If you have asthma, you are not alone. About 10 percent of American have it, which makes asthma one of our common diseases. One possible cause of asthma is allergy, so it is important to do an allergy investigation before treatment to know what causes asthma.
Although asthma is a relatively common disease in USA in both children and adults, it is often overlooked. There are also different types of asthma, something that one must take into consideration when treating. Dare to make demands on health care if you suspect you have asthma. It is important for you to get a proper examination and diagnosis. Only when you have received it can you get an optimized treatment and also learn how to manage your asthma better to be trouble free.
- 1 Symptoms of asthma
- 2 It is important to get an asthma assessment well in advance
- 3 Diagnosis of asthma
- 4 Asthma and allergies
- 5 Different forms of asthma
- 6 Treatment of asthma
- 7 National guidelines for asthma care
- 8 New technology will make everyday life easier for you with asthma and allergies
- 9 Living with asthma – Take control of your asthma
Symptoms of asthma
Common symptoms of asthma are one or more of the following:
- You suffer from an attack of shortness of breath
- You cough up mucus
- You exhale and wheeze, as if you are breathing through a straw
- You suffer from prolonged coughing with a cold
- You suffer from cough when you exert yourself physically
- You undergo frequent antibiotic treatments due to recurrent respiratory symptoms
You may not always experience all the symptoms, different symptoms may occur more or less. The most common thing is that you suffer from recurrent shortness of breath – if you recognize this, you need to contact a doctor to find out if you have any asthma. Untreated asthma can permanently narrow your airways.
It is important to get an asthma assessment well in advance
It is important to get the right diagnosis well in advance in order to start the correct treatment, but it can sometimes take up to several years before you are diagnosed with asthma and an investigation can be started. It also happens that, even if you experience asthma problems, you are sent home from the health center without further investigation. As a result, you run the risk of going undiagnosed. If you recognize the symptoms, talk to your doctor about an allergy test. It also makes it easier if you can describe your problems carefully and also how the problems affect your life situation negatively. Untreated asthma can create unnecessary problems and for children, for example, mean that children have to give up certain activities.
In order for you to receive optimized treatment, you need to identify that you have asthma, what type of asthma is involved and the underlying causes. This gives the doctor a good opportunity to control the treatment while at the same time increasing the control of disease for you as a patient. The national guidelines from the National Board of Health and Welfare also emphasize that there is a value in making a targeted allergy study for asthma. You should not have to deal with asthmatic disorders but for a dialogue with the care for investigation and treatment that improves your life situation.
Diagnosis of asthma
If you suspect you have asthma, you should definitely expect to be investigated and get an answer as to what your complaints are. Therefore, it is important that you have a dialogue with your doctor so that he gets a picture of your situation.
Various diagnostic tools are available to determine the diagnosis of asthma. Primarily, one usually does spirometry, that is, a lung function measurement. Spirometry is used to detect any asthma or other respiratory problems. It is also used to monitor drug treatment and assess lung function. The measurement is done by blowing in a nozzle connected to a machine that measures your lung capacity.
Asthma and allergies
An important part of the asthma treatment is to identify and eliminate the factors that can trigger asthma problems and/or increase the risk of getting asthma, such as allergens and tobacco.
Allergy investigations should be done in connection with suspected asthma or the investigation of asthmatic disorders. This is to see if the cause can be an allergen such as mites, fur animals or pollen. It can be done easily through a blood test where you can measure many different allergenic substances, so-called allergens.
As a patient you always have the right to ask about an allergy investigation. Also good to know is that a single blood test is enough to answer multiple allergies, so you don’t have to do multiple blood tests. A person with allergy symptoms often responds to more than one allergen.
Many people with asthma have not done an allergy investigation, so it may be important to find out afterwards what you are allergic to. For example, if you are allergic to mold, it may be important to check if your home or workplace has mold problems to reduce the symptoms of asthma. For people with severe or severely diagnosed asthma, it may also be crucial to see a specialist physician, a so-called allergist, who treats asthma and allergies. Knowing their allergies is important to avoid consequences such as over-medication and overwork.
Different forms of asthma
There are various forms of asthma. First and foremost, people talk about allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma.
Allergic asthma This is because you have an allergy to something and in children, allergy is the single biggest cause of asthma. The body’s antibodies react when you come into contact with substances that you are allergic to and then the reaction that can occur becomes asthma. During the pollen season, those with allergic asthma tend to get worse, but with an investigation you can find out what causes asthma and thus reduce the problems. Allergic asthma is persistent and often debuts in childhood, but even many adults have it, only that it is not diagnosed.
It is important to identify allergic asthma early, which is often manifested by nausea and eye problems, coughing cough during the pollen season or beeping in the chest before bedtime. With an early diagnosis you can get the right treatment and medication, which will make a big difference to your well-being.
Non-allergic asthma can occur due to substances that irritate the respiratory tract. Causes may be smoking, respiratory tract infections, cold air and other irritants. Non-allergic asthma usually affects adults.
It is also common for asthmatic disorders to be developed in conjunction with physical exertion. It is caused by breathing faster than normal with the mouth, which irritates the trachea and causes them to contract. Most often, it is a matter of poorly treated asthma that causes breathing difficulties when exerted. For information on other forms of asthma, the American Medicines Agency’s description of asthma is recommended.
Treatment of asthma
Asthma treatment has a very clear goal: you should be able to live a normal life despite your asthma. The goal, which is set according to American and international recommendations, means that:
- You have no asthma symptoms
- Don’t be hampered by asthma in your everyday life
- No need to take extra bronchodilator medication
- Do not have any troublesome side effects of your medication
- You have a normal lung function
Treatment of asthma is strongly associated with inhalers and this is because inhalation of anti-inflammatory agents is the most common treatment method. It is important not only to treat shock in case of inconvenience but to continue with its treatment continuously, otherwise the inflammation can lead to your asthma problems coming back. Since it may be that you have different medications, it is important to keep track of what is what – for a dialogue with the healthcare staff so that you feel safe and secure in your treatment. It is also important that you learn how to use your inhaler properly to maximize the effect of the treatment.
National guidelines for asthma care
The latest national guidelines for the treatment of asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) were published in November 2015. These are developed by an expert group under the National Board of Health and Welfare.
There is a great underdiagnosis among those with asthma, which means that many patients do not get the investigation and effective treatment they need. The guidelines are therefore recommendations that are about providing more and better care for those living with asthma. Some, for example, aim to make a diagnosis earlier.
The guidelines cover all age groups and include:
- Diagnosis and investigation
- Drug-related treatment
- Nursing and rehabilitation
- Symptom assessment and follow-up
Among other things, it says that health care should offer people with suspected asthma a targeted allergy examination with blood test or dot test of suspected triggering allergen. This should then be followed up with a return visit as it is important for optimal treatment and good disease control.
New technology will make everyday life easier for you with asthma and allergies
The American Asthma and Allergy Association has invested in new technology and has therefore developed an app, “Asthma and Allergy”. An app is a small program that is downloaded to your mobile phone via Google Play or Appstore, depending on the type of mobile phone you have. The app is free and filled with features that will make everyday life easier for you with asthma and allergies.
The focus has been on benefits and safety. After you have logged in with a bank ID, you can, among other things, gain control of your journal, your health contacts, that is, receipts and healthcare personnel, and even manage your recipes. In addition to an overview of your prescriptions, the app also gives you the opportunity to order medicines for free home driving. The Asthma and Allergy Association also gives you access to the latest news on asthma and allergies.
Living with asthma – Take control of your asthma
Asthmatics today have all the prerequisites for living their lives just like everyone else. If you get just the right medication and treatment for your asthma, there is no need to talk about poorer quality of life. But it is also important that you as a patient become more involved in your illness picture and find out what causes asthma. It is only when you know the causes that you can optimize the treatment. Astman can also change over time so be sure to go for regular checks, it is a way to ensure that treatment is optimized at all times. It also makes it easier for you to become more involved in the treatment and to have a dialogue with your doctor about which problems are exacerbated or improved.
By taking control of your asthma, you can also learn to manage it better. Then you know which situations, environments or other factors work and do not work for you. It is also important from a lifestyle point of view to be aware of, and gain knowledge of, how to live your life as usual without exacerbating asthma. Since there are different forms of asthma, the treatment also looks different, but the purpose is to find one that suits you and your circumstances. Today there are good chances of living a full life with asthma. Smarter inhalers and optimized drug treatment can help you get trouble-free while preventing any risks of aggravating the trouble. It is important that you know what causes asthma and where an investigation can help to find out. Dare to make demands on care!