Blue Bloaters are people who suffer from asthma, whose airways are obstructed. This results in decreased oxygenation, making them cyanotic or "blue". The trapping of air inside their lungs makes them bloated. They do not exhale that much so the level of carbon dioxide in their tissues increases.
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma manifests itself through wheezing, persistent coughing, and shortness of breath (SOB). The swelling or inflammation of the air passages causes the tightness of the chest.
Wheezing is the distinguishing symptom of "blue bloaters". It is the whistle-like sound brought about by the constricted or obstructed airways when the patient breathes. Wheezing happens suddenly and is more apparent during exhalation.
Your doctor will subject you to the following diagnostic tests that will confirm if you have asthma:
- Allergy tests: Positive results for allergy tests will help you conform which allergen will most likely trigger your attack.
- Lung function (using peak flow meter): Lung function exams will measure the capacity of your lungs to take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
- X-rays (chest): Chest x-rays will show your doctor if your bronchial passages are constricted.
- Arterial Blood Gas (ABG): Test for arterial blood gas measures the level of oxygenation in your blood.
What Triggers an Asthma Attack?
Those who suffer from asthma could still have periods of normal breathing. What these patients should look out for are the allergens that trigger the detrimental asthma attacks. Some substances that asthmatics should avoid are the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine or NSAIDs
- Strenuous exercise or activities
- Fur or dander
- Dust particles
- Extreme cold weather
- Viral infections
- Pollen grains
- Stress in any form
It is very important that you take note of these asthma triggers so that the incidence of an attack can be lessened or better yet, avoided. An asthma attack can happen anywhere at any time so be aware and be prepared.
Bronchodilators for Asthmatics
Bronchodilators are usually prescribed to asthmatics to dilate the airways. When the airways are dilated, more oxygen goes in and more carbon dioxide comes out. There are two types of prescribed bronchodilators: short-acting (or quick-relief) and long-acting.
Short-acting (quick-relief) bronchodilators like Ventolin, Xopenex, and Proventil are taken during at actual asthma attack. These medications come in dispensers that the patient should inhale when needed. When the patient suffers from a severe asthma attack, an intravenous bronchodilator such as methylprednisolone (a type of corticosteroid) is given with the inhalers.
Long-acting bronchodilators such as Flovent, Singulair, Xolair, Serevent, Intal, Theophylline, and Symbicort are taken to prevent asthma attacks. The physician would often prescribe these medications to be taken a number of times in a day to ensure that the air passages are not inflamed or constricted.
Many people suffer from asthma but still disregard the need for proper treatment perhaps because of their demanding professions, known lifestyles, or just plain denial. When this happens, complications do arise, leading to severe attacks and sadly, even death.
So make sure that you stay away from the allergens that trigger your asthma attacks. Be picky with the fabrics and personal items that you use. Quit smoking. Stay away from pollution. Keep warm during extremely cold conditions. You can even consult your doctor for a form of exercise that is tailored for your condition. Drastic, positive changes in your lifestyle will definitely help you deal with your life as a diagnosed “blue bloater".