What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that involves the airways (windpipes), that carries air to and from your lungs. A patient with asthma finds it difficult to breathe when the airways are inflamed or blocked. When this happens, the muscles around the airways tighten, thereby, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid respiratory rates, increase heart beats and tightness of the chest. Asthma attack is episodic in nature but airways inflammation is chronically present.
Who does it affect?
An estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. It is estimated that the number of people with asthma will cross more than 100 million by 2025*. Asthma affects people of all ages worldwide. It is most often found to develop during childhood or adolescence.
Asthma attacks are caused by a number of factors. Studies show that people with sensitive airways can develop asthma by inhaling dust, pollution, hazardous gases, strong smells, smoke, etc. These elements irritate the airways, thus causing them to swell and block the air flow.
Types of asthma
Normal healthy people can develop an asthma attack from exercising. This is called Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA). However, having this type of asthma should not stop one from being active. Another type of asthma has got to do with the family history. If any of your family members have/had asthma or a history of allergies, then the chances that you might develop the same are high. This type is called allergic asthma. Asthma occurring in kids is called childhood asthma and that which is caused by inhaling dangerous fumes, gases etc. is called occupational asthma.
The following risk factors can increase or worsen in the presence of
- Aeroallergens (House dust mites, companion animals, cockroach, fungi)
- Bio mass fuels
- Respiratory (viral) infection
- Strong emotional expression
- The child’s colds repeatedly go to the chest or take more than 1o days to clear up
Symptoms improve when asthma medication is given.
Your chances of developing asthma are more or your asthma would not control if you are not controlling:· Obesity
· Exposure to fumes, gases and chemical pollution
- When you consider bronchial asthma if any of the following signs or symptoms are present:
- Frequent episodes of wheezing – more than once a month
- Activity induced coughs or wheeze
- Cough particularly at night during periods without viral infection
- Absence of seasonal variation in wheeze
- Symptoms that persists after the age 3
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways (windpipe). Chronically inflamed airways are hyper responsive, they become obstructed and airflow is limited (by bronchoconstriction, mucus plugs, and increased inflammation) when airways are exposed to various risks factors. This makes the condition worse and the patient may need immediate medical assistance. These are called acute asthma attacks and can lead to sudden death. Therefore, bronchodilator (a substance that dilates the wind pipe to help increase airflow into the lungs) is used to provide immediate relief of symptoms.
Treatment and prevention
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. It is episodic in nature and airway inflammation is chronically present .There are effective treatment available which control symptoms and prevent acute exacerbation. Bronchodilators are the most common way of treating asthma.
- Strategies for avoiding common Allergens and pollutants
- Avoidance measures that improve control of asthma and reduce medications needs
- Tobacco smoke: Stay away from tobacco smoke parents and caregivers should not smoke
- Drugs, food, and additives: avoid if they are known to cause symptoms
If you are asthmatic or you are prone to getting recurrent allergic symptoms. It’s important to adapt a few changes in your life styles that will make a huge difference in preventing this disease. Make sure to breathe clean air. You can use face mask, when you are visiting in a dusty region. Yoga is also a great alternative help to control asthma symptoms. Administration of Influenza vaccination in the month of October every year to prevent viral infection which can prevent allergic rhinitis subsequently prevent asthma attack.