Asthma is a chronic ailment and if ignored for long may very well become a strong reason for a life threatning asthma attack. Symptoms leading to swelling of the bronchial tubes, wheezing, coughing, contraction of the air pipe and breathlessness due to reduced flow of air into and out of the lungs. But then again inspite of being considered as an incurable disease, asthma and any flare-ups associated with it can be controlled; provided one is ready to consider all the necessary treatment options at an early stage.
What happens in an Asthma attack?
In an asthma attack or an asthma exacerbation, the airways of a victim become swollen and inflamed. Muscles surrounding the airways tend to contract leading to further contraction of the breathing (bronchial) tubes. A victim apart from coughing and wheezing may end up having a lot of trouble in breathing. Depending on the severity of the attack, symptoms can be either treated with prompt home remedies or in a nearby health facility in case of a life-threatening emergency situation.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Any person reeling from an Asthma attack may end up showing the follwing symptoms:
- Acute shortness of breath, constrictions in the chest leading to coughing or wheezing
- Deteriorating symptoms inspite of using a quick-relief (rescue) inhaler
- An extremely low peak expiratory flow reading on a peak flow meter
Signs and symptoms related to an asthma attack vary from an individual to individual. Thus, all asthmatic patients needs to work closely with their physician to identify all indicative signs of any impending Asthma attack. However, inspite of such precautionary measures, if asthma symptoms only get worse, it is recommended a person gets in touch with a physician or takes a trip to the emergency room.
Tell Tale signs of an Asthma Attack
Asthma symptoms may be triggered by many agents. So, it would be worth taking a good look at those causes and triggers.
Causes and Triggers
Triggers causing an Asthma attack are necessarily restricted to one or the following:
- Dust mites, molds, pets and insects
- Foods such as peanuts, cow's milk, fish, eggs and soy
- Air-borne irritants such as pollen
- Animal protein (dander, urine, oil from skin)
- Aspirin or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs), and beta blockers (used to treat blood pressure and other heart conditions)
- Cigarrete smoke
- Environmental factors such as smog and any other change in the weather
- Paints, detergents, deodorants and perfumes
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder)
- Heavy cardio-vascular regimen, especially under cold dry conditions
- Chemicals, dust, gases, and metals
- Emotional, Anxiety, Nervous and Hormonal factors
Coping up with an Asthma attack
Seeing someone in distress during an Asthma attack can be chaotic to say the least. But then maintaining composure and remaining calm under all situations is indeed the best way to tackle the situation head on.
Handy points to cope up with an Asthma Attack
- Call up an ambulance or rush the patient to a nearby medical facility.
- Continue with the reliever medication but refrain from giving an overdose of the same
- Allow the patient to take around 15 to 30 puffs of an inhaler at a time with a gap of about 10 seconds between each puff
- Lean the patient over the table in a sitting stance instead of a lying down posture to bring down the breathing to a normal pattern
Tips to prevent an Asthma Attack
Eventhough Asthma might be incurable, it can be still prevented if one were to take precautionary measures such as:
- Refraining from ciggarette smoking or any other tobacco laced product
- Caffeine intake should be restricted or avoided
- Intake of vitamin B6 should be increased
- Consumption of a fruit like lemon should be done on a regular basis
- Avoiding drugs like Aspirin under all circumstances
Asthma as an ailment can be tough on the patient because it can put a lot of restrictions on the daily routine and activities. However, when the same ailment if untreated or ignored for long can be a triggering factor for an Asthma attack; anything but a life threatning situation in dire circumstances.
Written by: Healthplus24 Team
Date last Updated: November 18, 2012