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Asthma - What Triggers it?

Dr. Sumit Wadhwa 88% (27 ratings)
DNB (General Medicine), Diploma In Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases (DTCD), MBBS
Internal Medicine Specialist, Gurgaon  •  13 years experience
Asthma - What Triggers it?

Asthma is a condition marked by the swelling and narrowing of the airways thus, producing excess mucus. This triggers coughing, breathing difficulties and wheezing. Asthma can be a minor inconvenience for some, while for others, it can often result in a deadly asthma attack.

Causes
It isn’t definite as to what causes asthma in some and not in others, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors is a probable reason. Factors that trigger asthma is varied, and is subjective. Some common causes of asthma include:

  1. Airborne matters, such as cockroach waste particles, pet dander, mould spores, dust mites or pollen
  2. Respiratory Infections
  3. Physical activity
  4. Cold air
  5. Irritants (such as smoking) and air pollutants
  6. Some medications, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, beta blockers and aspirin
  7. Stress and strong emotions
  8. Preservatives and sulphites added to some beverages and food, such as wine, beer, processed potatoes, dried fruit and shrimp
  9. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (Stomach acids retreat into the throat)

Signs you should look for?
Symptoms of asthma vary a lot, and differ among people. You can have infrequent attacks at times or suffer from the symptoms perpetually. Asthma symptoms and signs include:

  1. Breathing difficulties
  2. Chest pain or tightness
  3. Trouble sleeping due to breathing problems, wheezing or coughing
  4. A wheezing or whistling sound at exhaling
  5. Wheezing or coughing attacks that are aggravated by respiratory virus, such as flu or cold

Complications associated with asthma include:

  1. Symptoms and signs that interfere with recreational activities or school work
  2. Sick days from work or school when asthma flares up
  3. Persistent contractions of the bronchial tube that can lead to problems in breathing
  4. Hospitalisation and visits to the emergency room during critical asthma attacks
  5. Long-term consumption of certain medications to fix severe asthma can cause side effects

Treatment

Long-term control and prevention are the main goals of asthma treatment. Treatment generally applies learning about the things that trigger your asthma, taking necessary steps to dodge them and checking your breathing to ascertain that your regular medications are effectively controlling your asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting beta agonists, theophylline are some common long-term treatments to control asthma.
Medicines are prescribed based on your symptoms, age, triggers and what best keeps your asthma regulated. Also, you and your doctor need to work together to come up with a plan to counter your asthma. For example, if you think your symptoms are getting better, consult with your doctor to reduce your medication doses. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pulmonologist and ask a free question.

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