Asthma is a chronic condition that can strike patients of any age. When you have an asthma attack, it can be frightening because it feels like you just can't get enough air. Asthma attacks must be taken seriously and treated promptly, so don't hesitate to come into AccuHealth Urgent Care in St. Louis, Missouri if you're having an asthma attack or need other urgent care. You may also call the office anytime or book an appointment online.
Asthma is a disease that negatively impacts the lung airways. When the airways become inflamed, they quickly swell, becoming much narrower. Inflammation also causes extra mucus and over-tightening of the muscles around the airways, worsening the problem. Over time, asthma attacks can cause permanent damage to the walls within the airways, making it impossible for them to open as fully as they once did.
All of these things make it challenging to get a full breath during an asthma attack. Asthma attacks occur sporadically for some and more regularly for others. Asthma is a long-term illness that doesn't have a cure -- however, there are several ways that it can be effectively managed.
During an asthma attack, you may have a "fish out of water" feeling. This can include:
Asthma often runs in families. If you have an immediate family member with asthma, you're more likely to have it yourself. Children who suffer from food allergies or eczema have a higher chance of having asthma than those who don't suffer from those conditions. Children or adults who are allergic to pollen, dust mites, tobacco smoke, or animals are more likely to have asthma than those who don't have those allergies.
Asthma can be diagnosed at any age. However, most asthma sufferers have their first asthma attack during early childhood, often before the age of 10. In most cases where adults are diagnosed with asthma, the condition has always been present but may not have been recognized until that point.
Asthma is treated in several different ways, with inhaled medications (inhalers) being the most common treatment approach. There are two main types of asthma inhalers: daily use and as-needed (also called rescue) use. If you’re a patient who needs daily use inhalers, you’ll use them every day, whether you're having symptoms or not because it’s a preventive medication. If you are prescribed an as-needed inhaler, you’ll only use it when you're having an asthma attack.
In some cases, other treatment approaches may be used. This may include lifestyle adjustments that allow you to avoid asthma triggers. Oral medications such as prednisone may also be used to help the lungs grow stronger.