What is asthma? It is a long-term lung disease. The airways get inflamed and narrow, producing a heavy amount of mucus, making it difficult for the person to breathe. To date, no science has proven what really causes asthma. The cause depends on the person. Some get affected because of environmental factors, while for some it is genetic.
Asthma is a chronic disease affecting nearly 25 million people in the US every year. Asthma is incurable. Patients can live well with treatment, but without it, one has to go to the ER. Asthma triggers are highly subjective and this article tries to cover major possible triggers.
Do Allergies Play A Major Role In Asthma?
Allergies play a major role in triggering asthma. The majority of people suffering from asthma have allergies to things like dust mites, trees, grass, cockroach droppings, and so on. If one is allergic to dust mites, asthma attack chances increase.
Another reason can be a food allergy. Asthma attacks caused by food allergies can cause mild to life-threatening attacks. This reaction is called anaphylaxis. Foods usually associated with allergies are salads, fresh fruits, soy, tree nuts, eggs, cow milk, peanuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Isolated asthma can be triggered by food preservatives like potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, etc which are usually used in processing food.
A majority of people get asthma attacks while working out. Exercise-induced asthma attacks may feel like chest suddenly tightening, cough, and trouble breathing. These symptoms are likely to go away in half or one hour, but for some people, the attack may happen after 6 to 10 hours.
Heartburn often causes asthma attacks. Heartburn is what doctors call gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It mostly happens when a person is lying down. For people with GERD, their valve, which should prevent acids of the stomach from going up to the esophagus, does not work. Their stomach acids reflux to the esophagus. If these acids reach the airways, they could easily trigger asthma attacks.
As it is very common knowledge, asthma and smoking go hand-in-hand. Smokers are most likely to get asthma. People who already suffer from it, and smoke, may experience coughing and wheezing. When pregnant women smoke, the child is likely to develop complicated lung function. It is advisable for people with asthma to quit smoking. Chainsmokers are advised to quit to prevent asthma in the future.
Many infections like flu, cold, sinus, and bronchitis can trigger an asthma attack. These infections are mostly viral or bacterial. They can trigger an attack especially with children below 10 years of age. Around 20% to 70% of asthma patients also suffer from sinus disease.
Many asthmatic people are allergic to certain medications. People suffering from asthma need to be aware of what medicines trigger their asthma attack. Even if certain medications do not trigger attacks yet, it is advisable to take them with caution, as any time a reaction can occur. There are some medications that are widely known to trigger an attack. They include painkillers like aspirin, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors like Zestril, Univasc, Captopril, Aceon, and Accupril.
Apart from these, there can be irritant factors like strong perfume odors, tobacco smoke, wood-burning smoke, cleaning agents, and so on. Pollution, dust, chemicals, and fumes play a part. Cold temperature, humidity, and strong air can trigger an attack. Asthma can also be triggered by strong emotions. Crying, anxiety, yelling, anger, or laughing too can trigger an asthma attack.
How Can You Manage Your Asthma?
Once you are diagnosed with asthma, find out how you can manage it. The steps to managing it might depend on what type of asthma you have.
Find out what triggers your asthma. It can be allergies, irritants, or medications. You have to study the time and circumstances that cause your asthma attack, and you have to avoid those triggers.
Do not miss your medication
After diagnosing, your doctor must have prescribed medications. Many people think it is okay to miss taking medicine one time or two, but it is not. It is a chronic disease. Even if you do not feel the symptoms, it is still there and triggers any time. It is advisable to not miss any prescribed medications.
Use your inhaler properly
It is possible you do not understand in the beginning how to use your inhaler. Ask your healthcare provider to teach you, so that the medicine intake reaches your airways.
Quitting cigarettes is the best way to prevent asthma attacks. Cigarettes can also reduce asthma medicines’ effectiveness.
Save yourself from viruses
Viral infection too can trigger asthma attacks. Keep washing hands, use sanitizer and keep your distance from people during viral seasons. Getting enough sleep can prevent infection too. Get a flu shot.
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