Did you know that, while our brain is only about 2% of our body mass, it consumes 20% of the oxygen that we breathe in? Just 5 minutes without oxygen can cause noticeable brain damage. Asthma is often characterized by coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness or pressure. According to the CDC, 1 in 13 people suffers from asthma. It is characterized by the inflammation of the bronchial tubes in your lungs with increased production of mucus. This causes less air to be taken in, with less oxygen to be distributed throughout the body.
Asthma can be hereditary, so it is beneficial to know family health history. It is also connected to other allergic conditions like atopic dermatitis or hay fever. If your loved one is prone to allergic reactions and begins to have trouble breathing, have a doctor determine if they have developed asthma as well. Asthma is more commonly seen in adults with occupations that subject them to airborne chemicals, such as those used in farming, salon work, or manufacturing.
While they may generally have trouble breathing, people who suffer from asthma are most concerned with preventing an attack, a sudden onset of severe symptoms.
If your loved one has an asthma action plan, generally including an inhaler and breathing treatments, it is critical to intervene during these early symptoms. If you notice that the inhaler is needed multiple times a day or becomes a challenge for your loved one, talk with the doctor about alternatives such as a nebulizer or oral medications.
Who does asthma effect?
Asthma can affect children and adults. Symptoms are typically more intermittent in children and persistent in adults. Unfortunately, adult-onset asthma has a higher death rate than childhood asthma. This is perhaps because symptoms are ignored by the adult or their caretakers and attributed to weight or just a regular part of getting older. Do not ignore wheezing or coughing, especially if it seems chronic. It is important to seek medical advice to ensure that shortness of breath is not something more serious.
Some of the factors that might increase the risk of adult-onset asthma may include:
• Being overweight
• Pregnancy or menopause
• A buildup of allergens such as cats, cigarette smoke, chemicals, mold, or dust