Having a breathing condition such as asthma or COPD means that you need to take some extra precautions - having your inhaler accessible when you need it, and wearing a medical bracelet to communicate your condition.
We will explain the differences between asthma and COPD, what medical jewellery is, and how a medical bracelet can support you if you have asthma or COPD.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a very common condition – according to Asthma UK, there are around 5.4 million people who are currently receiving treatment for this in the UK. This means you are not alone, roughly 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children have asthma.
Asthma is a long-term condition affecting your airways. This causes symptoms such as: coughing, breathlessness and wheezing. Because asthma causes the airways to be more sensitive, they can react to triggers more easily. In severe cases, this can make it difficult for you to breathe and can lead to an asthma attack.
Read more about asthma and how to manage the symptoms.
What is COPD?
Those who have regular asthma attacks are at more risk of developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This causes the lungs to become permanently narrowed and inflamed. Other causes of COPD can include smoking and long-term exposure to air pollution or dust from your environment.
The symptoms of COPD are similar to asthma, and include wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. Despite being similar, COPD is usually due to long-term damage to the lungs. The British Lung Foundation provides a helpful overview of the differences between Asthma and COPD.
How a medical bracelet can support you in an emergency?
A medical bracelet is designed to alert people of your medical conditions or any other concerns you might have that may be relevant to your care in the event you become unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. Medical alert jewellery is conveniently placed at your pulse points at your wrist and neck, so when first responders check your pulse, they will automatically find out what conditions you have or what medication you take, so the right treatment can be administered quickly.
In an emergency, first responders go straight to the ABCs ... checking airway, breathing and circulation. So if you are struggling to breathe or get enough oxygen, medical staff need to know straight away that you have asthma or COPD.
Do I need a medical bracelet if I have Asthma or COPD?
Explain your condition AND type of inhaler.
When you think of asthma, you think of an inhaler, but did you know there are a variety of different inhalers used especially for COPD?
When COPD is treated, the medicine inside the inhalers can be grouped into short-acting bronchodilators, long-acting bronchodilators and steroids. There are also combination inhalers containing two types of medicine. For some medicines, there are different inhaler devices that deliver the same medicine. This means that there are many types of inhalers available on prescription, all of which are produced in different colours.
Wearing a medical bracelet with these sorts of details can ensure those around you are aware of your condition. Knowing the name and the colour of your inhaler might be important if you need to see a doctor who does not have your medical records (such as in A&E or if you are on holiday).
Adding details of your medicines and inhalers to your medical bracelet can also help medical professionals from mistaking your condition for something else.
Explain your condition AND triggers.
Asthma attacks happen when the body is exposed to a trigger - like pollen or smoke - that causes the airways to become inflamed and swollen.
Understanding what triggers your asthma is the first step towards preventing an asthma attack.
There are six common triggers for asthma attacks. These include:
Wearing a medical bracelet can help those around you become aware of your condition and what triggers your asthma. A medical bracelet can also include details of where to find your inhaler, as well as having the emergency contact details of your family or doctor.
When help arrives, you can then receive the most effective treatment as paramedics will be able to identify the cause of your breathing difficulties sooner.
Extra support for kids with asthma when away from home.
Asthma is the most common lung condition in children, affecting 1 in 11 children in the UK.
If your child has asthma, you may feel worried that they’ll have an asthma attack in school or when they are being cared for by someone else. Talk to your child about this and consider how a medical bracelet can help them, while also offering you peace of mind, wherever they may be.
What do I engrave on my Asthma / COPD medical bracelet?
You may wish to include your name, any other conditions you may have, medications, details of any allergies and where to find your inhaler. You can also include emergency contact details.
We recommend that all medical bracelets or necklaces include a medical symbol. This means that if you become unwell and are unable to communicate, people that check your pulse can easily find your medical alert bracelet and information about your asthma or COPD. Helping others to understand your condition means you can receive the right treatment, as symbols will attract the attention of medical staff.
If you prefer not to have a symbol and to keep your medical jewellery discrete, please just ask and we will do this for you if we can.
Where can I go for more support for Asthma or COPD?
It is important to look after your emotional wellbeing if you have Asthma or COPD. Talk to others about how you are feeling and try to make sure you stay active and sociable. You may want to get involved with a local group to meet others who also have similar experiences to you. This can help you to understand and cope better with the condition.
Find your local support group.
There are also other groups to get involved with, such as ‘Singing 4 Breathing’. This is a singing group for people with conditions such as asthma and COPD. Singing can help to improve lung function and encourages you to practice deep breathing.
Lifestyle blogger Nikki describes how colouring helps ease her asthma. Being able to relax your body is an important part of managing symptoms, and colouring is a simple way to take your mind away from any worries or stress. Have a read of Nikki’s blog post, she also recommends some of her favourite colouring books!
Lifestyle, fashion, and beauty blogger Danielle Levy describes how she chose one of our medical alert necklaces. This lets others know that she has asthma and a latex allergy. As Danielle is a nurse, she opted for our Enchanted Medical Alert Necklace as this was best suited to her lifestyle. Have a read of Danielle’s blog post to find out more about the necklace she chose.
Unsure what inhaler you need for your COPD? Check out this website.
If you don’t know what triggers your asthma, have a read of the top 6 triggers for asthma attacks.
In conclusion, if you have asthma or COPD, wearing a piece of medical jewellery such as a medical alert bracelet allows you to feel like yourself again. You can choose your own style, design and engraving and let others know how to help you in an emergency. Equally, friends and family members are reassured by the knowledge they can keep in contact with you.
Have a browse of our full range of medical jewellery, and please get in touch on email@example.com if you have any questions.
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