Browsing Posts in Asthma

The term ‘asthma’ is actually the Greek word for ‘panting’. Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory disease which attacks the respiratory system that is indicated by the tightening of the airway. People suffering from this condition often feel that his/her airway is inflamed and filled with mucus. Common asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing during nighttime, shortness of breath, as well as pressure, pain, and the feeling of tightness around the chest area. However, the severity of these symptoms varies from time to time, one sufferer to another. They can be mild now, but they can get more severe in the future. Asthma attacks can be caused by genetic and external factors. Some people suffer an attack when they are in cold climates, while some others might get it after doing heavy workouts or sports. Mild asthma usually lasts for a while and subsides within a matter of minutes. On the other hand, more severe condition might need serious treatment.

If not treated immediately, early symptoms can lead to acute asthma. Therefore it is essential to have the knowledge about asthma symptoms in order to prevent an attack from happening. Early symptoms among others are frequent coughing during nighttime, wheezing and coughing especially after doing exercises, trouble sleeping, and shortness of breath. Other warning signs include the feeling of tiredness or weakness even when you are doing light activities, and decreased lung function (which can be checked using a peak flow meter). Common cold and allergy symptoms such as cough, headache, sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat also indicate that a person is prone to asthma.

Do not wait until too late to treat these early symptoms of asthma. Given that this condition cannot be cured, you need to learn how to prevent it from reoccurring too often. The very basic step of asthma symptom treatment is by controlling the environment. Healthy environment makes healthy people. You can prevent the accumulation of dust and other asthma-triggering agents by not keeping furry or feathery pets, keeping the humidity of the house low, replacing upholstery and carpets with non-fabric materials, and using air conditioner instead of fan. You should also wash your bed sheets, pillow cases, and mattress pad using hot water at least once a week. Also consider replacing conventional bedding materials such as foam rubber, kapok, or down feathers with synthetic ones. Covering mattress, box springs, and pillows with dust-proof wrap will also effective to prevent dust from accumulating.

Depending on the frequency of systems, asthma is thus diagnosed.

So, if you have about:

  • two per week, then that is considered intermittent asthma,
  • more than two per week is considered mild persistent,
  • daily asthma is moderately persistent,
  • severe persistent asthma is when it affects you all day.

Many factors can cause and exacerbate asthma, such as in bronchial asthma, it is exercise induced and an inflammatory disorder that causes much coughing and trouble breathing.

Usually, asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways that cause all of the nearby muscles to become very tight and swelling the air passage lining. Thus, the amount of air that can travel through is severely limited and breathing becomes highly difficult. For many other people, there are so many other things that can set off and trigger asthma, such as animals and their pet hair, like cats, and dogs, and rats, and other kinds of animals with hair that sheds, even horses and sometimes birds. Dust in the air or on shelves or floating outside or in a musty room can really make asthma worse, as well as weather changes, like the air turning very cold can trigger asthma too and make it hard to breathe.

Chemicals that are in the air such as gasoline or pollution, other toxins released, or even chemicals present in food and beverages can make asthma much worse as well. As mentioned, exercise can have that effect, too, and so can mold left on moldy bread or in the walls or in a damp place, or pollen released from flowers or found in gardens, can have an effect on inducing an attack. If the person already has an infection there, like a cold, asthma will be thus more triggered and the smoke of passing cigarette smokers and exhaust from cars can also cause it. And finally, things like stress, anger, sadness, or any other extremity of an emotion can also trigger it. In fact, in some patients, some aspirins and other drugs can also have an effect.

Most patients have some symptoms that are not too terrible, such as shortness of breath, some wheezing that comes once in a while and usually goes away on its own, or is triggered by heartburn or exercise. These symptoms are not too dangerous and can still be handled functionally. But, there are some emergent symptoms that require immediate help, such as the lips and face turning a bluish color, some really difficult time breathing, extreme sweating, a rapid pulse, and some extreme anxiety, as well. In these cases a hospital visit might be needed as the person will be gasping for air. An inhaler is needed in these cases, too, to help the person breathe.

Basically, asthma is treated when the causes are determined. A doctor will perform tests to see what things affect the patient the most, whether it be bugs, pollen, or a variety of other things, determined through blood tests and x-rays, and then those things will be avoided and there will be drugs administered to help with daily symptoms.

Eczema is a skin disease that covers a number of different skin ailments, from atopic dermatitis (an allergic type reaction) to dyshidrotic eczema (a blistering rash on the palms of hands and soles of the feet often caused by stress). Studies show that 50 – 70 % of all young children who develop severe eczema will go on to suffer from asthma possibly months or even years later. However, research scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that treating eczema early can help stop the development of asthma. Their studies have shown that damaged skin secretes a substance that circulates through the body and triggers asthma symptoms. Treating the rash early is vital in asthma prevention and for those who already suffer from asthma, it could also prove beneficial for asthma relief.

Eczema is an itching rash that effects the epidermis or outer layer of the your skin. It is easily irritated and when scratched it can also become quite painful and inflamed. The rash can be mild to very severe often consisting of blisters, swelling, redness, dry flakey skin, cracking, crusting, and extreme itchiness. When the rash is scratched there is often oozing or even bleeding in more severe cases. Scratching results in worsening of the rash and therefore it is to be avoided. Doctors will often prescribe corticosteroids drugs to treat eczema. Unfortunately, these drugs are not a cure, they create dependence and have many negative side effects and they eventually weaken the adrenal gland plus cause thinning of the skin. The good news is that there are effective ways to treat eczema naturally without drugs.

Doctors and scientists suspect that there are likely two causes as to why eczema is associated with asthma. One is that an immune system disorder causes an overreaction to allergens that contact the skin and lung airways. The other may be that defective skin and airways trigger an excessive immune response.

Whatever the actual cause may be, holistic medicine has shown that boosting the immune system and the adrenal glands through proper diet, vitamins, adequate rest and exercise is paramount. There are also many herbal creams and natural treatments that help calm the rash, offer relief from itching and also prevent the sufferer from scratching. In this way they are very helpful in slowing the cycle of eczema to prevent the damaged skin secreting the substance that triggers asthma symptoms.

This article provides some interesting facts and figures about asthma including what is it, who gets it and what causes it. Asthma can be scary both to the sufferer and anyone struggling to help. Frighteningly, asthma ranges in severity from a mild attack to being fatal. In the UK one youngster in ten suffers this inflammatory disease of the lungs. This article will help you to stay calm as you understand asthma better. Study this with an open mind and give yourself time for thought.

Why does asthma appear to strike out of the blue?

Something triggers it off. In fact, every time you come into contact with a certain element or elements (called a trigger) you will get an allergic response. Scarily, the response can range in severity from a mild asthma attack to being fatal. The lungs are inflamed making breathing troublesome.

Although figure are difficult to find, in the UK it is believed that some 10% of children are struck down with asthma and about 8.5% of adults have the illness. The majority of the UK’s 5.0 to 5.2 million sufferers live daily with dealing with the disorder. Sadly, each year, between 1400 and 2000 individuals die from it. This averages out at a death from asthma every 7 hours. Not many other countries have such a great occurrence of asthma attacks. The value of a viable cure for the UK cannot be taken lightly.

Who gets asthma?

Asthma can develop from birth. Even though asthma can emerge at any time, one in four children is first detected before they turned one year old. It may be grown out of when the child becomes a teenager. Nevertheless, only 42 per cent seem to attain overall alleviation. Those beginning puberty early, or are overweight in their teens seem to be in the biggest danger of suffering from lifelong asthma.

There seems to be a link between figures for obese children and figures for childhood asthma symptoms. Both are on the increase in the UK. A recent UK study has produced some good news bucking the trend of the past 40 years; indications are that the number of 9 to 11-year-olds presenting with allergic symptoms has stabilised recently. Disappointingly, research in New Zealand indicates that of the youngsters whose allergic responses had vanished by the age of 18, almost one in three had them back by the age of 26.

In a group of adult patients, none of whom had childhood symptoms, 9 per cent had their first attack before 26. The number of adults getting allergic reactions seems to rise each 12 months by approximately 5 per cent.

What Causes An Asthma Attack?

Those prone to asthma have airways with swollen, reddened linings making them over-sensitive to a variety of triggers. The airways go into spasm and this creates an asthma attack and a sense of constriction in the chest. Breathing requires effort and there is coughing and wheezing. This scary condition feels as though you are trying to breathe air through a very narrow straw making the patient light-headed and distressed due to the brain becoming short of oxygen. It is important to stay calm as panic will make things even worse.

Are you affected by asthma? As you are still reading, I assume you are not altogether content with the side effects of the drugs you have used up till now. Are you interested in finding information about nature’s abundant and specific treatments? People affected by asthma symptoms need this helpful information… new ways that release them – not only from the illness itself, but also from the drugs they are taught to depend on. In her wisdom, mother nature has made several effective alternatives available.

I hope you were able to get something positive from this article. If you or your child suffer with asthma, you will want to find out more about a natural treatment for asthma that has been recording very encouraging results from long-term sufferers. Chances are, you won’t hear about this report anywhere else because it reduces dependency on asthma drugs and, therefore, it isn’t in the interest of pharmaceutical companies that you know about this.

If you use an inhaler, you may want to consider using a spacer with it. A spacer consists of a plastic tube with a mouth piece on one end and a hole on the other to insert the mouthpiece of the inhaler into it. You use the inhaler the same way you normally would, except you place your mouth on the mouthpiece of the spacer when inhaling the medication.

Why should you invest in a spacer, or even take the trouble to use one?

There are three main reasons.

  1. Using a spacer maximizes the availability of the medication from the inhaler that gets into your lungs. When you use an inhaler by itself, there are many things you can do wrong to prevent all of the medication from getting into your airways. Many people do not hold their breath after using the inhaler, or do not inhale slowly enough for all of the medication to reach the lungs. Even if you use it correctly, there are large particles which get caught in the back of your mouth and throat that when swallowed cause side effects.
  2. Using a spacer decreases the amount of side effects you may have from using your inhaler by itself. The spacer blocks the large particles from leaving and only allows the small particles to enter your airways directly.
  3. Using a spacer can reduce the risk of getting thrush-an oral fungal infection-from using a corticosteroid inhaler such as fluticasone (Flovent). In addition to using a spacer to prevent thrush, make sure to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth right after using this type of medication.

Manufacturers recommend to change spacers every 6-12 months, but if taken care of (proper washing and hygiene), they can be used for years. Would I recommend a spacer to patients who use an inhaler? YES-they CAN be affordable and they really take away the uncertainty of proper use of the inhaler. There are a few different brands available, and if you try to buy them at a regular pharmacy you will usually find that they are very expensive (around $35-$50 dollars). In addition, many insurance plans do not cover spacers. However, you can get the same one you would buy at the pharmacy on the internet for much cheaper. For example, I have seen a few on Amazon for around $12.

Clinically, asthma pertains to the continual air flow obstruction resulting to wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness as well as soreness, and sometimes with sputum secretion.

Allergic asthma is a more common type of asthma which often gives the identical signs and symptoms.

Allergic asthma symptoms are normally associated with the individuals body overreacting to substances which are harmless to other people. Someone would have serious asthma attacks whenever subjected to triggers, mostly when they inhale allergens including pollens, animal dander, a few also would likely result in attacks when it would come into contact with a person’s body. For kids, there are many food allergies which may trigger a critical attack. Asthma can be classified as a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) like emphysema and also bronchitis. The diagnosis for asthma patients is good, even if this will be a continual disorder as long as there’s cure for the controlling of the attack, often, in case no treatment have been done, there may be a huge possibility of the attacks getting worse and getting a lot more frequent. Allergic asthma signs and symptoms can both be handled through prescription medications together with preventing the exposure of the person to the allergens. These types of drugs could be taken in various ways, orally, intravenously or even through a nebulizer.

Several medications prescribed by doctors intended for allergic asthma are generally:

  1. Anti-inflammatory drugs as the triggers cause the actual airways to constrict through swelling, anti-inflammatory medications act to reduce swelling as well as mucus formation.– Corticosteroids- they help control your body’s immune system reaction of the body if exposed to allergens. As the body would not get the immune system working normally, it is best to make sure the patient is protected from infections and other ailments even while consuming corticosteroids.

    – Antihistamines- it is definitely the best tried medicine regarding allergies; in addition, you don`t need a prescription for one as they are supplied over the counter. Most antihistamines cause sleepiness, hence any physical activity like driving must be prevented when using this drugs.

  2. Bronchodilators these kinds of drugs relieve the signs and symptoms simply by soothing the muscles throughout the airways. It also assists in removing mucus from the lungs.

In addition to the medications in dealing with allergic asthma signs and symptoms, changes in the existing environment should also be made:

  • Keep away from smoke be it cigarette smoke, stoves, fireplaces or smog should be avoided.
  • If there is outdoor air pollution, escape staying outside until it clears.
  • For pollensrefrain heading outdoors as well during early mornings as well as during dry breezy days since this will be the time where the pollen count is high.
  • Because molds grow best if there is water, check areas in your home for it and repair broken pipes inside your kitchen and bathroom, and use a dehumidifier if necessary.

Asthma can be a continual problem, but most individuals live normally even though they’ve got it, it is just a matter of understanding what triggers the attacks and what exactly you’re able to do in order to avoid and prevent.

The asthma peak flow meter is a commonly used device by asthma sufferers. This device records the speed at which the air can be pushed out of the lungs in one hard breath by the asthma sufferer. This sort of reading is taken due to the effect that asthma has on the airways in the lungs, which is to narrow and tighten the bronchial tubes, which in turn effects how much and how fast an affected person can expel air from the lungs. By analyzing the readings from the asthma peak flow meter, a doctor can see whether a patient is in the danger zone for an asthma attack, and take preventative measures accordingly.

There’s a great deal of different asthma peak flow meters available, and most asthma sufferers will want to have one at home for daily use, and parents with asthmatic children will especially want to keep a close eye on their children’s symptoms. Of all the meters available, they mostly fall into two categories, digital and traditional.

Traditional meters are mechanical in nature, where the breath expelled from the lungs pushes a flap that is attached to a sliding notch with indicators of speed along the side. Despite the seemingly simple nature of these devices, they are extremely accurate. In fact, studies have shown that digital models offer no improvements in accuracy over the traditional kind of meter.

While no more accurate, a meter can have some benefits depending on how a patient prefers to record and analyze their readings. Digital meters can store readings on the memory of the device itself, freeing the patient from recording them in a diary, which many people find extremely convenient. They can record months of data before the results have to be downloaded, and will indicate when they need to be cleared. Additionally, all the data is viewable on the device itself.

When downloading the results, a digital asthma peak flow meter software package can be used to store and analyze the data, which can be presented in graphs, averages over time, and many other ways that allow the user to see when their results were at their best and worst and correlate that data with their lifestyle, location and activities of the time.

In short, a digital asthma peak flow meter is not a necessity, and you can get by just fine with the old kind. But if you are prepared to spend the money, they can offer you enormous flexibility and convenience in recording and analyzing the peak flow readings.

Asthma causes symptoms of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Due to the fact that asthma is incurable, treatment will be needed throughout life. Modern treatment includes long-term control medication as well as rescue treatments such as inhalers. However, for thousands of years herbs have been used in Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine and by the Native Americans to reduce inflammation, open the airways, decrease congestion and relieve the symptoms of asthma.

Since stress can be a trigger for an asthma attack, many of the herbs that treat stress will also help to treat asthma and vice versa. These herbs relax the body, which reduces airway constriction and also decreases the incidence of asthma attacks. In addition to the herbs listed below lemon balm, lavender, chamomile, passionflower, oats, ginseng, gotu kola, angelica, cocoa, coffee, ginger, licorice root, parsley, elderberry, and eucalyptus have had beneficial effects on the respiratory system for treating asthma.

Anise Anise can treat asthma by opening up the airways and relieving coughing and wheezing. Anise is an expectorant, which helps to loosen phlegm and secretions from inside the respiratory tract. It clears out congestion, which can cause airway blockages and tightness.

Elecampane Elecampane can be used to treat shortness of breath, chest affections, diseases of the lungs, asthma and bronchitis. It is used to calm irritating bronchial coughs and assists in expectoration. Elecampane is best when used in combination with other herbs such as mullein, white horehound, coltsfoot, pleurisy root, lungwort and yarrow. Elecampane can be used in a decoction or infusion, where 1 teaspoon is added to hot water and drank 3 times a day.

Grindelia Grindelia is an expectorant, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory which treats bronchial problems, respiratory impediments from phlegm and asthma. It has a relaxing effect on the muscle lining of the smaller bronchial passages. This helps to clear mucus congestion. Grindelia slows the heart rate and desensitizes the bronchial nerve endings, which makes breathing easier. The dried leaves and flowering tops are used in herbal infusions and tinctures. Steep in hot water for 10-15 minutes and drink 3 times a day. Some experience side effects such as renal irritation.

Hyssop Hyssop is considered to be a sacred cleansing herb. It has expectorant, antispasmodic, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Hyssop is helpful to sedate coughing caused by asthma. Hyssop has been prescribed for lung disorders, pleurisy, asthma, phlegm, bronchitis, and respiratory infections. Hyssop is calming and helps to expel phlegm from the lungs. Hyssop should only be used for a short period of time due to possible toxicity. The leaves and flowers are distilled for their essential oils. Hyssop blends well with other herbs such as sandalwood, lavender, ylang ylang, rosemary, clary sage, cypress, geranium, and lemon.

Wild Cherry Bark Wild Cherry Bark is a mild sedative with expectorant, astringent, tonic, and anti-tussive properties. It treats irritable, persistent coughs, bronchitis, pertussis, and irritated respiratory mucosa. While sedating the sensory nerves in the lungs it reduces the cough reflex, which allows increased respiration. Wild Cherry bark is not for long-term use due to the risk of toxicity and may cause drowsiness. It should be combined with other herbs to effectively treat asthma. Wild cherry bark should be made into an infusion and drank 3 times a day.

Motherwort Motherwort is an antispasmodic, mild sedative and mild relaxing agent. It improves blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels and calms the nerve. Motherwort relieves asthma, bronchitis, and lung problems by decreasing lung spasms. It is normally mixed with mullein in an infusion. It is recommended to drink 3 times a day.

Mullein Mullein is a respiratory tonic, antispasmodic, antibiotic, and expectorant. It can be used to eliminate coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath caused by asthma. Mullein soothes the mucous membranes, reduces inflammation and spasms within the bronchial airways. Mullein can treat emphysema, colds, flu, bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma. It encourages mucus production, which allows for proper expectoration. Mullein used in tea works quicker and more effectively to relieve asthma attack.

Gingko Biloba Gingko Biloba acts as a bronchodilator and reduces inflammation within the lungs. It dilates and tones the blood vessels, which reduces damage and improves blood supply. Some studies suggest gingko can reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Gingko Biloba is also an antioxidant. Gingko can be found in supplement form as a pill or liquid.

Turmeric Turmeric is an antiseptic, astringent, stimulant, alternative, antibacterial and carminative. It has been used in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation. Turmeric has bronchodilating effects as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Turmeric can be made into tea, steeped in hot water or hot milk, or even added to food.

When a child suffers a respiratory disorder like asthma, it can sometimes be a serious issue. There are several things that may set off these respiratory attacks, and it is important for parents to know the symptoms, triggers, and treatments for this problem. Here is the information to help you get a better understanding of childhood asthma.

What is Childhood Asthma?

This respiratory disorder is characterized by a reduced ability to take in a deep breath. The bronchial tubes in the lungs become inflamed and this affects the ability to breathe in. In some cases, it may be slightly bothersome. Other times, it can become a life threatening condition. Either way, there are treatments and medications that will allow your child to breathe easily.

You can look for the following signs that your child is having trouble breathing. Children with asthma tend to develop a frequent cough, have trouble breathing, or make a wheezing noise that sounds like a small whistle. During strenuous activities like running and playing, you should look for shortness of breath, chest pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest.

There are other more serious symptoms that may occur, such as a change in the color of skin or heavy movement of the chest area. These are indicators of an emergency situation and you need to seek medical help immediately.

Finding Out Your Child’s Triggers

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, it is important to find the triggers that are setting off your child’s attack. This is one of the most important thing that you can do as a parent to prevent future symptoms. The most common triggers are smoke, dust, chemicals and animal dander. You will have to watch your child closely in different environments to determine what is causing your child’s symptoms.

Childhood asthma affects children in many different ways. It may be an annoyance or it can be a serious condition. Make sure that you know what is causing your child’s breathing problems, so an effective treatment can be developed by a medical professional. Look for things like frequent coughing and shortness of breath after activities. Chest discomfort and tightness may also accompany breathing problems.

You should have is an asthma action plan. This is a treatment plan that is developed by you and your child’s doctor to prevent and treat future attacks. It will contain a list of triggers, medications and instructions for emergency care, if necessary. It should be shared with anyone who will be taking care of your child.

Treating Your Child’s Asthma

If you suspect that your child is in distress, seek emergency care right away. Your doctor is your best source to find out what is ailing your child. After a thorough medical history, a complete physical, and possible allergy testing, a doctor can diagnose your child and determine a course of action to treat your child’s breathing problem. Thankfully, if your child does have asthma, it can be successfully controlled with the right kind of therapy.

Ambulatory care is one of the most important and critical aspects of the health care field. These men and women are truly a life saver when it comes to emergency health situations that require a quick response. Many lives are saved everyday by these individuals and their role continues to grown within the health care field. One of the most important devices that has been used by ambulatory care is a pulse oximeter. A pulse oximeter is a medical device that is used to measure the pulse rate, pulse strength, as well as the blood oxygen saturation or SpO2 of individuals. The reason why this device is so needed and used by ambulatory care individuals is that it provides portability. Portability is key to emergency response because they never know exactly where and how they need to response to emergency situations. So for example say that there is an emergency fire in a downtown building. Well, in order for these individuals to be able to reach the patient and save their live they need to have a device that will measure the pulse rate and oxygen levels of the victim in order to allow the professionals to treat the victim. Without a portable device they will never be able to get to the victim and to monitor their vital signs. A pulse oximeter is made specifically with this in mind and provides these health care professionals with the portability that they need and desire.

The way that the oximeter device works is very interesting. By simply placing your finger inside the oximeter the device will give you an instant reading of your pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation. The way it does this is that when your finger is placed inside the device an infrared light passes through your finger. This light in now way is felt and does not in anyway harm the individual. It is a safe light that bounces off the hemoglobin in the blood and thus comes back to the device thus giving it with measurements to compute. The device then subsequently takes those measurements and outputs them onto the screen of the device from which the emergency medical personnel are able to read and determine what should be done to save the life of the individual. Previously, before the advent of this portable technology the victims had to be taken back to the ambulance where a pulse oximeter device was located. While there in the ambulance only was the emergency personnel able to measure and gauge the health of the victim. So in many ways the new portable pulse oximeter technology has saved many lives. They are also extremely durable and can be taken in almost all sorts of environments and weather conditions. Even newer generations of devices are in the works that offer wireless and Bluetooth capability that will allow emergency response personnel to monitor the health of individuals and this data is instantly sent back to the hospital so that the hospital can be well prepared for what actions need to be taken in order to save the life of a victim.