What's going on inside with Asthma?
When you have asthma, the breathing tubes (bronchiole) in your lungs are over-sensitive and become irritated easily. They react to things that would normally cause no problem, such as cold air or dust.
The reaction shows up in two ways:
- Muscles around the tubes tighten, which makes the tubes smaller than they should be.
- The lining of these breathing tubes become swollen and produces sticky mucus which clog up the breathing passes.
There are a number of symptoms associated with asthma. Sometimes you will notice just one or two, other times you could have more.
- A cough – usually dry and persistent, particularly at night.
- Wheezing – a little squeaky noise when breathing out.
- Shortness of Breath – your breathing is fast and shallow, you may feel like you can; t get enough air.
- Chest Tightness – like wearing a short or dress that's too tight – your chest does not seem to expand when you breathe.
- Hunched shoulders – as breathing became more difficult, your neck and shoulder muscle tense which #can cause your shoulders to hunch up
- Difficulty speaking – the lack of air may mean that you can only speak a couple of words at a time.
What triggers Asthma?
The substance or situation that causes your breathing tubes to become irritated is known as a trigger. Common triggers for asthma are:
- Cat Hair
- Cigarette smoke
- Viral infection
- Cold air
- Certain foods
- House dust mites
What do doctors and asthma nurses aim for when treating asthma?
The first goal of therapy is to relieve the symptoms. Relievers or commonly, blue inhalers, are used to relax the muscles around the breathing tubes, widening the tubes so that there is more space for the air to flow in and out of your lungs. Relievers should be used only when the symptoms occur, or as instructed by your doctor.
The second goal of therapy is to prevent the underwriting infection causing the swelling and excess mucus production. Preventers, which are usually brown or orange inhalers, work by calming down the irritation in the breathing tubes. They must be used regularly as prescribed by your doctor.
Why should you use a preventer medicine?
If you're using a reliever quite often (more than three times per week), or if the reliever is not controlling your symptoms you may need to discuss adding a preventer to your asthma management plan with your doctor. Even when your asthma is under control, it's a good idea to keep using a preventer. Asthmatics who stop using their preventer run the risk of their asthma translation.
Are there any side effects with preventer inhalers?
The most common side effects are hoarseness and oral thrush. These problems can be avoided if you rinse your mouth with water after using your preventer inhaler. There's less chance of side effects if you and your doctor identify the lowest dose necessary to maintain control over your asthma [http://www.familyhealthguide.co.uk/features/understanding-and-managing-asthma.html]
How often should you see a doctor or asthma nurse?
It's really important to have your medication reviewed regularly. This will ensure that you are on the lowest possible dose of preventer, which reduce the chance of side effects. So even if your asthma is well controlled, you should keep in touch with your doctor or asthma nurse.