What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic illness that is problematic for twenty five million people in the United States alone. Asthma can be a life threatening
condition if it is not treated. Asthma is the narrowing and inflammation of the throat and airways. Asthma will make it hard for the person to
breathe and make their chest feel tight. Much like if you had an elephant sitting on your chest.
It will cause you to wheeze and your chest to rattle ( more on this later), and make you cough. When your airways narrow less air can travel to your lungs so you will have a hard time breathing.
It can feel as if you are breathing from a straw. Sometimes the symptoms will go away on their own or with medical help. When you have very bad symptoms this is called a “asthma attack” and this can be fatal.
There is no cure for asthma however it can be controlled with medication. When something causes you to have asthma problems, it is called a “trigger” and the act of it is called a “flare-up”. The most commonly used medication for people who suffer from asthma is an asthma inhaler.
It is known to start in early childhood and for many people they will grow out of it when they become older.Although this wasn’t the case for myself however, many people do grow out of it.
The airways of people with asthma are very sensitive and the slightest thing can trigger an asthma attack. Things suck as pet hair(dander),pollen, or dust.
They have connected asthma with cat allergies one such article can be read here , I too have cat allergies. In fact, cat my cat allergy is my worst allergy. It’s always a great idea to get tested for allergies, so you don’t have problems
in the future.
History Of Asthma
Even though there is no cure for asthma, people have been suffering from it for a very long time. Even in ancient Egypt. One recipe they would use, they would put herbs on a heated brick and inhale the fumes.
The first known knowledge of asthma was 450 bc by Hippocrates. The word asthma is a greek word aazein which means to pant. The first written text involving asthma was by Hippocrates, somewhere between 460 and 360 bc.
In the 1930’s to the 1950’s asthma was thought to be a psychosomatic disease, and was known as one of the holy 7 psychosomatic diseases. Which the holy 7 psychosomatic diseases was just a list of the 7 most classic diseases.
It wasn’t until 1960 that asthma was recognized as a real illness. In 1886 a man by the name of F.H. Bosworth believed there was a link between hay fever and asthma.
Signs And Symptoms
It is important to note that everyone’s symptoms will not be the same, and you may have some or all of these listed.
Early Warning Signs
The following signs are the beginning of asthma and if you notice them early, you can stop it from getting worse.
•Feeling tired or weak during or after a workout
•Feeling upset, tired, grouchy,irritable, or just plain out in a bad mood
•Sore throat, runny nose,sneezing,headache or migraine, feeling congested,sinuses hurt
•Having problems getting to sleep
•Itching of the chin
•Dark circles under your eyes
•Feeling of restlessness
•Eczema of the skin
•Eyes that are glazed over
Severe Asthma Symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms you should see someone as soon as Immediately as this could be the difference between life and death for you.
- Severe breathing both in and out.
- non-stop coughing.
- rapid breathing
- not being able to catch your breathe
- Tightened neck and chest muscles
- Not being able to fully exhale.
- Anxiety and panic.
- Face is sweaty and pale.
- Your fingernails and lips turn a blueish color.
Digging Deeper Into Symptoms
This next section will just be an overview of the meaning of some of the symptoms. Not all of the terms are cut and dry, however if you know what all of the symptoms mean feel free to skip this section.
Contrary to the name ,you don’t need to be around hay to be affected. You also don’t need to have a fever to have hay fever either.
Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis. This condition affects up to 60 million people in the US alone.
You get hay fever when you body over reacts to something in your surroundings.
There is 2 types of hay fever:
- Seasonal hay fever– Generally effects people in summer and spring, and sometimes in and early in the fall. It is generally affected by seasonal allergies like trees,grass,pollen and other outside irritants.
- Year round hay fever- This type effects people all year long. Food allergies rarely cause issues with hay fever. It generally it caused by dust mites,pet dander, and mold.
Symptoms Of Hay Fever
•Itchy and skin
Eczema is a condition caused by inflammation of the skin. Atopic refers to allergies, while dermatitis literally means inflammation of the skin.
It is most common among young children and generally is outgrown when they reach the age they go to school.
Eczema raises the skin and the skin become red and itchy.
The symptoms are usually pretty mild in more extreme cases people will scratch the area until they bleed. Don’t do that!
The area can be infected from bacteria under your fingernails and it’s just bad all around.
Eczema Signs And Symptoms
- Skin is tough and scaly
- Inflamed,red, and very itchy
- Dark color areas of the skin
- liquid coming from the area
- A crusty buildup around the area
Types Of Allergies
Allergies are the body’s over reaction to things in your environment.
For the most part allergies are harmless but, it can turn lethal in some situations. Lets discuss the types of allergies.
Food Allergies- This type of allergy is caused by eating certain foods.
It can be mild or in severe cases can close your throat rendering you unable to breathe.
It can cause you to have an asthma attack, but generally this isn’t the case.
Animal Allergies- Bee and wasp stings are another common allergy. These stings can be life threatening if left unattended. Many people carry an Epipen in case such situation arrive. An EpiPen is a syringe ( a needle) that is
injected into the thigh when someone gets stung that is allergic to such insects. If you would like to learn more about EpiPen you can visit their official site here >>>EpiPen.com
Drug Allergies- These allergies are triggered by medications that you take, unlike other allergies it is not connect to the immune system. You are more likely to have a drug allergy with a medication that you take a lot.
Generally the signs to look for drug allergies are hives,swelling of the face,fever,rashes, and problems breathing.
Sinusitis Signs And Symptoms
Sinusitis is commonly known as a sinus infection. It s caused by the swelling of the facial tissue surrounding the sinuses.
Healthy sinuses are filled with air but, when they become blocked this is a breeding ground for germs.
This is also what causes the infection.
Types Of Sinusitis
All of these types of sinusitis have the same symptoms.
- Acute Sinusitis- It starts out like a cold with a runny nose or a stuffy nose. It also will give you pain in your face around the sinus areas.
It can also cause tooth pain and this type generally lasts 2 to 4 weeks.
- Subacute Sinusitis- This type will last 1 to 3 months.
- Chronic Inflammation- Chronic inflammation can last 3 months or even longer.
- Recurrent sinusitis- This will happen several times during the year.
What Is Wheezing?
Wheezing is a classic sign of asthma. What is wheezing? Wheezing is a whistling sounds your body makes when you breathe, mostly when you exhale. It is caused by the air moving through narrowed airways.
Remember when you tried to learn how to whistle when you were younger? Same concept you made your lips a lot narrower and pushed air through them.
There are 3 different ways something can trigger your asthma
- Exercise Induced Asthma- This is asthma that is triggered when exercising. This type of asthma can also get worse with cold or hot air.
This depends on the person, for me cold air usually helps me but for most people this isn’t the case.
When running at least in my experience I get a lot of chest tightening. Feels kind of like your chest is caving in.
- Occupational Asthma – This is asthma that can be triggered in the workplace most common cases are chemical fumes gases and other irritants.
I never really worked around these things much but I did find it hard to breathe while wearing a beard net and working in places that were hot.
- Allergy Induced Asthma- This type of asthma is triggered by things you are allergic to. These things include but are not limited to pollen,dust mites,pet dander,trees, and anything else you may be allergic to.
My worst allergy is cat dander, although I don’t have information to back this up everyone whom I’ve ever talked to with asthma this is the case.
Types Of Asthma Medication
There are 2 basic types of asthma Medications.
- Controller Medications- These types of medications are used to prevent asthma attacks and are taken daily. The main purpose of these types of medications is to fight inflammation.
- Quick Relief Medications- They are also known as rescue medication and are used when a asthma attack has started.
They work by relaxing the muscles around the airways.If you have to use these medications several times a day, you should consult your doctor and come up with an action plan. You asthma is not controlled and you should get it under control
Types Of Quick Relief Medications
These are the medications that will give relief to the worst symptoms like wheezing,chest tightness and more.
- Short-acting beta-agonists- These types of medication are also known as bronchodilators.
- Systemic corticosteroids– These are bronchodilators that have been mixed with short acting beta agonists
- Anticholinergics- These are medications that work by reducing inflammation to get your asthma under control.
Ways You Can Take Your Medication
- Metered Dose Inhaler- This is most common form and well known.
The inhaler is inserted into the mouth and press down and inhale the mist.
- Dry Powder Inhaler-This works just the same as the mist inhaler, just with a dry powder.
- Nebulizer– This is a machine that converts a liquid to a mist but it takes much longer to get a treatment then the metered dose inhaler.
- Pills– Very simple you just swallow it just like any other medication.
- Injection- This medication is administered by needle.
- OTC Drugs- You can get medication over the counter however it is strongly advised that you don’t take these. They can act badly with a wide range of conditions.
Also you hear about these medications going off the shelf for ill effects. If at all possible get your medication from your doctor.
- Allergy Injections- Will allergy shots help your asthma? Since most asthma attacks come from allergies, it makes since that if you control your allergies you will control your asthma.
Asthma In Children
It can be difficult to pinpoint asthma in children. Especially infants since usually the only symptom that they have is coughing.
This is not always the case but more often than not.
Cigarette second hand smoke can worsen children’s asthma symptoms. It is estimated that up to 1 million children have had their conditioned by cigarette smoke.
Asthma has been attributed to being the 3rd leading cause of children being sent to the hospital.
It is estimated that over 400,000 children have went to the emergency room for asthma related conditions.
Treating Children With Asthma Under 5
Treating younger children can be harder than older children. Some medications for older children are not recommended for younger children.
These are the most common medications for child with asthma.
- Inhaled corticosteroids-This is the most common medicine for young children. It is an inhaled medicine and an example of this medicine is Pulmicort.
- Leukotriene modifiers- This type of medicine comes in chewable form and grandular form to use in puree for even younger children.
An examaple of this medicine is Singulair ( a common allergy medicine available over the counter.
- Long-acting beta agonist- This medicine is inhaled and an example of this medicine is Advair.
- Cromolyn- This medicine blocks inflammation, however the effectiveness of this medicine has been debated.
- Oral corticosteroids- This is a last resort medicine, this medicine is only used when non of the other medications have worked.
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