For anyone experiencing an asthma flare up, there is nothing more terrifying than not being able to breathe. Even for someone who has learned to manage their symptoms, a periodic flare up can be frightening and is never welcome. With asthma, there is no cure, only management of symptoms and learning how to prevent flare ups. If you have asthma or care about someone who does, here are ways to treat the symptoms, as well as prevent flare ups.
Asthma – what it is and is not
Bottom line: asthma, no matter how common, is a lung disease. Asthma causes your breathing tubes to narrow, making it difficult to breath in and out. The common misconception is that asthma is an allergy because allergens can trigger it. But while allergies and asthma share similar symptoms and there is such a thing as allergy-induced asthma, asthma and allergies require different treatment methods.
Symptoms and Causes
If you have asthma, you’re all too familiar with flare-ups that are combined with often long spells where you are asymptomatic. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security; an asthma flare-up can occur anytime, anywhere. Wheezing usually begins suddenly and flare-ups can be mild or severe and can occur as a result of being exposed to an allergen such as dust or ragweed; while exercising; or if experiencing stress. The most common sign of an asthma flare up is wheezing, which at times may be accompanied by a cough. It is important to note that not all people with asthma wheeze, and not all people who wheeze have asthma.
Treatment and Prevention
Treatment for asthma includes long-term and quick-relief medications. For prevention and maintenance, you may be prescribed a corticosteroid inhaler for regular daily use. These inhalers quell the inflammation that builds to trigger an asthma attack. “Rescue” inhalers contain albuterol and are used during a flare-up to help widen the airways to help you breathe easier. For chronic asthmatics, doctors will prescribe both the maintenance and rescue inhalers, and recommend that a rescue inhaler be with you at all times – on your bed stand, at work, in your gym bag and in your purse.
For those whose flare-ups are constant – especially for the elderly and children – your doctor may recommend a nebulizer, which administers a medicated mist to provide relief by helping to expand closed airways.
Depending on your triggers, your doctor may refer you to an allergist to determine if your asthma is liked to allergies. You may also be referred to a pulmonologist for further evaluation. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be advised to eliminate or lessen exposure to the triggers you are allergic to. Note that if you have trouble breathing after eating certain foods or being stung by a bee, it is not an asthma flare-up and a rescue inhaler will not help.
Asthma Treatment in North Texas
Treating asthma entails being proactive about preventing an attack and managing your symptoms. Making sure you are prepared and knowing your triggers is a good first step in staying symptom-free. Working with the right doctor helps you effectively identify your triggers and manage your symptoms. If you live in the Weatherford area, Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas’s Dr. Olusegun Oseni and Dr. Pavan lrukulla can help you identify the problem and develop a solution that will leave you breathing easier year round. Call them today at (817) 594-9993 or request an appointment now.