Take a Deep Breath: 4 Myths about Asthma
Updated: December 3,2019
I want you to think back to a pool party you attended as a kid. You dove in the water and someone thought it would be funny to put a raft over where you were coming up for air. At first it’s okay. You have enough air in your lungs to laugh at their dumb joke. Then your oxygen starts to deplete a bit. Then your chest gets tight. Then you start to panic. Internally your mind keeps saying “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Finally, the raft moves and your face reaches the surface. You gasp for air and at first it’s almost hard to fill your lungs with enough air to compensate for however long they were out of it. Does this feeling sound familiar? That panic of no air filling your lungs? Then the rush to fill your lungs up as much as possible and as quickly as possible? This is what an asthma attack feels like.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that constricts the airways of your lungs and makes them swollen. It is an inflammatory disease which can cause difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19.2 million, or 7.7% American adults are currently suffering from asthma. Additionally, 5.5 million, or 7.5% children under the age of 18 also suffer. Asthma is a disease that has no permanent cure, but the good news is you can manage your condition and lead a normal life.
Causes, Symptoms, and Protocol for Asthma:
It is not exactly known what causes asthma, why some people have it and others don’t. But according to World Health Organization, about 50% of those with asthma have it due to genetic reasons while the other 50% can be accredited to environmental factors. People who have asthma are often allergic to certain substances or irritants which cause allergies and trigger the onset of asthma symptoms.
Asthma triggers vary for everyone. They may include: -airborne substances like pollen, grass, tree, mold, dust mites, -animal dander -air pollutants like smoke -infection such as common cold -any strong emotional upheaval such as anxiety attacks Symptoms of asthma vary in individuals. The most common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, tightness or pain in the chest, and disturbed sleep due to breathlessness.
Asthma attacks can be sudden, brief, or extended. If any of these feel familiar it is suggested bringing it to the attention of your primary physician. Ignoring these symptoms may onset more frequent and severe asthma attacks, persistent problems in breathing, or even an increased dependency on inhalers. Coping with asthma can be done as long as you follow suggested protocol. First, you have to find a good, caring and efficient practitioner who works with you to alleviate your condition. And second, you need to educate yourself. Knowing your symptoms, your child’s, or just having general knowledge of what to do in case of an asthma attack is vital for everyone.
4 Myths about Asthma:
1. “My child will outgrow asthma”
Unfortunately, asthma is not something that children can outgrow. In fact majority of children having persistent asthma have the symptoms when they enter adulthood. However, symptoms may start to desist from the simple fact that as they grow bigger so do their lungs and airways. However, asthma is a chronic disease that still needs to be monitored. It is still recommended to have an available inhaler for emergencies.
2. “Asthma only shows up in children”
Asthma is not only a childhood ailment. Don’t be surprised if you develop asthma in adulthood. Symptoms of asthma may develop at any age and could last throughout a lifetime. Hormone changes, severe allergies or flus, and smokers can all cause adult-onset asthma.
3. “Asthma is only caused from stressful situations”
While, yes, asthma can be related to a sudden strike of anxiety, it is mostly be triggered by your actions and environment. Exercise, or exerting a lot of effort on your lungs can cause an attack. Environmental influencers such as allergies can also trigger irritation or an attack.
4. “People can’t die from asthma”
Sadly, when an asthma attack occurs without proper care, death can occur. Ten Americans die every day due to asthma. Most of the deaths happen due to lack of oxygen supply and not because of a cardiac arrest. Hence, it is important to note that providing timely oxygen supply to asthmatic patients can avert deaths. In fact, a life-threatening asthma attack actually indicates an increase in the chance of them occurring again.
Your Next Steps:
Don’t take your asthma lightly even when it appears to be managed. Asthma has a tendency of appearing dormant, much of the reason people are under the impression it can go away. However, just because something is dormant does not mean it’s gone.
Watch out for these three scenarios:
- If twice in one month you wake up with symptoms of asthma (shortness of breath, chest pain, etc.), it is an indication that your asthma is flaring up even if thought to be under control.
- If you need to use your bronchodilator inhaler more than twice a week, your asthma is NOT under control.
- If you need to get your bronchodilator inhaler refilled more than twice a year, it is a CLEAR signal that you need to do more to control the disease.
If any of this is applicable to your situation, you have to speak to your practitioner and a new treatment plan needs to be worked out. Asthma can often times feel like a betrayal as breathing is one of the body’s primary, automated functions. In case you are in and around Lake Mary, Florida get in touch with Multicare Physicians, your Lake Mary family practice for effective and efficient management of asthma.
You don’t have to feel panic for air. You can lead a normal life if you take care of your asthma well. Whether you have been diagnosed with asthma or if you think you have any of its symptoms, it is important that you consult MultiCARE Physicians immediately. Focused on family, pediatric, geriatric, women’s and urgent care medical, MultiCARE can take on any of your or your family’s concerns and find your best solution.
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It’s good to know that asthma is not something that your child will grow out of. My son has been having a difficult time breathing recently. It may be best for me to take him to a pediatrician for assistance.
It makes sense that exercising can sometimes trigger asthma attacks. When my son was at playing baseball with some of his friends last week, he began heavily panting after he started running. It may be best for me to find a pediatric doctor that can help me determine if he has asthma.