ASTHMA SOLICITORS � MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE COMPENSATION CLAIM
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Asthma is a condition of the airways in which there is inflammation of the bronchial tree and narrowing of the bronchioles so that there are attacks of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. Asthma can occur in children and adults alike and tends to be a lifelong disease. It is somewhat worse in children because they have smaller bronchioles and tend to get respiratory diseases more commonly than in adults.
There are many triggers to asthma. These can be allergic or non-allergic. They include animal dander or pet hair, dust, chemicals in food, chemicals in the air, cold weather or cold air, exercise, mold, respiratory infections, pollen, stress, and tobacco smoke. In some asthma patients, aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents will trigger asthma. There is often a family history of asthma and related diseases, such as eczema and hay fever.
Symptoms of asthma involve attacks of shortness of breath in between times where you are free of symptoms. A few people always have some degree of shortness of breath but sometimes it is worse than others. Symptoms can last for a few minutes or just a few days. The asthma can be dangerous if the airflow is blocked too severely.
Major symptoms include shortness of breath with worsening over exercise or activity, cough with or without the production of sputum, retractions of the muscles when breathing, wheezing that comes and goes depending on conditions.
If asthma becomes an emergency situation, you can see a bluish discoloration of the skin, decreased level of alertness such as confusion or drowsiness, extremely difficult to breathe, severe anxiety due to shortness of breath, a rapid pulse and sweating. It takes longer for a breath to go out than it does for a breath to come in and there can be breathing stoppage for a brief period of time, nasal flaring, chest pain, and chest tightness.
Doctors can test for asthma in several ways. He or she can test you for allergens, including dust mites, cockroach allergens, molds, pollens or pet dander. Irritants can include gas or burning wood fumes, pollution and tobacco smoke. Doctors can listen using a stethoscope to the wheezing and prolonged expiratory phase. Between asthma attacks, the lungs can be completely clear.
Other tests for asthma include arterial blood gases, a chest x-ray, lung function study, blood tests for IgE and eosinophil count, and peak flow measurements. Pulmonary function studies include breathing sharply into a tube so that the flow of air can be measured. A chest x-ray can be completely normal.
Treatment of asthma involves avoiding those substances that make the asthma worse. Once you find out your triggers, you can determine what causes the asthma to worsen. There are also drugs used to combat asthma. There are control drugs that are used to prevent future attacks and rescue medications that take away the wheezing once it comes on. Control medications must be taken every day to prevent attacks.
Control drugs include inhaled corticosteroids drugs like AeroBid, Flovent and Azmacort. They primarily prevent bronchial inflammation and thus prevent wheezing from occurring. There are also long acting beta-agonist medications that prevent wheezing. They are used together with inhaled corticosteroids, often in the same inhaler. Other drugs include Leukotriene inhibitors such as Singulair. There is Xolair, which blocks a pathway in the immune system that triggers asthma, and Cromolyn sodium, an older drug that blocks wheezing. In rare conditions, aminophylline or Theophylline can be used.
Quick relief or rescue medication control wheezing once it has already started. You can use them before exercise to stop exercise-induced asthma. If you are using your rescue inhaler more than twice a week, your asthma may not be sufficiently controlled and you need to consider taking control medications.
Short acting inhalers include Proventil, Ventolin or albuterol. They work within seconds to control the wheezing. In severe cases, the doctor might include oral corticosteroids in order to block the asthma attack or bronchitis that is not disappearing with short acting medications or inhaled corticosteroids. IV steroids are used if you need to be in a hospital because of severe wheezing.
A peak flow meter can be used to figure out how bad the wheezing is. If you feel an attack coming on, you can see in a peak flow meter how bad the asthma attack is at any given point in time.
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Medical Negligence Solicitors
Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Asthma solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and an Asthma solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here