A chronic disease that involves the airways in the lungs. These airways are responsible for the air to pass inside and out of lungs. Asthma is a chronic lung illness that narrows down the airways. Your airways get inflamed and you’ll hear a whistling sound while breathing. Other things that you’ll feel are chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. It usually occurs at night or early in the morning. It affects people of all ages but generally children are more prone to it. According to a report, around 25 million of the people are suffering from asthma in The United States. Sometimes, people also experience asthma symptoms after exercising which is also called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Staying active helps you to stay healthy. People with a family history of asthma are more likely to get affected with asthma. Its symptoms are so mild that usually, they go away with the treatment.
What are the causes?
The causes are not much known but it has been found that asthma triggers vary from person to person. They include:
- People having family history of asthma
- Substances that are airborne such as dust mites, pollens, particles of cockroach waste.
- Air pollutants and irritants such as smoke
- Respiratory infections like common cold
- Respiratory infections during childhood
- Atopy which is an inherited tendency to develop allergies.
- Exposure to some viral infections
What are the risk factors?
Asthma usually affects the people of all ages but it mostly occurs in the childhood. Children or young people who often wheeze or have an infection of respiratory organs have more risk of suffering from asthma.
There are some people who develop asthma because of chemical irritants or industrial dust in the workplace which is called occupational asthma.
What are the symptoms?
Some common signs of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Whistling sound while breathing often called wheezing
- Trouble sleeping because of inability to sleep
- Tightness in chest
- Feeling very tired or weak after exercising
- Feeling grouchy
There are various things that trigger asthma. They may be:
- Allergens from dust, cockroaches, pollens from flowers, trees, grasses, and flowers.
- Sometimes physical activities like exercises also trigger asthma in human beings.
- Respiratory infections such as common cold etc.
- Some medicines and non-selective beta-blockers.
How is Asthma diagnosed?
If you are the patient of Asthma, your doctor will first check some points like:
- Your family history
- Allergies that you have
- Test results
It is important to let your doctor know all the signs that you are experiencing and whether they get worse at night or not. There are some other health conditions that can interfere with the symptoms of asthma like a runny nose, sinus infections, reflux disease.
Your doctor will listen to your breathing and look for asthma or allergies. Some tests will also be conducted:
Lung Function Test: This is also a test called spirometry that checks how lungs are working. It is done to measure how much air the patient breathe in and breathe out. It is also helpful to test how fast you blow air out. If you show the symptoms, you may be suffering from asthma.
There are some other tests as well:
- Chest or Sinus X-Ray
- Allergy testing
- A test to check the sensitivity of the airways
In case of young children, asthma is diagnosed by keeping few things in mind like:
- If one or both parents have asthma
- Child has sign of allergies
- The Child has an allergy to pollens.
- The Child has breathing problems and he/she wheeze in spite of the fact that she does not have a cold.
What are the treatments?
Most of the people who suffer from asthma have to take long-term medicines that help them to prevent the symptoms. Some treatments or medicines are:
- Cromolyn: This is the medicine which is taken by a nebulizer. It sends a mist of medicine in your lungs helping in the prevention of blocked airways.
- Omalizumab: It is given in a shot ore or two times a month to help in the prevention of symptoms.
- Inhaled Corticosteroids: They are one of the best medicines given for the long-term control of asthma. They are responsible for lowering the inflammation by preventing the chain reaction that causes symptoms of asthma. They are generally safe when they are prescribed. Do not have them without a proper prescription from the doctor.
When you start your treatment, you’ll need to visit your doctor regularly. After getting a little bit of relief, you will be needed to take all the necessary precautions given by the doctor.