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Zen Heath

Zen Heath

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  1. Zen Heath

    Warning Signs for People with COPD

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15 million people in the United States are affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that affects one's breathing and can develop into a life-threatening disease. In fact, a lot more people may already be living with COPD without their knowledge. One of the reasons COPD can be underdiagnosed is that its symptoms may be mistaken as natural signs of aging. This is why it is important to identify even the mildest symptoms to allow early diagnosis and treatment. This way, the condition is better managed or prevented. The earlier you are diagnosed with CPOD, the more chances you can prevent it from getting worst. Spot the early signs of COPD before it is too late. Shortness of Breath One of the most common COPD symptoms is the feeling of tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. According to pulmonologist Barry Make, MD, it is even a major warning sign to look out for. If you find yourself often feeling out of breath even when you're just doing simple everyday activities, you should consult a pulmonologist. Ongoing Cough A cough that's going on for too long is one of the initial signs of COPD. While coughing is the body's natural way of protecting the airways from inhaling irritants such as smoke and clearing the breathing passages of mucus, having a chronic cough is a warning sign that the lungs are not functioning well. If you have been coughing on a regular basis for a few weeks now, or if you are starting to wheeze, be sure to keep your health-care provider posted. Increase in Mucus With coughing comes the production of large quantities of mucus or phlegm. Naturally, the lungs produce mucus to trap irritants or to keep them out, but having lots of mucus come out from your lungs instead of the sinuses can be a red flag for COPD. If you feel the need to clear your throat from phlegm first thing in the morning, especially if it appears yellow or green or is tinged with blood, you may be experiencing a common COPD symptom. When to Call for Emergency Care Over time, initial symptoms may become severe, especially when no proper treatment or lifestyle adjustments have been done. With this, patients need to identify severe COPD symptoms that already call for medical attention. Seek emergency care right away if you find it difficult to catch your breath and to even speak more than a few phrases. One thing to watch out for also is cyanosis or the blue or grayish discoloration of the lips and fingernails. This can be a sign that your blood's oxygen level is dropping below normal. Once a low blood-oxygen saturation is confirmed by pulse oximetry, you may be given supplemental oxygen to keep your body functioning. Another serious COPD warning sign is a change in mental alertness and an increase in heartbeat. A COPD flare-up can put you in a potentially life-threatening state, which is why it is important that immediate action is taken once these symptoms surface. Avoiding COPD Flare-ups The main goal of COPD treatment is to enjoy a quality of life by keeping symptoms under control as much as possible. Aside from regularly keeping in touch with your doctor, you can keep COPD symptoms at bay by getting flu shots every year, washing your hands as often as you can, keeping yourself hydrated and well-rested, and ultimately living a healthy lifestyle. In the end, it is still up to you to take control of your condition.
  2. Zen Heath

    Asthma: When to Go to the Hospital

    Asthma is a chronic lung disease that usually begins in childhood, although it can affect people of all ages. In the United States alone, over 25 million individuals have been diagnosed with asthma, and 7 million of them are children. For people with asthma, it is a common scenario to experience recurring episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Although it is a highly manageable condition for many, especially those who have experiences from others, asthma attacks may be life-threatening, which is why it is best to know when to seek medical attention when an attack occurs. Understanding how asthma works Before anything else, it is important to know how asthma works and how it affects the body. Asthma is a lung condition that particularly affects the airways or bronchial tubes, which are responsible for the passage of air in and out of the lungs. People who are suffering from asthma have inflamed airways, which will become even more swollen since they are very sensitive to certain triggers. The swelling in the airways allows the muscles around them to tighten, thus causing the asthma symptoms. Although asthma commonly occurs in children, it may also develop even in healthy people during exercise, which is known as exercise-induced asthma. People who also have a family history of asthma or allergies are more likely to develop asthma known as allergic asthma. How asthma is diagnosed If you or your child experiences any of the common symptoms of asthma, it is best to consult your doctor to better diagnose your condition. To diagnose asthma, your doctor may ask for your personal and medical history, which includes current physical problems and previous medical conditions, history of allergies, family history of asthma, and even the condition of your home or work environment that may be worsening your symptoms. A physical examination, which might include an X-ray of your lungs or sinuses, will also take place. Aside from these, your doctor may require certain lung function tests to be performed, such as spirometry, peak airflow meter, and trigger tests. These diagnostic procedures measure one's breathing and lung function, which will confirm the presence of asthma. What to do during an attack Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor will work out a step-by-step treatment plan for you to follow once asthma symptoms occur. If your asthma starts acting up, immediately follow these steps and wait for your symptoms to subside and your peak expiratory flow to improve. Once they do, home treatment may be all you need. This treatment may include instructions on how to use your quick-acting rescue inhaler, which is supposed to instantly relieve your symptoms. When to seek emergency medical attention Although you will be educated on how to effectively manage your asthma symptoms, you may need emergency medical treatment if you experience a serious asthma attack, which can manifest severe wheezing or breathlessness that may even disable you to speak, straining of the chest muscles during breathing, low peak flow readings, and no relief after using a rescue inhaler. Lung functions tests will also be used in checking the severity of an asthma attack during emergency cases. Aside from these, your doctor will be regularly monitoring the amount of oxygen in your blood with the use of pulse oximetry. This procedure uses a pulse oximeter and SpO2 sensors to instantly determine the patient's blood oxygen levels during a severe asthma attack. Although there is no known cure for asthma, its symptoms can be easily controlled with the right treatment and prevention habits. With good asthma control, patients can still go on to live a completely normal, healthy life.