What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. This inflammation can make it difficult to breathe, it often feels as if you can't take a full breath.
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Causes of Allergic Reactions
There are many causes for breathing problems, feeling shortness of breath after a vigorous physical activity is nothing to worry about, as this will pass quickly, however, for individuals who often have trouble breathing it could be a sign of a serious condition, such as:
• Severe Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis)
• Chronic Sinusitis
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Prevention of Breathing Problems
The World Health Organization estimates that about half of asthma cases are due to a genetic vulnerability, the other half are a result of environmental factors that trigger asthma attacks.
Realistically, there is no sure way to prevent breathing problems, however, understanding which factors trigger breathing issues will help reduce the frequency of attacks, exercise and healthy habits will also help.
- Don’t smoke and avoid other Tabaco products as these can irritate the mucous membranes of the nose, sinuses, and lungs making you more susceptible to infections.
- If you live in an area where air quality is poor, try to stay indoors as much as possible.
- Keep your home and work environments clean, dust and pet dandruff can trigger allergies.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals, if you must use them make sure you wear gloves, goggles, and air-particle respirator masks.
- Patients with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD should get a pneumococcal vaccine.
- Reduce your stress levels
Symptoms of Asthma and Other Breathing Problems
Patients with asthma are always dealing with inflamed airways as this is a chronic disease, however, an asthma attack is a sudden worsening of symptoms, during an attack, airways tighten, swell up, and fill with mucus, this causes the following symptoms:
- Wheezing (High pitched whistling sound when breathing out)
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Tightness, Pain, or Pressure
Other symptoms of breathing problems include:
- Faster Breathing Rate
- Blue Fingernails or Mouth
- Pale or Gray Complexion
- Head Sweat
- Flaring Nostrils
Breathing problems can also be caused by severe allergic reactions to foods and chemicals, anaphylaxis is considered a critical medical emergency, patients should be transported immediately to our emergency department. Signs and Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Facial swelling
- Swelling of the Mouth and Throat
- Trouble Breathing
- Itchy Skin
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When to Go to
Patients should be taken to the emergency department when:
- Sudden breathing difficulties arise
- Patient’s complexion turns pale or gray
- Patient experiences chest pain
- There is swelling in the mouth, throat, or face
- Breathing difficulties are accompanied by a rash
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