Sometimes asthma is a minor nuisance, while at other times it can become life-threatening. Asthma generally causes the symptoms of difficulty breathing, excessive coughing, wheezing or even shortness of breath caused by the airways narrowing and swelling while producing extra mucus.
Be it minor or major, asthma is not to be taken lightly and should be discussed consistently with your doctor. By discussing and tracking your symptoms with your doctor, you will know how to handle your asthma and adjust your treatment as necessary.
Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma occurs when there is bronchial tube inflammation along with an increased production of sticky secretions. When the bronchial tubes inflame, it can cause a variety of symptoms. No two people will have the same symptoms, and even the same person can have different symptoms.
1. Early Symptoms of Asthma
It is often difficult to know exactly when an asthma attack will occur, but the following symptoms often occur before an attack or at its onset. Often times, early signs of asthma will not affect your daily activities. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, or a worsening of them, you should take more of your prescribed asthma medication or consult a doctor. Along with the general symptoms that characterize asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, the following symptoms may occur just before or at the onset of an asthma attack.
- frequent coughing (especially at night)
- easy loss or shortness of breath
- tiredness, weakness or coughing during and after exercise
- excessively moody
- easily tired for no reason
- allergy or cold-like symptoms
- difficulty sleeping
2. Symptoms of an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is often referred to as a bronchospasm. A bronchospasm occurs when your airways are triggered to tighten. When this trigger occurs, the cells lining the airway begin to produce greater amounts of mucus that is thicker than average. Once the trigger happens, a person suffering from an asthma attack may suffer from:
- severe wheezing
- unstoppable coughing
- extremely rapid breathing
- chest pain or pressure
- retractions caused by tightened neck and chest muscles
- difficulty talking
- feelings of anxiety or panic
- pale or sweaty face
- blue lips or fingernails
3. Unusual Symptoms of Asthma
Along with obvious asthma symptoms, there are other, less common symptoms that can be difficult to identify. For example, a dry, hacking cough that persists can be a sign of an impending asthma attack. Asthma symptoms vary widely and can also include:
- constant sighing
- difficulty breathing in early morning
- fatigue that affects exercise
- feelings of anxiety
4. Symptoms of Asthma in Children
Just as asthma symptoms in adult vary widely, recognizing the symptoms in children is also very difficult. Along with other common symptoms of asthma already mentioned, your child may have asthma if they suffer from:
- less energy during play
- complaining of chest tightness
- chronic cough (which could be the only symptom)
- intermittent rapid breathing
Risk Factors of Asthma
As with many conditions, sometimes asthma is merely caused by genetics. More commonly, though, asthma is caused by certain lifestyle choices or occupational hazards. For example, if you have an allergic condition or your mother smoke while she was pregnant, you are more likely to suffer from asthma. Other risk factors include being overweight, smoking (including exposure to second-hand smoke), exposure to pollution, and occupation triggers such as chemical usage in factories or salons.
Home Remedies for Asthma
We are quickly learning that medications for a condition are not always the first line of defense. Sometimes a simple change in lifestyle or changing your home’s design can help to prevent and relieve various asthma symptoms.
1. Keep Pollen Out
The best way to keep pollen out of your home is by keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning. Air conditioning may also help in lowering indoor humidity and reducing your exposure to dust mites.
2. Minimize Dust
In order to minimize dust, it is best to use dustproof covers on your pillows and beds. Additionally, you would feel better with hardwood in place of carpet and should always use washable curtains and blinds.
3. Maintain Optimal Humidity
By maintaining optimal humidity, you will make it easier to breathe overall. This is best achieved with a dehumidifier either in your bedroom, or throughout your house. Keeping a dehumidifier in your bedroom is best if you suffer more symptoms at night than during the rest of the day.
4. Keep House Clean
It is always best to clean your house at least once a week. However, if you know you will stir up a lot of dust while cleaning, you should either use a mask or ask someone else to clean while you are away, thus you can wait for the dust to settle to prevent triggering an attack.
5. Prevent Coldness
During the winter months, or throughout the year, if you live in a cold climate, be sure you have a way to cover your nose and mouth to prevent difficulty breathing.
6. Avoid Pet Dander
The best way to avoid pet dander is to avoid getting pets with fur or feathers. If you can’t live without your furry friend, be sure to have them bathed and groomed regularly to prevent a build-up of pet dander.
7. Enjoy Healthy Lifestyle
One of the best ways to prevent obtaining asthma is to maintain a healthy weight through exercise and clean eating. Besides, regular exercise can strengthen your heart and lungs, which helps relieve asthma symptoms.
8. Have a Balanced Diet
The rich protective nutrients in fruits and vegetables will help you to boost the immune system, as well as increase lung function and reduce asthma symptoms. Certain foods, such as nuts, milks, eggs, shellfish, etc., which may cause food allergies, shall be avoided. As foods allergy, though not the major trigger for asthma, sometimes do worsen the asthma symptoms. Avoid alcohol, too, especially if you are taking medications for your asthma. No matter where you have your meal, don't overeat, don't eat too fast, and don't talk while you are eating.
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