Attacks of asthma are usually so dramatic and so sudden that anybody who has seen or God forbid, experienced one such Asthma episode, would identify it easily. The patient is fine one minute and suddenly, he or she could have a bout of dry cough initially, followed by an intense difficulty in breathing. Most asthma attacks occur after midnight, usually around 2: am or 3: am. Lots of asthmatics tend to start coughing at around this time and then expectorate some tenacious phlegm before getting some relief. As the cough and breathless spell start panic reaction beings and courses more and more muscular exertion of chest and discomfort. At this point, it is extremely important to take sustained-release medicine to avoid the 2: am or 3: am-Asthma syndrome, particularly if panic takes the better of an asthmatic patient. At the beginning of the asthma attack, the symptoms get magnified and cause great trouble to the asthma patient and the family.
Asthma attacks could get predicated by dust, tobacco, smoke or insecticide sprays. Paints, varnishes and bad aerosols could also trigger off an asthma attack. Physical exertion, especially in cold weather, is known to bring about acute asthmatic attacks.
What happens in an acute asthma attack?
When the patient suffers from an acute asthma attack, the chest is most noisy and believes me, it produces the most astounding sounds. There could be whistling, wheezing sounds and high-pitched sonorous sounds. During asthma attack, with release of all the chemicals we discussed earlier, on there is swelling and increased mucus production in the chest airways. At this point of the time, a physician auscultate the chest, he finds Asthmatic rattling sounds of the bronchial tubes with mucus.
Pulmonary Function test: This is very simple procedure. In this the patient is made to breathe in and then breathe out into a mouthpiece. The volume of air pushed out is called the Vital capacity. This index was considered important earlier but now parameter, called FEV or Forced Expiratory Volume in one second, is in vogue. In this we find out the volume of air expelled in the first second of expiration. This is the most useful test to diagnose Asthma.