According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma currently affects more than 25 million Americans (approximately 7.7% of adults and 8.4% of children). It’s a long-term, chronic, disease that impacts the airways in the lungs due to inflammation. This inflammation leads to what is known as an asthma attack, which can be mild or severe.
When an attack occurs, the patient usually experiences:
- Chest tightness
And in the most severe attacks, the patient may be unable to breathe without immediate medication or medical attention. Despite its prevalence, the condition can be one of the most challenging and confusing conditions for longtime sufferers and new patients alike.
It can be sparked by a myriad of different triggers, from:
- Seasonal allergies (Pollen)
- Other debris in the air
- Sahara Dust Cloud (A unique phenomenon)
As such, it’s no wonder asthma patients often have a lot of initial questions that arise before their initial diagnosis. And these questions can linger after a provider identifies the condition.
- What causes it?
- What enhances it?
- Can I do anything to provide long-term relief?
To learn more about this condition, read on to uncover FAQs and answers.
1. Who Is Likely to Get It?
Asthma can occur in both adults and children. Though anyone can develop asthma, there are a few factors that can put a person at higher risk. Smokers and people who already have allergies to dust mites, pollen, or pets may be more susceptible to the disease.
Asthma can also run in families, which means there is a genetic component as well. As for children, young asthma sufferers who have an existing food allergy or eczema are more likely to develop asthma at some point in their life.
2. Are There Things That Can Make It Worse?
Several factors can put a person at a higher risk of developing asthma, or which can make the disease worse. Smoking can undoubtedly put added pressure on your airways. And this can result in irritation and inflammation, and so can regular exposure to pollen, dust, and other irritants in the air. Studies have also found asthma tends to progress with age. So, your asthma attacks may get worse as you get older.
3. What Can Trigger an Attack?
One of the most challenging aspects of asthma for patients is that it can be hard to identify what, exactly, triggers an attack. Though some triggers may be common and obvious (like exposure to allergens like pollen), other times, the source of an attack can be trickier to discern.
For example, depending on the individual, an asthma attack can be brought on by:
- Physical exercise
- Strong smells
- Weather changes
- Certain medications
These triggers can also change with age, so it can be hard to stay safe and prevent asthma attacks for the foreseeable future.
4. Can Stress Cause an Attack?
Anxiety and stress can certainly cause an asthma attack or can make an asthma attack more severe, especially if there are other factors – like air quality – at play.
5. Are There Things I Can Do to Prevent Attacks?
There are actually a variety of steps and precautions that asthma sufferers can take to prevent severe or recurring asthma attacks. These include the following:
- Avoid smoke and areas where smoking may be prevalent and do not smoke in your home.
- Watch out for cold air temperature. Studies have shown that cold air can trigger an asthma attack in specific individuals.
- Exercise in moderation. Physical activity can be great for asthma patients, as long as you don’t overdo it to the point where you are huffing, puffing, and wheezing continually.
- Try to avoid pressure on your chest whenever possible. This could entail sleeping on your side or stomach instead of your back, or using a memory foam mattress to restrict the pressure of your neck muscles on your airway.
- Adhere to a good diet, and try to adopt a weight loss plan if you are obese. Fatty tissues around the neck and chest naturally result in added pressure to your airways.
- Get tested for allergies! If you have an existing allergy to pets, dust, mold, pollen, or other common irritants, your chances of getting an asthma attack tend to go way up.
6. Is There a Cure?
One of the more frustrating aspects of asthma for patients is that it’s certainly possible to obtain medications for symptoms and asthma attacks from a general practitioner. Still, it’s much harder to identify a long-term solution or cure. Asthma might go away on its own as you get older, especially if you were diagnosed with the condition as a child. However, it may also seem like it’s a chronic problem without an effective treatment.
We Can Help
But there are solutions! At the Lamkin Clinic, we use Low Dose Immunotherapy and Low Dose Naltrexone treatments to address asthma, as well as a number of other breathing conditions.
These immune treatments are low cost, do not suppress the immune system, are exceedingly safe, and have been life-changing for many of our patients! So if you want to explore your options and get your asthma under control, schedule your consultation with the caring team at the Lamkin Clinic today. We’ll work together to bolster your immune system, and finally provide you with long-term relief.