Asthma is a chronic condition, usually characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. Some people only notice symptoms with certain triggers while others experience persistent symptoms. Asthma symptoms may be quite mild and easily ignored.
However, if left untreated, it can cause damage to the lungs long-term. It’s easy to overlook one of the most common symptoms, coughing, especially at night or when you have to breathe harder when laughing or during exercise.
Left untreated, asthma can speed up the loss of lung function, so report any persistent coughing or breathing problems to your doctor. Through testing your doctor can determine how much lung function you have and determine a treatment plan.
Asthma doesn’t just affect breathing. Other concerns include increased problems with lung infections, chronic fatigue, anxiety, or depression.
Asthma symptoms can vary in severity and how often they happen. Some people experience worsening of their asthma seasonally, especially during spring. We often associate asthma with childhood, but asthma can start in late adult years.
Many people with asthma will require two types of medication, one for prevention and reduction of inflammation in the lungs; these are taken daily or multiple times a day on a regular basis.
As well as a rescue inhaler that helps to quickly open the airways, these are taken prior to exposure to a trigger or to prevent and treat asthma attacks.
Your pharmacist can help you understand your inhalers, how they work, when to use them and proper technique for taking them.
Asthma triggers are different for each person and may be related to allergies, due to infection, or illness. Direct irritation of the lung from cold air, smoke, dust or perfumes can also trigger asthma. Even if your asthma symptoms are infrequent, try to avoid your triggers and carry your rescue inhaler.
Learning what triggers your asthma and avoiding these triggers can prevent symptoms that may escalate to an asthmatic attack. When your asthma is treated and under control, you can have a normal life and enjoy your favorite activities.
Having a personalized asthma action plan that can help to plan ahead for exposure to triggers and taking medication prior can prevent asthma attacks or reduce their severity.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist today about your personalized asthma action plan.