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Asthma  

 

Asthma at any age

Many people find out as a child or teen that they have asthma but you are not immune from getting it as an adult or even as a senior.  What kind of environment you live in can trigger an asthmatic condition, especially where pollution is concerned.  

When an asthmatic condition does occur, there are some serious changes that should occur, not the least of which is vaccination against various bronchial and lung related illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia.

Complicating factors

Like diabetes, people that suffer from asthma also may suffer from other health conditions, some related or complicating, and others that are not.  Because medicine has become so specialized, it is more than likely if not guaranteed that you will be seeing more than one doctor.  

Bottom line is that if you suffer from asthma or any other, you should let each doctor know what other doctors you are seeing for what conditions and what medications you are taking for those conditions. 

People also often make the mistake of differentiating between prescription and over-the-counter medications when discussing them with their doctors under the theory that only prescription medications are serious enough to discuss.  

This can have some dire consequences because herbal remedies can have a serious effect on heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.  You may also have mild to severe allergic or complicating reactions that go unnoticed or misdiagnosed because the doctor was not aware of everything that you were ingesting.

The effects of age on medical treatment

As we get older, our metabolism changes as does the efficiency and effectiveness of organs such as the liver and kidneys.  These factors can reduce the rate at which you metabolize drugs, thus leaving them in the system longer and ultimately, an overdose reaction.  

Make sure that you general practitioner or family doctor has a copy of all your records, but be sure that every doctor that is treating you also knows what else that you are being treated for.  It would also be wise to have all your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy.  

Though no system is foolproof, there are significant chances that your pharmacist and the software that he uses will notice any potential drug interactions.  Itís just one more safety measure in the very complicated world of medicine.

Be sure to discuss all medical conditions with any attending physician.  Little things like arthritis may be of significance to a doctor that isnít treating you for that condition because it may change the treatment method.  For instance, if you do suffer from arthritis, using an inhaler might pose a problem from time to time.

Co-existing health issues

Be sure to discuss all the side effects of any form of treatment with your doctor.  There are always potentially good side effects of course, but in most cases, there is a risk for some negative side effects as well.  

By discussing this with your physician, you become better informed and something may surface in your family history that the doctor was unaware of.  

Donít assume that your doctor knows everything about you or that they are always correct, because they cannot possibly know everything about you and your family medical history.

Surgical consideration for the asthma patient

Under the best of circumstances, surgical anesthesia has its problems and considerations.  Though advancements in medical testing, training, and quality of the drugs have improved and continue to improve, application of anesthesia during surgery carries no guarantee.  

Physiological unknowns and surgical complications can lead to difficult circumstances that may or may not be controllable.  There are however, additional circumstances that must be considered for someone with asthma.

Drug interactions can often be predicted but only if all the information is known.  Medications that are delivered by an anesthesiologist can often interact with other medications that are used to treat asthma.  

Before surgery, it is vital that you let your doctor and anesthesiologist know about your asthmatic condition as well as the prescribed treatment program.  They will want to do a full review of your condition before going into surgery.  

Anesthesia, the breathing tube, and the physical stress of procedure itself can trigger an asthma attack and effect your respiration blood pressure and heart rate, all of which the anesthesiologist is charged with monitoring and controlling.

There are of course many other things that you should do to prepare for surgery long before going into surgery.  To start with, you should have a complete physical exam to make sure that there are no other potential complicating factors.  

Your doctor will generally make sure that this happens unless the surgical need is an emergency.  Blood tests will be performed to make sure that you donít have even a mild infection and several other tests will be administered to make sure that either you are in the best possible physical condition or they at least know what they are dealing with.

In addition to what the doctor specifically orders, you should:

  1. Plan to get as much rest as possible.  It is important that you are in the most rested condition that you can be.

  2. Continue to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.  Proper hydration is vital to the surgical procedure as well as the healing afterwards.

  3. If you smoke anything at all, you should stop as soon as you can prior to the surgery.  Your lungs donít need the additional stress of not working properly.  

    You wonít be able to undo all the damage to the lungs in a few weeks or even months, but even that amount of time can make a substantial difference.  Getting through the stress of stopping smoking before going into surgery can also help in post surgical stress or as it may otherwise be termed, nicotine withdrawal.

  4. Stay away from people that have colds, flu, or other contagious illnesses.

  5. Avoid allergic environmental conditions.  If you know you have allergies to pollen for example, stay indoors and get a good air cleaner.

 

 

 

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