Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways swell, narrow, and generate extra mucus. This could make breathing hard and trigger wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. For some, the condition is a minor nuisance while for others, it’s a major issue that disrupts daily activities and might result in a life-threatening attack.
While it’s incurable, its symptoms are controllable. Since asthma frequently changes over time, it’s imperative you work with your physician to track your symptoms and modify treatment accordingly.
The symptoms vary from one person to another. You might have infrequent attacks, have symptoms at certain times, for instance when exercising or exhibit symptoms constantly. Wheezing is the most common sign.
Other symptoms are shortness of breath, chronic coughing, chest pain or tightness, trouble sleeping because of wheezing or coughing.
Signs that asthma is worsening include:
- More regular and bothersome signs
- The need to use an inhaler more frequently
For some, asthma symptoms flare up in these situations:
This might worsen when the air is dry and cold
- Occupational asthma
Workplace irritants such as gases and chemical fumes trigger this kind.
Airborne substances such as mold spores and pollen trigger this kind.
An allergist diagnoses this condition by taking a methodical medical history and conducting breathing tests to measure how well the lungs work. Spirometry is one test, which involves taking a deep breath, blowing into a sensor in order to gauge the amount of air the lungs can retain, and the speed of air you exhale or inhale.
The test diagnoses the severity and gauges how well the treatment is working. Other tests include peak flow, imaging tests, and allergy testing.
Long-term control and prevention are vital in stopping attacks before they begin. Treatment typically involves learning to identify the triggers, taking measures to avoid them, and tracking your breathing to ensure the medications are controlling the symptoms.
The appropriate medications depend on various factors, including the symptoms and age. Preventive, long-term medications decrease the airway inflammation that results in symptoms. Inhalers open swollen airways fast.
In some instances, allergy medications are essential. Long-term medications include inhaled corticosteroids and leukotriene modifiers.
Does Medicare cover asthma inhalers?
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) may cover inhalation devices, like nebulizers or asthma inhalers. If you are prescribed either of these by your doctor, Part B may cover them as Durable Medical Equipment, or a DME. Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program may affect your coverage of an asthma inhaler or nebulizer and whatever medications it uses. This means that you may need to use a DME supplier that contracts with Medicare. For further information, talk to your primary care-provider.
If misdiagnosed or left unmanaged, asthma can be deadly, so precaution is necessary.