Most people get anxious when watching scary movies or scenes where someone’s drowning. We can’t imagine what it’s like to lose our breath.
However, people living with asthma really do know what it feels like not to be able to breathe.
When an individual has an asthma attack, it feels like their lungs have shrunk. Even after taking deep breaths, it feels like there isn’t enough room for the lungs to inhale air, meeting body needs. It seems like all the nooks and crannies are full but still need more air. It affects around 25 million Americans in the US – of which 7% are children and 8% are adults.
When you are diagnosed with asthma, it’s essential to understand the type to make informed decisions regarding its management and prevention. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to prevent asthma attacks and there are effective treatments available.
Different Types Of Asthma
Certainly, it’s challenging to know which type of asthma you have, as everyone experiences asthma differently. So, if you are struggling with asthma symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest, learn more details about the different types of asthma.
Allergic, also known as atopic asthma, is generally triggered by allergens such as pets, dust particles, mold spores, irritants, perfumes, pollen, and others Moreover, 8 in 10 individuals with allergic asthma suffer from other health-related conditions like eczema, food allergies, or hay fever.
Hence, if you have allergic asthma, your doctor may probably prescribe a preventer inhaler to keep with you at all times. You would also need a reliever inhaler to use when you have asthma attacks.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with allergic asthma, stay away from pets, food allergens, or other triggers.
As the name suggests, it occurs at specific times of the year or during certain conditions. When you have seasonal asthma, the symptoms worsen or flare up during those particular times.
Generally, seasonal asthmas occur during:
- Thunderstorms or sudden weather changes
- Extreme hot or cold weather
- Hay fever seasons, when pollen levels are at their highest
- Days when there is more pollution in the air
- Winter months, especially when the flu or cold virus is common
Indeed, in many ways, seasonal asthma is quite similar to allergic asthma. But individuals who have seasonal asthma should seek medical care to manage their symptoms before things get worse. Plus, it is important to take all the prescribed medications to effectively keep symptoms under control.
Moreover, pay attention to local weather reports on pollen levels and plan outside activities in favorable conditions. Besides this, while traveling, keep windows closed.
Individuals with occupational asthma report that their symptoms worsen while working and improve when they take time off from work. In fact, almost 15% of Americans suffer from job-related asthma symptoms. It is usually triggered by:
- Paint chemicals
- Floor dust
- Latex gloves
- Other harmful substances
Usually, the symptoms occur depending on the level of exposure to the above-listed substances. Some people may not have an asthma attack for months or one may occur in 24 hours or less. If you think you have occupational asthma, seek treatment from a healthcare provider.
Cough Variant Asthma
The main symptom of cough variant asthma is severe coughing. Its causes are dubious at best and are often underdiagnosed and undertreated.
Usually, the triggers include exercise, coughing after waking up, hay fever, or respiratory infections.
When you experience a persistent cough, make an appointment with a healthcare provider to get it checked. Diagnosis of cough-related asthma involves a lung function test to examine the performance of your lungs.
Nighttime asthma, also called nocturnal asthma, is a common type where symptoms worsen during sleep. If you have nighttime asthma, the chances increase of having an attack during sleep.
Nighttime asthma is customarily influenced due to the sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). Common symptoms are coughing, trouble breathing, and wheezing, which can be particularly dangerous at night. Moreover, you usually are awakened by nighttime asthma symptoms.
It can be triggered due to:
- Tobacco smoke
- Allergens in the bedroom
- Cold air
- Other medical issues
Exercise-induced asthma usually occurs immediately after some form of physical or strenuous activity. The symptoms tend to occur about 5-20 minutes after exercising.
Although it’s quite common to experience some shortness of breath after exercise, exercise-induced asthma results in mild to severe chest pain, coughing or wheezing.
Did you know that almost 90% of people with asthma experience exercise-induced asthma?
Most times, it’s aggravated through:
- Warm, humid air during hot yoga
- Cold, dry air while ice skating
- Exposure to polluted air while cycling
- Chlorinated pools
There are medications available that treat symptoms effectively. Besides medication, the following may reduce the risk of an asthma attack:
- Cool down after exercise to allow breathing to return to normal
- Avoid exercising with a viral infection
- Use an inhaler before exercising
- Always keep an inhaler close by
- Wear a scarf to cover your mouth and nose when exercising outdoors
Avoid physical activities that involve heavy breathing.
Talk With The Doctors At Imperial Center Family Medicine Today
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs. It can flare up at any time, age, or in any environment. If you are struggling with asthma symptoms and need help with its management and prevention, Imperial Center Family Medicine offers asthma management services to children, teens, and adults. The healthcare professionals at Imperial can provide professional guidance to manage your asthma, identify your triggers, prescribe medications, and ensure your symptoms stay under control. For further assistance, contact Imperial’s asthma management team today.