Asthma Attacks

AAsthma attack refers to the abrupt worsening of asthma symptoms. Asthma is basically a disease affecting the respiratory system where there occurs inflammation or swelling of the respiratory airways. This is caused due to the contraction of smooth muscle cells which surrounds the respiratory tubes or breathing tubes. The accumulation of mucus to these swollen breathing tubes makes symptoms more badly.

Causes of Asthma:

The onset of asthma symptoms occurs when the patient gets exposed to various triggers. These triggers might be specific for each patient i.e., specific set of triggers induce the asthma attack in each patient. These inducing factors can generally be classified as follows:

Environmental triggers- environmental triggers includes smoke, dust, fumes, moulds and mould spores, bed mites, furs and feathers of pet animals and birds, cold and wet climatic conditions, respiratory illness like cold and flu, certain type of drugs, irritating odours etc.

Genetic or hereditary factors- chances of getting asthma is very high if parents are asthmatics. This is because the genes of an offspring is derived half set from mother and half set from father and thus the gene coding for the asthma might get transferred form parents to the child in this way.

Lack of physical exercise- Lack of physical exercise and over eating may lead to obesity which in turn acts as an asthma triggering factor.

Occupational triggers- The conditions to which a person gets exposed at the place of occupation may lead to asthma attack. Example: Saw dust at carpenter house, Paints, gases, chemicals, pesticides, insecticides and certain fertilizers used in farming etc.

Symptoms of Asthma Attack

  1. Extreme difficulty in breathing
  2. Severe wheezing when the patient respires
  3. Severe cough
  4. Chest pain
  5. Retraction caused by tightness of chest and neck
  6. Difficulty in talking
  7. Difficulty in walking
  8. Increased heart rate
  9. Sleeplessness especially during night time
  10. Emotional symptoms like anxiety
  11. Patient looks pale
  12. Excess sweating
  13. Bluish tinge of the lips and nails
  14. Worsening of the symptoms even after medication

If asthma is untreated it can even be life threatening. Initially when an asthmatic patient breaths a wheezing sound could be heard. This is due to difficulty in breathing caused by the smooth muscle contraction and accumulation of mucus to the swollen breathing tubes. At this stage if the disease is untreated the condition worsens to such a level that even the wheezing sound disappears. This is due to further tightening of lungs which allows very less air to move in and out during respiration. This condition is referred to as “silent chest” which very dangerous and life threatening. Emergency hospitalisation is required in such situation as this may eventually lead to death of the patient. Some may consider the disappearance of wheezing as positive sign and may not go for emergency treatment fails to give immediate medical care for the patient. Similarly a condition known as cyanosis may develop due to less oxygen level in the blood which leads to bluish colourisation of lips and finger tips. If not given immediate medical care the patient may lose consciousness and eventually die.

Panic Attack

Asthma and panic attacks are closely related conditions. Thus the asthma patients are more prone to pannic attacks and the patients with panic attacks are prone to asthma attack. Studies have shown that asmatics are 4.5 times more prone to panic attack than the normal individuals. It is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between the panic attack and asthma attack and sometimes the symptoms gets misdiagonised. As in asthma attack, the patients with panic attack also suffers from shortness of breath but the panic attack is not life threatening as asthma attack. Smoking is one of the main cause for panic attack. Inaddition to smoking allergies to various other triggers may also induce panic attack. Eventhough there are drugs available for the treatments most of the patients preffer  alternaties home remedies due to its side effects.

Classification of Asthma Attack Based on its Severity:

Acute asthma attack:

The onset of acute asthma attack is sudden and is induced by exposure to various triggers. These triggers might be allergens like dust smoke, fumes, irritating odour, cold climatic condition etc. or it might get induced due to upper respiratory tract infections like common cold. In people who have good control over their disease, the acute attack will be less severe compared to those without control. An acute asthma attack should be taken seriously as it may even lead to death of the patient if not given proper treatment. Thus the patient should be taken to the nearest hospital to give emergency treatment. The emergency treatment mainly involves the use of mechanical ventilators until the patient gets relieved due to normal lung functioning. The symptoms mainly involves shortness of breath, difficulty in talking, difficulty in walking, severe cough, unable to control the symptoms even after the use of inhalers etc.

Severe astma attack:

The major symptoms of severe asthma attack are extreme difficulty in breating both at daytime and nighttime and even at rest, difficulty in speaking (will not be able to complete a sentance without taking breath after each word), chest tightness, feeling of  agitation, will be unable to concentrate, feels restless in search of a position where he feels easy to breath, much strain is impossed on abdominal and neck muscles due to strainful breathing, no wheezing sound and coughing could be oberved due to very less air passing in and out of breathing tubes. The severe attack usually occurs due to the lack of proper medication, frequent exposure to allergens or triggering factors without any control, lack of regular monitoring of lung function using peak flow meter. Since the severe asthma attack is life threatening emergency treatment generallyinvolves the continuois use of nebulisers and frequent injection of medications. If the disease does not get controlleed even after the use of nebuliser and injected drugs, the doctors will preffer the use of mechanical ventilators

Home Remedies for Asthma Attack Treatment

Some of the home remedies used in asthma treatments are as follows

  1. The naturopathic treatments like hot hip bath, sun bath, hot foot bath, steam bath etc. helps in relieving asthma symptoms especially by expelling out sputum.
  2. Inhaling the steam from water after adding tulsi leaves will give good result.
  3. Similerly inhaling the steam from water after adding ginger juice and garlic cloves will give good result. Repeat this twice a day for good result.
  4. The patient will be able to breath easy when the the patient is asked to inhale by keeping a jar containing honey under the nose.
  5. Add one tea spoon full turmeric powder to one glass of milk and drink such preparation thrice a day.
  6. To a cup of hot water add two teaspoon of honey and two tea spoon lime juice and one tea spoon full ginger juice drink this once morning and once at night.
  7. Boil four to five garlic gloves in a cup of milk. Drink this twice a day.
  8. To one cup of water add 6 – 7 cloves and boil well. After boiling add one tea spoon full honey. Drink this mixture twice or thrice a day.

As asthma is a troublesome disease proper diagnosis and treatment should be done to keep it under control.