It is a widespread chronic disease in which the airways of your body are severely affected. It leads to a condition where your airways that transmit air from the lungs and back, become tapered, swell and start producing large amounts of mucus. Persons, young or adult, who suffer from this inflammatory disease, are called asthmatic patients. The disease is also known as bronchial asthma.
If you are suffering from asthma, it is essential to know what causes this disease. The inner walls of an asthmatic patient become swollen and experience inflammation. As a result of the swelling, the sensitivity of your airways to irritation increases, thus they become more prone to allergic reactions.
This inflammation also makes the airways thinner, thus there is obstruction in the passage of air back and forth from the lungs. As a result you suffer from symptoms like wheezing (troubled breathing which creates a hissing noise), difficulty in breathing, sudden coughing and tightness of the chest. These symptoms are usually more frequent at night and in the early mornings.
Bronchial asthma is a disease that does not have any cure. This disease isn’t contagious and does not spread from person to person through contact or touch. Although, the specific causes have yet not been identified by medical science, the disease is hereditary and you can suffer from this problem if you have a family history. Asthma can also occur because of environmental reasons- chances of suffering from the disease are greater if you are living in an urban area, suffer from allergies or stay with a person who smokes.
If your parent suffers from this problem it does not mean that you will also suffer from asthma. It is just that you have a greater tendency to develop the disease.
Asthma has certain ‘triggers’, if you are constantly exposed to these triggers the tendency to develop the disease increases. The asthma symptoms include: pollens from flowers, dust, roaches, air pollutants and smoke.
Some commonly associated asthma symptoms are:
These symptoms are also common for illnesses like the common cold. Thus it does not mean that if you face these symptoms you have developed asthma. Similarly, all persons who have asthma do not suffer from the same symptoms. The only way to determine if you suffer from asthma symptoms is to visit your general practitioner. Mild symptoms do not create much hindrance in your daily life, but severe symptoms can cause major disruptions. Thus it is essential that you get them treated.
Asthma can be classified into 6 different kinds. They are:
Research by the American Lung Association states, 7.1 million kids under the age of 18 suffer from asthma. Symptoms of asthma are more rampant in the early age. Adult-onset of asthma is common in persons who have crossed the age of 50.
The difference between childhood and adult asthma is that in symptoms of asthma in children, the children face intermittent symptoms. At times symptoms of asthma in children occur due to allergic reactions and at times they do not. In case of adults suffering from asthma, the symptoms are essentially persistent. They require regular treatment.
Yes, very often asthma is related to allergies. In fact, allergic asthma is a kind of asthma, in which the attacks occur due to certain allergic reactions that lead to abnormal breathing or wheezing.
The research conducted by medical science has not yet proved if polluted air or smoking leads to the onset of asthma, but it has certainly identified these two as factors that make asthma symptoms and attacks worse.
Pollutants of the air are especially harmful for children suffering from asthma. These pollutants include carbon monoxide emitted from vehicles and sulphur dioxide due to combustion of fossil fuel. It is essential that the air quality index of your area is low, to effectively control asthma.
Children are also greatly affected by cigarette smoke. This is because of the fact that their lungs are comparatively smaller.
Although symptoms of bronchial asthma are common to other diseases, there are certain ways through which you can determine if you have asthma. One of the most familiar signs of a lung disease is continuous coughing. A persistent cough, especially in children may be due to asthma. Thus it is important that you take your child to his pediatrician as soon as possible.
Your doctor might recommend certain tests to identify if you suffer from asthma, they are:
No, Asthma cannot be cured. The disease can only be controlled with proper medication and care. The treatment for this disease goes on for a long period of time, for some people asthma treatment is a lifelong process.
In case of children suffering from asthma, most outgrow the disease till they reach adolescence. Only continuous exposure to pollutants and other triggers may lead to an attack. Thus one has to be careful at all times. Asthma treatment for children is given through medication and inhalers.
As asthma cannot be cured, the best way to treat this disease is through effective control. It is recommended that you consult your doctor and discuss an action plan for asthma treatment, which will become an essential part of your daily routine.
This action plan will detail your treatments and the various medicines that you have to take. It is best that you be careful and preferably stay away from triggers. It is necessary that you always keep an inhaler handy, in case you suffer from an attack.
It is important that you track your attacks. Keep a diary and make a record of all your symptoms and the frequency and time of each. You can use a peak flow meter to measure your lung power regularly. Go for regular health and asthma checkups to the doctor. If at any time you have doubts call your doctor to clear them.
A different kind of treatment is meted out to special groups like children and pregnant women, in this case it is best that you visit your doctor and obtain the necessary treatment.
No in most cases the steroids used for the asthma cure are not harmful. Corticosteroids are used for asthma cure; these are a copy of the steroids that are naturally produced in the body. Thus they are safe. These steroids are different from the ones taken by body builders and sportsmen. Moreover, they are inhaled and go directly into the lungs, so they do not enter the blood stream at all.
Sometimes doctors prescribe steroid pills for control of asthma. These pills and inhalers may have certain side effects. Your voice may become husky temporarily, but it will go back to normal in no time.
No major lifestyle changes are recommended for asthmatic patients who are looking for an asthma cure. All you have to do is be more careful about your health and fitness. If you suffer from asthma it is essential that you stop smoking. It will considerably reduce the intensity and frequency of your attacks. In case you suffer from allergic asthma, make sure that you avoid the triggers. Avoid eating any food that you are allergic to and which might lead to the onset of asthma symptoms.
It is essential that you make regular visits to your doctor and take your vaccinations if advised by your physician.
Narrowing of the airways of the lungs may lead to an asthma attack. It involves severe coughing and wheezing, accompanied with troubled breathing. A minor one can be easily treated at home, but a major asthma attack is life threatening and needs to be medically treated immediately.
An attack, which is severe to the extent that bronchodilators do not work, leading to the potential failure of the respiratory system is termed as Status asthmaticus. It requires instant medical care and can lead to death if there is any delay.
Yes you can prevent asthma attacks easily by following a few simple steps –