Track Your Asthma For Better Health with Apps

Survive Asthma by Using the Inhaler Regularly

A very common and alarming chronic disease of the respiratory system, asthma is one of the most dreaded which sends nearly 2 million people to emergency rooms each year. According to WHO, an estimate of 235 million people suffer from this disease.

It is very common among children and occurs in almost all countries, regardless of socioeconomic status.  Asthma is regarded as a substantial burden to most people and can even affect daily activities significantly.

Asthma can either improve or worsen, depending on how patients handle it in the long run. Yes, there may be special treatments but only under the supervision of a specialist or pulmonologist. Aside from that, a unique feature in CareClinic guides patients as they go through with their daily lives. An asthma journal app comes in handy when you need to monitor your progress, as well as making it easy for your doctor to prescribe certain medications.

According to research, asthma actually results from a different host and environmental factors. This includes gender, obesity, and genetics as well. Atopy is the tendency to develop allergic diseases and mostly linked to an IgE (immunoglobulin) – mediated response to allergens.

How does asthma occur? Air passages that become inflamed which then results in a temporary narrowing of the airways, that bring oxygen to the lungs. Another feature of asthma is when there is airway obstruction.  Allergy-causing substances and other triggers tighten the muscle bands in which air cannot move freely. This causes the person to have shortness of breath and have wheezing sounds.

When there is airway irritability, even the slightest triggers such as dust, fumes or pollen can make the air passages narrow. People with asthma have very sensitive airways so any irritant in the air can trigger the disease.

Classifying asthma

Just like other diseases, asthma may also be classified into atopic, non-atopic or also a combination. Atopic asthma usually begins when you are a child and commonly linked to triggers that start off with wheezing. This usually happens when exposed to dust mites, pollen, pet dander, smoke or certain food/medications.

Upon exposure to a trigger, there is an excess release of IgE and initiates B – lymphocyte activation. IgE then binds to the cells related to inflammation. The release of inflammatory mediators occur and trigger bronchoconstriction and airway inflammation.

Non-atopic asthma, on the other hand, does not have an IgE response. This usually happens in adults and according to research, it may be secondary to viral infections.

The Asthma Attack

An asthma attack occurs when the lining of the airways are already very swollen or inflamed plus increased mucus production. Once this happens, the patient has difficulty in breathing, as well as excessive coughing, wheezing and difficulty and eventually, a hard time doing normal activities.

Common symptoms among children and adults are:

  • Severe wheezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Retractions
  • Coughing that doesn’t stop
  • Blue lips/fingernails

That’s why it is important to take in medications, such as the inhaler on time. CareClinic features the asthma symptom tracker which helps patients by sending reminders on when to inhale on time.

Always inhale on time

Once diagnosed with asthma, specialists formulate an effective treatment plan or drug therapy. Some specialists also recommend monitoring the condition with a peak flow meter to measure how much air is pushed out of the lungs. If the airflow is below average, your specialist may suggest changing the treatment plan or having some environment or behavioral changes.

There are a lot of effective medications to treat asthma and it is divided between quick relief and long-term control medications. Aside from that, allergy shots (immunotherapy) are also very promising. Patients may be apprehensive when they want to take in synthetic medicines due to side effects.

But with the help of your specialist, you will be able to come up with a convenient treatment plan. This plan may work well with the patient’s asthma symptom tracker app. Knowing when and how frequent symptoms occur helps a lot in managing asthma.

For quick – relief of asthma, anticholinergics and short-acting inhaled beta 2 – agonists are usually prescribed. These are called bronchodilators which make the airways expand allowing more air to go to the lungs.

These medications also help clear mucus from the lungs. As much as possible, inhalers such as these type of medications must be on hand most of the time. These should be placed along with your wallet and car keys.

Some may treat their rescue inhalers as a crutch like taking 2 or more puffs many times in one day just to hinder symptoms. But always note it down that these only provide temporary relief. So if you want to effectively manage your asthma, your specialist must be able to provide you with a chronic, anti-inflammatory inhaled treatment.

Since these quick-relief medicines don’t control the airway inflammation that causes the symptoms, other long-term protection must be taken. That’s why in conjunction with these medications, long-term control medicines are taken each day to prevent these attacks and symptoms.  These are the following :

  • Cromolyn sodium
  • Antileukotrienes
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Long-acting inhaled beta 2 – agonists
  • Methylxanthines
  • Immunomodulators
  • Oral corticosteroids

These medications are taken every day, even if void of symptoms. A good thing about these medicines is that they reduce airway inflammation and then improve asthma control through time.

This is one of the features in CareClinic which sends reminders on the exact time to take the prescribed medications. Inhaling on time definitely prevents asthma attacks which are a hindrance to everyday activities.

Take medications the right way

If you already have the asthma journal app for your Google Android or iPhone (iOS device), rest assured that if you happen to forget or don’t know how to properly use your inhaler, there are instructional videos available.

Aside from saving the patient’s health records in the app, videos are also available and will pop up once the reminder goes off. According to research, 70% of asthma patients do not receive the full dose of their medications.

The prescribed medicine never reaches the patient’s lungs due to improper way of using the inhaler. That’s why with the help of this app, patients will be able to correctly use their inhalers every time.

When using the rescue inhaler, you must take a slow breath in, while simultaneously squeezing the inhaler to get that specific dose. Breath is then held for several seconds. Inhaling the right way will help get the medicine into the lungs instead of just at the back of your mouth.

With just a few minutes spent on watching the instructional videos, a great amount of information is learned. This amazing feature in CareClinic is very useful among many asthma patients who want to improve their condition gradually.

Jot down important data

When you are managing asthma, checking the pulmonary function regularly is highly advised. This is done to make sure that your medications are effective. Keeping track of the peak expiratory flow rate together with the symptoms you experience is important so that your doctor can check the prognosis of the disease. CareClinic features a health journal for asthma which comes in handy during consultations.

Printable data for appointments

The app is perfect if your pulmonologist wants to keep track of the disease. A PDF health report may be printed showing the peak flow rates. The report should also show how the symptoms developed throughout the course of the treatment. This health app is crucial in providing detailed information on your progress with regards to therapy or treatment given by your doctor.

It is important for patients to have a deeper knowledge of asthma. Patient education is very crucial in an effective asthma treatment plan. Medical professionals must be able to teach patients and including their families how to recognize asthma signs and symptoms, as well as optimizing environmental controls. Quitting smoking is one step in living a better life.

Patients must also receive annual vaccinations to avoid the complications acquired from respiratory diseases such as influenza and pneumonia.

Aside from that, health apps nowadays are very important for busy individuals. Writing down on paper takes a lot of time that’s why apps make it more convenient. Once your symptoms are tracked effectively in the app, your doctor won’t have a hard time in adjusting your treatment plan.

Using the app also helps you become wary of the early warning signs of an asthma attack. Frequent cough, reduced peak flow meter readings, wheezing, feeling upset, signs of allergies and fatigue are just some of the early signs.

These symptoms can escalate fast that’s why fast treatment must be done. People with asthma should not feel that their lives will not get any better.  By following the doctor’s orders and using CareClinic as an asthma symptom tracker, the quality of life will definitely be improved by a great deal. Get started now, by clicking here.

Chloe M.

Chloe M (RN, BSc) holds a degree in Biology and is a practicing Registered Nurse. She has worked as a clinical and field researcher for various NGO organizations and social enterprises. She likes to share her experience as a nurse to provide insights on managing health and practicing preventative medicine.
Chloe M.