Asthma

      Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways to your lungs to narrow which can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing.  Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swells. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by.

Causes

  •  Animals
  • Dust
  • Weather
  • Exercise
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Respiratory infections
  • Smoking
  • Stress

 Symptoms

  •  Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Lips/ face turn blue
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Anxiety

 Tests

  •  Arterial blood gas (how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in your blood)
  • Methacholine challenge test
  • Peak flow measurements
  • Chest x-ray

 

      The best way to prevent an asthma attack is to avoid the triggers that cause your symptoms. Preventative drugs can be given in order to avert an attack before it starts. Commonly, an inhaled corticosteroid is prescribed by your physician and is taken prior to exercise or event that may cause your symptoms to flare up. In the event that you are having an asthma attack, doctors prescribe “rescue” drugs as a short-term solution which usually includes a short-acting bronchodilator or an oral corticosteroid.

      As always, education is your best bet at preventing an asthma attack. It is important to know symptoms to watch out for, becoming familiar with common triggers of your condition and making a plan in case you suffer an attack. If you are an asthmatic please make sure that medical staff is aware of your condition.

 

Asthma Pic

 

References:

 

  • National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. What is Asthma?. Accessed Feb 2, 2015. Date of publication: August 4, 2014. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Feb 2, 2015. Date of publication: Nov 25, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/