Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 25th, 2018.
How does asthma affect the lungs and breathing?
Asthma is a common long term inflammatory diseases of the airways of the lungs. It is condition in which airways of lungs gets narrower and swell and produce extra mucus. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. General symptoms of asthma are wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
The episodes of asthma attack are found to be few times a day or few times a week. This asthma episodes may increase or get worse depending on the person at night or during and after exercise.
Asthma is though to be caused by the combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Their is no cure for asthma but it can be symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers such as allergens and irritant. This symptoms can be prevented by inhaling corticosteriods , long acting beta agonist (LABA) or antileukotriene may be used to control asthma.
Signs and symptoms of Asthma
Signs and symptoms may vary form person to person and also influenced by environmental conditions.This include;
- shortness of breath
- tightness of chest and pain
- trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath and chest pain
- whistling sound during inhaling and exhaling
What is an Asthma attack?
An asthma attack is when you symptoms starts getting worse compared to usual, enough to cause the person distress. Asthma attack can come quickly or gradually. The number of attack can range form few per day to few per week. The symptoms that are seen during the asthma attack are :
- increase in wheezing, coughing,
- chest tightening
- shortening of breathe
- chest pain
- long breath
- changes in heart beats and rhythm
Asthma and its triggers
Allergic reactions may be delayed in some children, making it difficult to identify the trigger involved. The most common asthma triggers include:
- Pollens from grasses, trees and flowers
- Air pollution
- Smoke from tobacco and burning wood
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Cockroaches and their droppings
- Furry pets and pet dander
Less common asthma triggers include:
- Physical exercise
- Some medications, both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription
- Upper respiratory infections such as colds and the flu
- Acid reflux (stomach acids rising up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and indigestion)
- Weather extremes such as thunderstorms, high humidity, or cold, dry air
- Some foods, food additives and fragrances
Can Alcohol aggravate Asthma?
Yes, alcohol can cause asthma to worsen. One possible reason is that alcohol can cause various degrees of acid reflux. In this common condition, acidic stomach fluids bubble up into the food tube (esophagus) and sometimes make their way into the breathing tubes via the back of the throat.
What is Asthma inhaler
An asthma inhaler is an handheld device that delivers medication straight into your lungs. You get the drugs faster and with fewer side effects then any other kind of dosage form like pills or I.V injections and I.V bolus.
What are the types of Asthma inhaler?
Asthma inhalers are available in different types they are Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) , Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) and Nebulizers. They contain different kind of medication, to provide fast relief or long acting symptoms of asthma. This different medication have different mechanism of action. This systems sometimes have to pumped and others are breath activated.
Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs): This system provide the drug through a small, handheld aerosol canister. They basically work like an spray can. You have to push the inhaler system and it sprays out the medicine, and you Deep breathe it in. A tube like gadget is their called spacer which helps kids and old people who have trouble breathing it in.
Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) – Breathe activated inhalers:
This kind of system have dry powders in them. You need not to press or pump for the medication to be released. The system require you to breathe quickly and deeply which will make you inhale the single dose in it for treatment. This are basically hard to use under the asthma attack because one can not take a deep breathe which is required by the system.
Nebulizers: Nebulizers are mechanical system through which it deliver medication via mouthpiece or mask. They are easy to use because you can breathe normally. This system have an advantage for both categories like old people and under asthma attack. Therefore it makes them good for children and people with severe asthma who may not be able to use MDIs or DPIs.c
Common Asthma inhaler
The common types of asthma inhaler are divided into short acting bronchodilators and long acting bronchodilators.
The short acting bronchodilators are:
- Albuterol ( ventolin HFA, Proair HFA, Proventil HFA, this are also available in generic drug solution for nebulizers).
Long acting bronchodilators:
- foradil (formoterol)
Does asthma inhaler expire?
Yes, asthma inhaler has an expiry date, by this date the manufacturer guarantees 100% safety and efficacy of the medication in the inhaler. After this date of expiration the manufacturer no longer guarantees 100% safety and efficacy of the drug. If one uses expired asthma inhaler and side effects are observed the manufacturer and regulatory authorities are not responsible for this kind of side of effects.
This medication begins to breakdown by time and loses its potency over time. For this reason, US Food and Drug Ddministration (FDA) mandates all medication should have an expiry date on it. This date is estimated date at which time the medicine will lose its 10% of its potency.
How long is an asthma inhaler good for?
Any drug is under manufactured guaranteed efficacy and safety on and before expiration date. Likewise, asthma inhaler have an expiration date until which the manufacturer provides the guaranteed efficacy and safety of drug. After the expiration date passes it starts losing its efficacy and after which manufacturer is no longer responsible for safety and efficacy of it.
Side effects of expired Asthma inhaler
Side effects can be minor to major depending upon person to person as well as on environmental factors. The common side effects are :
- headache, dizziness
- sleep problems
- cough, sore throat , stuffy or running nose
- mild nausea, vomiting
- dry mouth and throat
- muscle pain
Serious side effects of expired asthma inhaler are:
- tremor, nervousness
- chest pain and fast, pounding or uneven heart beats
- high blood pressure
- changes in vitamins levels