Asthma: Manage & Prevent Attacks
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
For some, asthma is a minor trouble. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can definitely be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it’s important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust the treatment as required.
Asthma symptoms range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or have symptoms all the time.
What are the symptoms of Asthma?
The signs and symptoms that may indicate Asthma are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Signs that your asthma is probably worsening include:
– Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
– Increasing difficulty breathing (measurable with a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
– The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often
For some people, asthma symptoms flare up in certain situations:
- Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
- Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
- Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches or pollen
Asthma is classified into four general categories:
Signs and Symptoms
|Mild intermittent||Mild symptoms up to two days a week and up to two nights a month|
|Mild persistent||Symptoms more than twice a week, but no more than once in a single day|
|Moderate persistent||Symptoms once a day and more than one night a week|
|Severe persistent||Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night|
Asthma complications include:
- Symptoms that interfere with sleep, work or recreational activities
- Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
- Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling) that affects how well you can breathe
- Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
- Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma
How Physiotherapy can help you for Asthma?
Your physio helps you learn to manage the physical effects of your asthma. How you breathe is really important. Many people with asthma feel they need to get more air into their lungs. You may use your chest muscles to breathe air in and out quickly, through your mouth. If you make a habit of this, you’ll start to feel tired and unwell, and be more prone to asthma attacks. Your Physio at ReLiva will teach you how to breathe properly using the correct muscles when you’re resting. This will help you feel relaxed and you won’t make your asthma symptoms worse. They’ll also teach you how to breathe when you’re taking exercise.
Your physio will show you ways to:
- control your cough
- get rid of mucus
- use your inhaler correctly
- cope better with asthma attacks
- work out an exercise plan that’s right for you
- relax so you breathe easier
Read Tips for managing Asthma better at home by clicking here.