With so many different forms of asthma, and so many medications available to combat it, two people suffering from this chronic disease can experience it in two completely different ways. Anybody who suffers from this respiratory condition knows that any attack can happen at any time.
Since symptoms can vary significantly from person to person and may seem harmless when they occur initially, one might question whether or not they are experiencing an attack at all. This is a scenario where only a doctor can truly make that determination. So, what do you do if you believe you’re experiencing some of the common symptoms associated with asthma? This article will help you answer the main question, “Do I have asthma?” and should you get tested.
Did you know that the World Health Organization, also known as WHO, states that developing asthma is brought on by 2 significant factors; Genetics and the environment. Both factors equally contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing this chronic disease at some point in their lifetime.
It’s essential to consider medical history when determining if you may have asthma since genetic and environmental factors can cause it. Up to 90% of people have members of their family who also have asthma or allergies, so part of your risk is inherited or genetic.
While environmental factors like tobacco smoke may not be the cause, they can trigger symptoms in those who are genetically predisposed. It is also possible to develop adult-onset asthma without having any family history of allergies or asthma. If you have a medical history of suffering from these symptoms in your childhood, this could be a cause for concern.
Signs and Symptoms
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen if you breathe in anything that is irritating or that you are allergic to. When your airways react, they get narrower, and your lungs get less air. This can lead to a host of different symptoms.
Signs and symptoms include:
- wheezing — a whistling or squeaky sound that occurs while you breathe
- coughing — especially at night, during exercise, or laughing
- shortness of breath — making it hard to breathe
- chest tightness — making it feel like there’s a band around your chest
- trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
1. Do Certain Triggers Cause Your Asthma Attack?
Do you find that specific changes in your environment trigger your symptoms if you have asthma? It could be dust, smoke, playing with your dog, or walking up a steep hill. If so, you’re not alone. The most common triggers are allergens (like dust mites and mold), pollen, air pollution, and smoke from fires or cigarettes.
For some people, exercise is a trigger. And for others, cold air can cause an attack. Both these triggers are related to how the body breathes during physical activity and exposure to cold temperatures.
Environmental factors can also be triggers for symptoms. For example, chemicals in the workplace or dust at home may set off an attack. Food additives and certain medications can also cause problems for some people who have asthma.
Keeping a diary is the best way to keep track of your triggers and how often they affect you. This will also help you and your doctor develop an action plan to manage these triggers.
2. Do You Have Trouble Breathing After Intense Exercise?
It is perfectly normal to breathe a little harder than usual after intense exercise. Still, if you have more trouble than usual breathing after intense exercise, it could be a sign of something more serious. If you find yourself winded, having difficulty breathing, and are coughing after a workout, this could be a sign of exercise-induced asthma. Exercise-induced asthma can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Exercise-induced asthma occurs when you have increased inflammation in the airways of your lungs. The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. These symptoms usually occur five to ten minutes after exercise and generally last for up to one hour. You must take these symptoms seriously because they may indicate an underlying condition such as asthma or heart disease that requires medical attention.
3. Are Your Symptoms Affecting Your Everyday Life?
Asthma symptoms can be frightening, but they don’t have to stop you from leading an everyday, active life. However, if you find that your asthma-like symptoms control your life, it’s time to seek medical attention to get treatment. A doctor will work with you to develop an action plan to manage your asthma.
4. Do OTC Medications No Longer Relieve Your Symptoms?
If over-the-counter medications no longer relieve your symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. They can prescribe the proper medications to control your asthma symptoms.
Asthma can be treated by following a comprehensive asthma plan and taking two types of medications: quick-relief medicines to control occasional symptoms and long-term control medicines that help prevent symptoms.
You can live an active life with proper treatment while controlling your symptoms. This may mean learning how to manage your asthma, avoiding triggers, and taking daily medicine.
Do I Have Asthma: Conclusion
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms above and are still unsure about what might be happening, schedule a visit with one of our medical professionals. Having your condition diagnosed can lead to a better quality of life as well as step-by-step guidance from healthcare professionals. So, if you’ve been feeling out-of-sorts quite often due to shortness of breath, don’t hesitate to look into it further and ask your doctor if you could have asthma; contact us today!