Nocturnal asthma, also known as nighttime asthma, occurs when you have asthma symptoms that occur during the night while sleeping. This can make you feel tired and sleepy throughout the day. Nocturnal asthma can become serious if left unchecked. This will have an impact on your quality of life and make it more difficult to control asthma in the morning until noon.
Symptoms of nocturnal asthma
Symptoms of nocturnal asthma include:
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath
Many people just think it's normal asthma symptoms which only increase at night. Your body has a different cycle during the day. This cycle works on various body functions including body temperature and lung function. The function of your lungs is functioning optimally at 4 pm, and functioning at least at 4 in the morning.
Your asthma will be controlled during the day, but you may experience coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, or short breathing at night. If you experience nighttime asthma symptoms, your asthma may be more serious and uncontrolled as you think. Not only can asthma worsen, nocturnal asthma also affects your sleep, it also indicates poor asthma control. Several studies have shown that many nocturnal asthma symptoms are associated with increasing numbers of patients in the emergency room, needing to be treated, and even death due to asthma.
Causes of nocturnal asthma
There are many reasons why people with asthma will experience asthma symptoms at night. The body's natural cycle plays a role, with some hormones in their peak (or lowest) in the morning. Some of these hormones, such as melatonin, increase inflammation in the respiratory tract.
For people with asthma, the most number of inflammatory cells in the airways is in the morning, with a peak at 4 am. In addition, all people with asthma experience reduced lung function at night. In one study, patients with nocturnal asthma were found to have decreased lung function at night by 20% compared to people who did not have asthma which was around 4%.
In addition to contributing to nocturnal asthma, several other causes are:
- Exposure to asthma triggers in the bed, such as mites or pet dander
- Delayed response to asthma triggers during the day
- Sinus and runny nose problems (phlegm flows out of the nose while sleeping)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Bronchospasm caused by a decrease in body temperature
- Asthma treatment once a day which is consumed in the morning
- Sleep apnea, which is a short period of inhibition of breath caused by obstruction of the respiratory tract or abnormal brain signals
Diagnosis of nocturnal asthma
Measurements made with a peak flow meter are for diagnosing asthma, including nocturnal asthma. Peak flow meter is a tool that can help treat asthma patients. This tool can compare the severity of narrowing of the respiratory tract or spasm at different times.
Researchers show that around 30-70% of asthma patients everywhere have told their doctor that he wakes up at night due to asthma symptoms at least once a month. You can have nocturnal asthma depending on the type of asthma you have - including allergies, non-allergies, work, and sports that cause asthma.
All sufferers of any type of asthma can develop nocturnal asthma if their asthma is not controlled. That is why if you have asthma at night, chances are that your asthma is not well controlled.
If you wake up more than 2 times a night because of coughing, wheezing, or tightness in the chest, then your asthma has proven to be out of control and you need to review your asthma treatment plan with your health assistant.
Treatment of nocturnal asthma
Nocturnal asthma can really disturb your nighttime, which can lead to a reduction in function during the day. It's important to identify the specific cause and find the best treatment.
Avoid allergy triggers
This is the easiest treatment of nocturnal asthma. You can try some of these tips:
- Use a mattress and pillow cover that prevents mites
- Look for anti-allergic pillows
- Don't let animals enter the bedroom (live animals and dolls)
- Use a humidifier to keep the air moist.
Change treatment over time
If nocturnal asthma is caused by treatment of asthma that is too early, changing the time and dose of treatment can reduce symptoms at night. For example, using an inhaler once a day during the day rather than using it in the morning can withstand its effects until the evening.
In addition, each asthma treatment has been specifically examined for its effectiveness at night. Long-acting beta agonists, such as Serevent (Salmetrol), have been trusted to treat symptoms when taken twice a day.
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Reviewed: June 20, 2019 | Last Edited: June 20, 2019
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