Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Horrors of Asthma Attack

I hate getting sick. I hate getting stuck at home because I'm sick. Bedridden because I'm sick. Not able to go online because I'm sick. Yes, you heard me right! I hate getting sick especially when my asthma suddenly surfaces out of nowhere! 


So now that I'm stuck at home and disobeying the rule of "complete bedrest means no online activities!" I decided to research more about asthma. Honestly, I've had this since I was 10 years old but I haven't really paid much attention to it or armed myself with knowledge about it because the attacks are not that often anyway. According to the National Heart and Lung Institute, "Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning."




This describes exactly how I feel or experience whenever I have a major asthma attack. Its more like I feel I have a violin in my lungs which really is disturbing for me coz I can't sleep because I can hear myself wheezing. And wheezing is bad.. very bad!  It just means that I've got lots of phlegm or mucus in my lungs and this irritates my airway and is very bothersome. If you look at the picture, the airways get swell and inflame during an asthma attack which was probably triggered by inhaling irritants or due to the weather. Its not that difficult to describe the horror of inflamed lungs. It feels like someone tied up your chest/lungs giving you only a short space for breathing. You end up breathing through short gasping breaths. Plus you also feel as if you are drowning! So the tendency is I end up sleeping half seated and half lying down. Its really very uncomfortable. 


One of the most horrible asthma attacks that I experienced was when I was in my first year of college. I was over fatigued with the hassle of getting my clearance, grades, and lining up at super long lines in a hot and not well ventilated gym to sign up for a PE class. When I got home, I already wasn't feeling well and in the following morning, I could barely stand up nor breathe properly! I felt like my chest was going to explode in any minute.. the short breathing gasps that I was doing wasn't enough.. my oxygen intake was too low and my parents rushed me to the hospital! (Which is another thing that I hate, getting stuck in the hospital.. so boring!).  My asthma attack was so bad that I had to be injected with steroids to alleviate the pressure and inflammation of my lungs! I stayed there for a week until my breathing and my lungs were back to normal. And thank God that this has never happened again. I'm praying that I will never reach that stage again!


Now I have what we call 'maintenance" medication to "discourage"  asthma attacks before it even happens. My maintenance medication is called FLIXOTIDE and is an anti-asthma metered dose inhaler. I use it once every evening and it helps prevent asthma attack the following day. BUT when I do get a mild asthma attack, my first resort is the VENTOLIN inhaler which also is an anti-asthma inhaler but immediately arrests the attack. The only problem is when it can no longer suppress or stop the asthma attack. Thats when I have to use a Nebulizer, which is an air compressor machine which turns the asthma medication from liquid to a mist. This helps the medication to work faster. Which is now what I'm using at the moment and is also the main reason why I'm stuck at home. The nebulizer is too big and I can't very well lug it along with me to work right? Hopefully, I will be more ok by tonight so that I don't have to depend on the nebulizer for my medication any more and I can go to work tomorrow. 


So what I have learned from this attack? KNOW MY TRIGGERS. Since asthma can be avoided if you can avoid having it triggered, I should be armed with the proper knowledge and know-how on how to address or avoid my asthma triggers - which is basically, change of weather/temperature, over fatigue, allergens, and strong smells (like overpowering male perfume!). Here the old saying that "knowledge is power" comes in real handy. 


So there you have it! A little bit of asthma facts and triva and a little research has helped shoo away my boredom of being stuck at home as well. Now I'm off to bed for an afternoon nap to help regain strength and hopefully say bye bye to asthma in my dreams. :)

4 comments:

Caitlin said...

Thank you so much for posting this information. As studying to be a teacher, this kind of information is extremely helpful!!

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Asthma symptoms are to be in childhood. Special care should be taken of kids having asthma.

Kai Sensei said...

Yes but unfortunately for me, I acquired my asthma when I was a bit older. There are some children who outgrow their asthma especially those who had it when they were still babies. But if you acquire it when you are in your middle childhood.. chances are it will not fade away anymore. *sighs*