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?
The chances of asthma increase for a number of reasons. These are:
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 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
● 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.
● 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
● 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.
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
N95, N99 and P25 Air Masks
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
What is Asthma ?
What trrigers Asthma?
Diagnosis and Treatment