Dr. Mitchell CoppedgeAsthma runs in families, but it can also be caused by tobacco smoke, lung infections and being around certain allergy triggers (allergens) at an early age. Dr. Mitchell Coppedge said, "If you have asthma, your airways are always inflamed. This makes you more sensitive to things like infections, allergens, and exercise, which irritate your airways."
An asthma attack happens when your airways narrow because of these irritants. You might wheeze, cough and have trouble breathing. The muscles around your airways tighten, and your airways start to swell and make mucous. That makes it even harder to breathe. A severe asthma attack can be deadly.
You and your doctor will make a plan to keep your asthma under control. Dr. Coppedge explains, "You'll have a plan for normal days and an emergency plan for when you have asthma attacks." Your doctor can help you find out what triggers your attacks and decide whether you only need a quick-relief inhaler for when you have attacks, or a long-term control medicine. You'll also learn how to use a peak flow meter. You can use a peak flow meter at home to check how well your lungs are working. It measures how quickly and forcefully you can breathe out after taking in a deep breath. It might also be able to show when an asthma attack is coming, even before you notice any signs.
If you have asthma attacks more often or they're getting worse, see your doctor to change your treatment plan. Other signs that your asthma is not well controlled are:
You are losing sleep.
You are missing school or work.
Your peak flow meter shows a low number, or the number changes a lot from day to day.
You have to use your quick-relief inhaler more often. Every day is too often.
Your medicines don't seem to work well anymore.
You have to go to your doctor or the emergency room because of an attack.
You have to stay in the hospital because of your asthma.
Dr. Mitchell Coppedge is a Family Medicine Physician at Five Oaks Family Medical Clinic and is available for all of your family medicine needs including asthma management. To schedule an appointment, call 405-224-2100.