Other Common Medical Conditions
Asthma affects the way in which people breathe. Your airways can be referenced as “hollow tree branches” and the air sacs of the lings are the “leaves” on the tree that exchange gases. Your airways are surrounded by muscle, like bark covering a tree trunk and its branches. People with asthma have very “twitchy” airways that tend to become irritated (inflamed) easily. These airways tend to overreact and tighten when they come into contact with a trigger.
Common Triggers include:
- Weather change or cold air
- Colds, upper respiratory infections, ear or sinus infections
- Allergens such as pet dander, dust mite, mold, pollen, cockroaches
- Irritants such as perfumes, cigarette smoke and strong odors.
What happens during an asthma attack?
- The muscles surrounding the airways tighten (called a bronchospasm)
- Excessive mucus is secreted into the airway. The sticky mucus plugs the airway
- The airway becomes inflamed and swollen
- With these 3 reactions, your airways become very narrow. It typically becomes harder to breathe when you try to push air out through the very narrow airways.
Signs and Symptoms of an asthma attack
- Frequent cough worse at night and with exercise
- High-pitched sound (wheezing) made by the lungs while breathing out
- Chest tightness
- Sucking in of the skin between the ribs (retractions)
- Fast breathing at rest and shortness of breath
- Difficulty with speaking or eating because of fast breathing
For up-to-date information on asthma and controlling it, visit http://www.communityasthmajax.org/
Student-athletes who have been diagnosed with asthma should have an Asthma Action Plan on file with the school. If the student-athlete requires the use of an inhaler, they should keep their inhaler with them at all practices and games. Student-athletes should not share their inhalers with other student-athletes or teammates.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that results due to the absolute or relative lack of insulin. Diabetes can be divided into two types: Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (on-insulin dependent). With Type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce insulin; therefore, the cells of the body are unable to absorb sugar (glucose) from the blood. This leads to high levels of glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetes can be controlled through regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and through the introduction of insulin. Insulin can either be injected or administered through an insulin pump. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is still able to produce insulin, but either does so in insufficient amounts or produces insulin that does not function properly. This type of diabetes does not require insulin injections and can be controlled through oral medications combined with a proper diet and exercise.
Signs and Symptoms of a Diabetic Emergency
Severe Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Hypoglycemia happens when blood sugar levels are too low, usually below 70 milligrams per deciliter. Blood sugar levels can drop dangerously low if a person takes more insulin than they need, consumes too much alcohol, misses or delays meals, or does more exercise they expected to do. This can become an issue, especially with athletes, who commonly push themselves past their limits.
Early Warning Signs:
- Confusion, dizziness and nausea
- Feeling hungry
- Feeling shaky, nervous, irritable or anxious
- Sweating, chills, and pale, clammy skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weakness and tiredness
- Tingling in the mouth area
- Coma or loss of consciousness
- Weight loss if hypoglycemia persists
If a person tests their blood sugar levels when they experience these symptoms, they may find that their blood sugar levels are below 70 mg/dl.
If these symptoms appear suddenly, the person should take a high-carb snack to resolve them, such as:
- A glucose tablet
- A sweet juice
- A candy
- A sugar lump
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend the following action:
- Take 15 grams (g) of carbohydrate and wait 15 minutes before testing blood sugar levels.
- If levels are still below 70 mg/dl, take another 15 g of carbs, wait, and test again.
- When glucose levels are above 70 mg/dl, eat a meal.
- If symptoms persist, seek medical help for any underlying condition. If the person is conscious but unable to eat, some who is with them should put a little honey or other sweet syrup inside their cheek and monitor their condition.
If the person becomes unconscious, call 911 and ask for immediate medical help.
Student-athletes who have been diagnosed with diabetes should have a Diabetes Action Plan on file with the school. Student-athletes with diabetes should regularly monitor their blood glucose levels, especially during and following periods of exercise.