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Asthma - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Asthma ?

Airways become narrow and get constricted and there is excess mucus production in asthma. It makes breathing difficult and also triggers wheezing and coughing. For some asthma is just a minor ailment. Others might not be able to function and may have near fatal experiences. Even though it can’t be cured. The symptoms are manageable. As it can change with time, it is necessary that your doctor tracks your symptoms and signs and adjusts treatment as required. It isn’t known as to why some people have asthma while others don’t. Genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role in this.

What trrigers Asthma?

  • Being exposed to various substances and irritants that might trigger allergies or the asthma symptoms and signs.
  • Airborne particles like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, cockroach waste and mold spores.
  • Common cold
  • Exertion induced
  • Chilly air
  • Emotional overload and stress
  • Irritants and air particles like smoke
  • Certain medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, beta blockers and naproxen
  • Preservatives and sulfites
  • GERD or gastro esophageal disease, an acid reflux condition

The chances of asthma increase for a number of reasons. These are:

  • Having a relative with asthma
  • Having other allergic conditions like allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis
  • Smoking excessively
  • Having a high BMR
  • Being exposed to passive smoke
  • Being exposed to pollution or fumes
  • Having an occupation which involves dealing with chemicals

Diagnosis and Treatment

It is necessary to do a physical exam to rule out other possibilities like COPD (chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease) or respiratory infections. The doctor will conduct these tests and question about your symptoms and signs.

  • Lung Function Tests- Pulmonary or lung function tests can determine the amount of air moving out and in during breathing. They may include: Spirometry- This tests for the widening of the bronchi by seeing how much air is exhaled after deep breathing.
  • Peak flow- A peak-flow meter is quiet a simple instrument that checks the intensity of the exhalation. A low reading on the meter might indicate that the lungs aren’t working to their best efficiency and that the asthma is deteriorating. A doctor will instruct you on how the peak flow measurements are to be interpreted and tracked.
  • A medicine called bronchodilator is taken after or before a lung function test, to open the airways up.
Can't be cured, but treatment helps Self diagnosable Lab test not required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Non communicable
Pain in the chest Troubled breathing Wheezing Irritated or inflammed throat Mouth breathing Tightness of chest

Popular Health Tips

Pulmonary Function Tests - Types And Reasons To Undergo Them!

MBBS, MD - Respiratory Medicine , Trained In Treating Sleep Disorder , Trained In Interventinal Bronchoscopy , Trained In Medical Thoracoscopy , Trained In Rigid Bronchoscopy
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Pulmonary Function Tests - Types And Reasons To Undergo Them!

Lung function is a major indicator of health since it determines the amount of Oxygen that a body is getting. Doctors resort to Pulmonary Function Tests if there is a problem with breathing or the lungs. Pulmonary tests show how the lungs are functioning. These tests measure parameters like lung capacity, lung volume, gas exchange, rate of flow, etc.

Armed with information from these tests, a doctor can decide whether a person has some issues with lungs or not. And if there’s some issue, doctor will be able to easily decide the line of treatment for accelerated recovery.

Type Of Pulmonary Function Tests

There are two common types of Pulmonary Function Tests: Spirometry and Plethysmography

Spirometry Test

● This test measures how much air a person can inhale and exhale, as well as how fast one can empty the lungs.
● It may also be done to monitor the lung condition periodically to measure the outcome of a treatment a person may be undergoing.
● In this test, a person needs to breathe into a tube. The tube is attached to a Spirometer.
● Before the test, nostrils will be closed with a clip. The person will also need to create a seal around the tube, so that there is no leakage of air.
● Patient will be asked to take a deep breath and then breathe out as hard as possible through the tube.
● The doctor may ask the person to repeat the effort three times so that he gets consistent result.

Plethysmography Test

● This measures how much air is actually in the lungs after a deep inhalation.
● During the test, one needs to sit in a plastic box, wear a clip on the nostrils, wrap lips around a special mouthpiece and breathe in and out through it.

Why To Undergo Pulmonary Function Tests

Doctors may conduct Pulmonary Function Tests even on healthy people. If a person works in certain hazardous environments like graphite factory, coal mine, etc., the employer may order such tests on a regular basis. People working in such places are at risk of developing Pulmonary problems.

However, the most common condition when a doctor may advise a PFT is when someone faces health problems like:

● Respiratory infections
● Allergies
● Breathing problem after injury
● Chronic lung problems like Bronchiectasis, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, etc.
Tumors in the lungs or scarring or inflammation of the lungs

Diseases That May Precipitate The Need For A PFT

Sarcoidosis, a disease characterised by the formation of lumps of inflammatory cells around the lungs, spleen, eyes, skin, etc.
Asbestosis, a disease that results from inhalation of Asbestos particles.
Scleroderma, which causes thickening of connective tissues.

One of the Pulmonary Function Tests may be advised by a doctor for a variety of reasons. These tests do not always mean that Lungs have a problem. They are just a way to measure the parameters of working of the Lungs so that a Physician can treat a problem effectively if found.

2570 people found this helpful

Pollution - How Different Masks Can Help You Protect Yourself?

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care, Europeon Diploma In Adult Respiratory Medicine, Europeon Diploma In Intensive Care, Fellow
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Pollution - How Different Masks Can Help You Protect Yourself?

The air that we breathe in has become a cauldron of harmful and poisonous gases, particulate matter, chemical fumes and a host of similar toxic substances. Pollution, especially of the air is at an all-time rise. The quality of air is deteriorating with each passing day, triggering a plethora of health problems. Chronic and severe lung and respiratory disorders (such as COPD, Chronic Bronchitis, Asthma, Emphysema), heart and kidney problems, headache, burning eyes, are affecting people (irrespective of their age and sex) like never before. As per WHO, nearly 6.5 million premature deaths worldwide are reported yearly due to pollution, a depressing statistics indeed! Thus, necessary preventive measures should be followed to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected from the deleterious effects of pollution.

The use of Anti-pollution masks to deal with pollution

  • The anti-pollution masks come as a blessing for millions of desperate souls who have been frantically looking for a solution to tackle pollution.
  • The anti-pollution masks act as a shield against the harmful pollutants that often finds its way into our bodies.
  • The different face masks work by filtering out the hazardous particulate matter from the air.
  • Though industrial air masks and the surgical masks are available, most people prefer to go with the more superior quality anti-pollution masks such as N95, N99, and P95 masks.
  • The surgical masks seldom provide any protection from the air pollution as toxic air can pass through the masks without any difficulty.

N95, N99 and P25 Air Masks

  • The particulate matter (PM) in the air can be PM 2.5 or PM 10. PM 2.5 implies that the diameter of the particulate matter is 2.5 micrometers or less.
  • Increased exposure to PM10 (the diameter of the particulate matter is 10 micrometers or less) can result in severe bronchial and respiratory problems (coughing, wheezing, breathing problems, asthma), heart ailments and stroke, a shoot in the blood pressure.
  • As compared to PM 10, PM 2.5 remains suspended in the air for a longer time and can adversely affect the lungs (lung irritation and inflammation), heart (result in plaque formation in the arteries), throat and nose.
  • As indicative of the name, the N95 Air Masks come with superior grade filtration technology that can filter about 95% of the PM 2.5 from the inhaled air. However, when it comes to oil-based pollutants, the effectiveness of N95 air masks takes a downslide.
  • The N99 Air Masks comes with a better filtration rate and can filter out the PM 2.5 from the air with close to 99% efficiency. As seen in N95, the N99 air masks also fail to deliver against oil-based pollutants.
  • The P25 masks come with an added benefit. Unlike the N95 and N99 air masks, the P25 masks are effective against oil-based pollutants and are used to remove PM 2.5 with 95% efficiency.
  • However, be it N95, N99 or P25, one cannot use the masks for more than 40-42 hours (the filter loses its efficiency).

Asthma - What Precautions Should You Take?

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care, Europeon Diploma In Adult Respiratory Medicine, Europeon Diploma In Intensive Care, Fellow
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Asthma - What Precautions Should You Take?

Living with asthma can be tough, but not necessarily unmanageable to the point that it interferes living your life to the fullest. It all boils down to being aware of the triggers, signs and all the other relevant details and taking the necessary precautions to keep the asthma attack at arm’s length.

Here is an insight.

  1. Keep your home dust free: Dust which contains irritants like dust mite collect in your beddings, old rugs, and curtains and they cause severe allergic reactions. Wash your bedspreads and pillow covers weekly once with hot water to kill the dust mites. Wear a mask and gloves while dusting the interior of your home. Keep the interior of your house dry so that molds do not form in the dark and damp places like faucets and toilets.
  2. Keep your pets at bay: Pet dander triggers problems of asthma when they enter your respiratory system through breathing. If you have any asthma patient in your home, it is best to keep your home free from pets. You can make a separate accommodation outside your home for your pets. They should not be allowed inside the room of the family member with the asthma problem.
  3. Be aware of your warning signs: Signs such as nose block, running nose, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are the common symptoms which trigger an asthma attack. You can measure your peak airflow with the help of a meter right at home. Thus, you can have an assessment of your lung function and take necessary precautions to prevent an attack. Keep your anti-allergic medicines and inhalers during the season you are susceptible to asthma attacks.
  4. A healthy diet keeps the doctor away: Your diet is directly related to your asthma problem as certain foods have an immediate allergic reaction in our body even before we understand clearly. Also, there are certain foods that have a magical effect on the prevention of asthma. Recent studies have shown Vitamins C& E, Beta-carotene, magnesium, selenium, flavonoids and Omega 3 fatty acids play a vital role in improving lung function and preventing asthma. Eat as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.
  5. A strict no-no to sulphites: Foods that are rich in potassium bisulphite or sodium sulphite may trigger your asthma attack. Both these ingredients are the used for preserving foods for a long time e.g., wine, beer, pickles, tinned or frozen berries, shrimps, etc. Due to the presence of potassium bisulphite, an asthmatic patient may suffer from bronchospasm and other symptoms of asthma attack. Dried fruits like raisins or apricots are also on the list.

Apart from the preventive measures mentioned above, regular exercises and yoga will strengthen the capacity of lungs and help you fight asthma with ease. A healthy diet and stress-free lifestyle is the key to keep this problem at miles away from you!

1875 people found this helpful

Allergy Testing By Skin Prick Method - An Insight!

ENT Specialist, Delhi
Allergy Testing By Skin Prick Method - An Insight!

While a sizeable population suffers from allergy issues every year, treating them is often possible without an extensive diagnosis. However, diagnosis of the allergen becomes crucial when the problem recurs several times in a year.

The skin prick testing is a reliable means of diagnosing the IgE-mediated (immunoglobulin E) allergic disease in people who have asthma, urticaria, rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic eczema, anaphylaxis, and drug allergy.

It offers evidence for confirming the diagnosis of the type I allergy. The best aspect of allergy testing by skin prick method is that it is minimally invasive, inexpensive and the results are immediately available when carried out by trained professionals.

Why is skin prick test conducted?
Skin prick test is usually used for diagnosing the food allergy symptoms which are typically caused by the interaction between a food allergen and the IgE antibody. To diagnose a food allergy, the allergy expert may recommend you undergo a skin prick test for measuring the number of antibodies present.

What can you expect?
During the skin prick test, the allergist places a drop of solution which contains the food allergen on the back or the forearm. When testing the fruits and vegetables, food is used in place of solution. In this allergy testing method, the doctor would use a needle or a plastic probe for gently pricking or scratching the skin for allowing a small amount of solution to penetrate the skin surface. This method is not painful, and no bleeding is involved in it. Though many people think that the process would cause much discomfort, the reality is that it feels similar to a scratch caused by fingernails.

On the basis of the case history, a patient may need to be tested for just one or many foods. The results are almost immediate; You can get them within half-an-hour of the test. The positive results of the test are indicated by a wheal which causes a raised white bump encircled by a small circle of itchy red skin. Though the size of the wheal is not the accurate indicator, a large wheal generally indicates that the patient is affected by food allergy.

How accurate is skin prick testing?
The skin prick allergy testing hardly produces any false negatives which indicate that you are not allergic to a food. Having negative results is synonymous with not being allergic to the food for which you are tested. On the other hand, positive results are also not always accurate. About 50 percent of cases show false positives which mean the positive result is shown even though you are not allergic to that particular food.

This simple test can be the means of identifying the allergens which will help determine the allergy prevention plan. Consulting an allergist before undergoing the test is essential.

2626 people found this helpful

Allergic Asthma - Dealing With Person Suffering From It!

Diploma In Allergy & Clinical Immunology, MBBS, MD - Paediatrics, M.Med - Family Medicine
Allergist/Immunologist, Kochi
Allergic Asthma - Dealing With Person Suffering From It!

 Allergic asthma affects a vast majority of adults, being one of the most common respiratory disorders. There are various triggers, and with environmental pollution on the rise, the incidence of asthma has grown too. If there is a person in the family with asthma, it is not just the person who has it, but the entire family who needs to be sort of prepared to handle it. In most cases, there could be attacks or exacerbations and it is extremely important for the person who is in the vicinity to know how to act. This timely and prompt action could sometimes prove to be a life-saver.

  1. Handy inhaler: If your loved one has asthma, it is advisable to keep an inhaler handy. Practice how to use the albuterol nebulizer, which often is a lifesaver when a person has an acute asthma attack.
  2. What to do: In most cases, the doctor writes out an action plan that details what should be done if there is an attack. The person who could be potential caretaker should familiarize with this and probably do a mock trial so they are ready when required.
  3. Monitor: Whether it is a young or an elderly person, teach them to monitor peak flow levels. The peak flow meter is easy to use and the readings can help identify if there is any need to be watchful.
  4. Clean up the house: For allergic asthma, the accumulated dust in the furniture and animal dander are great triggers. It helps to keep the house clean by periodic cleaning of the carpets, mopping up the tiles and flooring. This helps to remove accumulated dust and prevents attacks. Avoid accumulating soft toys which tend to collect dust. Bookshelves need to be cleaned periodically.
  5. Smoking: Avoid smoking at home or as much as possible when the asthmatic person is around.
  6. Pets: If possible, avoid them as they produce dander which can trigger an attack.
  7. Empathy: An asthma patient requires a lot of empathy. One should understand that the asthmatics are also affected by their attacks, which in turn controls their overall schedule. Try to slow down and keep pace with them. Do not push for exercise or changes beyond a certain point, as the person knows how much they can stretch. Help them manage weight and stress, as these lead to acute attacks.

Healthify your lifestyle: Eat healthy, avoid foods which can induce an attack, get a good night’s sleep, avoid triggers, maintain weight, avoid smoking, and manage stress. Emotionally, match up their pace and show empathy. All these will definitely produce better control over asthma.

Despite this, it is possible to have an attack, so be cautious. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4329 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My grandma is 85 year old. In winter season, she suffer from asthma. Now I want to know which medicine is helpful for her. So please tell about this.

DM (Pulmonary & Critical care medicine), DNB ( Respiratory Diseases/Pulmonary Medicine), MD (Tuberculosis & Respiratory Diseases), MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Hi. Inhalers are appropriate but if she is not unable to use. Then nebulisation with foracort I respule twice daily and levolin I respule Three times daily for 7 days and if relief then levolin can be made SOS. Rule out any cardiac disorder.
1 person found this helpful

I have shortness of breath since 1 week. I feel tired and shortness of breath easily while running or climbing steps with some weight. Do I have asthma or is it normal in winters?

MD-Physician, Fellow. Cardiology, Fellow. Diabetology
Cardiologist, Vadodara
Hello there, no need to worry, winter is the month of Asthma aggravation, you can simply take anti asthmatic medicines like salbutamol or any inhalers if you prefer. Make sure your Immunity levels and vitamin levels such as B12 and D3 are correct.

My mother 64 years old. Suffering asthma last 14 yrs. Taking Formonide 200 two times/day & Combimist l when necessary. But sometimes breathing problem when changing weather; taking duolin respule by the advice of doctor. Is the treatment is right way. Is any side effects by the treatment.

DM (Pulmonary & Critical care medicine), DNB ( Respiratory Diseases/Pulmonary Medicine), MD (Tuberculosis & Respiratory Diseases), MBBS
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Hi. Treament is appropriate but I suggest you to modify treatment. Formonide 200 mcgs 2 puffs BD via spacer followed by mouth wash/ tiova 9 mcg 2 puffs OD via spacer/ levolin should be taken sos 3-4 times in case of emergency. Consider for flu and pneumococcal vaccination. Side effects with levolin such as tremors and palpitations. Tachycardia can precipitate cardiac failure. So avoid levolin. Nebulisers should be used occasionally in case of exacerbation. Thanks. Rest you should check inhaler technique.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Asthma ?

What trrigers Asthma?

Diagnosis and Treatment

Play video
Asthma may cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing. These breathing difficulties can take different forms in different people and even within the same person over time.
Play video
Things To Know About Asthma
Asthma may cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing. The symptoms may sometimes flare up. There are many causes like pollution, smoking, and more. So It can be cured by medication. We should have a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent it.
Play video
Bronchial Asthma
Bronchial asthma triggers may include air pollution and toxins, emotional stress and anxiety, infections such as colds, flu, or pneumonia and many more.
Play video
Inhalation Therapy In Respiratory Disorder
Good afternoon!

I am Dr. Hemant Kalra. I am a pulmonologist. Today our talk will be about inhalation therapy in respiratory disorders. So what is inhalation? Inhalation is when we give drugs or solution of drugs by nasal or oral respiratory route. Inhalation is also called inspiration. What is the inspiration? Inspiration is movement of air from external environment by our breathing pipes into our lungs. This is inhalation and inspiration also. In which conditions we use inhalation therapy? Inhalation therapy is used in Obstructive Airway Disorders. What are these disorders? These are Asthma, COPD, Bronchitis and some cases of Sarcoidosis. You may ask me why tablets and syrups are not used in such disorders?

Why inhalation therapy is preferred over tablets and syrup in such disorders because- tablets and syrup are in high doses, they are very toxic, very costly, they reach systemic blood circulation, they have got adverse side effects. When you give a drug, tablet or syrup it first enters your stomach, then via your blood stream it enters your airways where inflammation is there and where these types of drugs are required. So why to give a drug in oral or syrup form when inhalation therapies are available. Inhalation therapies takes drugs directly where it is required. Inhalation therapy can be given in various forms. First is metered dose inhaler. You might have seen inhaler people using in movies.

Dry powder inhalers are also available in market and other forms like nebulation is also available. What drugs can be given in inhalation therapies? We can give bronchodilators, which can open up the airways. We can give Cortico-steroids. Mucolytics and some antibiotics can also be given via inhalation route. Nowadays insulin is also given in inhalation route. Inhalation therapy is very very effective in certain disorders. I started this topic because I felt that we in India do not use inhalation therapy because of various myths in our society. So what are the myths? Firstly, inhalers are very costly- absolutely wrong. Secondly, inhalers are addictive- absolutely wrong. Thirdly, inhalers have got side effects- also absolutely wrong. Inhalers do not have any side effects. I can assure you this that inhalers can be given in pregnancy from day 1 to 9th month when very few drugs are recommended in pregnancy.

It can be given in any age group from 1 year to 90 years. Fifthly, inhalers are always given when disease is very severe- it is also wrong. On the contrary inhalers are recommended or should be given as early as possible in the disease. So inhalation therapy is the best option for any kind of obstructive airway disorders. I can proudly say that we have got the best inhalation technique or inhalers available in India. You must use them as advised by the doctor. Do not say no when the doctor writes an inhaler for you. It is the best option for obstructive airway disorders because it is most effective with no side effects, very cheap and can be given for many years. Thank you very much! In the nutshell please use inhalers as adviced by a doctors. Do not hesitate to take inhalers. Inhalers are best option for obstructive airway disorders, very safe, very effective, no side effect and very cheap.

Thank you very much!
Play video
Know More About Asthma
I am Dr. M.C Gupta. Practicing at Jeevan Jyoti Hospital, Faridabad. I am a pulmonologist and going to talk about asthma.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Leading to hyper responsiveness of the airways, causing breathlessness, chest tightness, cough which is usually in the night or early morning hours. It should be reversible by it self or by drugs. Prevalence of asthma is in India between 1.3 to 2.5% and it is higher in the children and go even up to 10%. Type of asthma are childhood asthma, adult onset asthma, chronic asthma, occupational asthma and difficult to treat asthma. Asthma is usually genetic or environmental factors. The environmental triggers usually are allergens. Most of are, in allergens most important cause is house dust might. It can be due to stress, anxiety, obesity, drugs, infection. Infection are usually viral. It can be due to drugs like aspirin, NSIAD, or ace. The diagnosis of asthma is usually by pulmonary function test which shows the obstruction and the reversibility of the obstruction by inhaled short acting beta to agonist. If the reversibility is good then the patient is labeled as asthma. Treatment of asthma is for emergency patients or a routine patients. If a patient is unable to take proper breath, his heart rate is more than 120, he is having increased respiratory rate of 30 or having sinuses or unable to speak a single sentence then he is having a severe attack of asthma and should be rushed, patient should be rushed to the nearby health faculty for admission and treatment. Treatment for routine asthmatic is divided into certain steps. Steps 1 to 5. In the step 1, the patient is given short acting beta 2 agonist as and when required, with that the patient usually remain all right, the need for inhalation for beta 2 agonist should not be regular. Step 2 consist of inhaled corticosteroids in low doses, and the patient remain usually well controlled with that. In the step 3 of this, there is a either high dose of inhaled corticosteroids or combination of low dosed inhaled corticosteroids plus long acting beta 2 agonist. In step 4 if the patients is not controlled with the drugs in step 3 then, the patient is put on to step 4 and contain high dose inhaled corticosteroids plus long acting beta2 agonist. Most of the patients are controlled up to steep wise treatment 1 to 4. If the patient is not controlled given with that then the patient may need oral corticosteroids or anti iGE treatment.

For further queries or any follow up treatments you can contact me at my hospital.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice