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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What happens to your lungs during an asthma attack?

(Shutterstock image)

I found a short video that shows what happens to lungs during an asthma attack. It is from the American Lung Association.

There are actually 3 different things that happen during an asthma attack. The video from American Lung Association shows it better than this photo. (But this was all I had to put on the blog). You can see from the picture above that the left side is what all of you "normal" people get to breathe through. The right side it what those of with asthma try to breathe through.

On their video, they explain that:
  • 1st-you have swelling in the lungs (you can see the swelling on the right side of this photo). They said the swelling is always there, even if you aren't having any symptoms (or can't "feel it")
  • 2nd-bronchoconstriction which means that the bronchial tube is being constricted (or squeezed) by the bands on the outside of the bronchial tube. This picture doesn't show it that well, you should watch their video
  • 3rd-mucus is produced, yep-that fun stuff we all try to cough up during an asthma attack
Interesting, huh? I usually tell people that don't have asthma to try jogging in place for 30 seconds, then hold their nose and try to breathe through a straw. That's what it feels like for those of us with asthma. You can see it if you watch the video.

Make sure you have an inhaler handy. And it you are using it more than twice a week, that means your asthma is not in control. You may need a daily, controller medicine. Check with your doctor about that. Remember that the swelling in your lungs can always be there, even if you can't feel it. So if you have an asthma attack and your lungs are already swollen, your asthma attack can be really bad. And who wants to end up in the hospital? I've spent enough money there over the years for my kid's asthma hospitalizations. They should have named the corner wing of pediatrics after our family, I think we paid for it!

Have fun watching the video! It's not long enough to have a bag of popcorn while you watch it, but if you have the munchies.....why not?!

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