Jun 07, 2011 Posted Under: Allergies

Nocturnal Asthma – 4 Main Reasons It Can Occur

Not being able to get enough air is frightening any time of day, but when it happens in the middle of the night you are even more vulnerable. Here are 4 common threads that people who experience this condition have and some suggestions for managing the problem.

1. Decrease in FEV1 Ratio - This is basically a measuring of the amount of air a person is able to exhale and they have inhaled as deeply as possible. Normal adult volume is should be between 3 and 5 liters which translates to approximately 80% capacity. This decrease in lung capacity typically occurs during the night which makes symptoms more severe.

A time released bronchodilator prescribed by your physician will help air passages remain open through the night time hours. A peak flow meter will give an accurate reading of your lung capacity which is important in forming a management plan.

2. Lower Amounts of Epinephrine - This hormone helps relax lung muscles and also control the amount of histamines introduced into the body. Being able to control histamines is important because histamines control the amount of mucous that is produced and secreted.

The less mucous the less congestion to clog possibly restricted airways. Studies have shown that this hormone is at its lowest at 4 a.m. which can also account for asthma problems during the night.

Consulting with a physician to determine what your levels are during the night will enable him to prescribe a medication that will allow you to sleep despite the drop in this hormone.

3. Exposure to Allergens - Dust mites are one of the most potent allergens and unfortunately the population in the bedroom is usually highest. Because they are able to build propagate in your bed, bed linens, and pillows, going to sleep there can be a recipe for disaster.

Encasing your pillows and mattresses with allergy covers will greatly reduce your exposure. Wash your linens weekly with water that is 160 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer to kill the mites. Sunlight kills mites, so exposing your sheets to it each morning before you make the bed will help.

4. Late Phase Response - There is usually an initial response or flare up when the body first senses a trigger (dust, dust mites, mold and mildews spores, pet dander, smoke, chemical fumes). Later there is usually a second reaction within several hours. If the first exposure to the trigger is in the evening, the second response is usually longer and more severe.

Making sure your nighttime environment – especially your bedroom – is as free of triggers as possible creates a physical and emotional haven where you are more likely to be able to rest well. 24 hour filtration with a high efficiency particle arresting filter will keep allergen levels low and greatly reduce the amount of triggers in your air.

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