Asthma is a respiratory illness that affects the airways within the lungs. People who suffer from asthma have periodic asthma attacks, during which they struggle to breathe normally. Although a person with asthma always has the disease, they suffer from active asthma attacks only sometimes.
When an asthma attack begins, the inflamed airways begin to swell up dramatically. Often, this means that they are swollen almost completely closed. This means that it becomes a struggle to breathe. During an asthma attack, a sufferer may feel like they are being suffocated, or like a fish out of water. Wheezing, coughing spells, and a panicked sensation can all be common during asthma attacks.
Asthma attack triggers can be unique to the person. Major physical exertion during exercise, temperature extremes, or even laughing or crying very hard can trigger an asthma attack. Many common allergens can also trigger asthma attacks, including
pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or other airborne allergens.
There are several different treatments for asthma today. If the patient has both allergies and asthma, the allergies are treated with medication or allergy shots. This often helps minimize asthma attacks, as well. Inhaled medications are often prescribed for asthma sufferers. Inhalers are used on an as-needed basis when the asthma attack begins in most cases, although there are also preventive asthma inhalers that are used daily regardless of whether the patient is having an asthma attack. Asthma sufferers may also take daily medication that is designed to strengthen the lungs. Many asthma patients use a combination of these techniques to control their asthma. While every single asthma attack may not be preventable, the great majority of asthma attacks can be closely controlled with the right medical approach.