Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by recurring symptoms, bronchospasm and reversible airflow obstruction. The causes are both genetic and environmental. Symptoms are recurrent wheezing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath and coughing. Symptoms are generally worse at nights than in the day.
HOW IS ASTHMA DIAGNOSED?
Under the department of pulmonology it can be diagnosed by a general physician by conducting the following tests: 1. Spirometry 2.Methacholine challenge 3. Routine blood and urine tests
HOW IS ASTHMA TREATED?
The treatment of Asthma is done by medicines like steroids and other anti-Inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, Asthma inhalers, nebulizers, etc. The doctor may advise lifestyle modifications as a part of the treatment. Avoid smoking, aspirin and other identified triggers.
DID YOU KNOW?
Asthma is caused by a combination of complex and incompletely understood environmental and genetic interactions. These factors affect its severity and its responsiveness to treatment. Some people with asthma rarely experience symptoms, usually in response to triggers, whereas others may have persistent symptoms.
Bronchial asthma, which is commonly known as asthma, is a chronic condition which leads to swollen airways of the lungs. These airways are called bronchial tubes, and act as a passage for air to enter and exit the lungs. As a result of asthma the inflamed airway makes breathing difficult. Certain environmental and physical triggers can aggravate this condition causing an asthma attack, leading to severe breathing problems. Although, metered dose inhaler (MDI) is an effective way through which asthma attacks can be controlled. Individuals suffering from chronic bronchitis, may also suffer from asthma attacks and generally carry MDI along with them, for safety,
Depending on asthma causes, the condition can be characterized into 2 types-
1. Asthma due to allergies- allergic triggers cause this types of asthma.
2. Asthma due to other factors- Various other factors like stress, exercise, ill health and variations in weather, cause this types of asthma.
Various asthma triggers that you should be aware of are-
• Outdoor allergens (pollen, seeds, dust)
• Indoor allergens (pet dander, dust mites, mould)
• Various types of drugs and foods
• Air irritants (smoke, chemicals fumes, odours)
• Infections (Cold, flu, hay fever)
• Strenuous exercise
• Excessive stress and anxiety
• Sudden weather changes
Asthma is a condition which occurs in adults and even children. Among children it is more common in boys, while among adults this condition affects women more. Thus, you should know the common symptoms of asthma so that you can consult your doctor whenever necessary-
• Cough- Bouts of cough occur especially in the night or early in the morning
• Wheezing- a squeaky sound generally occurs when asthma patients breathe
• Chest tightness- a common asthma symptom, it leads to a sense of claustrophobia, with a sensation that the chest is being squeezed.
• Shortness of breath- asthma patients generally find it difficult to catch their breath after strenuous physical activity.
If you are suffering from these symptoms and visit the doctor, he will suggest a lung function test after taking details of your medical history and conducting a physical exam. If the lung function test indicate that you have asthma, he may recommend some sort of asthma treatment, such as-
• Changes in lifestyle- Certain essential lifestyle changes are needed to control the condition and prevent any severe attacks. This entails eating a balanced diet and avoiding foods that will act as triggers. Your doctor may also recommend that you follow an exercise regime which is not very strenuous but will keep you fit.
• Long- term control medicines- most bronchial asthma patients are recommended long term medicines, which reduce inflammation and do away with the symptoms of the condition. These medicines are either administered through a nebulizer or injected into the body.
• Quick relief medicines- these medicines offer quick relief from any symptoms of an asthma attack. Quick relief medicines are administered through inhalers or MDIs.
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