It’s been quite a while since I’ve bothered writing a guide, so since I have a bit of free time, I decided to write a guide on Asthma. This isn’t the best guide I’ve written but as always, it’s entirely based off of personal experience and research. Hopefully it helps someone.
-- Understanding asthma:
Basically, asthma (pronounced as-muh) is a respiratory condition, or a chronic lung disease, in which your airways (tubes that carry air into and out of your lung) narrow, swell, become sensitive and supposedly produce extra mucus. This makes breathing quite difficult and more than often triggers symptoms such as coughing, tightness of the chest, wheezing (whistling sound when you breathe) and a shortness of breath. For some people, asthma isn’t too much of a bother. But for others, it can be an entirely major problem that interferes with their daily activities and can even lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Asthma isn’t something that can be cured, but the symptoms can most certainly be controlled.
-- What will trigger asthma attacks:
There’re several things that will trigger an attack. It varies for everyone, of course, but I attempted to narrow the common triggers down.
Allergies -- indoor and outdoor allergens.According to WebMD, allergies with asthma is a common problem. Eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to airborne substances such as tree, grass, and weed pollens, mold, animal dander, dust mites, and cockroach particles. In one study, children who had high levels of cockroach droppings in their homes were four times more likely to have childhood asthma than children whose homes had low levels. Asthma exacerbation after dust exposure is usually due to dust mite allergy. Food allergies can cause mild to severe life-threatening reactions. The most common foods associated with allergic symptoms are eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts, soy wheat, fish, shrimp and other shellfish, salads and fresh fruits.
Food preservatives can also trigger asthma. Sulfite additives, such as sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite, are commonly used in food processing or preparation and may trigger asthma in those people who are sensitive.
Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and exposure to secondhand smoke is sometimes called involuntary or passive smoking. Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke because they are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments. Children exposed to high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those whose mothers smoke, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects. Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease affecting 1 in 13 school aged children on average. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause new cases of asthma in children who have not previously shown symptoms. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also trigger asthma attacks and make asthma symptoms more severe.
Chemical irritants are found in some products in your house and may trigger asthma. Your asthma or your child’s asthma may be worse around products such as cleaners, paints, adhesives, pesticides, cosmetics or air fresheners. Chemical irritants are also present in schools and can be found in commonly used cleaning supplies and educational kits. Chemical irritants may exacerbate asthma. At sufficient concentrations in the air, many products can trigger a reaction.
Other small quirks.
Strenuous Activities — Strenuous activities, such as running especially in cold or dry weather, are most likely to induce asthma. You can run, of course, and exercise but it is quite difficult. Depending on how bad your asthma is, you may tire fairly quickly. For me, I can run for about two minutes before feeling as though I’m about to faint. This gives me an excuse not to do any exercise.
Emotional states — Emotional anxiety and nervous stress can cause fatigue, which may affect the immune system and, in turn, bring on an attack. Physical expressions of emotion, such as crying, laughing or yelling also bring on attacks.
Other triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise. In some people, asthma can even be triggered by certain medications, such as aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta-blockers (which are used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions and migraine). Urbanization has also been associated with an increase in asthma, however the exact nature of this relationship is unclear.
-- The main causes of asthma. (derived directly from nhlbi)
- The exact cause of asthma isn’t known. Researchers think some genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma, most often early in life. These factors include:
- an inherited tendency to develop allergies, called atopy (AT-o-pe).
- parents who have asthma.
- certain respiratory infections during childhood.
- contact with some airborne allergens or exposure to some viral infections in infancy or in early childhood when the immune system is developing.
-- Other facts of importance.
Symptoms include: cough or change in breathing, shortness of breath during exercise, frequent cough at night cough with laughter, “colds” that persist for more than 2 weeks, tightness in the chest, wheezing, lower peak flow numbers, fatigue, trouble sleeping, dark circles under the eyes, chin or throat itchiness, and anxiety.
Different levels of severity.
- step 1: mild intermittent asthma
- symptoms less than two times a week
- no problems between flare-ups
- short flare-ups from a few hours to a few days
- nighttime symptoms less than two times a month
- step 2: mild persistent
- symptoms more than two times a week, but no more than one time per day
- nighttime symptoms more than twice a month
- step 3: moderate persistent
- symptoms every day
- use rescue medication every day
- nighttime symptoms more than once a week
- step 4: severe persistent
- symptoms constantly
- decrease in physical activity
- frequent flare-ups
- nighttime symptoms frequently
What happens during an attack.
The lining of the airways become swollen and inflamed, the muscles that surround the airways tighten, the production of mucus is increased, leading to mucus plugs and the airways narrow, making it difficult for air to go in and out of your lungs.
Treatment does exist. People with asthma are often given asthma machines (nebulizers) which you can use at the doctor, or at home, if you own one which you should if you have asthma. We also have inhalers, or asthma pumps. These are things you carry with you in the case of an attack. I always forget to bring mine with me, which is not good but whatever. There’re different types of asthma pumps:
- Metered dose inhalers. These inhalers consist of a pressurized canister containing medication that fits into a boot-shaped plastic mouthpiece. With most metered dose inhalers, medication is released by pushing the canister into the boot. One type of metered dose inhaler releases medication automatically when you inhale. Some metered dose inhalers have counters so that you know how many doses remain. If there’s no counter, you’ll need to track the number of doses you’ve used to tell when the inhaler’s low on medication.
- Metered dose inhaler with a spacer. A spacer holds medication after it’s released, making it easier to inhale the full dose. Releasing the medication into the spacer gives you time to inhale more slowly, decreasing the amount of medicine that’s left on the back of your throat and increasing the amount that reaches your lungs. Some metered dose inhalers have a built-in spacer. Others can be used with a separate spacer that attaches to the inhaler.
- Dry powder inhaler. These inhalers don’t use a chemical propellant to push the medication out of the inhaler. Instead, the medication is released by breathing in a deep, fast breath. Available types include a dry powder tube inhaler, a powder disk inhaler and a single-dose powder disk inhaler. For features, go here.
- Nebulizer (breathing/ asthma machine). A nebulizer changes medication from a liquid to a mist so that it can be more easily inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizers are particularly effective in delivering asthma medications to infants and small children and to anyone who has difficulty using an asthma inhaler. It is also convenient when a large dose of an inhaled medication is needed. Nebulized therapy is often called a “breathing treatment.” And a variety of medications — both for immediate relief and maintenance of asthma symptoms — are available for use with a nebulizer. Nebulizers come in home (tabletop) and portable models. Home nebulizers are larger and must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Portable nebulizers run on batteries — either disposable or rechargeable — or can be plugged into a car’s cigarette lighter. Smaller, portable units are slightly larger than a deck of cards, so they can be carried in a purse, briefcase, or backpack to be used whenever and wherever you need them. To obtain a nebulizer, you need a prescription from your doctor. Home nebulizers vary in cost, ranging from about $50 and up, plus the cost of accessories. Portable nebulizers usually cost a little more than home nebulizers. Both are usually covered under the durable medical equipment portion of health insurance policies. But, most insurance companies will require you to work with a specified durable medical equipment supplier
For more info on what you need to use a nebulizer or how to use one, please click here.
Other disorders linked to asthma.
Depression: People with asthma have twice the risk of developing mood and anxiety disorders, including depression? Depression, with its feelings of sadness and helplessness, is the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder. In the U.S., depression is widespread among men (12.7%) and women (21.3%). Many people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes suffer with depression. Yet with poorly managed asthma, the inability to breathe is stressful. This emotional stress can add to depressive feelings and can worsen asthma symptoms.
And now, that is the end of this guide. Hopefully I hoped you understand how to play a character with asthma, If you read this entire guide, you’re great. Thank you and remember that if you need any other information, feel free to inbox me and I’ll try to help you to the best of my abilities.