Unlike many medical conditions that come and go, asthma is a chronic condition that affects the flow of air within a person’s lungs. It is characterized by constant inflammation in the lungs and the airways that feed into the lungs. At times, this inflammation can increase, leading to bouts of coughing, wheezing, gasping and shortness of breath. People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more likely to develop the disease, which frequently begins during childhood. No two people will have the exact same experience with asthma, but most learn a range of coping skills to help maintain normal and active lives.
One of the most important signs of a serious asthma attack is extreme shortness of breath, especially when a person feels unable to catch his or her breath during times when there has been little or no physical activity. When an attack occurs, patients should make use of their rescue inhaler. If that does not lead to swift relief of shortness of breath, it is time to seek medical care. Additional signs of a serious asthma attack include a blue tint to lips and nail beds, as well as experiencing sudden fatigue or confusion. Most people who live with asthma become very good at understanding the signs that their body is sending.
As with so many medical issues, preparation can make a world of difference in the outcome. Individuals who suffer from asthma should take steps to inform friends and family about the condition, and what to do if a serious asthma attack should take place. This includes keeping one’s medical information and emergency contact list easily accessible. When loved ones know where to find a person’s asthma medications, who to call in the event of an emergency and what to expect, they are better able to assess the situation and help secure urgent care treatment in a timely manner. That can have a huge impact on how far the attack is able to progress.
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