Asthma is an inflammatory lung disease that has mild to severe symptoms. The most effective way of treating asthma is to avoid triggers, use daily medications, and take other treatments.
A severe case of asthma is one in which there is no way to control it with any type of treatment. In addition to other daily medications, severe asthma may require high doses of inhaled corticosteroids or long-term oral corticosteroids.
There are differing opinions among doctors about what comprises severe asthma. According to the World Health Organization, severe asthma falls into three categories:
1. Untreated asthma
2. difficult-to-treat asthma
3. Therapy-resistant asthma
Despite the difficulty of treating severe asthma, it is still possible to control it. Find out what symptoms severe asthma can have, how attacks occur, and how to treat your condition in this article.
Severe asthma symptoms
Asthma symptoms that range from mild to moderate are similar to those of severe asthma. Severe asthma symptoms can be problematic and difficult to control with the use of asthma treatments.
These are some of the symptoms of severe asthma:
• If your breathing continues to worsen, shortness of breath will continue
• pain or tightness in your chest
• wheezing that persists after treatment
Because severe asthma can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications, you need to be informed when you need emergency medical attention. If you experience shortness of breath while doing simple physical activities or it gets worse quickly, call your doctor or go to the hospital.
It may be necessary to seek emergency treatment if a quick-relief inhaler does not work.
Severe asthma treatment
The definition of severe asthma is asthma unresponsive to treatments and medications, or asthma that is difficult to manage. The term therapy-resistant asthma refers to this lack of response to medications. If your asthma is getting worse, it might be because you have become resistant to corticosteroids.
If you aren’t responding to asthma medications, speak with your doctor about alternative treatments. Your doctor will examine you to check if you have any conditions that mimic asthma, like angina or heart failure. You will also be tested for chronic infections and aspergillus’s caused by allergies in severe asthma.
A doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan if you have severe asthma. The plan may include medications, lifestyle changes, and natural treatments.
Here are some medications and treatments you can try if you have severe asthma:
• Corticosteroid injections
• higher doses of inhaled corticosteroids
• using inhaled corticosteroids more frequently
• continuous inhaled nebulizer
• Ipratropium bromide aerosols
• Long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs)
• oral corticosteroids
To treat severe asthma, you may use any of the medications listed above alone or in combination.
Following these lifestyle changes may help in the treatment of severe asthma:
Try to eliminate or reduce exposure to allergens and environmental irritants whenever possible.
Weight loss is a gradual process under the supervision of your doctor if you are living with obesity.
Try to avoid known triggers whenever possible.
Don’t smoke or breathe secondhand smoke.
Natural treatments shouldn’t replace your asthma medications, but you may benefit from trying some of them in conjunction with them.
Here are some examples of natural treatments:
You can reduce your medication intake with breathing exercises
Herbal remedies, such as black seed, choline, and caffeine
Yoga and mindfulness, which can reduce stress, an asthma trigger
Doctors and scientists still have a lot to learn about alternative treatments and the outcomes of their use on severe asthma symptoms. It is best to discuss any supplements or herbs you may be considering taking with your doctor before taking them.
Severe asthma attacks
A severe asthma attack can cause the following symptoms:
• Shortness of breath that makes it difficult for you to speak
• With rapid breathing that causes your chest or ribs to retract
• Straining your chest muscles and forcing you to work hard to breathe
• Through flared nostrils that rapidly move as you breathe
• Making your face, lips, or fingernails pale or blue
• Having difficulty breathing in or out
• Your symptoms do not improve after you use a rescue inhaler
• Resulting in an inability to do normal activities
• In an infant who cannot recognize their parents or respond to them
If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of a severe asthma attack, call 911 right away. Respiratory failure is a dangerous condition that can result from severe asthma attacks.
Asthma with severe symptoms usually requires lifelong treatment and medical management. Due to the difficulty of treating severe asthma, the length of time it will take to recover from a severe asthma attack will depend on your circumstances and the time it takes to control the severe asthma attack.
Asthmatic lung damage may be permanent and may require further treatment. Due to this, it’s so important to get help as soon as possible during an asthma attack.
As your recovery progresses, rest as much as possible to expedite it. Take a day to relax and don’t overdo things if you’re physically and emotionally exhausted.
Also, see your doctor as soon as possible so that you can review your symptoms and medications and make any necessary adjustments. To prevent another asthma attack, they can give you tips for recovery and update your asthma action plan.
Prevention and management
To control your severe asthma and asthma attacks, you should follow the treatment plan provided by your doctor. Adjust the one you currently have if it’s not working for you.
Here are some other ways to prevent severe asthma and severe asthma attacks:
Take your medications regularly and track your symptoms.
Quit smoking if you smoke.
Vaccinate yourself against the flu, whooping cough, and pneumonia.
If your treatment plan and medications stop working, tell your doctor.
Reducing your exposure to allergens that trigger asthma is crucial.
Make sure you wear a face mask to exercise in cold weather.
If you work with chemicals, take precautions.
Don’t leave your house on days with poor air quality.
Consult your doctor about weight loss if necessary.
At the first sign of an asthma attack, you should use your rescue inhaler.
You should also take your daily medications as directed, including allergy treatments.
Ask your doctor to help you develop a plan to manage your asthma. The following action plan outlines what to do if you have an asthma attack. It is a good idea to tell your family, friends, and coworkers about this plan. When you share your situation, they will be able to assist if you suffer an attack.
The purpose of treatment is to get your asthma under control, so you need to stick to your treatment plan and change your lifestyle. Talk to your doctor if you feel that your treatments aren’t working as they should. Seeing your doctor routinely will help you manage your severe asthma effectively.