If you have asthma, you might not think it’s such a big deal. After all, you can usually manage your asthma attacks pretty well with a rescue inhaler. The only problem is that someday, you might find that your rescue inhaler doesn’t work as well, and that can be a big concern.
The big problem is that you never know when your next asthma attack could potentially kill you. Yes, asthma can indeed become life-threatening. The providers at NewMed Immediate Care explain more about the signs you can watch for and when to seek emergency help.
The common symptoms of asthma
Asthma is a big problem, affecting 7.8% of the population, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s worse is that 41% have had an asthma attack in the past 12 months. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that must be carefully managed.
Asthma is on the rise, too. It affects people around the globe, with poorer and middle-income countries suffering the most. It’s linked to increased urbanization, which is not a factor we can really control.
If you have asthma, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Wheezing and coughing
- Severe shortness of breath, which makes it difficult to speak
- Difficulty inhaling or exhaling fully
- Chest tightness
- Getting tired easily
- Quicker breathing from not being able to take in enough air
These symptoms may remain the same as long as you’re paying careful attention to your asthma and are responding well to medications. However, there are signs that your asthma is getting worse. Read on to find out more. It might save your life.
The signs of severe asthma
Asthma is considered “severe” when you meet certain characteristics. These include the following when you’re having an asthma attack:
- You can’t say more than a few words at a time
- Your breathlessness or wheezing is at a severe level
- Your fingertips or lips are turning blue or gray, which indicates that your blood isn’t getting enough oxygen
- Your symptoms no longer improve from using a rescue inhaler, which is an emergency situation
Your asthma might worsen over time, which requires regular checkups and management with the help of a doctor.
What we do to prevent life-threatening complications
First of all, you have to remain in regular contact with a doctor. It’s ideal to be treated by the same doctor, who has a full awareness of your health history, but this isn’t required. Care is important, rather than who gives it. Remember that we do take walk-in appointments at NewMed Immediate Care, so there should never be a reason to wait.
You may need to be on additional medications to keep your airways open. These may include oral corticosteroids. These do have side effects, so you may be tempted to skip them, but this is a potentially fatal mistake.
You also need to have an asthma action plan and adhere to it closely. Some of the steps involved in your asthma action plan may include the following:
Keep an inhaler by your bed
For reasons we don’t yet understand, asthma tends to get worse at night. It’s essential to have an inhaler within reach while you sleep.
Asthma is often linked with allergies, especially to things in the environment. Keep a log of what seems to trigger your asthma attacks, including where you are and what you are doing. Then, to whatever extent possible, do your best to avoid those triggers.
If you smoke, you must quit. There’s simply no other choice. If you need help with quitting, please ask your NewMed provider. We can do things to help you quit smoking.
If you have asthma, it’s essential to know that it can become life-threatening and often very quickly. Your risks are greater if you have needed hospitalization for a previous asthma attack. Contact the providers at NewMed Immediate Care, walk in for an immediate appointment, or request an appointment online.