Over 25 million Americans are afflicted with asthma. It’s the most common chronic illness among children, and there are over 2 million asthma-related ER visits across the country each year. Chances are, you suffer with asthma or directly know somebody who does. Sometimes, this condition can go untreated for years – even decades – because the sufferer doesn’t know that they have it. Symptoms can be mild and infrequent, especially if the person is rarely exposed to their asthma triggers.
What are the Symptoms of Asthma?
Asthma is characterized by occurrences of asthma attacks, periods wherein symptoms become present and can affect how one lives their day-to-day life. The inflammation of airways leads to a host of symptoms that range from mild to severe:
- Breathing problems. This is the most definitive symptom of asthma. People with this condition will experience a tightening in the chest, shortness of breath, as well as wheezing or whistling when breathing.
- Coughing. This can cause mucus to become expelled and often is experienced alongside an uncomfortable pressure inside of the chest.
- Loss of sleep. The above symptoms lead to sleepless nights, especially since most asthma sufferers find that their symptoms worsen at night.
What are Asthma Triggers?
If you know what asthma triggers are, you can plan to avoid them where you would encounter them. These triggers cause the tightening and inflammation of airways and can lead to symptoms that range from mild to severe with a necessity for immediate medical intervention.
Most asthma triggers are environmental, such as:
- Chemicals with strong fumes
- Air pollution
- Pet/Animal dander
- Smoke, like cigarette smoke
However, asthma can be triggered by stress and other strong emotions. It’s not uncommon for asthma patients to have to reach for their rescue inhalers when they’re feeling especially overwhelmed.
How is Asthma Treated?
To effectively manage one’s asthma symptoms and prevent attacks that jeopardize a person’s health, the intervention of a doctor is typically necessary. Medications are often dispensed for the purpose of controlling this condition. Depending on the doctor’s input, patients are given pills and/or inhaled medications. Different individuals will have different treatment plans that vary on the basis of the patient’s age, the severity of their symptoms, the frequency of asthma attacks they suffer, and whether other treatment plans have failed in the past.
One of the most important things that sufferers can do is to limit or eliminate their exposure to their asthma triggers. It can be tough to deduce what exactly leads to the symptoms of asthma in an individual patient, but it is certainly worthwhile. The less that one is around the dust, pollen, pollution and animal dander that agitates their symptoms, the fewer attacks they’ll experience and the less severe their symptoms will become.