Living with asthma is one of the worst challenges you can ever wish for. The good news is that, asthma symptoms are very much controllable.
All you need to do is basically finding the right management and care plan. The most important aspect asthma management is to know when to see an asthma specialist.
In this guide, we will explain the different types of asthma and most importantly, explain when to see an asthma specialist in Singapore. If you need urgent care or to see a specialist, please follow this link to explore the options available for you now in Singapore; https://iplungclinic.com/condition/asthma/.
So, what is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects so many people globally. Currently; close to 300 million people have asthma. And what’s more, its prevalence increases by 50% every ten years.
Asthma is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways. This is what causes the typical asthma symptoms which can range from wheezing, to coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
The exact cause of asthma remains unknown. However, both genetic and environmental factors play a role in its development.
What are the 3 Different Types of Asthma Attacks?
Asthma attacks can vary significantly in severity. Understanding their types is crucial for appropriate treatment. Here are the three different types of asthma attacks;
- Mild Asthma Attacks: Mild attacks are characterized by occasional symptoms generally manageable with quick-relief medications like bronchodilators. Individuals with mild asthma may experience infrequent wheezing or shortness of breath, often triggered by specific factors.
- Moderate Asthma Attacks: These attacks are more frequent. To manage them, you may need a combination of quick-relief medications and long-term control medications.
- Severe Asthma Attacks: These are the most concerning asthma attacks. So, they require immediate medical attention. With these attacks, you may experience intense and prolonged symptoms. Medications may only provide limited relief. Since severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening you may need emergency medical intervention if you experience them.
How do I know how serious my Asthma is?
Determining the severity of your asthma may seem complicated especially if you’re not a medic. Nonetheless, it is necessary for appropriate management. Here are a few methods mostly used in assessing the severity of asthma;
- Lung Function Tests: Spirometry and peak flow measurements are commonly used tests to evaluate lung function. These tests measure the amount of air you can exhale forcefully and the maximum airflow rate, respectively.
- Symptom Monitoring: Keeping track of your symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, can provide valuable insights into the severity of your asthma. If diagnosed, you may need to begin keeping a symptom diary. This will help you and your healthcare provider to identify patterns and make informed decisions.
When to See an Asthma Specialist
While general guidelines exist, it’s important to remember that every individual’s asthma is unique. You may need to see your asthma specialist in Singapore if;
- You Experience, Frequent or Severe Asthma Attacks: If you still experience asthma attacks that are frequent, even with regular use of prescribed medications as directed, it may be time to seek specialist care. Likewise, if your attacks are severe and unresponsive to quick-relief medications, an asthma specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.
- You Have Co-existing Medical Conditions: Asthma can be complicated by other medical conditions. Medical conditions that can worsen asthma include allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. If you have concurrent health issues that complicate your asthma management, an asthma specialist can offer specialized care to address all aspects of your health.
- Specialized Treatment Options: Depending on your situation, you may sometimes require specialized treatment options beyond what a primary care physician can provide. Asthma specialists are well-versed in the latest advancements and can offer access to novel therapies, such as biologics, specifically targeting underlying inflammation.
What happens if Asthma is not treated?
Neglecting to treat asthma or managing it inadequately can lead to several adverse consequences. Some of the most likely consequences of living with untreated asthma include;
- Declining Lung Function: Untreated asthma can lead to a progressive decline in lung function over time. Chronic inflammation and airway remodeling can cause permanent damage, making breathing increasingly difficult.
- Impact on Daily Activities: Untreated asthma symptoms can significantly impact your daily life, making it challenging to engage in physical activities, play sports, or even perform routine tasks. Breathlessness and wheezing can hinder your productivity and quality of life.
- Increased Risk of Exacerbations: Without proper management, you may experience and increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks. This increases the risk of severe exacerbations. In extreme cases, emergency medical care, hospitalization, and even intensive care unit (ICU) admissions may be needed.
What Makes Asthma Worse?
There are several factors that can trigger and worsen asthma symptoms. It is important to be knowledgeable on these triggers so you can take proactive measures to minimize their impact. Factors that may worsen asthma include;
- Respiratory Infections and Cold Weather: Respiratory infections, including colds and flu, can aggravate asthma symptoms. Also, cold and dry air may cause irritation in the airways. Taking precautions like frequent hand washing and wearing a scarf over the mouth and nose during cold weather can help reduce the risk.
- Tobacco Smoke and Air Pollution: Exposure to tobacco smoke, whether firsthand or secondhand, can severely exacerbate asthma symptoms. Similarly, air pollution from vehicle emissions, industrial pollutants, and outdoor allergens can trigger respiratory distress. Avoiding smoke and minimizing exposure to polluted environments are vital for asthma management.
- Environmental Allergens: Environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold can trigger asthma symptoms. It does help to identify and minimize exposure to these allergens to alleviate symptoms.
- Stress and Emotional Factors: Emotional stress and anxiety can contribute to asthma symptoms. Practicing stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and engaging in hobbies, can help alleviate stress and potentially reduce asthma triggers.
The first step to managing asthma symptoms effectively is knowing when to see an asthma specialist. In the hands of a dedicated professional, you can rest assured of specialized care that will improve your quality of life.
Don’t let asthma wreak havoc in your life. Take a breath towards a healthier future! Reach out to Interventional Pulmonology & Lung Clinic for personalized care and embrace our holistic approach to effectively manage asthma for you and your loved ones.
Interventional Pulmonology & Lung Clinic
3 Mount Elizabeth,
(+65) 9023 0158