Biology

Asthma

Asthma is a condition or disease causing inflammation and narrowing of the airways. A person suffering from this disease finds it difficult to breathe. In some severe cases, the patient may suffer from difficulty in talking or shortness of breath.

Doctors also term this disease as a chronic respiratory disease or as “bronchial asthma.” Also, this disease affects millions of people globally per year. The good news is that asthma treatment is available and is quite effective. With proper treatment, a person can live a happy and fruitful life. In the case of an emergency, a patient may have to seek medical services in a hospital.

asthma

                                                                                                                                                Asthma

What is Asthma?

Asthma points to an inflammatory sickness that affects the airways to the lungs. Furthermore, the asthma symptoms make breathing difficult for a patient. Moreover, in some serious cases, certain types of physical activities can become impossible or difficult for the person to perform.

This disease is one of the most common chronic conditions around the world. Thankfully, asthma prevention is very much possible.

To understand asthma, one must understand a little bit about the breathing procedure. In normal circumstances, air goes via the nose or mouth when a person breathes.

Afterwards, this air goes into the airways and ultimately into the lungs. Also, the oxygen is delivered into the bloodstream with the help of numerous small air passages in the lungs.

Symptoms take place when the swelling of the lining of the airways takes place. As such, the tightening of the muscles around them takes place. Due to asthma, mucus is filled in the airways which further reduce the airflow into the lungs.

These conditions can give rise to what experts call an asthma attack. Furthermore, the other common asthma symptoms are tightness in the chest or coughing.

Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma symptoms may vary from one individual to another. Furthermore, one may experience attacks at certain times. Some symptoms appear only at certain times, for example, once a person exercises.

Such symptoms are as follows:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping because of various factors like wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing at the time of exhaling, which is commonly found among children
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that escalate during a cold or flu

Signs that asthma is probably is getting worse are as follows:

  • The symptoms that occur on a frequent basis
  • Increasing difficulty in breathing which one may measure with a device that checks the working of the lungs. An example of such a device is the peak flow metre.
  • The need to use a quick-relief inhaler with a high level of frequency

Triggers

Certain conditions may trigger symptoms in a person. The list of such conditions and triggers is indeed extensive. Some of the major triggers are as follows:

  • Illness: Respiratory diseases like flu, pneumonia, and other viral diseases can trigger attacks.
  • Exercise: Intensive work-out may make breathing difficult for a patient.
  • Extreme weather conditions: Conditions such as very high humidity or low temperatures may trigger asthma.
  • Irritants in the air: People with this disease are sensitive to pollutants or irritants in the air. Furthermore, some examples of such irritants are smoke, strong odour, and fumes of chemical nature.
  • Allergens: Various types of allergens like pollen, mites, animal dander can trigger symptoms.
  • Emotions: Emotional reactions like crying, laughing, shouting can also give rise to an attack.

Prevention of Asthma

The exact cause of this disease is difficult to ascertain. Furthermore, this is why asthma prevention becomes challenging to achieve.  Consequently, it also becomes really hard to prevent the inflammatory condition.

The various strategies of asthma prevention include:

  • Avoiding triggers: A patient must stay away from products, smells, or chemicals that have triggered symptoms in the past.
  • Reduce allergens exposure: Make sure to avoid allergens like mould or dust as much as possible. For this purpose, you must identify the specific allergens that affect you.
  • Getting allergy shots. Allergen immunotherapy refers to a type of treatment that changes the way the immune system works. Furthermore, regular shots make the body less sensitive to the triggers that affect a patient.
  • Taking preventive medication. Prescribed preventive medication is available to be taken on a daily basis.

Causes of Asthma

Identification of no single cause has taken place for asthma. Furthermore, according to experts, there are multiple causes of this disease. Below is a brief description of such factors:

  • Genetics: People are much more likely to develop this disease if their parent or sibling has it.
  • History of viral infections: Someone with a history of viral infections is at a higher risk to develop the condition.
  • Hygiene hypothesis. According to this theory, babies who are denied access to sufficient bacteria tend to have weaker immune systems. Therefore, such babies are at a higher risk to develop this condition.

Treatment 

Asthma treatment is quite effective but unfortunately cannot eliminate the disease completely. Furthermore, below are the various treatment medications that can be taken either orally or via an inhaler. Below is a list of such asthma treatment medications:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene modifiers
  • Combination inhalers
  • Theophylline pills
  • Short-acting beta-agonists
  • Anticholinergic agents
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids

FAQs on Asthma

Question 1: How does a doctor diagnose asthma?

Answer 1: A doctor diagnoses this disease by either conducting a physical examination of the whole body or by conducting various tests. The various tests for the diagnosis of asthma are spirometry, peak flow, allergy tests, imaging tests, nitric oxide tests, sputum eosinophils, and methacholine challenge.

Question 2: How to manage asthma?

Answer 2: The symptoms of this disease can be serious but are easy to manage. Furthermore, one can manage the symptoms by the following measures:

  • Eating a healthy diet that is a well-balanced diet
  • Maintaining a healthy balanced weight that is neither too deficient nor excessive
  • Quitting the habit of smoking
  • Regularly working out
  • Properly managing stress and anxiety

Question 3: When should one visit a doctor for asthma?

Answer 3: At the moment, a 100% effective asthma treatment is not possible. Nevertheless, you must immediately seek medical services on experiencing symptoms.  In particular, if you have asthma, immediately see a doctor on experiencing:

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Inability or difficulty in performing daily activities
  • Persistent wheezing or coughing that doesn’t go away.
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