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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Chu I Ta and Dr Jessica Gunawan on August 8, 2022

Quiz: What Type Of Asthma Attack Are You Having?

Did you know not all asthma attacks are the same? Take this short quiz to help you better understand your condition so you can seek the proper treatment.

Asthma attack min scaled

An asthma attack occurs when your breathing passage becomes inflamed and faces increased mucus production. This prevents the muscles around your airway from relaxing and allowing air to pass through.

While it might seem like every asthma attack is the same, there are slight variations in the types you may experience. Identifying the triggers can help you get better faster.

Take this quiz to find out what type of asthma attack you commonly suffer from. Then read on to learn what your best treatment options are.

If You Answered ‘Yes’ To Questions 1 – 5 

An allergen test can help determine what’s causing your symptoms.

You’re likely stricken with allergic or occupational asthma. To determine if an allergy provoked asthma onset, a healthcare provider may do a blood or skin test. A skin test involves allergens being applied to small areas of skin to see its reaction.

Other diagnostic tests can also be performed to identify if you have allergic asthma. These include:  

  • Spirometry: This test requires you to take a deep breath and exhale into a tube that’ll collect information about air movement when you breathe.  
  • Bronchoprovocation test: During this test, you breathe in allergens in a controlled environment. 
  • Exhaled nitric oxide test (FeNO test): This is when a healthcare provider measures the amount of nitric oxide in your breath when you exhale.

Upon diagnosis, your healthcare provider may prescribe a preventer inhaler for daily use and a reliever inhaler to ease symptoms of an asthma attack. 

Your medical history and a clinical examination will establish if your asthma is related to your occupation. Pulmonary function tests can help detect a narrowing of the airways, while a chest X-ray and blood and sputum tests may rule out other lung diseases.

Preventive actions at the workplace can help reduce the risk of asthma. The workflow process should be amended to manage staff exposure to irritants. It’ll include industry-standard hygiene techniques specific to certain chemicals or substances, keeping exposure to a minimum. Regular medical check-ups may also reveal possible lung damage or other clinical disorders.

However, if you have advanced occupational asthma, a healthcare provider will propose a combination of physical therapy, medications, and breathing aids to control symptoms. 

If You Answered “Yes” To Questions 6 – 9

If your symptoms are worsened by exercise, then it could be due to exercise-induced asthma.

You may have exercise-induced asthma. Initially, the perception was that exercise-induced asthma has only one symptom: a chronic cough. In recent times, this asthma type also appears with: 

  • Airway hyperresponsiveness – a narrowing of the airways in response to stimuli 
  • Eosinophilic inflammation – a worsening of disease due to biological mechanism-enabled white blood cells 
  • Bronchodilator responsive coughing – a recurring cough that presents with an increase in exhaled air after using the medication 

Because of this, exercise-induced asthma can be considered a variant of the disease, a phase at the beginning of the disease’s onset, or a precursor of classic asthma. Spirometry tests before and after exercise can show if you have this asthma type.

A reliever inhaler can fend off or calm disease symptoms. Montelukast – an oral medication and a long-acting bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory – can be an option too. This drug can be used as a preventive treatment before exercise if taken at least two hours in advance.

Separately, the reasons behind nocturnal asthma are unclear. These few factors relate directly to its occurrence: 

  • Cold air inhalation 
  • Poor control of daytime asthma 
  • Sleeping face down or on your side 
  • Hormone and lung function changes 
  • Exposure to evening or night-time allergens

To lower the incidence of an asthma attack at night, you should adhere to steps such as:  

  • Changing your sleeping position 
  • Keeping the bedroom environment clean  
  • Keeping an inhaler on your bedside table 
  • Maintaining an ideal body weight 

Asthma Attacks, According To TCM

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the condition arises in the Lungs and links to the Heart, Kidney, Liver, and Spleen. It can also be categorized as Deficiency or Excess-type asthma. Several Excess types that make you vulnerable to the disease are:  

  • Wind-Cold attacking the Lungs: This has symptoms like chest swelling, shortness of breath, sensitivity to cold, coughs, and thin, clear-white sputum.
  • Wind-Heat attacking the Lungs: Symptoms include fever, chest swelling, shortness of breath, yellow and sticky sputum, sensitivity to wind, and a red tongue with a thin, yellow coating.
  • External Cold and internal Heat: Symptoms include fever, lung swelling or pain, shortness of breath, cough with sticky sputum, dry stools, dark yellow urine, and a red tongue with a thin, white coating.
  • Phlegm-turbidity obstructing the Lungs: This has symptoms like nausea, vomiting, severe shortness of breath, coughs, and a pale tongue with a thick and greasy white coating.
  • Phlegm-Heat accumulating in the Lungs: Symptoms are constipation, mild fever, shortness of breath, yellow and sticky or blood-streaked sputum, dark yellow urine, and a red tongue with a yellow and greasy coating.
  • Liver qi affecting the Lungs: Symptoms are anxiety, depression, insomnia, shortness of breath due to emotional stimulation, loose stools, and a pale tongue with a thin and white or yellow coating.

Herbal formulas that help asthma attacks

Real Health Medical’s Chief Physician Chu I Ta says that you can correct these disorders with herbal formulas. If you are unsure about the syndrome you are experiencing, be sure to consult a registered TCM physician.

  • Wind-Cold attacking the Lungs: Ma Huang Tang 
  • Wind-Heat attacking the Lungs: Sang Ju Yin 
  • External Cold and internal Heat: Ma Xin Shi Gan Tang 
  • Phlegm-turbidity obstructing the LungsEr Chen Tang and San Zi Yang Qin Tang
  • Phlegm-Heat accumulating in the Lungs: Sang Bai Pi Tang 
  • Lung Qi affecting the Lungs: Wo Mo Yin Zi 
  • Lung Deficiencies: Bu Fei Tang with Yu Ping Feng San 
  • Kidney Deficiencies: Jin Kui Shen Qi Wan with Shen Ha San 

For chronic coughing, you can also try medical mushrooms such as Cordyceps and Lingzhi. Both have been shown to strengthen the Lungs. An herbal cough relief bundle may also help facilitate better breathing.

Acupuncture treatment for asthma attacks

Stimulation of acupressure points like Tian Tu (CV22), Yong Quan (KI1), He Gu (LI4), Qu Chi (LI11), and Zu San Li (ST36) can also help.

Early intervention is necessary for ensuring the right treatment for each asthma attack type. You can also use herbal formulas with the advice of a licensed TCM practitioner. If this quiz has helped you, share it with your loved ones!

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. Asthma
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Allergic Asthma
  3. Asthma + Lung UK. Types of asthma
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Occupational Asthma.  
  5. AstraZeneca. 2022. Exploring the Role of Eosinophils in Inflammatory Diseases
  6. Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform. Asthma at Night: Causes, Symptoms,Treatment and More Information

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