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Asthma - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Last Updated: Jun 30, 2023

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the airways in the lungs. A person suffering from this condition finds it difficult to breathe. The mast cells, eosinophils and T-lymphocytes together with other inflammatory cells cause inflammation of the airways. This causes a person to experience period attacks of wheezing, coughing and even shortness of breath.

A person suffering from asthma usually experiences during early morning or at night. During an asthma attack, the muscles around the airways tighten thereby reducing the diameter. As a result, the flow of air reduces and the inflammation of the airways increases. Mucus is produced in the airways and this further impedes the flow of air.

What are the different types of asthma?


In case you're battling with asthma indications – inconvenience breathing, a tireless hack or tightness in the chest – an allergist can enable you to take control by giving a diagnosis and distinguishing the basic causes. Study the most widely recognized sorts of asthma:

  • Exercise-Induced Asthma
  • Nocturnal Asthma
  • Occupational Asthma
  • Steroid-Resistant Asthma (Severe Asthma)
  • Allergic Asthma
  • Asthma-COPD Overlap

What are the symptoms and signs of asthma?


Signs and symptoms of asthma are as follows shortness of breath, hack (frequently more regrettable during the evening), and wheezing (piercing whistling sound delivered by tempestuous wind stream through restricted air passages, normally with exhalation), chest snugness, etc. Note that these side effects are wordy, and people with asthma can go extensive stretches of time with no manifestations.

Exposure to allergens is one of the regular triggers for asthmatic indications. Apart from this here are some more indications which include pets, dust vermin, cockroach, molds, and dust. Tobacco use or exposure to used smoke muddles asthma management.

Some of the signs and symptoms of asthma are not specific and can be seen in different conditions too. Symptoms that may recommend conditions other than asthma includes new infection beginning in older age, the presence of related side effects, (for example, chest discomfort, lightheadedness, palpitations, and fatigue), and absence of reaction to suitable prescriptions for asthma.

Is Asthma a disability?

Yes, Asthma is considered a disability as it creates a prolonged physical impairment that affects respiration. It can hinder your daily life activities that can make an individual life more complex.

What does Asthma feel like in the throat?

Asthma in the throat can show the following symptoms:

  • Throat clearing.
  • Tonsils & adenoid recurrent infections.
  • Voice problems.
  • Sore throat.
  • Snoring.
  • Bad breath.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Postnasal drip.

Vocal cord dysfunction is another symptom that one can see in the case of Asthma. It can cause throat tightness, troubled breathing, and whistling in the throat area during inspiration or wheezing.

How long does Asthma cough last?

There are different variants of cough when it comes to Asthma one of them is cough-variant is known as a chronic cough that can last up to 6-8 weeks.

Other variants of Asthma get triggered on the basis of your physical activities and atmosphere. For instance, nighttime Asthma refers to caught that usually come at night.

What is chest tightness Asthma-like?

Asthma in the chest can give you chest pain and breathing difficulties which can be signs of upcoming Asthma attacks. They may escalate from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain which may feel like something heavy like a rock is sitting in the chest.

What triggers asthma?

A wide range of aspects of an individual's environment and hereditary makeup can add to the improvement of asthma. It is the most widely recognized constant infection among kids. The principal side effects become clear at around 5 years old through wheezing and standard diseases in the respiratory tracts. The following are the primary causes of asthma.

  • Allergies
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Environmental factors (pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, cold temperatures, high humidity)
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Atopy
  • The menstrual cycle (sensitivity to aspirin)

Does Asthma worsen with age?

Yes, as you grow up the immunity system becomes blunted towards Asthma which makes it difficult for doctors to treat an infection that can trigger asthma exacerbations.

Since Asthma causes inflammation in respiratory tracks, adults have shown more dense and severe inflammation causing difficulty in breathing which can only be cured only inhaled corticosteroids. Furthermore, with age, symptoms of Asthma can worsen and cause other medical conditions like congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease which may need intensive diagnosis and treatment.


How is asthma diagnosed?

There are three primary segments for diagnosing asthma which is Medical history of the patient, observations of the patient during a physical test, and the result of the breathing tests. An important consideration doctor will observe these tests and decide the severity of asthma as minor, irregular, moderate, or serious in individuals who show signs of the condition, just as distinguishing the sort.

Specialists may mistake asthma manifestations for those of other childhood conditions. Youngsters who reflect asthma symptoms before the age of 5 years found it increasingly hard to get an obvious diagnosis. A history ancestry of asthma and sensitivities can enable a specialist to make an accurate diagnosis. Keep a note of every potential trigger of asthma to help control treatment, including data about any potential irritants in the working environment.

Make certain to recognize any health conditions that can interfere with asthma management, for example:

  • A runny nose
  • Sinus infections
  • Acid reflux
  • Psychological stress
  • Sleep apnea

How is the asthma treatment done?

Long-term medications like inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, combination inhalers, theophylline and long-acting beta-agonists form the cornerstone for the treatment of asthma. The inhaled corticosteroids help reduce swelling and also tones down the body’s reaction to external triggers. A doctor generally will advise a patient to take these medicines regularly as they require a lot of time to start working. Relievers are generally bronchodilators and they cause the airways to relax by reducing constriction.

Combination inhalers contain the properties of both preventer and symptom controller medications. Generally, symptom controllers are used in combination with preventers and they help to relax the muscles of the airways. These medicines are generally taken twice a day.

Quick-relief medications:

  • Ipratropium is mostly used to relax the airways and thus makes it easier for a person to breathe.
  • Short-acting beta agonists can be administered using a portable and hand-held inhaler or a nebulizer.
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids are used to provide immediate relief during an attack, to get relief from inflammation of the airways during severe asthma.

Allergy medications:

Medications like allergy shots and Omalizumab medication can be used if asthma is triggered by some allergy. When all other medications fail, bronchial themoplasty is used to treat severe asthma.

A person suffering from asthma will experience symptoms like excessive coughing, wheezing, tightness of his/her chest, and shortness of breath. However, a person becomes eligible for treatment only after a doctor has diagnosed him/her to be suffering from this condition. There are a number of tests that can help to detect whether a person is suffering from asthma or not. These tests include chest X-ray, peak expiratory flow, spirometry, methacholine challenge, nitric oxide test, imaging tests, and allergy testing.

Who is not eligible for the asthma treatment?

A person is not eligible for treatment if he/she has not been diagnosed by a doctor after proper medical examination. A person is also not eligible for treatment if tests like chest X-ray, peak expiratory flow and spirometry have not diagnosed the person to be suffering from asthma. Some of the medications used to treat asthma have some serious side-effects. So people with some chronic conditions or some other ailments are not eligible to take those medicines.

Can Asthma go away on its own?

No, once you develop the inflammatory condition it will not fade away completely. Asthma permanently makes changes in your lungs making them prone to triggers, and relapse after an attack.

The good news is that it can be managed with the help of good treatment and care.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

Since asthma can happen at any stage of life, the treatment plan can be designed for every asthma patient regardless of age and gender.

Can Asthma be cured

There’s no cure for Asthma so far, but the disease is easy to manage. In most cases, the disease is so manageable that patients do not feel any symptoms after proper treatment.

What are the side effects of asthma treatment?

The side effects associated with a symptom controller like formoterol can cause chest pain, throat pain, nervousness, wheezing, choking and other breathing problems. It can also worsen the symptoms of asthma. The side-effects of a preventer, fluticasone, include sores and white patches in the mouth and throat, weakness, nausea, vomiting, symptoms of flu, running nose, fever, chills and noisy breathing.

Side-effects associated with a reliever medication like terbutaline are headache, dizziness, drowsiness, palpitations, nervousness, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeats. Combination inhalers can cause a person’s voice to change by causing infections to form in the mouth and may also cause cough, throat pain, headache and cavities. Bronchial thermoplasty is a surgical procedure that can cause headache, increase in the lactic acid content of the body, hyperglycemia, skeletal muscle tremor and potassium deficiency.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Asthma is an incurable disease. Thus, a person suffering from this condition needs to incorporate some changes into his/her lifestyle to avoid worsening the condition. He/she should stay away from environmental triggers and also devise a full-fledged plan to deal with the triggers. Seasonal influenza vaccination can go a long way to reduce the risk of influenza. Avoiding smoking and also avoiding coming in contact with smoke as it can trigger a violent episode of an asthma attack.

How long does it take to recover?

Since asthma cannot be permanently cured, a person may need to take medications to deal with the symptoms. He/she will also need to make a number of lifestyle changes to prevent further triggering of the condition. Long-term medications like corticosteroids and beta-agonists need to be consumed for a longer period as they need time to work. The time required is also dependant on the severity of the attack and also on the constituency of the individual. Surgical interventions like bronchial thermoplasty help to reduce the onset of asthmatic attacks but do not treat the condition permanently.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Fluticasone, an inhaled corticosteroid, can cost something around Rs 1100 for 16 grams. 12-15 capsules of symptom controllers like foradil cost around R 4500. You have to shell out anything between Rs 650 and Rs 4000 to purchase short-acting beta agonists. Bronchial thermplasty is an expensive procedure and costs about Rs 10 lakhs.

How long do the effects of asthma treatment last?

There is no permanent treatment for asthma as it is an incurable disease. The medicines that we take help to reduce the symptoms or lessen the severity of an asthma attack. Even surgical procedures like bronchial thermoplasty act on the smooth muscles and reduce the severity. But the results are not permanent as a person may suffer from another asthmatic attack when he/she comes with some environmental triggers like smoke.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Since asthma cannot be cured permanently, its treatment plan will be temporary in its nature. With good physical management, a healthy diet, and regular treatment one can increase the remission but there are certain chances of relapse in case of any allergies or overuse of the lungs.

What are the home remedies for asthma?

Home Remedies For Asthma :

While there are numerous medical treatments for asthma, here are some common solutions for asthma that can give some relief:

  • Mustard oil

    Mustard oil blended with camphor is a powerful mix for asthma treatment. Backrub the blend everywhere throughout the chest, till you get help from asthma. Warming the oil before kneading it guarantees you feel the glow which gives fast help.

  • Eucalyptus oil

    One convenient measure to keep asthma under control is through eucalyptus oil. Trickle a couple of drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a bowl of bubbling water and take its steam. This aide in opening up any nasal blockages to encourage simple breathing.

  • Ginger

    Given the numerous advantages for your heath and body, it is not really amazing that ginger is considered a superfood. It is likewise viable against asthma. Prepare a potion with equivalent amounts of ginger, nectar, and pomegranate - consume it 2-3 times each day.

  • Coffee

    Caffeine in coffee helps in asthma treatment. It clears the nasal section enabling you to inhale effectively. In the event that you don't lean toward espresso go for dark tea. In any case, limit intake to 3 cups per day.

What is the best diet for asthma patients?

Including certain foods in your diet can help you deal with the symptoms of asthma in a better manner. Brightly coloured fruits or vegetables contain Vitamin A which are essential for maintaining mucous membranes in the air passages. Citrus fruits contain Vitamin C which reduces inflammation, so adding lemons to your daily diet is a good idea.

Gluten, soy, nuts and eggs can cause food allergy which can act as a trigger for asthma attacks. So you should know which foods can cause allergy and avoid them.

What drink is good for Asthma?

It can be hard to identify which drinks can be good or bad for your respiratory system. So here are some of the drinks that can be beneficial for the patient suffering from Asthma:

  • Caffeinated drinks: Drinks like tea, coffee, cocoa, or some soft drinks are enriched in caffeine that will help the patient to improve lung function for some time. caffeine has an element called theophylline which is often used as a bronchodilator. Even though it has many benefits for the Asthma patient, it is advisable to consume it as directed by the physician as excess caffeine can lead to other problems like sleeplessness, high blood pressure, etc.
  • Drinks with vitamin D: In most cases of Asthma patients have often shown vitamin D deficiency. Drinks enriched with vitamin D will reduce the chances of flare-ups that require hospitalization. Drinks like cow’s milk or plant-based milk will help you increase the amount of vitamin D in the body.
  • Water: Water is one of the most important components of the human diet and its insufficient can cause more than one medical condition. In the case of Asthma, dehydration can flare up the symptoms as it reduces heart efficiency and blood flow to the skin. One should drink at least 8 glasses of water in order to maintain optimum hydration.

Is coffee bad for Asthma?

Heavily caffeinated drinks like coffee may have many side effects in general but in the case of Asthma, it is beneficial. It not only reduces muscle fatigue but also acts as a weak bronchodilator which gives relief in Asthma associate symptoms. Prolong consumption of coffee is been suggested as a potential Asthma treatment.

What are the preventives measures for asthma?

Asthma is an unpredictable disease. Analysts trust it happens because of a mix of both hereditary and natural components. They've connected numerous qualities and ecological variables. Environmental elements are in a huge part in charge of intensifications. With such huge numbers of potential factors that can prompt an attack, preventing one can be testing. Here are a few hints on the most proficient method to maintain a strategic distance from asthma attacks

  • Recognize Asthma Triggers
  • Avoid Allergens
  • Keep away from Smoke of Any Type
  • Avoid Colds
  • Hypersensitivity Proof Your Home
  • Get Your Vaccinations
  • Consider Immunotherapy Allergy Shots
  • Accept Asthma Medications as Prescribed
  • Pursue Your Asthma Action Plan
  • Utilize a Home Peak Flow Meter

Should I go to urgent care for Asthma?

Asthma can create an emergency if the patient shows the following symptoms:

  • Breathlessness.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Wheezing.

This can also be the sign of an asthma attack, which needs immediate medical attention to manage.

What should I avoid if I have Asthma?

Here are some of the food items that you should avoid in case of Asthma:

  • Preserved foods: Food items like, dried fruits, frozen seafood, pickles and, premade potato, which are preserved in chemicals like “potassium bisulfite” and “sodium sulfite” can be harmful to the Asthma patient. They are mostly used to preserve items like:
    • Dried cherries
    • Dried apricots
    • Shrimp
    • Relishes
    • Horseradish sauce
    • Sauerkraut
    • Potatoes
    • Maraschino cherries
  • Wine or beer: Both of the alcoholic drinks went under the process of fermentation which requires additional preservatives in order to increase their shelf life. Most of the mass-produced wine or beer contains pesky sulfites which can cause coughing or wheeze in Asthma patients.
  • Foods that you are allergic to: Keep a check on the food that flare up your Asthma. Food items that may cause other forms of allergy can also trigger your Asthma. Avoid food items that cause any type of allergic reaction to avoid an Asthma attack.

What happens if you use an inhaler without having Asthma?

Bronchodilator inhalers are used to relieve spasms in the airway muscles, by realizing reliever medication that lowers down your blood pressure and heart rate. If you use it in normal cases, the steroids will decrease your blood pressure making the person feel very shaky. The prolonged use of inhalers without Asthma can also increase your risk of developing medical conditions like osteoporosis, oral candida, and cataracts.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

This may include:

  • Herbal remedies.
  • Yoga.
  • Relaxation therapy.
  • Biofeedback.
  • Over the counter rubs.

The effects of these kinds of methods are very low. Consult your doctor before picking any alternative as they can be harmful if it is not kent for you.

Physical Exercises for the people suffering from Asthma:

Since asthma affects your lungs, it is advisable to keep your fitness regime light and discuss it with your doctor beforehand. Avoid any pressure on the physical lungs, it can make things worse.

Here are some of the exercises that you can peruse for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Swimming: Highly recommended for asthma patients, swimming in warm moist water can be good exercise. The pressure of water on your chest can help you breathe better. Make sure it is free from pollen and high levels of chlorine.
  • Walking: walking in the early morning warm can be beneficial for the patient. Do not overuse your lungs as it can worsen the situation. If it's cold outside, use an indoor track to keep it moving.
  • Hiking: To spice up your fitness regime you can go for a steady incline or almost flat areas to hike upon. Make sure to check for any allergic pollen to prevent oneself further complications.
  • Sports with a short span of exertion: Sports like cycling, football, golf, gymnastics, etc. Have room for intermissions in case one is feeling low on oxygen during exercise.
Summary: Asthma is a medical condition in which there is an inflammation in the lungs that is caused by excess mucus in the lungs. Even though the disease does not have any permanent cure, the disease is easy to manage with proper treatment.


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Written ByDr. Mool Chand GuptaMD - Pulmonary,MD PULMONARY,DTCDPulmonology
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