How To Prevent Future Asthma Attacks
Asthma attacks can be scary in the moment, but finding a treatment plan that works right for you can help manage your symptoms and prevent future emergencies.
- First, talk to your doctor. Your family doctor can help you monitor your asthma, find ways to manage symptoms day-to-day and check for underlying conditions that may make asthma worse.
- Know what triggers your symptoms. You can help prevent asthma attacks by avoiding respiratory irritants, allergens, and other triggers. Attacks can be set off by anythingfrom seasonal allergies to physical exercise to stressful emotions. Talk to your doctor if youre not sure what causes your symptoms or youre not sure how to avoid triggers.
- Always keep your rescue inhaler on hand. Dont leave home without your rescue inhaler even for short periods of time. Keep your medication up to date and stored in a dry place away from direct heat or cold. Dont store your inhaler in your car.
- Make an action plan with your family. If youre having an emergency, its important that those around you know what to do to help. Your loved ones should know where you keep your rescue inhaler, as well as who to call if youre experiencing an attack.
What Is Anxiety And Panic Attack
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or worry about a specific situation. Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their lives, and it is a common reaction to stress. But if you are so overwhelmed that you cannot carry out daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.
A panic attack, a type of anxiety disorder, is a feeling of extreme terror where there is no danger in real life. It is a bout of severe anxiety that comes suddenly. For instance, you can have a panic attack if you think you may have a heart attack. Women are twice as likely to get a panic attack as men.
Some symptoms of a panic attack are:
- Rapid heart rate
- A feeling of being detached from your surrounding
- Fear of dying
Many asthma patients also experience panic attacks, and they often occur together. So, a panic attack is often a common symptom of asthma
But why does asthma cause a panic attack? Asthma attacks are frightening. In asthma, your airways in the lungs inflame, which narrows them and makes you feel terrified. Moreover, anxiety about a future asthma attack may even trigger one and also cause a panic attack.
What To Do If You Think Youre Having An Asthma Attack
If you suspect youre having an attack, follow these steps:
Its safe to use an albuterol rescue inhaler even if the expiration date has passed. However, the medication inside may not be as effective, so you may need to use more of it to find relief. Dont use an inhaler thats been damaged or stored in direct sunlight.
If you dont have a rescue inhaler, call 911 immediately. In the meantime, try to remain calm and move away from nearby respiratory irritants, like cigarette smoke, pets, or outdoor pollen.
Even if you manage to get an asthma attack under control on your own, you should still visit your family doctor within the next few days. Your doctor can determine if you require additional medications, clinical testing, or if theres an underlying condition that led to the attack.
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When To Talk With A Doctor
If your symptoms are otherwise well controlled, you may not need to speak with your doctor. But if your symptoms are starting to increase in intensity, you may want to talk with your doctor about changing your treatment routine.
If you experience symptoms of depression, you should talk with your doctor or another mental health professional.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, signs and symptoms of depression can include:
- loss of appetite
Asthma & Anxiety Differences
Asthma and anxiety both can cause a feeling of tightness in your chest and breathing difficulties.
But the main difference is that hyperventilation during a panic attack increases oxygen flow, while constriction during an asthma attack reduces your oxygen intake.
Besides, wheezing and coughing are mainly associated with asthma attacks. And people with anxiety attacks may have symptoms beyond breathlessness.
Recognizing the difference between these conditions will help you and your doctor create an effective treatment plan. For instance, medications, such as bronchodilators, used to manage asthma worsen your anxiety.
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What Types Of Asthma Are There
Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma can be:
- Allergic: Some peoples can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Reason #: Asthma And Stress Can Cause Poor Digestion
Believe it or not, stress can lead to the buildup of various toxins throughout the body. And this includes the lung airway tissue. These impurities can collect in these tissues and ultimately contribute to chronic breathing conditions.
Bad diets, in general, are more common among people with stressful lifestyles. Usually they result in vitamin deficiencies and overall poor health.
Asthma and stress can also change the delicate balance of the body. Or it can simply affect the way the body functions. It has also been found that the stressed children with depression or panic attacks have an increased risk of developing asthma.
An asthma diet can help to restore a nutritional balance. It replenishes many vitamins and minerals so that your body can function better.
If you are not able to have a well-balanced healthy diet, then you can try herbal supplements to replenish your body of vital nutrients.
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Strategies To Treat And Reduce Stress
Gain control of stress and you can take back the power that stress-induced asthma robs from you. You have numerous strategies at your disposal to treat and reduce the stress that triggers a flare up and lung inflammation.
1. Slow Your Breath
This is a case of chicken and egg. Stress can make you breathe rapidly, which in turn can trigger a flare-up, which in turn can make you breathe even more rapidly. On and on the cycle goes.
If youre feeling stressed, follow your breath. Focus on bringing your mindfulness and awareness to the act of breathing instead of letting your breath run away from you.
Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Pause, then breathe in. Try to do a count of 5 for each inhale and exhale.
2. Know Your Triggers
Identify the things that trigger your stress. Perhaps its a work conflict or a specific person. Then, arm yourself by preparing in advance.
Be ready to face the stress trigger and have alternative, healthy ways to deal with the stress trigger. This may even include avoidance and removing yourself from the situation.
3. Try Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation and Other Mindfulness Exercises
Classic mindfulness exercises, such as yoga, can help still your mind and interject peace and contentment into your internal thoughts.
You dont have to join a yoga studio. Mindfulness apps, yoga videos online, and other home practices can help you minimize stress.
4. Get Enough Sleep
5. Exercise Daily
6. Delegate and Ask for Help
Allergies Can Cause Asthma
Allergies with asthma is a common problem. Eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to things in the air, like tree, grass, and weed pollens mold animal dander dust mites and cockroach droppings. In one study, children with high levels of cockroach droppings in their homes were four times more likely to have childhood asthma than children with low levels. An allergy to dust mites is another common asthma trigger.
If you have asthma thatâs hard to control, see an allergist to find out if you have allergies. Treating your allergies with medication and avoiding your triggers can help lower the odds of a severe asthma attack.
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What If Its An Asthma Attack
Remember, anxiety and asthma attacks can feed off of each other. Even if your asthma attack begins with allergies or exercise, it can turn into a panic attack also. No matter what type of asthma you have, it is extremely important to develop an asthma attack action plan.
An asthma attack action plan simply outlines your course of action in the event of an asthma attack or flare-up. It lists breathing exercises, medication, when to take your inhaler, when to call your doctor, etc.
Additionally, monitoring your lung health with testing and data tracking helps you create a more accurate action plan. Talk to your doctor about at-home lung testing, as well as any new symptoms or triggers that may display themselves. Likewise, if you suspect you suffer from chronic anxiety or panic attacks, ask your doctor how to best control them with your asthma in mind.
What is Aluna?
Aluna is an innovative, scientifically-accurate, and portable spirometer cleared by the FDA.
This device and management program is designed to help adults and children, 5 years and up, monitor their lung function and take control of their respiratory health.
Aluna automatically tracks your FEV1% over time. You can also monitor your symptoms, medication, exercise, and environmental factors.
With the Aluna app, you can easily
Aluna is seeking to shed light on asthma and other lung diseases by providing accurate and reliable data for healthcare providers and patients.
Is Anxiety Making Your Asthma Worse
If youre going through a stressful time in your life, such as a divorce or redundancy, or youre feeling anxious even if you dont know why, this can make your asthma symptoms worse. This may mean you have to take asthma medicines more often, and may have to go to hospital or see your GP more frequently after having had an asthma attack.
Taking steps to get back on track emotionally is important because it can be easy to get stuck in a vicious circle: you feel anxious, anxiety makes your asthma symptoms worse, and you then feel more worried and anxious and on it goes.
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Why Do We Feel Anxious
Feeling anxious is the bodys way of preparing us either to make a run for it or put up a fight .
For our ancestors, this response was useful in helping us survive life-threatening attacks by wild animals.
For us, most problems we come across in daily life arent dangerous, but our bodies can still react as though were under attack. Some people have symptoms of anxiety even when theyre just thinking about something worrying or frightening.
Living With Asthma And Anxiety
While managing asthma and anxiety can be tricky, there are treatments and therapies that aid in easing both conditions.
Breathing retraining. Breathing retraining can help control asthma and calm anxiety, studies show. Difficulty with breathing is a symptom of hyperventilation, which occurs with panic, and is also a symptom of asthma. Breathing retraining teaches you exercises that change the speed and regularity of your breathing patterns. The therapy can improve asthma symptoms and pulmonary function, reduce airway hyper-reactivity and reduce bronchodilator use.
Heart rate variability biofeedback. Heart rate variability biofeedback is a therapy that works by teaching you to match your heart rate to your breathing. This training can improve pulmonary function, reduce asthma symptoms and reduce the need for asthma medicine.
Cognitive behavior therapy . Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy that helps you change the way you think about your fears. CBT uses relaxation techniques and problem-solving to change the way you react to and behave during situations that create anxiety.
Medicines. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to treat your asthma and your anxiety. Many people who take asthma medicine also take anti-anxiety medicine to keep them calm.
Exercise. Movement and exercise can also improve your asthma symptoms and reduce stress. Talk with your doctor about the best exercise plan for you.
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How Is Asthma Classified
Asthma is classified into four categories based upon frequency of symptoms and objective measures, such as peak flow measurements and/or spirometry results. These categories are: mild intermittent mild persistent moderate persistent and severe persistent. Your physician will determine the severity and control of your asthma based on how frequently you have symptoms and on lung function tests. It is important to note that a persons asthma symptoms can change from one category to another.
How Do I Manage Stress
Learn to change thought patterns that produce stress. What you think, how you think, what you expect and what you tell yourself often determine how you feel and how well you manage rising stress levels.
Reduce stressors . Identify the major stressors in your life: money problems, relationship problems, grief, too many deadlines, busy schedule and lack of support. Get professional help for problems that are too difficult to deal with by yourself.
Try to avoid situations that trigger stress for you. Practice effective time-management skills, such as delegating when appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself and taking time out for yourself.
Practice relaxation exercises. Relaxation exercises are simple to perform and combine deep breathing, releasing of muscle tension and clearing of negative thoughts. If you practice these exercises regularly, you can use them when needed to lessen the negative effects of stress. Relaxation exercises include diaphragmatic and pursed lip breathing, imagery, repetitive phrases and progressive muscle relaxation. Many commercial audiotapes and books that teach these exercises are available.
Exercise! Its an excellent way to burn off the accumulated effects of stress.
Get enough sleep. If you are not sleeping well, you will have less energy and fewer resources for coping with stress. Developing good sleep habits is very important. Here are some tips:
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Common Asthma Attack Triggers
An asthma trigger is an irritant that causes the airways to become inflamed and constrict. Constriction of airways marks the start of an asthma attack and can cause other symptoms like wheezing.
There isnt one single trigger of asthma. What triggers an asthma attack for one person might not be the same for another. Youll know what causes an asthma attack for you if youre exposed to an irritant and have shortness of breath or start wheezing. The most common triggers are:
What Are The Typical Symptoms If You Have Moderate Untreated Asthma
You typically have episodes of wheezing and coughing from time to time. Sometimes you become breathless. You may have spells, sometimes long spells, without symptoms. However, you tend to be wheezy for some of the time on most days. Symptoms are often worse at night, or first thing in the morning. You may wake some nights coughing or with a tight chest. Young children may not have typical symptoms. It may be difficult to tell the difference between asthma and recurring chest infections in young children.
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Uncontrolled Asthma Vs Severe Asthma: How To Get The Right Diagnosis
- Lung Health and Diseases
More than 25 million Americans struggle with asthma, a chronic condition that makes breathing difficult. Whether you have lived with asthma since childhood or developed it later in life, it is important to monitor your symptoms and avoid your triggers to manage the disease. Many times, regular flare-ups can be treated with a combination of quick-relief and controller medications. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to get your symptoms under control.
If you feel asthma is interfering with your life, it can be frustrating to know what to do next. This is when it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of severe asthma.
Daily symptoms, such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, are signs of uncontrolled asthma and may require the use of quick-relief medication a few times a week or even daily. In addition, you may commonly experience nighttime flare-ups and may even have to visit the emergency room. As you might expect, with these symptoms you may miss work, stop exercising, and have difficulty performing daily tasks. If you have signs of uncontrolled asthma as listed above, you will want to discuss this with you physician because you may be able to find a solution.
But what if you continue to struggle?
Allergic Asthma And Other Emotions
Other emotions and emotional responses outside of depression, anxiety and stress can also affect your allergic asthma.
The AAFA says the following emotions or responses can impact your asthma symptoms:
Some of these emotions or emotional responses can cause your breathing to change. You might find yourself breathing faster when youre emotional or excited.
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Managing Emotions And Allergic Asthma Symptoms
Managing your emotions and emotional responses may help you better manage your asthma.
Since day-to-day stress and emotions can impact your symptoms, experts suggest using different coping methods and relaxation techniques to handle stress, emotions, and strong emotional responses.
Researchers increasingly suggest practicing mindfulness to help reduce stress and manage asthma symptoms.
A 2020 study noted that when people with asthma or COPD apply mindfulness techniques, the psychological response may have a positive impact on symptoms.
The AAFA recommends trying mindful breathing and observation to help reduce stress.
If you want to try mindful breathing:
If you want to try mindfulness through observation: