People with Asthma often don’t know how to cope with their condition, live with their triggers and carry on their life as normal. But with the right knowledge, asthmatics can improve their quality of life and gain control over their asthma.
This lack of knowledge is due to a general lack of awareness surrounding asthma. We need more education about the signs and how to detect when an asthmatic is getting worse so we can help them breathe better again.
In this article, I will discuss approaches for educating people living with asthma and offer tips on how we can help others manage it in a safe and effective manner.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the world, affecting an estimated 300 million people globally. Asthma is a breathing condition that affects the respiratory system and can cause difficulty breathing, chest tightness, coughing, and intense episodes of wheezing. It’s caused when certain triggers such as allergens or irritants (like pet dander or smoke) cause inflammation and constriction in the airways.
Asthma attacks vary from person to person, but symptoms usually include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pressure, feelings of panic due to lack of breathing ability, puffs or whistling noises during breathing made by wheezing airways, coughing accompanied by chest discomfort and high palpitations (when feeling short of breath). In some cases, it can be difficult to diagnose initially as determination often requires patient history and follow-up examination depending on individual symptoms.
What Causes Asthma?
Asthma can be caused by a range of different factors, such as allergies, genetics, and air pollution.
First, allergies to certain substances that you inhale – like pollen or dust mites – may trigger asthma symptoms like wheezing and coughing. If you’re allergic to an allergen in your environment, your immune system will fight against it by releasing chemicals that can cause inflammation inside of your lungs. Without proper management, this inflammation could get worse over time and worsen your asthma symptoms.
Second, if a family member has asthma the condition can run in some families due to genetics. There is no cure for asthma but with proper management strategies and medications, individuals living with asthma often live healthy productive lives.
Finally, air pollution from exhaust fumes from cars or factories can lead to the worsening of people’s asthma symptoms. This is why it is important to know what triggers your personal symptoms and develop a plan with your ENT doctor on how best to manage your condition.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
When it comes to helping people living with Asthma, one of the first steps is educating them on all the condition entails. The most important aspect of this education is understanding the symptoms and diagnosis of Asthma.
Asthma symptoms may vary widely in severity, but the three main signs are coughing, difficulty breathing and wheezing. If your patients have these symptoms more than twice a week and especially during physical activity or at night they should speak to their doctor. Additionally, allergens, irritants, and even cold air can be triggers for asthma episodes too so if your patients know specifically what triggers their asthma attacks they should alert their healthcare providers about this as well.
Diagnosing asthma can be difficult because some tests are inconclusive or produce delayed results. Doctors will typically start by taking a medical history and completing a physical exam by listening to the lungs for noises that help identify Airway Obstruction (AO). Other tests like pulmonary function testing (PFT) or looking at lung cells under a microscope after a sputum test can help confirm an Asthma diagnosis. With all these different types of testing available to health professionals they’re often able to spot early indicators of Asthma before it becomes a major issue in someone’s life!
When it comes to living with asthma, treatment is essential. First and foremost, it’s important that an individual consult with a physician about the best way to manage their condition. Depending on each person’s needs and symptoms, treatments for asthma can include both medications and lifestyle changes.
In terms of daily medication, an individual will likely use a combination of quick-relief inhalers used when needed during flare-ups, as well as controller medications used on a schedule over time to help prevent flare-ups from happening in the first place.
Likewise, lifestyle changes can also be very helpful in managing asthma symptoms. This includes avoiding asthma triggers like pollution or animal hair that may induce asthma attacks, staying active (but limiting intense physical exertion like running to avoid exercise-induced asthma), as well as quitting smoking or avoiding secondhand smoke altogether. Additionally, learning how to self-manage symptoms and being coached by healthcare professionals can be valuable resources for preventing asthmatic episodes from occurring.
Managing your asthma involves more than just taking asthma medicines. There are many ways to reduce the symptoms, triggers, and severity of asthma flare-ups.
One way is through lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and avoiding trigger substances can all help. You may also need to develop an Asthma Action Plan in partnership with your doctor; this will map out pre-determined steps that you should take when an asthma attack is imminent or occurring to reduce its effects and duration.
Also, be sure to attend regular checkups with your doctor. Being mindful of any sudden changes or increased frequency in the severity of your symptoms can help your health care provider or your ENT doctor spot signs of an underlying issue that needs further medical attention. Always keep an inhaler on hand in case of emergencies. Finally, if you are experiencing severe asthma attacks, make sure to contact your doctor or go to the emergency department especially when experiencing difficulty in breathing.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your asthma is properly managed so that it