Asthma

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About Asthma

Asthma refers to a respiratory condition which causes blockage in the lungs. It tends to affect people of all ages and races and generally starts in childhood. The airways or bronchial tubes are meant to carry air in and out of the lungs.

Asthma is the outcome of a situation when these airways get inflamed. They get more swollen and the muscles around the airways can contract in case of any symptom trigger. This results in difficult movement of air in the lungs causing symptoms wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.

It is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of bronchial tubes and makes it difficult for air to pass through them.

Symptoms of Asthma

In the case when breathing gets blocked or infected, it is known as an asthma attack. The attack of asthma may emerge out suddenly or evolve gradually over many days or hours. The primary symptoms that indicate an asthma attack include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Breathlessness
  • The problem in speaking.

Symptoms may emerge out during the day or at night. If they occur at night, they may interrupt the sleep.

  • Wheezing is the most widely appearing symptom of an asthma attack.
  • Wheezing refers to a musical, whistling, or hissing sound during breathing.
  • Wheezes are most frequently heard during exhalation, but they can take place during breathing in (inhaling).
  • Not all people with asthma wheeze and not all who wheeze are asthmatics.

There could be different categories of an asthma attack including:

  • Mild intermittent: This encompasses attacks not less than twice a week and nighttime attacks no more than twice a month. Attacks affect no more than a few hours to days. The extremity of attacks differ, but there are no symptoms between attacks.
     
  • Mild persistent: This includes spells more than twice a week, but not daily, and nighttime symptoms more than twice a month. Attacks are often harsh enough to disturb general activities.
     
  • Moderate persistent: This refers to regular attacks and nighttime symptoms more than once a week. More extreme attacks occur at least twice a week and maybe there for days. Attacks need daily use of quick-relief (rescue) medication and changes in daily activities.
     
  • Severe persistent: This includes recurrent heavy attacks, continual daytime symptoms, and frequent nighttime symptoms. Symptoms need limits on routine activities.

Causes of Asthma

There is no exact cause of asthma is known. However, there are certain aspects that may trigger its onset.

These include:

  • Introduction to tobacco or wood smoke;
  • Inhaling polluted air;
  • Inhaling other respiratory annoyances such as perfumes or cleaning elements;
  • Exposure to airway irritants at various places;
  • Breathing in allergy-causing substances (allergens) such as molds, dust, or animal dander;
  • An upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, flu, sinusitis, or bronchitis;
  • Exposure to cold, dry weather;
  • Emotional excitement or stress;
  • Physical exertion or exercise;
  • Reflux of stomach acid known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD;
  • Sulfites, an improver to some foods and wine; and
  • Menstruation

Risk factors for developing asthma include:

  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and other allergic conditions
  • Eczema (another category of allergy affecting the skin), and
  • Genetic predisposition (a parent, brother, or sister also has asthma).

Treatment of Asthma in India

Being a chronic disorder, treatment of asthma continues for a very long time. Some people have to continue on treatment for the rest of their lives. The most sought-after way to enhance your condition and live your life on your terms is to know all you can about your asthma and what you can do to make it better.

  • Bestay in line with your health-care provider. Use the resources they can offer -- know-how, education, and expertise -- to help yourself.
  • Stay aware of your asthma triggers and explore ways to avoid them.
  • Trail the treatment recommendations of your health-care provider. Understand your treatment. Know what each drug does and how it is employed.
  • Visit your health-care provider as scheduled.
  • Take notice of any changes or worsening of your symptoms actively.
  • Report any side effects you face with your medications.

Treatments for Asthma

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