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Signs of Drug Addiction

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When a person is addicted to drugs, the last thing that they want is for certain friends and family members to know about it. Addicts look at anyone who is not doing drugs with them as someone who will judge them. They will also look at these people as a person who will try to make them stop, which they likely won’t want to. If you have a loved one who you think may be an addict, it is a good idea to know the signs of drug abuse. The sooner you know, the sooner you can help.

Physical Changes

When a person is addicted to drugs, they will exhibit a variety of physical symptoms. If you start to notice these symptoms, it is not uncommon for an addict to explain them away and create lies and reasons for these changes. There are some physical side effects that go along with certain drugs. Others can be exhibited regardless of what drug the addict is using. The changes to look for include:

  • Glazed or bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or constricted pupils (this will only occur when the person is high)
  • Loss of appetite
  • A noticeable weight loss in a very short period of time.
  • Certain drugs will cause rashes and sores on the person’s face.
  • Bruises on the arms, mostly over the veins. These will appear if the person is using IV drugs.
  • Infections inside and around the mouth.
  • Burn marks on the lips from smoking out of a pipe.
  • Stuffy, red, chapped nostrils
  • Constant sniffing
  • Eyes rolling in the back of the head
  • Passing out while sitting down or standing up
  • The inability to walk in a straight line

Behavioral Changes

The more a person becomes dependent on the drugs, the more their behavior and habits will change. The drugs can change the way the brain focuses and forms coherent thoughts. Different drugs can affect people in different and dangerous ways. Regardless of the drug, the changes in an addict’s behavior are often the same. Some of the behavioral changes include:

  • Irritability even when there is nothing wrong
  • Becoming aggressive for no reason
  • Changes in personality and attitude
  • Loss of interest in things that they used to love doing
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • They start hanging around with new friends
  • The stop hanging around with old friends
  • Inability to hold a job
  • Financial problems
  • Being involved in criminal activity and their very first arrest
  • Staying up all night and sleeping all day
  • Excessive talking or talking really fast
  • Speaking nonsense
  • The inability to sit still
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Paranoia

What To Do if You Suspect That a Loved One is Addicted to Drugs

If you notice that a family member or loved one is exhibiting many of the symptoms listed above, chances are they have a drug problem. The sooner you confront them with your suspicions, the sooner you can try to help. It is not uncommon for an addict to lie and deny, however, the only way to save their life is to push them to get the help that they need.

If you are unable to get through to them, you may need to seek professional help. There are several agencies who have experience working with addicts, that can help you get through to your loved one. In some cases an intervention or even help from the police and the courts is necessary to get an addict to agree to get help with their addiction. If you can get an addict to agree to go to treatment, you are essentially saving their life.

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The Difference Between COPD vs CHF

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF) both are debilitating and leave you with shortness of breath. These two serious conditions share symptoms and common risk factors, but you should be aware that the causes, treatments and prognosis of each differ significantly.

COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD is a term for serious respiratory conditions of several types that block airflow to the lungs. The two main conditions of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Regarding effects of bronchitis, the airways connecting your trachea to your lungs become inflamed. Emphysema is a dysfunction that occurs when serious damage occurs to the tiny air sacs in your lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. These both leave lungs unable to work fully, making it very difficult for the patient to breathe.

CHF Congestive Heart Failure

CHF or congestive heart failure occurs when your heart becomes too weak to pump blood through your body. If your blood isn’t pumped out of the heart effectively, then unfortunate fluid levels build up or can become congested. When blood backs up or develops blood pools in the heart, the heart beats harder and faster and expands to handle the greater blood volume in it. This makes heart failure much worse.

Similar symptoms

Wheezing and shortness of breath are shared symptoms of both COPD and CHF. Breathing difficulties are developed following any physical activity and have a tendency to develop gradually. Initially you may be out of breath after simple activities such as climbing a set of stairs. As COPD and CHF each worsen, wheezing and shortness of breath occur with very little physical effort.

Chronic coughing is a main symptom of COPD. The cough sometimes brings up mucus but can also in the alternative be a dry cough. People with CHF also tend to have a dry, but one that produces sputum. Sputum is the coughed up mucus that may contain bacteria, blood, or pus.

COPD could produce chest tightness. CHF doesn’t lead to chest tightness, but you may feel the sensation of your heart beating irregularly or very rapidly.

Causes

COPD and CHF develop from different causes. The most common cause of COPD is smoking. While a medical history of smoking doesn’t mean absolutely you’ll get COPD, it certainly increases the likelihood of developing dysfunctional respiratory problems. Smoking is also a risk factor for CHF and heart disease, not to mention the high risk for lung cancer.

COPD may be attributed to secondhand smoke or inhaling chemicals in your workplace, but a congenital family history of COPD can also increase your likelihood of developing it.

Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). This heart disease occurs when one or more blood vessels in the heart become blocked. This usually causes heart attacks. Other causes of heart failure include diseases of the heart valves, high blood pressure, and diseases of the heart muscle itself.

Treatment and Lifestyle Changes

There is no cure for either COPD or CHF. Treatment with medication is necessary to slow progression of the disease and manage symptoms. Smoking contributes to COPD and CHF; therefore quitting smoking will improve your health, whatever your condition happens to be at the time.

Physical activity strengthens the heart and lungs, but COPD and CHF will definitely limit the types of exercises you can perform. Discuss safe activities with your physician, and understand precautions you should take.

Summary of Disease Differences

Both COPD and CHF can only be treated for symptoms. Therefore, prevention is the key to both diseases and your capability of a long healthful life.

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Symptoms of Allergic Asthma

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Allergic asthma is a condition in which our immune system overreacts to allergens. When allergens enter our airways, our immune system releases chemicals that also releases histamine, which causes inflammation.

This is why people with asthma are those who experience tightening of airways. When allergens enter our body, the allergens trigger histamine to build-up in the allergic area. As a result, the histamine build-up makes the area to swell. If the inflamed area is the airway, the muscles around it will also be tightened. Therefore, allergic asthma is a strange sensitivity in airway.

1. Runny Nose

Many of us experience runny nose, and it does not mean we all have allergic asthma. There are many factors that cause it. It could be fever, cold, or flu. However, runny nose must be coupled with other symptoms of allergic asthma to closely confirm it.

Even without the occurrence of other symptoms, runny nose can be associated with asthma at a certain level. This means that severe runny nose may no longer be normal especially when difficulty in breathing is already involved. Moreover, the occurrence must be consistent with presence of what may have caused it.

2. Sneezing

Sneezing is the most common symptom of allergy not only of allergic asthma but also of other allergies. When we sneeze, it means we expel foreign substances that our body could not take. Our immune system is always alert when allergens enter our body. Since our nose is vulnerable to allergens, our naturally detects them and blocks them immediately. When too many allergens have already penetrated, we tend to sneeze over and over again until our nose is cleared temporarily. It may occur once again when mucus that contains allergens get through our nose.

3. Itchy Eyes

Aside from nose, eyes are also vulnerable to allergens. In fact, our eyes are one of the most sensitive areas of our body. A grain of dust can make our eyes react, let alone allergens.

It is just normal to have itchy eyes when something suddenly enters it. What makes it a symptom for allergic asthma is when eyes get suddenly itchy immediately upon having a runny nose. It is caused by overproduction of histamine that inflames not just your nasal area but also nearby such as eyes and ears.

4. Cough

Cough will always be one of the symptoms of all types of asthma. There are also many types of cough, but dry cough is a strong sign that it could be asthma-related. Just like sneezing, coughing is a natural reaction to expel allergens.

On the other hand, coughing cannot release the allergens the way sneezing does. What coughing can do is to try to expel mucus or phlegm depending on the severity. However, to expel mucus or phlegm is difficult when you have a dry cough. Symptoms for allergic asthma are usually a type of cough coupled with phlegm and mucus the way a runny nose is clogged with mucus.

5. Difficulty Breathing

Difficulty in breathing alone can be considered a strong sign of allergic asthma. This is due to the tightening of airway and the inflammation of muscles around it. Difficulty in breathing includes short breathing and breathing quickly.

Conclusion

Allergic asthma may be a permanent condition that can be treated. If you don’t know whether or not you have an allergic asthma, the above signs and symptoms may give you a clue. Nevertheless, it is still best to consult your doctor if symptoms persist.

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What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition you may suffer from if acid from your stomach flows back up the esophagus into the mouth. The condition is diagnosed by your family physician, and sometimes your dentist. The reason why dentist notice this condition is because the acid from the stomach can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Sometimes ulcers will form in the mouth as well if the condition is severe. Receiving proper treatment for this condition fast is essential for protecting your esophagus and oral health from damage.

What are the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease?

Some of you may know gastroesophageal reflux disease as heartburn. That is because the condition can cause a burning sensation in the chest, which usually always occurs after eating foods that do not agree with you. Other common symptoms that come with this condition are:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sensation of something stuck in your throat
  • Chronic coughing
  • Breathing difficulty due to inflammation of the airways
  • Trouble sleeping due to acid coming up the throat while you are laying down
  • Weight loss from not wanting to eat with the condition

What causes this condition?

The condition is caused by sphincters in the esophagus relaxing too much and staying open instead of closing up like they are suppose to during digestion. Conditions that cause the sphincters to relax too much are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Obesity
  • Lack of bowel movements
  • Sluggish digestive system

With that said, smoking, drinking, drug abuse, certain medications and overeating can cause the condition also known as GERD to wreck havoc on your body. This is why some doctors commonly recommend lifestyle changes first before prescribe medications to help treat the condition.

What lifestyle changes can be made to help rid GERD?

One of the biggest causes of GERD is overeating, or eating too much of a healthy diet. Simply changing your diet up and consuming healthier whole foods that nourish and heal the body is one of the ways to rid the condition for good. Whole foods consist of fruits and berries, fresh vegetables, grains and nuts, grass fed meats, fish, raw dairy products, and healthy fats. Whole foods do not consist of any type of food that contains preservatives, artificial ingredients, dyes, and pesticides. This is because foods that contain those ingredients can usually cause GERD to flare up and worsen. The ingredients also causes cancers and obesity. Another helpful way to rid GERD is by losing the extra body fat through exercising regularly. Other lifestyle changes that can cure the condition are:

  • Quitting smoking and drinking
  • Changing medications
  • Eating less acidy foods

What are the treatment options for GERD?

If lifestyle changes alone do not help rid GERD, your doctor may recommend over the counter or prescription anti acid reducers. However, a series of test will need to be done first to help diagnose the condition so the proper treatment can be given. Those test include:

  • Upper endoscopy
  • pH probe test
  • Xrays
  • Manometry test

Bottom Line for GERD

If you suspect you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease it is essential that you make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnoses and treatment plan. Leaving the condition untreated could lead to your esophagus becoming damaged. If that happened you may end up needing surgery to repair it. With that said, surgery is usually unlikely because again this condition is most of the time easily treated with lifestyle changes and acid reducers.

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Understanding RAST-based Allergen Immunotherapy

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Allergen immunotherapy is the administration of specific allergens repeatedly to patients that are proven to have IgE-mediated allergies to protect against inflammatory reactions and allergic symptoms associated with the exposure to those allergens. It is a practice that has been going on for nearly a 100 years and has proved to alter naturally the course of allergic disorders like allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and hypersensitivity to insect venom like bee and wasp venom. Recently, this practice has been extended to treat allergies associated with food as well as atopic dermatitis.

When to go for Allergen Immunotherapy

Allergies not only affect the normal way of life to those affected but also cause life-threatening conditions. Taking allergy tests, whether skin tests or blood tests, help to identify specific allergens that are responsible for the allergic symptoms. This aids in the administration of drugs and better still help in avoiding those allergens. Sometimes, these allergic symptoms persist despite the use of medication or the allergens simply become unavoidable, and when this happens, there is another way out allergen immunotherapy. Allergen immunotherapy is recommended in situations where:

  • Medication doesn’t work
  • Medication has severe side effects
  • Allergy symptoms are so severe
  • Allergens are difficult to avoid
  • By people who want to avoid medication

RAST test

To understand the RAST-based immunotherapy, it is important first to look at the methods of testing allergies. Allergies are commonly identified using the skin test and blood (RAST) test method. Since the interest here is RAST-based immunotherapy, a quick look at the blood test method is important. In an allergic reaction, specific antibodies (IgE) are produced by specific allergens and to determine the presence of these allergens, serum from the patient has to be mixed with different allergens. The blood sample from the patient is added to allergens that are chemically bound to an insoluble matrix. In a positive reaction, the IgE will bind to the allergen after which a labeled anti-IgE is added that attaches to the bound IgE after which identification and quantification are done. This method not only identifies allergens but also shows the levels of hypersensitivity to specific allergens.

RAST-based allergen immunotherapy

Allergen immunotherapy involves a controlled exposure to already known allergens to reduce the severity of allergic symptoms or disorders. The process is usually long, and it can take up to six months to realize initial progress and up to 5- 6 years to see the full benefits. The process is about slowly allowing the immune system to tolerate allergens. At first, a small dose of the allergen is introduced and then it is increased overtime. When going for immunotherapy, it is necessary first to identify initial treatment doses that are considered safe, and this is where RAST scoring system becomes a reliable method to identify those dose levels.

RAST testing for allergens can quantify the levels of specific IgE that are produced in response to a specific allergen and allows for the selection of safe immunotherapy doses for each allergen. For instance, when the degree of hypersensitivity is low or moderate, the starting allergen concentrations to be administered is higher leading to reduced time and number of doses to be administered entirely. When the level of sensitivity is high, the starting concentration of allergen doses needs to be low due to the high caution that has to be taken.

Depending on the level of sensitivity to different allergens, the initial concentration dose to be given to each patient should be inversely proportional to the respective degree of sensitivity.

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World No Tobacco Day

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Every day people are dying from tobacco use. In totality annually tobacco use is responsible for 6 million deaths every year. Some experts estimate that by 2030, the average casualties from tobacco will rise to 8 million per year. With 1 million dollars per hour going to tobacco product advertising, it’s no wonder the statistics continue to climb. Decreasing the appeal aspect of tobacco to the general public is inherently important.

Since 1987, the World Health Organization otherwise known as WHO has sponsored the annual awareness day called World No Tobacco Day and put the spotlight on what tobacco use causes in regards to health. Health problems such as, cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and numerous others have all been attributed to tobacco use. This year’s theme for WHO targets the advertising that makes tobacco so “attractive.” Go plain!

Ousting the Sparkle

Like every savvy business owner knows, marketing is vital to product profitability. Not surprisingly tobacco companies do as well. For years unique, inviting slogans, branding and bright colors have drawn in old and young consumers.

World No Tobacco Day, May 31, brings honesty and accountability into the marketing machine of the tobacco industry–by encouraging plain packaging globally. Plain packaging encompasses the measures put forth to ban or limit logos, colors, brands or info of a promotional nature on products made from tobacco. Limiting attractive labeling through plain text and emphasizing the health risks involved has actually seen a noticeable drop in tobacco use in Australia. Who knew utilizing standard colors and fonts on packaging could be so effective! It apparently works.

Worst of the Worst

Is tobacco a threat to your quality of life? Millions of people are negatively impacted by loss of loved ones via short-term and long-term health problems that unfold from tobacco use. Below is a list of the top four worst diseases caused by tobacco:

#1. Lung Cancer- If you or someone you love struggles with tobacco use, it can become a frightening thing. A total of 87 percent of deaths caused by lung cancer is directly related to cigarette smoking. Smoking really does smoke you!

#2. COPD- While you may have occasionally seen the commercials about COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, you might not have known that 80 percent of all COPD cases are caused by cigarette smoking. This disease makes it difficult to be active, and can be exhausting on the body, and your personal life. It’s also the third leading cause of death in the United States.

#3. Heart disease- No organ is left untouched when it relates to tobacco. A narrowing of your arteries can occur because of smoking. This can block the flow of oxygen blood to your heart. A study showed that when smoking decreased in the U.S. heart disease rates followed suit. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America.

#4. Stroke- It’s all about the arteries, or in this instance–those damaged by smoking. As previously mentioned tobacco use can block the flow of blood to vital organs. When blood flow to the brain is temporarily blocked this is called a stroke. It damages brain cells, triggers paralysis, slurred speech, an alteration of the brain function and may lead to death. It also is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Stopping the Flow

World No Tobacco Day is all about bringing positive change through application. If you want to stop tobacco from impacting your life, know the health risks. Nix the tobacco and decrease the chance that you or someone you love becomes another sad statistic!

 

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What Triggers Asthma

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Living with asthma is manageable. But to understand how to live with it, you need to understand what can trigger it. Here’s a look at some of the things that can trigger asthma.

Allergies

While allergies manifest themselves in different ways, some allergic reactions cause asthma. The list of allergens that can trigger asthma is a long one. Dust mites, rodents, and pet dander are common household allergens. An often overlooked cause allergy is household mold. It can hide in your air vents and trigger a reaction.

There can be outdoor allergens as well. In the spring, pollen may irritate you and cause asthma. There are various types of pollen, and one pollen may cause asthma while another doesn’t bother you.

Respiratory Issues

If you’re not usually prone to asthma, you may experience it as a result of a respiratory illness. One of the symptoms of pneumonia and the flu is asthma. Other illnesses that can trigger it include a cold, sinus infection, and sore throat. While these respiratory issues can cause asthma in an adult, they most often do so in children.

 Airborne Irritants

These irritants are different from allergens because their presence doesn’t cause an allergic reaction. Instead, they make your airways swollen and more narrow. As a result, they trigger asthma.

These irritants include cigarette smoke, smoke from a fire, dust, chemicals, and strong fumes. Different people have different sensitivities to these irritants. So, what triggers asthma in one person may do nothing in another.

Exercise

When you exercise, your body fuels the work with Oxygen. And that means that you breathe harder. In some people, this causes asthma. Known as exercise-induced bronchocontsriction, this type of asthma is only triggered during exercise.

Exercise-induced bronchoconstritction doesn’t usually show up the second you start to exercise. It takes a few minutes for the asthma to kick in. Fortunately, it is manageable with medication.

Weather

The weather can have a direct affect on asthma. Cold air can trigger an attack, as well as dry wind. Sometimes, a seasonal weather change can effect asthma. Additionally, people with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction usually have more asthma attacks when they exercise in cold weather.

Strong Emotions

When you experience a strong emotion, your breathing changes. Anger, excitement, and fear can all trigger asthma. Some of the actions you take while experiencing these emotions (like yelling, laughing, and crying) can also trigger it.

Reflux

People who suffer from reflux may experience asthma as a direct effect of reflux. There are other medical issues that can have similar results.

Medicine

Some people are sensitive to aspirin and NSAIDs. Taking them can trigger asthma if you have a sensitivity. Taking beta blockers may make it harder for your to control your asthma.

Knowing Your Triggers

If you know what triggers your asthma, you may be able to prevent an attack. It can also help you and your doctor establish a treatment plan. The next time you have an asthma attack, consider which of these triggers may have been the culprit.

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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

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Skin Care In The Month Of May

It’s May out, the sun is getting hotter, and before you spend too much time suntanning, you may want to check out SkinCancer.org. Did you know May is skin cancer awareness month? It’s true, and it makes sense: as the season changes, you want to go into it with an awareness of risks that can be associated with certain activities, and which are generally not accounted for. In recognition of this month, following several aspects of skin cancer will be considered: how to detect it, and how to prevent it.

Detecting Skin Cancer

First, know that if you are able to detect the presence of skin cancer, then you’re likely able to prevent it. This is why SkinCancer.org endorses the practice of regularly examining yourself head-to-toe in order to determine if you’ve got anything to be concerned about. If you can find an instance of skin cancer, you can get it swiftly removed. In almost all cases, it is ultimately curable.

Look for new moles and growths. Keep an eye on existing growths to see if they’ve gotten larger than they previously were. If you have lesions that change, don’t heal, itch, or bleed, you should know that these are alarm signals. Check out this helpful article to understand the ABCDEs of detection. Another method of detection is “the ugly duckling” sign. This is basically a legion or mole that looks different than others.

Preventing Skin Cancer

A lot of skin cancer prevention involves strategic sun safety. First and foremost: don’t let yourself get burnt! Use sunscreen to keep yourself from burning if you’re in the sun too much. Between about ten in the morning and four in the afternoon, you should find areas that are shady. Keep yourself clear of those tanning beds that use UV light. Make sure you’ve got clothing that covers sensitive skin. When using sunscreen, ensure it is at an SPF rating of fifteen or greater. The quantity you’re looking to apply is about an ounce, which you should coat your whole body with about a half an hour prior going outside. Put more on right after you either swim or sweat, and put more on every two hours. If you’ve got toddlers or newborns, try to keep them out of the sun as best you can. Ensure also that you give your skin a thorough monthly examination. Last, but certainly not least, you should make a yearly appointment with a qualified professional to have your skin examined.

Healthy Prevention

The truth is, there are a broad variety of cancers which have an environmental component to them, whether it be an addiction, chemical substances, or radiation of some variety. The sun will radiate you, and if your body isn’t protected or adapted, you’re literally going to feel the burn.

Generally, here will be the best way to avoid not just skin cancer, but any cancer: eat healthy foods that aren’t processed and don’t include either GMOs or chemical foodstuffs. Supplement with vetted vitamin and mineral supplements if you can’t directly acquire these kinds of foods. Exercise regularly, and to the proper limits of your physical ability. Also, avoid situations where there might be cancer causing agents–like excessive sun, or previously radiated areas that include biological hazards. Bio-hazards in general are to be avoided at all costs. Also, cut down on substance abuse. Eliminating it entirely is wise.

The summer is set to be beautiful, and if you’re going to fully enjoy it, you want to exercise proper sun safety. So keep an eye on yourself, and wear sunscreen!

 

 

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What to do if someone has an asthma attack

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Asthma is a serious, yet treatable condition. Most people with asthma carry around their rescue inhaler at all times just in case they start having an asthma attack. In most cases, the inhaler will work and the person will be able to breathe. It is when a person with asthma suffers an attack and they don’t have their inhaler where things can become dangerous. If you are with a friend who is having an asthma attack and they don’t have their inhaler, there are a few things that you can do to help save their life.

Get Your Friend To Stop and Sit Up

If your friend is having an asthma attack, you should make them stop what they are doing immediately. If they continue doing what they were doing, it will only intensify the attack. Next, you should have them sit up as straight as possible. If they are bent over trying to breathe or if they are lying down, it can cause their breathing to become even more constricted.

Call For Help

Once you have your friend sitting up straight, you should call for medical attention. If you wait to call for help hoping that the attack will subside, you could be putting your friend’s life at risk. Even if they start to breathe better and the attack is over, they will still need to see a doctor after the asthma attack.

Give Your Friend a Hot, Caffeinated Beverage

If it is possible, you should get your friend a cup of hot coffee. This is not a cure, however, it can help to open the airway slightly. This will give your friend some relief and it will give them a fighting chance while you wait for help to arrive.

Advise Your Friend To Take Long, Deep Breaths

While you are waiting for help to come, it is up to you to help your friend control their breathing. You should instruct them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. This can slow down their breathing which can make it easier to start controlling it. Also, it will keep your friend from hyperventilating.

Keep Your Friend Calm

If you ask anyone with asthma what an attack feels like, they will tell you that it is unbelievably frightening. If your friend is having an asthma attack, you need to try to keep them calm. If they are afraid that they are going to die while they struggle for breath, it can tighten the chest muscles which can make the attack even worse. You should do everything that you can to keep your friend calm until help arrives.

Get Your Friend Away From the Trigger

Asthma attacks are often triggered by something. Severe stress and anxiety can be triggers. A few other common triggers include cigarette smoke, pet dander, and dust. There are also chemical odors that can trigger an attack such as the smell of sulfur dioxide, ammonia, and chlorine gas. As soon as the attack begins, it is important to get your friend away from the trigger as quickly as possible. If the attack was triggered by extreme stress or anxiety, try to calm your friend down. If it was caused by an environmental trigger, you should get your friend to an area where the air is clean as quickly as possible. The longer the triggers remain, the worse the attack will be.

It is important that anyone who has asthma always carries their inhaler. If your friend is having an asthma attack and they don’t have their inhaler, the tips above could save their life.

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What is COPD?

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a very serious lung disease that causes breathlessness and can make breathing difficult. It is actually the combination of two diseases. The first is chronic bronchitis, which causes the airways that carry air to the lungs to become inflamed. It also causes you to produce more mucus than you should. When the airway becomes narrow, it can be difficult to breathe. The other disease that makes up COPD is emphysema. Emphysema causes damage to the air sacks that get larger and smaller as you breathe in and out. When the air sacks lose their stretch, less air goes in an out of the lungs, making you feel short of breath. COPD is a progressive disease that cannot be reversed when the damage to the lungs has been done.

COPD Symptoms

COPD causes a variety of symptoms that can make you uncomfortable and over time, the symptoms can make regular daily activities difficult. These symptoms include:

  • A constant, nagging cough that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling of breathlessness especially when you are exerting yourself
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing up mucus

People who suffer from COPD often have flare-ups. These are times when the symptoms become worse and often require a visit to the hospital.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that can make a person more susceptible to developing COPD than others. The most common risk factors include:

  • Tobacco Use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes will all increase your chances of developing COPD.
  • Asthma: While asthma and COPD are completely different conditions, you have a greater risk of developing COPD if you have asthma.
  • Air Pollution: The air inside and outside of the home can cause COPD. Indoor and outdoor air pollution can also cause a COPD flare-up for those who are already suffering from it.
  • Occupational Hazards: If you work around high levels of dust or chemical fumes, you are at risk of developing COPD.
  • Family History: If a family member has COPD, your chances of getting it greatly increase.
  • Premature Birth: Premature babies often need to have oxygen therapy for long periods of time because their lungs are not fully developed. This can cause minor lung damage that can get worse later in life, and can cause COPD later.

Treating COPD

While it is impossible to reverse the damage that COPD has done to the lungs, it is possible to limit the symptoms, prevent and treat flare-ups, and improve your overall health. The most common treatment is Pulmonary rehabilitation. This treatment will train your heart, muscles, and mind to get the most out of your damaged lungs. Oxygen treatment, medication, and eating healthy are also great ways to help prevent flare-ups and keep the disease from progressing.

COPD Complications

While COPD can cause its own set of symptoms, it can also result in several complications that can be dangerous to your health.

  • Frequent Illness: COPD makes you more susceptible to developing colds, the flu, and pneumonia.
  • Heart Problems: While the cause is still unknown, COPD can put you at a higher risk for heart disease and heart attack.
  • Depression: The idea of being seriously ill and not being able to do things you enjoy can result in depression.
  • Lung Cancer: COPD puts you at greater risk of developing lung cancer.

COPD is a very serious disease that continues to progress over time. Unfortunately, there is no cure, however, there are treatments available which make it possible to live a full a life with COPD.

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