Asthma can overtake a person at any age, no one is immune from it. We subdivide the features of the disease flow in the most vulnerable groups of people: infants teenagers, pregnant women and the elderly. We will also try to figure out how to deal with asthma safely and efficiency and how to improve the quality of life.
What are the main age groups which deserve a special attention at asthma?
Unfortunately, asthma does not spare even the smallest kids. It can appear even in the first months of life. Genetic factors, congenital underdevelopment of the respiratory system, allergic reactions – there are a lot of reasons for that. Another question is whether your child will be diagnosed correctly at once even having all the obvious symptoms for that. Doctors (and many mothers) are afraid of the diagnosis “bronchial asthma” in the case of an infant. District doctors usually easily diagnose acute respiratory viral infection or bronchitis. That is a pity. Doctors spend valuable time while could be seeking the treatment for asthma.
All over the world, it is believed that the shortness of breath and wheezing happen due to the small volume of the bronchi and are only a consequence of inflammation due to infection. Indeed, infants have tiny bronchi, and even small obstacles in the form of mucus or spasm can cause crumbs to choke. But remember: if you notice your baby has episodes of shortness of breath more than 3 times during the year, begin to suspect asthma. Especially if you have noticed that this does not happen when it’s cold outside. Do not be afraid! If asthma is properly treated by means of modern drugs, it is possible to achieve stable remission. Do not be afraid to give the infant the prescribed drugs. If the doctor has prescribed them, that means they can and should be given to young children. The kid will no longer suffer and will live and develop peacefully and happily, and you will feel calm, as another attack is not likely to happen.
Children under three years the attack of bronchial asthma usually looks in this way: in the morning the child often has snot with no elevated temperature. The baby is sneezing, scratching his nose, and then begins coughing. By night the cough increases and gradually becomes paroxysmal. Breathing becomes heavy and wheezing, stomach muscles and ribs tense, an exhale gets difficult. Thorax fluctuates sharply. The skin around the mouth, hands, and feet may even slightly turn blue. It may change the character of crying. Help your child take a semi-sitting position using pillows, this position will relieve breathing, and call for the emergency. Sometimes we may observe an increase in temperature during an asthma attack. This also usually confuses the doctors. They often diagnose a cold, bronchitis or pneumonia. But you must ensure that your child is examined and diagnosed correctly. It’s important to get a timely diagnosis of “bronchial asthma”. The kid is not able to tell at this age and can’t describe his feelings. Therefore, your task is to be very careful and look for a good pulmonologist. This will help you spare time for the infant’s treatment.
Sometimes, the child may “outgrow” asthma or feel sufficient relief. And sometimes vice versa. Asthma is a tricky thing.
Hormonal changes in the body of your growing child, the rapid growth of all organs, including the respiratory system, may, on the contrary, provoke the disease. In adolescence, an asthma attack may begin suddenly, even if the kid has a perfect health. The illness may grow quickly and require operational assistance. Pay attention to your growing child. Suddenly he is bothered by intermittent, uneven breathing, noises during a breath, he becomes inactive and apathetic, or, conversely, very excitable, he loses his sleep and cannot concentrate on anything. In this case, you’d better take your kid to the doctor. Pay attention to the examination of respiratory function (pulmonary function tests). If there are changes in the respiratory system, even in the absence of any distinct symptoms, stay alert, do not miss ou the development of asthma. Especially if the child is allergic or suddenly he starts suffering from spring polynosis at the age of 12-13. Go to the pulmonologist and allergist.
In the case of teenage asthmatics, the main problem is usually not even medical and psychological. Typically, teenagers treat their asthma not seriously. They have not yet developed a so-called careful attitude to health. If the attack is over, they quickly forget that they need to take medication regularly and to have an inhaler at hand. They do not tend to follow the doctor’s prescription. They do not like the restrictions they imposed on by the doctor. “Why should you limit yourself to the sport?” “Why not have animals at home?” “Why should you always carry a stupid inhaler all around?”,
Teenagers are very sensitive, they suffer from ridicules and do not want to feel defective or different. Therefore, many teenagers deny their disease, for example, they are smoking. This boyish significantly worsens the picture of asthma and your nerves. What to do? First of all, talk with your child. Invent some tricks to bring him over to your side. The main thing is not to sermonize about the health dangers. It’s even cool to skip physical education classes (if required by the doctor). The inhaler may have a stylish design, and it’s generally cool to have some unusual devices to stand out from the crowd – let it be the use of an inhaler. And explain what opportunities will be opened to him, if he is treated by the doctor’s plan. Maybe it will be possible to have a dog? Join the sports section? If there are problems with mutual understanding, bring your son or daughter to classes at asthma school. The trained and qualified specialists and psychologists will try to explain to your wayward child all the importance of asthma treatment. They will work in groups and tell many interesting and effective approaches to cope with asthma.
Do you have asthma and you’re pregnant? You think it’s the end of the world, a nightmare, everything will be bad? Nothing like this. Today, women with asthma in most cases, tolerate pregnancy well and give birth to perfectly healthy rosy-cheeked children. But your asthma during pregnancy should be kept under special control.
Pregnancy is not a disease. But during this wonderful period of your life, your immune system is severely tested. In fact, it has to work for two persons. And it is not always good. Therefore all chronic and allergic diseases can be worsened during pregnancy. Including asthma. In addition, when you have the last trimester, you become like a weighty Hippo, your big belly can simply press on the respiratory system, thus restrict the movement of your lungs and aggravate asthma. Especially the breathing function is reduced. The relief comes only just before birth when the baby drops into the pelvis. Asthma can also be exacerbated by worries and anxieties of the future moms. During pregnancy, a woman is stressed and emotional, and the fear of an asthma attack can make her worry, and thus provoke an asthma attack.
But that is not a reason for panic. We start with this advice: if you are planning to be pregnant, go the pulmonologist. Tell him about your great intentions, and he will prepare you for pregnancy. Within a few months, you may have to undergo preventive treatment to achieve asthma remission during pregnancy.
The second and very important point: do not give up asthma medication that you will be prescribed during pregnancy. Do not reduce their dosage, having a fear to harm the baby. Your doctor knows what to do. As a rule, the medications operate locally, almost not absorbed into the bloodstream and do not affect the entire body and to the kid. In addition, if your breathing function is weakened, and worse if you suffer from asthma attacks, your child loses the necessary oxygen in the stomach. During the attack, you are not the only one who is choking, but also your baby. He gets a continuous hypoxia, but it can be very bad for his development. Hypoxia is ten times more dangerous to him than the possible, hypothetical harm caused by anti-asthma drugs. Always keep closing your inhaler during pregnancy. A strong attack can even trigger premature contractions. Therefore, you should not let it happen. By the way, a third of future mothers do not suffer from asthma implications. And some women even feel a relief during pregnancy! The thing is in reinforced cortisol hormone operating.
44% of all people suffering from asthma are elderly people. Generally, asthma is rarely observed in mature years for the first time. Usually, it develops with aging. But there are other cases in modern society. The reasons are the following: allergy increase, environmental degradation, chronic airway diseases. In any case, asthmatics have to be controlled properly at this age.
It may be problematic to diagnose asthma in old people. The older the person is, the more unclear the symptoms of the disease are. This is due to a large number of concomitant diseases, which old people suffer from. Sometimes this age develops obstructive emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis. Do not forget about the cardiovascular problems. There is even such a definition as “pulmonary heart”. This is thickening of the wall of the right atrium and ventricle, which develops in people with bronchopulmonary pathology. It may be difficult for the doctor to recognize asthma in older people because it is difficult to perform spirometry and peak flow meter correctly. Therefore, – to understand whether the bronchi function is reduced. Provocative tests with methacholine and contraindicated to patients of this aging category, as they may cause side effects.
Often people in their old age are burdened with a bouquet of other various diseases, so they just ignore treatment for asthma. The expectations of their life quality are underestimated. Almost all body is aching and they suffer from breathing difficulties. But the elderly asthmatics should be treated! Often, all you need is just to get rid of the allergens, which irritate your body. Sometimes you need to remove the chronic inflammation, infectious lesion in the bronchial tubes, which sensitizes the respiratory system and causes choking. And it is also possible to be done at any age. It is only necessary to find an attentive doctor who will correctly examine you. Many elderly people suffer from chronic pneumonia and don’t even know it. Smokers with years of experience can develop such a disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This illness is also sometimes confused with asthma.
Constant shortness of wheezing, shortness of breath, which is increased during exercise, persistent cough are the serious reasons to visit a pulmonologist. Pay a special attention to the shortness of breath. It is recommended to lose some weight, it aggravates your condition. It’s strictly recommended to go to the resort at least once a year. There are special spas for asthmatics which are very helpful. The doctor should assign asthma medication taking the patient’s age in the account. Old people’s reaction to bronchodilators is usually reduced or delayed. Drugs with adrenaline are forbidden to people of advanced age, usually, purines are prescribed, as a rule in the form of aerosols. Hormone therapy is usually effective, especially for attacks cupping. However, the dosage is 2-3 times lower than that for younger people.
Take care of your health, follow the doctors’ advice and you will feel perfectly at any age!