Health Conditions Related to Asthma

People who suffer from asthma may also have other related conditions. Here are the most common health conditions related to asthma.

  • Gastroesophagel reflux
  • Sinusitis
  • Nocturnal asthma
  • Allergy

Gastroesophagel Reflux

Gastroesophagel reflux is a backflow of acidic stomach juices into the esophagus. This condition is also known as G.E. reflux and gastric reflux.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are the signs and symptoms of gastroesophagel reflux:

  • Indigestion, heartburn
  • Sour taste in mouth
  • Recurring sore throat without signs of infection
  • Nighttime coughing and/or choking spells
  • Belching
  • Sometimes stomach juices actually rise up in your mouth leaving a bitter taste

Treatment

The following are the typical treatments prescribed for gastroesophagel reflux:

  • Dietary Restrictions: Avoid foods such as coffee, alcohol, citrus juices, high fat foods, caffeine and peppermint.
  • Changes in Eating Patterns: Eat several small meals a day rather than three large meals.
    Eat slowly. Wait at least two hours after eating before you lie down.
  • Elevate the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches on blocks so that your head is higher than your stomach.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects or bending over.
  • Weight reduction (when applicable).
  • Medications as directed by physician.
  • Laparoscopic surgery.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation usually associated with infection of the membranes that line the sinuses. Exacerbating of sinusitis often trigger exacerbations of asthma.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are the signs and symptoms of sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Pain, pressure; a feeling of fullness over the sinus areas
  • Achiness that radiates to the teeth
  • Cough
  • Increased post nasal drainage
  • Green/yellow mucus
  • Fever may or may not be present
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat (due to increased drainage)
  • Bad taste in the mouth/bad breath

Diagnosis

Your doctor may need the following to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis:

  • Symptoms
  • Rhinoscopy
  • Sinus CT scan

Treatment

The following are the typical treatments prescribed for sinusitis:

  • Medications: A 21-day course or longer of an antibiotic is usually effective in treating acute episodes of sinusitis.
  • Nasal sprays
  • Nasal washes
  • Functional endoscopic surgery

Nocturnal Asthma

Nocturnal asthma is characterized by a worsening of one’s asthma during nighttime hours. Research has shown the human body doesn’t remain constant over a 24 hour period. There are fluctuations in hormone levels (circadian rhythm) during this 24 hour period. The fluctuations in epinephrine and cortisol levels affect airway hyper-reactivity and bronchospasm. When these levels are at their lowest, around 4 AM, some asthmatics have an increase in their symptoms. When they are at their peak levels, 4 PM, the body is better able to protect itself. Therefore, people tend to have a decrease in symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are the signs and symptoms of nocturnal asthma:

  • Worsening of your asthma symptoms at night or when sleeping
  • Sudden awakening with cough and /or sneezing
  • Shortness of breath at night

Treatment

The following are the typical treatments prescribed for nocturnal asthma:

  • May vary depending on the specific cause or causes
  • Medication
  • Environmental control

Allergy

An allergy is a reaction to a substance that is usually considered harmless to non-allergic individuals. The body’s immune system identifies allergens as foreign invaders and produces IgE antibodies against them. Approximately 60 million Americans suffer from allergies. Different allergens are found throughout the United States and in varying concentrations. There is no place one can go to totally avoid allergens in the United States. Allergies can develop at any age. Once someone is know to be allergy prone, they have a tendency to exhibit allergies anytime throughout their lifetime. Avoidance of an allergen is the most effective treatment for allergies. The development of specific allergies is related to repeated exposure to that allergen.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are the signs and symptoms of an allergy:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Runny nose (Rhinitis)
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Skin rash
  • Headaches
  • Increased post nasal drainage
  • Irritability
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

Diagnosis

Your doctor may need the following to confirm a diagnosis of an allergy:

  • A complete history and physical examination by the physician
  • Lab tests
  • Allergy testing

Treatment

The following are the typical treatments prescribed for an allergy:

  • Depends upon the allergy and the severity of your symptoms
  • Avoidance of the allergens
  • Environmental control
  • Medications
  • Immunotherapy
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