Asthma is a disease that impacts your lungs. It is formerly known as bronchial asthma, a chronic condition that requires medical support as it isn’t something that goes away. Sometimes, when the condition gets worse, it can cause asthma attacks, which means air is passing through your airways quickly and easily, causing you to struggle to control your breathing.
We take a look further at the signs and symptoms of Asthma, including what they are if you’re having an asthma attack and how you can perform an asthma assessment to determine if you’re an asthma patient and need adequate support.
How Is Asthma Diagnosed?
Speaking with your doctor about your symptoms and general health is the first step in diagnosing asthma. This may offer hints as to whether asthma or another condition is to blame for your symptoms. Your doctor will likely inquire about your symptoms and any exposure to asthma-related substances.
Some of the questions the doctor may ask to include:
- What the symptoms are, and how often do they occur
- Exposure to any fumes, tobacco or dust
- Whether you’re suffering from hay fever or allergies
- Genetics – has the condition been passed down from an older family member?
- Any external conditions you suffer with
- What medications you may be currently taking
The doctor will then undertake a physical exam. The doctor may examine your nose, airways and throat, locate abnormal breathing sounds and examine your skin for any condition such as eczema.
What Other Signs And Symptoms Does The Doctor Look For?
The most common symptoms to look for when it comes to asthma are:
- A tight or compressed chest
- A whistling sound when breathing
What Are The Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack occurs when your asthma suddenly gets worse for a short period. It may occur immediately or gradually over a period of days.
If you’re suffering from an asthma attack, here are three things that could happen:
- The muscles around the airways tighten in bronchospasm (tighten). Your airways become more congested when they tighten. Constricted airways prevent the free passage of air.
- Your airways’ lining swells due to inflammation. Less air enters or leaves your lungs when your airways are swollen.
- More mucus is produced by your body during an assault. It clogs the airways with its thick mucus.
What Triggers An Asthma Attack?
If you meet things that irritate you, you could have an asthma attack. These substances are known as “triggers” by medical professionals. It is simpler to prevent asthma attacks if you are aware of your asthma triggers.
Some of the common triggers of an asthma attack include:
- Air Pollution – Several external factors can trigger an asthma episode. Other sources of air pollution include smoke from wildfires and manufacturing pollutants.
- Mould – Mold can grow in damp areas, which can be problematic if you have asthma. To have an attack, you don’t even need to be allergic to mould.
- Pests and Pets – Asthma episodes might be triggered by your pets. Breathing in pet dander (dry skin flakes) might irritate your airways if you have an allergy to it.
- Tobacco – If you or someone in your home smokes, your risk of developing asthma is greater. The best option is to stop smoking, and you should never smoke in confined spaces like your car or house. Your provider may be able to assist.
- Occupational Hazards – Cleaning supplies, flour or wood dust, as well as other chemicals, are just a few of the things you could be exposed to at work. If you have asthma, any of these may be triggers.
How Can I Assess Whether I Have Asthma?
It would be recommended by your doctor that you monitor your asthma symptoms through an asthma assessment. It’s a crucial component in treating the illness. A peak flow (PF) meter may be required by your doctor. This tool gauges how quickly you can exhale air from your lungs. It may enable your doctor to change the dosage of your medication. It also alerts you to any worsening of your symptoms.
Your doctor may also perform something known as Spirometry, a simple breathing test that measures how much air flows within your lungs. If you’ve narrow airways, breathing will become more forced and tighter. It may also be a sign of bronchitis and pneumonia. Spirometry can help your doctor also determine the best course of treatment.
If you’re showing signs of asthma through shortness of breath or other symptoms, then consult your doctor as soon as you can.