terms of how frequent are the attacks, what causes the attacks, emergency numbers handy so that one can connect in case of a sudden attack. This can help you in managing your asthma along with your regular checkups with your family doctor or specialist. Take proper medicines and how to use it to the best effective manner to show its effect. As I have seen people who take inhalers but in a wrong manner due to which its effect does not show.
Regularly take your Peak flow meters test and keep a close track on the rise or fall in the readings. Keep close track of what triggers asthma by making note of it and informing your doctor accordingly which will help him treat you accordingly.
Asthma is not only caused by environmental factors there are also other factors like tension, stress, family fights which can be avoided try to be happy which can avoid asthma attacks.
Keep track of following things that can help manage your asthma

  • How often do you get attacks and in what scenarios.
  • Do you get tired frequently with body aches or skip work,school because of this.
  • If medication offered y doctor is not effective please inform him immediately so that he can change it.
  • Your peak flow meter readings are decreasing regularly it is an alarming sign contact your doctor.
  • When the frequency of inhalers increase.
Any of these symptoms if occurs needs to be treated immediately or it might lead to a serious attack which may be fatal. So take care with proper medication which in long term will subside your asthma and manage it in a better way.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Key Points for Asthma Patients

Key Points

  • Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways and makes them more reactive to certain substances breathed in. The exact cause of asthma isn't known.
  • Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts in childhood. In the United States, more than 22 million people are known to have asthma. Nearly 6 million of these people are children.
  • Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.
  • Sometimes symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with an asthma medicine. Other times, the symptoms continue to get worse. When symptoms get more intense and/or additional symptoms appear, this is an asthma attack.
  • It's important to treat asthma symptoms when you first notice them. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can cause death.
  • Your doctor will diagnose asthma based on your medical history, a physical exam, and results from tests. Asthma is difficult to diagnose in children younger than 5 years old.
  • There's no cure for asthma. Asthma is a long-term disease that requires long-term care. Successful asthma treatment requires you to take an active role in your care. Learn how to manage your asthma, get ongoing care, and watch for signs that your asthma is getting worse.
  • The goal of asthma treatment is to control the disease by following the asthma action plan you create with your doctor, taking asthma medicines as prescribed, learning what things make your asthma worse and taking steps to avoid exposure to them, tracking your level of asthma control, and responding quickly to worsening symptoms.
  • Asthma is treated with two types of medicines: long-term control medicines and quick-relief medicines. You use a device called an inhaler to take many of these medicines. This device allows the medicine to go right to your lungs.
  • The amounts and types of medicine you need to treat your asthma depend on how well controlled your asthma is when you're closely following your asthma action plan. This may change over time.
  • Always have the emergency number handy in case of chronic attack..
  • Track your asthma by recording your symptoms, using a peak flow meter, and getting regular asthma checkups. Let your doctor know if your asthma is getting worse.
  • Most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. They have few, if any, symptoms and can live normal, active lives.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How can Asthma be diagnosed

For Asthma to be diagnosed one needs to go to an Asthma specialist who will diagnose based on the medical history, physical exam and results from various tests. Doctor will also figure out what is the level of Asthma is it intermittent, mild, moderate or severe. Based on this analysis the treatment of the asthma patient will start.

Medical History
  In the medical history part doctor will ask you about your family history and allergies that you have. He may dig into the roots and check if there are any symptoms you have ever recognized of asthma. There are cases where symptoms might be worst at some time an normal at other times. In some cases asthma is worst at night. He might ask you as to what are the triggering factors that causes it. Along with this there are also certain other health conditions like running nose, sinus infections, reflux disease and sleeping disorders.

Physical Exam
   In the first physical exam that can be done is checking for wheezing or any other allergy symptoms from your breathing. It can also be identified from skin conditions where patients have severe itching sensation and dry skin. A spirometry test can be done to check how the lungs are functioning. This test shows how much air can you breathe in and out. After recording the results again the test needs to be taken after taking some medication to see if there are any improvements in the results. If the later results are better and from medical history it is very likely that you might be having asthma.

Other Tests
  There might be several other tests which needs to be done to make sure what exactly is the cause of asthma.
Some of them are

  • Allergy test to find out the allergens that affect you.
  • Test to measure how sensitive are your respiratory tracts by using spirometry.
  • Test to check if you suffer from any other disease like acid reflux, sleep disorder etc.
  • A chest X-ray or electrocardiogram.
These tests will help to find out the symptoms that is causing the asthma.

To diagnose asthma in children is very important and these symptoms may be shown in their early ages before 5 years which is very difficult to diagnose. A young child can have asthma if he has frequent cold, running nose or respiratory infections. If there are any such symptoms immediately get the child diagnosed and get the relevant tests done which will help to cure it at its very early stage.

Keep checking for more.

What exactly Asthma is and its causes

Asthma can be allergic or genetic. It can be caused due to a person being allergic to dust for example or by sudden rapid changes in temperatures or due to consumption of heavy medicines which has its side effects. Asthma can affect people of all ages and and it is believed that nearly 6 million people in the world alone in US affected by Asthma are children.

From the image will explain easily to all that how it is caused.

The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. People who have asthma have inflamed airways. This makes the airways swollen and very sensitive. They tend to react strongly to certain substances that are breathed in.

When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This causes the airways to narrow, and less air flows to your lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways may make more mucus than normal. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow your airways.

Asthma can be classified as atopic(allergy) or non atopic(non allergic).

Signs and Symptoms
Very few patients out of the millions of people who suffer from asthma may be able to mark signs that triggers it as it might be different for most of them.

Common symptoms of Asthma are
  1. Wheezing in the chest area.
  2. Coughing which can be wet or dry.
  3. Breathlessness even in open air
  4. Tightness in the chest

So keep this always in mind and take necessary corrective action.

Asthma cant be cured but can be prevented so don't be depressed as people have conquered the world even if they are asthmatic.They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.

In my next post will talk more about Asthma and how to live a normal life.