More Than Just A Cough – Four Tell-tale Signs You May Have Asthma

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Asthma is a common, long-term disease that requires management and maintenance, and living with asthma can be frustrating to manage, as there are various symptoms that can be experienced when suffering with this condition.
Living with asthma can be debilitating. And if you have been recently diagnosed with the disease it can be difficult and frustrating to manage. As the condition affects the airways, sufferers of asthma will experience a variety of symptoms related to their breathing.
The symptoms of asthma can range from mild to more serious and not everyone will necessarily experience all of the symptoms. For certain people who have been diagnosed with this debilitating condition, they will be able to live their lives in a ‘normal’ manner, only getting symptoms on occasion.
Roughly 17 percent of people with asthma have frequent and from time to time, can encounter potentially life-threatening asthma attacks. This number is split into two different groups, with five percent of those who have been diagnosed suffering with what is described as severe asthma. The remaining 12 percent of this number are those who have difficult to control asthma.
As mentioned by Doctor Samantha Walker, from Asthma UK, asthma itself is not a ‘one size fits all’ condition. “The most important and interesting thing about asthma is that it varies; minute to minute, day to day, month to month and year to year, so it can be quite difficult for people to spot whether something’s going wrong, or it’s just a normal fluctuation.” so let’s look at triggers initially before discussing these particular signs of asthma.
Asthma Triggers
You may have heard of the term ‘triggers’ when looking at asthma. And asthma symptoms are usually brought on by these.
There are certain common triggers which most people can be exposed to, such as house dust mites, animal fur and dander, moulds and fungi, pollen and cockroach droppings. In addition to these triggers, cigarette smoke is another type of irritant that often aggravates asthma. Certain cleaning products can also exacerbate the situation.
It’s important to be mindful of certain chemicals that can set off these triggers in everyday life, such as body sprays and perfumes and other chemical sprays, such as pesticides. alongside outdoor pollution from factories, cars and other sources. Weather, air temperature, exercise, stress, anxiety and certain foods can also be triggers for bringing on asthma symptoms, no matter what the severity.
Symptoms could also get worse at night or right when you wake up. Doctor Walker explains that “If you think of asthma as something where your airways are very twitchy, then every time you encounter something that’s going to irritate them you’ll experience symptoms.”
So exactly what are the main symptoms which could indicate that you have this condition? The NHS lists four main symptoms of asthma.
Coughing is the most common asthmatic symptom for which patients seek medical attention and a chronic and ongoing cough could well be a sign of asthma.
Cough variant asthma or CVA is a type of asthma that presents only with a cough. And the statistics can be a little worrying, in that 30 to 40% of adult patients with CVA, unless adequately treated, may progress to classic asthma.
There are differences between a cough when it could be related to asthma and one which is accompanied by a cold. Doctor Walker states “It’s not like when somebody’s got a cold, where they bring up mucus and the cough sounds bubbly. It’s a drier cough, like your breath catching. So when people take a breath in, it’s like an interruption.” If you find that your cough gets worse around certain triggers, then its likely it could well be asthma.
Wheezing isn’t always a symptom of asthma and in fact, many people suffering with the condition will find that they don’t experience wheezing as a sign. From sinusitis to vocal cord dysfunction, wheezing can present itself in many other conditions. There are also some patients who find they may have become used to this wheezing sign and therefore fail to mention it when questions in relation a potential asthma diagnosis. Many do, however, find that this is a common concern.
Wheezing occurs when the small airways of the lungs become narrow, which makes it difficult to breathe. The result of this constriction is a whistling sound upon breathing out.
Shortness of breath can be a scary symptom to uncover, and it is often the symptom that confuses asthma sufferers, as many different things can cause breathlessness. For example, intense exercise can bring on a bout of breathlessness, often taking a while to get back, but this is normal for most people. You may also find that if you walk up a few flights of stairs, you can quickly become out of breath and usually, those who would describe themselves as unfit will experience this far more easily.
Many people attribute breathlessness to the simple fact of life, in that as we get older we find things more difficult. However, Doctor Walker states that this may not be the case and that this type of breathlessness could well be a sign of asthma. She states “If you’re 30 or 40 and you think, ‘Gosh I’m getting old, I can’t do this exercise’ – that’s not age, you’re too young.” Combine this with the fact that the occurrence of breathlessness is highest in people who are 55 to 69 years old and asthma could well be on the cards.
Tight Chest
Another common symptom of asthma is a feeling of tightness around the chest. This could, again, be attributed to many other causes and is often misdiagnosed as Chronic Bronchitis, but the symptom should never be ignored. Chest tightness can present itself alongside wheezing but if it occurs alongside breathlessness, it’s time to get to the Doctors as soon as possible.
Because chest tightness is not something that be measured, it is often described by sufferers as a “heavy weight” “feeling really tight” or as though there’s a tight band around their chest.
Asthma Management Plan                                                                                    
Anyone suffering with asthma will need to be in control of it with a dedicated management plan. The more control over these asthma symptoms means the better control you will have with your condition as a whole. By meeting with your GP or dedicated asthma nurse, you can find ways to avoid your asthma triggers, look at mediciations and devise an asthma action plan
Another great way of assisting with your asthma condition is to look at getting a smart inhaler. The Aerobit Health Smart Inhaler is an innovative solution of smart hardware and software to make asthma care management easy and effective.
The smart inhaler can measure the quality of dose, provide remote monitoring and reduce the number of GP or hospital visits, making it easier for doctors to spot when symptoms might be getting worse. If the Aerobit Smart Inhaler sounds like something you’d like to get further information on, check out our website. Or for any urgent questions, simply get in touch with us today to find out more.
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2018-06-21 04:26:46