Asthma is a lung condition that makes breathing difficult. Patients with acute asthma attacks breathe with a wheeze and have dyspneic episodes that can interfere with daily living. Asthma is a disease that can only be managed by therapy but not cured completely. The acute attacks of asthma can be controlled if the directions of Pulmonologist in Lahore are followed. Read on to know how to prevent asthma attacks:
What is asthma?
Asthma is an illness with inflammation and mucus in the airways that makes breathing difficult. This inflammation is in turn triggered by exposure to allergens and colds. With acute attack of asthma, exposure to the allergen triggers an inflammatory cascade which fills the airways with mucus and inflammatory mediators, along with bronchospasm, wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
Asthma can occur in all ages, but is more common in childhood. Asthma attacks vary in intensity and can be severe enough to cause death. In fact, in the United Kingdom alone, 3 people die daily due to acute exacerbation of asthma. These exacerbations can be controlled with certain measures.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma presents with the following symptoms:
- Tightness in the chest
- Difficulty in breathing
- Whistling sound when breathing (wheeze)
Asthma can be triggered by exposure to allergens or triggers like: dust, smoke, exercise and pollen. These symptoms are usually worse in the night and early in the day.
How to prevent asthma attacks?
- Identification of asthma triggers: identification of asthma triggers is helpful in disease management. This is done by keeping a detailed diary for a few weeks learning about the environment which triggers or doesn’t trigger asthma. An asthma specialist can also help to identify asthma triggers. Following the identification of asthma triggers, the next step is to take measures to avoid these triggers.
- Treating the cold: acutelung infections like flu and bronchitis can trigger and exacerbate asthma. This can be prevented by avoiding exposure to people with flu, washing hands regularly and getting flu shots in the winter.
- Avoiding smoke: both active and passive smoking are bad for asthma. Exposure to any kind of smoke, like tobacco, fireworks, fires, candles and even incense can irritate the airways to spasm and inflame. Limiting such exposure and smoking cessation can go a long way in preventing acute asthma attacks.
- Getting vaccinated: vaccination against flu annually, and against pneumonia every five-yearly help to prevent complications due to influenza and pneumonia infection with superadded asthma. Thus, everyone, but particularly people diagnosed with asthma, over the age of 19 should get pneumovax vaccine for pneumonia and yearly influenza vaccine as the strain changes yearly.
- Taking medication regularly: asthma medication helps to treat either an acute attack, or prevent an attack. These medications are in the form of an injection, inhaler, tablet and liquid. Preventive medications for asthma include:
- Corticosteroid inhaler: these drugs block inflammatory cascade and give immediate relief. Maintenance inhalers with corticosteroids for a short period of time can be used to prevent acute attacks.
- Beta agonists: these drugs relieve bronchospasm by relaxing the airways. Along with corticosteroids, these bronchodilators are used most often for the relief of asthma symptoms.
- Leukotriene modifiers: these are relatively newer drugs used to prevent asthma attacks, particularly in children. They work by blocking the inflammatory mediators known as leukotrienes which cause swelling of the airways.
- Allergy proofing the house: some ways that help to allergy proof the house include use of:
- Humidifiers: the moisture level in the room can be modulated with use of humidifiers that release water vapors. Adding moisture in the air can ease the symptoms of asthma and prevent exacerbations. The recommended humidity level by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology is between 30 to 45 percent.
- Air filtration system: allergens like mold, dust mites and pollen can be cleared from the room by using an air-filtration system.
More information about preventive measures for asthma can be found at oladoc.com