It is an inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Symptoms include: episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. It is caused by genetic and environmental factors
HOW IS ASTHMA DIAGNOSED?
Asthma is usually contracted at birth and can be diagnosed by the classic symptom of shortness of breath. However, a general physician may confirm the disease by conducting a spirometry test, chest x rays or imaging tests.
HOW IS ASTHMA TREATED?
While there is no cure for asthma, symptoms can typically be improved. The most effective treatment for asthma is identifying triggers, such as cigarette smoke, pets, or aspirin, and eliminating exposure to them. If trigger avoidance is insufficient, the use of medication is recommended. Additionally, the use of bronchodilators is recommended for short-term respite from acute asthma attacks.
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 or reactive airway disease are terms used for the chronic condition asthma, which affect a great number of adults and children all across the world. Boys are more prone to suffer from this condition than girls. But in the case of adults the situation is vice versa, that is, adult women are more prone to asthma than adult men.
Chronic bronchitis is a condition which causes inflammation of bronchial airways in the lungs, thus causing asthma. The swollen airways restrict the passage of air from entering and exiting the lungs, thus causing breathing problems and shortness of breath. Inflammation in the bronchial passages worsen due to certain triggers, for examples allergies can increase the swelling, resulting in a sudden asthma attack. Asthma can be characterised into two types depending on its causes-
1. Asthma due of allergies- allergic triggers lead to asthma attacks.
2. Asthma due of other factors- Various other factors lead to asthma attacks
Some common triggers of this condition are given below-
• Outdoor allergens- which include pollen, seeds, dust
• Indoor allergens- which include pet dander, dust mites, mould
• drugs and foods
• Air irritants- which include smoke, chemicals fumes, odours
• Infections- which include Cold, flu, hay fever
• Strenuous exercise regimes
• stress and fatigue
• Sudden changes in weather
Some common symptoms of asthma are-
• Cough- asthma patients suffer from severe coughing problem especially in the night or early in the morning
• Wheezing- while breathing asthma patients generally produce a squeaky sound
• Chest tightness- an asthma symptom which is quite common, it feels as if the chest is being squeezed really hard.
• Shortness of breath- asthma patients find it difficult to catch their breath after strenuous physical activity.
These days the treatment methods for asthma have greatly advanced, especially with the invention of metered dose inhaler (MDI). This type of inhaler administers medicines into the lungs in short bursts, thus clearing the passage for flow of air. Patients who suffer from a severe case of asthma always carry MDI with them.
You doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle modifications to control the symptoms of asthma and prevent asthma attacks. This may include change in eating habits and avoiding certain foods that can act as allergens and trigger an attack. Doctors also suggest light physical exercise to keep your body healthy and fit. To prevent the symptoms of asthma from aggravating it is also important that with the consultation of your doctor you come up with an asthma action plan and follow it thoroughly.
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