With 17.7 million (7.4%) Americans suffering from asthma, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Emergency room visits due to asthma-related incidents total 1.8 million, proving how truly horrendous it can be. However, by knowing a little more about asthma, you can better know how to respond to the disease, potentially preventing a hospital visit in the future.
What is it?
Considered a long-term, or chronic, inflammatory lung disease, asthma essentially narrows the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
One of the worst side effects of asthma is the asthma attack, caused when the bands of the muscle surrounding the airways are triggered to tighten. An asthma attack can escalate quickly, so it’s essential to know the signs and to seek help immediately.
What are the symptoms?
When someone is suffering from asthma, they often experience symptoms when the airways constrict. The symptoms include coughing (specifically at night), wheezing, difficulty breathing and tightness or pain in the chest. Some people may experience all of the above symptoms, while others may have different symptoms. An asthma attack will usually include more severe symptoms like difficult talking, feelings of panic, a pale, sweaty face and blue lips or fingernails.
How do I treat an attack?
Immediate treatment, usually involves the use of an inhaler prescribed by a doctor. If trouble breathing continues, you should call 911 immediately or follow your doctor’s recommendations.
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Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.