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What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease. It affects your airways, the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. When you have asthma, your airways can become inflamed and narrowed. This can cause wheezing, coughing, and tightness in your chest. When these symptoms get worse than usual, it is called an asthma attack or flare-up.What causes asthma?
The exact cause of asthma is unknown. Genetics and your environment likely play a role in who gets asthma.
An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to an asthma trigger. An asthma trigger is something that can set off or worsen your asthma symptoms. Different triggers can cause different types of asthma:
Asthma triggers may be different for each person and can change over time.Who is at risk for asthma?
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it often starts during childhood. Certain factors can raise your risk of having asthma:
The symptoms of asthma include:
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. You may have them every day or only once in a while.
When you are having an asthma attack, your symptoms get much worse. The attacks may come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they can be life-threatening. They are more common in people who have severe asthma. If you are having asthma attacks, you may need a change in your treatment.How is asthma diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to diagnose asthma:
If you have asthma, you will work with your health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. It will include:
If you have a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, you will need emergency care.
Your provider may adjust your treatment until asthma symptoms are controlled.
Sometimes asthma is severe and cannot be controlled with other treatments. If you are an adult with uncontrolled asthma, in some cases your provider might suggest bronchial thermoplasty. This is a procedure that uses heat to shrink the smooth muscle in the lungs. Shrinking the muscle reduces your airway's ability to tighten and allows you to breathe more easily. The procedure has some risks, so it's important to discuss them with your provider.
Coughing is a reflex that keeps your throat and airways clear. Although it can be annoying, coughing helps your body heal or protect itself. Coughs can be either acute or chronic. Acute coughs begin suddenly and usually last no more than 2 to 3 weeks. Acute coughs are the kind you most often get with a cold, flu, or acute bronchitis. Chronic coughs last longer than 2 to 3 weeks. Causes of chronic cough include:
Water can help ease your cough - whether you drink it or add it to the air with a steamy shower or vaporizer. If you have a cold or the flu, antihistamines may work better than non-prescription cough medicines. Children under four should not have cough medicine. For children over four, use caution and read labels carefully.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure means that your heart can't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your body's needs. Heart failure doesn't mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop beating. But without enough blood flow, your organs may not work well, which can cause serious problems.
Heart failure can affect one or both sides of your heart:
Left-sided heart failure is more common than right-sided heart failure.What causes heart failure?
Heart failure can start suddenly after a medical condition or injury damages your heart muscle. But in most cases, heart failure develops slowly from long-term medical conditions.
Conditions that can cause heart failure include:
Over time, left-sided heart failure can lead to right-sided heart failure.Who is more likely to develop heart failure?
Heart failure can happen at any age. It happens to both men and women, but men often develop it at a younger age than women. Your chance of developing heart failure increases if:
The symptoms of heart failure depend on which side of your heart is affected and how serious your condition has become. Most symptoms are caused by reduced blood flow to your organs and fluid buildup in your body.
Fluid buildup happens because the flow of blood through your heart is too slow. As a result, blood backs up in the vessels that return the blood to your heart. Fluid may leak from the blood vessels and collect in the tissues of your body, causing swelling (edema) and other problems.
Symptoms of heart failure may include:
At first you may have no symptoms or mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms will usually bother you more.What other problems does heart failure cause?
Fluid buildup and reduced blood flow to your organs can lead to serious problems, including:
To find out if you have heart failure, your doctor will:
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist (a doctor who specializes in heart diseases) for tests, diagnosis, and care.What are the treatments for heart failure?
Your treatment will depend on the type of heart failure you have and how serious it is. There's no cure for heart failure. But treatment can help you live longer with fewer symptoms.
Even with treatment, heart failure usually gets worse over time, so you'll likely need treatment for the rest of your life.
Most treatment plans include:
You may need heart surgery if:
As part of your treatment, you'll need to pay close attention to your symptoms, because heart failure can worsen suddenly. Your provider may suggest a cardiac rehabilitation program to help you learn how to manage your condition.Can heart failure be prevented?
You may be able to prevent or delay heart failure if you:
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen from the air and deliver it to the bloodstream. The cells in your body need oxygen to work and grow. During a normal day, you breathe nearly 25,000 times. People with lung disease have difficulty breathing. Millions of people in the U.S. have lung disease. If all types of lung disease are lumped together, it is the number three killer in the United States.
The term lung disease refers to many disorders affecting the lungs, such as asthma, COPD, infections like influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis, lung cancer, and many other breathing problems. Some lung diseases can lead to respiratory failure.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
A lung transplant removes a person's diseased lung and replaces it with a healthy one. The healthy lung comes from a donor who has died. Some people get one lung during a transplant. Other people get two.
Lung transplants are used for people who are likely to die from lung disease within 1 to 2 years. Their conditions are so severe that other treatments, such as medicines or breathing devices, no longer work. Lung transplants most often are used to treat people who have severe:
Complications of lung transplantation include rejection of the transplanted lung and infection.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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