Protect Yourself From Adult Onset Asthma Attacks
When older people experiences symptoms of asthma, it is referred to as adult onset asthma. Believe it or not, many people suffer their first asthma attack after age 70 and most of these attacks are associated with allergies.
Seniors are often misdiagnosed because of other health problems such as lung disease or heart problems that tend to mask the asthmatic condition, and even when they’re diagnosed, they might not get the best medication.
Adult onset asthma affects not only life but death too. In the past few years, asthma-related deaths in seniors have gone up by 24 percent. So pay attention if you or your loved one has difficulty breathing.
What Causes Adult Onset Asthma?
Normally, the natural response by airways is to become narrow when exposed to smoke, pollutants, very cold air or substances that are harmful if inhaled. In asthmatics, however, this response is exaggerated and often triggered by otherwise harmless substances or activities such as pollen and other allergens.
Asthmatics have airways that overreact to different triggers. During attacks, the muscles of the walls of their bronchi begin to spasm and swell. The airways then close up and they have trouble breathing. Most adults have less lung capacity because of changes in muscles and stiffening of the chest walls and as such are more susceptible to bronchospasm.
Several other factors may make a person more likely to get adult onset asthma. Obesity is one factor that can increase the risk of developing asthma in your adult years. Changes in hormones can also trigger adult onset asthma. It is not uncommon for pregnant women to develop asthma for the first time due to the hormonal changes.
Adult onset asthma can also be triggered by allergies to cats, dogs, mold, dust mites, food, cigarette smoke, fumes from car engines. These substances are all factors that can set the stage for the inflamed, constricted and mucus-clogged airways of an asthma attack.
Virus infections can also play a part in inducing adult onset asthma. A lot of adults become asthmatic after battling a bad cold or a bout of flu.
Stress and emotional upsets is another factor that can also trigger an attack.
Asthma Signs And Symptoms
If the muscles around the airways begin to tighten in spasms, and you’re wheezing, coughing and experiencing shortness of breath, chances are you are experiencing symptoms of asthma. Other common symptoms and signs of impending asthma attack include:
*Tightness in the chest
* Clogged bronchial tubes with phlegm
*Feelings of fatigue
*Worsening of allergic reactions
Some asthma attacks are quickly reversed by taking a bronchodilator medication that eases symptoms by opening the constricted airways.
Tips For Repelling Emergency Asthma Attacks
You can have asthma attacks occasionally or every day. Attacks can be mild, moderate or severe - even fatal, but you must know exactly what to do in an asthma attack. You need to know what to do in a breathing emergency, how to act quickly and stay alive. The following are all things you can do to save your life during an attack.
1. Use a peak flow meter: A peak flow meter measures the fastest rate at which you can blow air out of your lungs. By establishing your best peak flow, you can use the device to measure if you’re experiencing a drop in lung capacity, and treat yourself accordingly. Follow the instructions that come with the peak flow meter.
2. Use a Bronchodilator: This inhaled medication can quickly relax the airways and restore breathing. Use your peak flow meter again after using a bronchodilator. If you lung capacity has diminished by 20% or more compared to the reading you took before using the drug, then proceed to use a nebulizer.
3. Use a Nebulizer: This is an airways opening device medication in aerosol form that delivers four to ten times the amount of medication as an inhaled bronchodilator. This should be an important part of your home medical arsenal. Take another peak flow meter reading after using a nebulizer. If your lung capacity remains diminished by 20% or more, proceed to take a corticosteroid.
4. Take a Corticosteroid: This powerful anti-inflammatory medication can restore breathing. A typical dose would be 30 to 60 milligrams. This dosage will help reduce inflammation, but the effect will not be immediate.
5. Walk away from the trigger: Many a time there is something that precipitates an attack. Be it exposure to cold, dust, air pollutants, pollen, paint or whatever it might be. Try to remove yourself from the offending agent and go to another area that is safe. The attack may begin to simmer down, allowing you to breathe in more effectively.
6. Go to the emergency room: If you are still having breathing problems and it seems to be worsening after taking all the above measures, proceed to the emergency room for immediate medical attention.
Ways To Maneuver Around Asthma Attacks
Take a deep breath! It feels good, doesn’t it? When you have adult onset asthma, you appreciate every good breath you can get. You can minimize attacks and keep breathing easy by practicing the following tips.
Get Tested For Allergies
Researchers found at least one allergy in 75 percent of the senior asthma sufferers they studied. More than half tested positive to indoor allergies such as cats, dogs, dust mites and cockroaches. Knowing what aggravates your asthma means you can take steps to protect yourself.
Make Your Home Asthma-Friendly
If you do have allergies, start making your home more asthma-friendly. This might mean giving up furry pets like cats and dogs, storing away stuffed animals, removing plants and encasing your mattress in plastic. Keep things clean and dust and vacuum regularly. Think about replacing your carpet with wood or vinyl floors. If you live in an older home or collect antiques, you’re probably living with more dust. High humidity and bedrooms that stay above 70 degrees both encourage the growth of mold.
Beware Of What You Breathe
You can forget the fireworks. The smell in the air after a fireworks explosion comes from sulfur dioxide and other chemicals. These can irritate your lungs if you are asthmatic. Be sure to stay far away from the cloud of chemicals given off during the explosion of fireworks.
Don’t Dive Into Trouble
Jumping into a cool swimming pool on a hot day is usually refreshing. But if the water is treated with chlorine, and you have asthma, watch out. You could be inhaling tiny chlorine particles that can trigger breathing problems. In a recent survey of competitive swimmers, half had asthma symptoms which was due to their constant exposure to chlorine. At the first sign of wheezing or shortness of breath, get out of the water. If you find that you have an attack every time you swim, you might have to do away with the water plunging.
Guard Against Gas Fumes
Do you wheeze while you’re fixing dinner? If your stove uses gas, there may be a logical explanation. Gas gives off nitrogen dioxide, which is a pollutant. Researchers have found that people who cook with gas stoves are at least twice as likely to develop breathing problems like asthma. If your kitchen causes you to cough, it may be time to trade in your stove for an electric one.
Keep Spray Cleaners Away From Adults
Adult onset asthma attacks are becoming rampant wherever spray cleaners and fresheners are being used. It’s been proven that maids, janitors and other cleaning workers have a much higher rate of asthma than the rest of the population. And many products used in professional cleaning are the same at those used in homes.
Studies found that people who used cleaning sprays four to seven days a week more than doubled their risk of developing adult onset asthma. It concluded that frequent use of household cleaning sprays may be an important risk factor for asthma. What should you do? Use mild cleaners that are much less toxic like Simple Green products.
Using Natural Remedies To Ease Your Symptoms
Conventional doctors typically treat adult onset asthma with one or more prescription medications. Whilst steroid containing bronchodilators open airways and reduce inflammation, they do not solve the problem of asthma.
Long term use of steroids may contribute to serious side effects such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, weakened immunity, poor wound healing, severe acne and cataracts. The best thing to do is work with your doctor to find drug-free ways to provide relief that might even eliminate your attacks. The following are all ways to naturally control asthma attacks.
Take CoQ10 – Research found that adult onset asthma patients who took steroids had blood levels of CoQ10 that were 45% lower than a group of healthy people. When these patients were given a daily dose of CoQ10, they were able to use 74% fewer steroids to control their asthma. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and it is instrumental in turning oxygen into energy. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you should include CoQ10 in your treatment regimen. Recommended daily dosage is 120 mg of coenzyme Q10.
Take Fish Oil - A study was conducted where asthmatic patients were given a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids for three weeks. While on fish oil, it was discovered that the patients had normal lung function, lower levels of inflammation and reduced use of steroid containing bronchodilators. Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that can quell reactions in asthma. Take a daily omega-3 nutritional supplement of 2,000 milligrams with a mixture of DHA and EPA.
Take Butterbur - This anti-inflammatory herb has been shown to loosen and relax the chest tightening bronchial spasm and asthma. Sixty four adults with asthma participated in a study that allowed them to take butterbur extract for two months. At the end of the study, the number of asthma attacks had decreased by 48% and the length of an average attack shortened by 91%. The severity of symptoms like cough, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and wheezing had also lessened by 69%. The conclusion? Butterbur extract is an effective and well tolerated therapy for the treatment of adult onset asthma. Study participants took 50 mg. three times a day.
Take Soy Isoflavones - Genistein, an isoflavone in soy matched airflow obstruction in asthma. Studies found that the more genistein a person consumed, the less severe their asthma attack. The conclusion was that dietary supplementation with soy isoflavones may influence airways inflammation and can play a potential role in the treatment of asthma. Suggested intake is 100 mg. of soy isoflavones, including 29 mg. of genistein.
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