What Causes Asthma at Night?

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night?

Why asthma can wake you up at night

If you haven’t got your asthma under control, you’re more likely to get symptoms at night. But what causes these symptoms?

  1. When you lie flat on your back gravity makes it harder to breathe. This position can also trigger a cough, as any mucus in your chest may start to gather in the back of your throat.
  2. Changes in hormones at night mean that natural anti-inflammatory chemicals in your body are switched off. This can cause the tissues in your lungs to swell, which narrows the airways, making it harder to breathe. Taking your anti-inflammatory preventer inhaler every day will build up protection in your lungs so they become less inflamed at night.
  3. Some common asthma triggers such as dust mites can be found in your mattress, pillows and bedclothes. Mould can also be in your bedroom if it is damp. This can affect your breathing at night. If you like sleeping with your window open, you should also be aware that on high pollen or pollution days, these particles may enter the room.

What to do when asthma stops you sleeping

  1. Sit up straight and take your blue reliever inhaler, as prescribed.
  2. Prop yourself up with extra pillows as it allows your lungs to open up more fully when you breathe.
  3. If your asthma is made worse when the air in a room is too hot or too cold. Try to adjust the temperature to make sure you’re comfortable.
  4. A glass of water or a cup of herbal tea can help ease a dry throat.

How to stop asthma waking you at night in the long-term

You shouldn’t have to accept your night-time symptoms as normal. If your asthma is waking you up during the night it is a sign that your asthma isn’t well controlled. If the situation doesn’t change within 48 hours, or if you’re already taking your preventer inhaler as prescribed, talk to your GP or asthma nurse to see if they can adjust your medicines1.

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night? Why asthma can wake you up at night If you haven't got your asthma under control, you’re more likely...

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Signs you have Asthma

Signs you have Asthma

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person but what are the signs you have asthma? You may not experience asthma attacks often, or maybe your symptoms flare up at certain times or you may have symptoms all the time.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a cold or the flu

Signs that your asthma is probably worsening include:

  • Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent
  • Increasing difficulty breathing
  • The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

For some people, asthma signs and symptoms flare up in certain situations:

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mould spores or pet allergy caused by pets dander 1.

When is it time to talk to my doctor?

  • Do you think you have asthma? If you have frequent coughing or wheezing or any other signs or symptoms we have covered make an appointment to see your doctor.
  • To monitor your asthma. If you know you have asthma, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Long-term control can help prevent a life-threatening asthma attack in the future.
  • If your asthma symptoms get worse. Contact your doctor right away if your symptoms have started to get worse and your normal medication isn’t helping you. Do not under any circumstances try to solve the problem by taking more medication without consulting your doctor. This can cause side effects and may make your asthma worse.
  • To review your treatment. Asthma can change over time, it’s important to touch base with your doctor to discuss your progress and current treatment options.

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night? Why asthma can wake you up at night If you haven't got your asthma under control, you’re more likely...

Signs you have Asthma

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person but what are the signs you have asthma? You may not experience asthma attacks often, or maybe your symptoms flare up at certain times or you may have symptoms all the time. Asthma signs and...

How is Asthma treated?

There are lots of treatments available to help you with your asthma. How asthma is treated can vary based on age and lifestyle factors. Different treatment pathways are recommended for adults (aged 17 and over), for children aged 5-16, and for...

What causes Asthma?

What Causes Asthma? It isn’t clear why some people develop asthma and others don’t. There are a variety of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors that play a role in you developing the condition. Asthma triggers Some common asthma triggers are; Exposure to...
How is Asthma treated?

How is Asthma treated?

There are lots of treatments available to help you with your asthma. How asthma is treated can vary based on age and lifestyle factors. Different treatment pathways are recommended for adults (aged 17 and over), for children aged 5-16, and for children under five. But in all cases, the goal is to make help manage your asthma and its effect on your life and wellbeing.

The most common form of treatment is an inhaler. Inhalers contain measured doses of medication that you take into your airways when you breathe in.

The most common inhalers are preventer inhalers, which try to stop asthma symptoms from occurring, and reliever inhalers, which help to relieve asthma symptoms when they do occur.

Preventer inhalers

Preventer inhalers usually contain a medication called steroids. They are similar to substances our bodies make naturally. Inhaling extra steroids every day helps to control the inflammation and reduces asthma symptoms.

The dose of steroid given by an inhaler is usually very low and unlikely to cause any side effects. Occasionally the steroid can make your mouth dry or sore. You can reduce the chance of this by rinsing your mouth with water after using the inhaler, or by using a spacer. A spacer is a large, empty container made of plastic.

Most people with asthma need to take their preventer medication regularly, once or twice a day.

Reliever inhalers

You only need to take your reliever inhaler when symptoms start. Take it as early as possible when you get common symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness or a tight chest.

Reliever inhalers contain a medication called short-acting beta agonists, or SABAs, which relax the muscles around the tightened airways, so the airways can open wider. This makes it easier to breathe and reduces your symptoms. The most common SABA is salbutamol, often known as Ventolin.

Reliever inhalers work very quickly and you will usually be able to feel the benefit straight away. 1

Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will:

  • Teach you how to use your inhaler correctly when you first use it
  • Ensure you use your inhaler properly at every asthma check up

If you aren’t using your inhaler correctly the medication won’t be able to get into your airways and help with your condition.

Why it’s important to take your asthma medicines

Taking your asthma preventer medicines, as prescribed, will mean your airways are less inflamed and sensitive and symptoms will be reduced.

When your asthma medicines are working well you can expect to notice a reduction in:

  • Daytime symptoms
  • Waking up at night because of your asthma
  • Use of your blue reliever inhaler
  • Asthma attacks

Other treatments for asthma

If your asthma is not under control, your doctor may suggest other preventative treatments to reduce inflammation. They include a tablet such as montelukast or an injection given in a hospital.

You can also help to manage your asthma by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping fit and active
  • Getting an annual flu jab
  • Quit smoking if you’re a smoker

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night? Why asthma can wake you up at night If you haven't got your asthma under control, you’re more likely...

Signs you have Asthma

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person but what are the signs you have asthma? You may not experience asthma attacks often, or maybe your symptoms flare up at certain times or you may have symptoms all the time. Asthma signs and...

How is Asthma treated?

There are lots of treatments available to help you with your asthma. How asthma is treated can vary based on age and lifestyle factors. Different treatment pathways are recommended for adults (aged 17 and over), for children aged 5-16, and for...
What causes Asthma?

What causes Asthma?

What Causes Asthma?

It isn’t clear why some people develop asthma and others don’t. There are a variety of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors that play a role in you developing the condition.

Asthma triggers

Some common asthma triggers are;

  • Exposure to pollen, dust mites, mould spores or pet dander
  • Chest infections
  • Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
  • Cold air
  • Pollution or second hand smoke
  • Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat

Risk factors

There are a number of risk factors that could increase your chances of developing asthma.

These include:

  • A blood relative with asthma
  • If you suffer from another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing

Complications

Sometimes complications can occur, these can include:

  • Signs and symptoms that interfere with sleep, work or recreational activities
  • Absence from work or school
  • Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodelling) that affects how well you can breathe
  • Emergency room visits and hospitalisations for severe asthma attacks
  • Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilise severe asthma

As a result getting the right treatment can make a big difference in preventing both short-term and long-term complications caused by asthma. It’s important to contact your G.P. if you suspect you have the condition.

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night? Why asthma can wake you up at night If you haven't got your asthma under control, you’re more likely...

Signs you have Asthma

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person but what are the signs you have asthma? You may not experience asthma attacks often, or maybe your symptoms flare up at certain times or you may have symptoms all the time. Asthma signs and...
Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia’s impact on sleep

Sleep and fibromyalgia don’t go well together.

Sleep disturbances are very common for sufferers of the condition. While they may not have difficulty falling asleep, their sleep is likely to be light and easily disturbed so when they wake up they feel exhausted or unrested. These sleep disturbances can cause the feeling of constant fatigue and prevent the body from rejuvenation, which in turn leads to increased pain1.

The severe pain of this condition also means it is difficult to sleep. Research shows that the body has a lower tolerance to pain and discomfort with lack of sleep. Fibromyalgia patients must make every effort to minimise sleep disturbance.

Tips for creating a regular sleep routine:

  • Set fixed times for going to bed and waking up
  • Maintain a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Only retire to bed when you feel tired
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • Avoid eating heavy meals late at night

 

How to create the best sleeping environment:

  • Use thick blinds/blackout blinds or wear an eye mask to keep out early morning light or street lamps
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
  • Use earplugs if there is any noise disturbance
  • Avoid using laptops, watching television, eating, making phone calls or working while you’re in bed
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding suitable for the time of year

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Don't worry, you've got this! There are many options for treating fibromyalgia. It's important to remember that treatment for fibromyalgia will try to ease some of your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life, but there's currently no cure. First Steps Your...

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