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Asthma - Answers

1. Albuterol

2. These drugs relax the bronchial smooth muscle in the lung, opening the airways and allowing more oxygen in as you breathe.

3. One or two inhalations can be taken every four to six hours.

4. Asthma is a chronic long-term lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. The airways react strongly to inhaled substances making them swollen and sensitive. The muscles around the airways constrict and excess mucus plugs up the narrowed airways (bronchi).

5. Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.

6. More than 25 million

7. There must be both genetic and environmental factors:
Genetics (parents that have asthma), age (children are at the highest risk of developing asthma that continues beyond 6 yrs of age), allergies, and eczema. (Although not mentioned in this article, it is now known that obesity is also a risk factor).

8. Allergens from dust, animals, mold, and pollen
Cigarette smoke, air pollution, workplace chemicals or dust, aerosols
Some medications such as aspirin, NSAIDs (Aleve, Tylenol)
Physical activity

9. A few minutes to a few days

10. Homer in the Iliad referred to asthma as sharp breath.

11. Early-childhood infections, chemical exposure through air pollution, insufficient immune system development.

12. A peak flow meter measures how air flows from your lungs in a “fast blast.”

13. Peak flow rates can indicate if asthma is getting worse, even before it’s detected by the patient. Measurements can help the patient determine the severity of the episode, determine when to use a rescue inhaler, and decide when to get emergency care.

14. Step 1: Before each use, make sure the sliding marker or arrow on the Peak Flow Meter is at the bottom of the numbered scale (zero or the lowest number on the scale).
Step 2: Stand up straight. Remove gum or any food from your mouth. Take a deep breath (as deep as you can). Put the mouthpiece of the peak flow meter into your mouth. Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece. Be sure to keep your tongue away from the mouthpiece. In one breath, blow out as hard and as quickly as possible. Blow a "fast hard blast" rather than "slowly blowing" until you have emptied out nearly all of the air from your lungs.
Step 3: The force of the air coming out of your lungs causes the marker to move along the numbered scale. Note the number on a piece of paper.
Step 4: Repeat the entire routine three times. (You know you have done the routine correctly when the numbers from all three tries are very close together.)
Step 5: Record the highest of the three ratings. Do not calculate an average. This is very important. You can't breathe out too much when using your peak flow meter but you can breathe out too little. Record your highest reading.
Step 6: Measure your peak flow rate close to the same time each day. You and your healthcare provider can determine the best times. One suggestion is to measure your peak flow rate twice daily between 7 and 9 a.m. and between 6 and 8 p.m. You may want to measure your peak flow rate before or after using your medicine. Some people measure peak flow both before and after taking medication. Try to do it the same way each time.
Step 7: Keep a chart of your peak flow rates. Discuss the readings with your healthcare provider.”

15. The highest of 3 ratings on the peak flow meter, tested and recorded when the patient is breathing normally.

16. Three zones of measurement are related to a traffic light: green, yellow, and red.
Green zone: Peak flow measure 80-100% of normal. Asthma is under reasonably good control.
Yellow zone: Peak flow measure 50-80% of normal. This is a cautionary zone. Airways are narrowing. Extra treatment may be required. The patient should follow their action treatment plan.
Red zone: Peak flow measures less than 50%. This is a medical alert requiring immediate decisions and actions. Rescue medications should be used. Follow action treatment plan for additional treatment.

17. The patient feels well. They are not coughing or wheezing, and have no chest tightness or shortness of breath during the day or night. The patient is able to perform their usual activities.

18. The patient may be coughing, wheezing, and experience tightness in the chest or shortness of breath. The patient may be waking at night due to asthma or may be able to do some, but not all, of their usual activities.

19. In the red zone, the patient is very short of breath. Quick-relief medications have not helped or cannot do the usual activities. A patient in the yellow zone that does not improve after 24 hours is considered to be in the red zone.