Can You Prevent an Asthma Attack? Understand the Triggers that Cause It!


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Asthma is a condition that affects the bronchioles, aka the breathing passages that carry air to and from the lungs. The condition is generally caused by inflammation of the passages. It also makes the airways, or breathing tubes, of the individual sensitive to several "triggers." How do you know if you are prone to asthma? What are the triggers and symptoms to watch out for? How can you prevent an asthma attack? Find out more as you read on.

What is an Asthma Attack?

Here’s what happens to trigger an attack:

  • When an inflammation is triggered by internal or external factors for an asthmatic individual, the walls of the breathing passages swell, while the openings are filled with mucus.
  • The airways get narrowed down further due to bronchospasm (when the muscles within the passages contract).
  • The narrowing of the passages makes it difficult for air to be exhaled from the lungs.
  • This difficulty to exhale causes symptoms of an asthma attack.

Triggers and Symptoms of Asthma

The symptoms for asthma can vary from individual to individual. They can range between constant attacks to infrequent attacks triggered by various conditions or activities. These triggers include:

  • Allergy-induced asthma can be triggered by airborne particles, such as pollen, mold, insect waste or pet dander (particles shed by pets).
  • Occupation-related asthma is triggered by irritants in the workplace such as gases, chemical fumes, and dust.
  • Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by extensive physical activity and can be worse when the weather is cold and dry.
  • Other triggers include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stress, strong emotions and sometimes even medication.

The signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or feeling constricted around the chest
  • Wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing while trying to sleep
  • Wheezing attacks during cold or any respiratory ailments

Preventing Asthma Attacks

While the condition itself is not entirely preventable, you can still work with your physician and not limit your lifestyle, but instead go about your activities without interruptions and worries. Here’s what you can do:Adhere to your asthma treatment plan: Has your physician prescribed tests that you are yet to undertake? Have you been regular with your prescribed medicines? Work with your doctor to stay on track with your treatment plan. Don’t ignore your medication if you sense you are doing better.Monitor your condition regularly:  Are your symptoms regressing or progressing? Be sure to take stock of how you are responding to treatment and check in with your physician regularly to monitor your condition. You must also monitor your breathing to spot the warning signs of an attack such as shortness of breath or wheezing. Get vaccinated regularly for flu and pneumonia: These respiratory ailments can trigger or worsen your condition. Stay current with your vaccinations to prevent asthmatic episodes and flare-ups.Identify your asthma triggers: Find out what causes or aggravates your condition, and take active steps to avoid the triggers such as dust, pollen, excessive physical activity, etc.Watch out for increased use of quick-relief inhaler: Find yourself reaching for your inhaler more often? Visit a doctor at the earliest to adjust your treatment plan and medication. [av_promobox button='yes' label='Book your appointment on MediBuddy' link='' link_target='' color='blue' custom_bg='#f00' custom_font='#ffffff' size='large' icon_select='no' icon='ue800' font='entypo-fontello']The right treatment makes all the difference in preventing asthmatic episodes and in keeping breathing passages clear. Talk to a physician about any concerns you may have. [/av_promobox]