Myths come with any disease. They exist due to misinformation that is out there. There are also some myths that were once regarded as true in past history, but due to medical advances and improvements that is no longer the case. Below I’ll briefly talk about six common asthma myths and explain why they are myths and not fact.
Oxygen levels always drop during an attack
This is definitely untrue. Some asthmatics will notice their oxygen levels drop when in an acute attack, but not all. Asthmatics are notoriously good oxygen compensators. You can be in the middle of a severe flare up and your oxygen level can be near normal or completely normal. Because of this, it is important to not base your asthma flare severity solely on your oxygen level.
You can become addicted to asthma medications
Inhalers are the standard for asthma treatment. Depending on your asthma severity, you might be on more than one. When an asthmatic is compliant and takes his or her inhalers as directed they are extremely effective in managing the inflammation in the lungs, which is the root cause of asthma. If you stop taking them, chances are almost certain that the inflammation will kick up in the lungs. Asthma is a chronic disease and the inhalers (along with avoiding triggers) are needed to prevent and manage asthma flare-ups.
Inhalers eventually stop working
Inhalers are extremely effective when taken as directed. However, asthma is an episodic disease that can change over time. It doesn't mean that your inhalers have stopped working, it means that your asthma has become worse over time and you more than likely need to have your inhalers changed or have a combination of more than one to help keep things under better control.
It isn't possible to overdose on rescue inhalers
It is absolutely possible to take too much of your rescue medication (most commonly albuterol) and can be very dangerous and in extreme cases, fatal. Taking too much albuterol can lead to heart arrhythmias, critically low potassium levels, high blood sugar levels and seizures. If you find that your asthma is not controlled and you are needing more than what is prescribed, it is imperative to seek medical attention. Be sure that your asthma action plan is up to date so you will know exactly what to do when your asthma is acting up and when to call your doctor and/or go to the emergency room. Once there, you will be monitored closely especially if you are needing large amounts of albuterol to get our lungs to open up you breathing easier.
All asthmatics wheeze
While wheezing is a very common asthma symptom, not all asthmatics experience it. Since asthma is not a one size fits all disease, not everyone will have the same symptoms when having a flare-up. Some people experience a very tight chest without wheezing, and others may have a dry cough as their only symptom.
You can outgrow asthma
This is probably the myth that most people believe. Asthma is often (but not always) diagnosed in childhood, officially with lung function testing at age five or older when the child is able to understand and perform lung function testing accurately. Asthma is also an episodic disease that changes over time. It can go into a remission of sorts as a child grows into adolescence and adulthood, but almost always returns later in life. If it does not, chances are pretty good that the person didn't actually have asthma, but another condition that mimics asthma.
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