Asthma is a common disease nowadays as air pollution is spreading in every city and town around the world. It is an inflammatory and chronic condition in which the airways that carry air to the lungs are inflamed and narrowed which makes breathing difficult and can make some physical activities difficult or even impossible. During an asthma attack, the airways will swell, the muscles around them will tighten, and it becomes difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. Some triggers include exposure to an allergen or irritant, viruses, exercise, emotional stress, and other factors. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be prevented and controlled. It can start at any age.
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma:
Asthma symptoms vary from person to person which means not all people with asthma have the same sign and symptoms. However, the most common symptoms are:
- Chest tightness or pain
- Shortness of breath
You can also read about Pneumonia.
Causes of Asthma:
There is not a single cause of Asthma; it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors which cause Asthma in many people. Here are some causes of Asthma which include:
- Genetic factors
- Hormonal factors
- Air pollution, dust mites, Pollen, Mold, Animal hair and dander
- Weather changes such as changes in temperature or humidity or cold air
- Respiratory infections like sinusitis, colds, and flu
- Strong odors from perfumes or fumes from household cleaners and paints
- Tobacco smoke
- Strong emotions such as anxiety, laughter, crying, or stress
- Medications such as aspirin
- Allergic reactions in some foods
You can also read about Swine Flu.
Diagnosis of Asthma:
The sign and symptoms of Asthma are same with cold and flu; people can sometimes be missed that it could be Asthma. They realize the first time when they have a persistent cough or wheeze and shortness of breath for a long time. A patient who has frequent chest colds probably needs to be evaluated for asthma with an asthma specialist, also known as a pulmonologist, who can examine you and run tests for asthma to see if you have it. The doctor will start with a physical exam then ask about your symptoms and medical history. Here is some diagnostic test which may your doctor can prescribe you.
Spirometry: – This simple breathing test measures how much air you blow out and how fast. This test shows the power of your lungs. You need to breathe in deeply and then breathe out forcefully into a tube. The tube links up to a machine called a Spirometer, which shows how much air a person inhales and exhales and the speed at which they expel the air from the lungs. The doctor will then compare these results with those of a person who is similarly aged but who does not have asthma.
Methacholine challenge: – This test is more commonly used for adults than children. You might get it if your symptoms and spirometry test don’t clearly show a diagnosis of asthma. When you have asthma and inhale methacholine, your airways narrow. During this test, you inhale increasing amounts of methacholine mist before and after spirometry. If your lung function drops by at least 20%, you have asthma.
Other tests also may be advised by your doctor and these are:
- Chest X-Ray
- Computerized tomography (CT Scan)
- Allergy tests or skin prick test
- Sputum tests
Treatment of Asthma:
There is no cure for asthma; only precaution is cure. Managing asthma usually involves avoiding asthma triggers, and taking medications to prevent or treat symptoms. Other than medication, you need to do the following things also to prevent from Asthma triggers.
Breathing exercises: – Although we all should do breathing exercises as it is good for all. This exercise can help you get more air into and out of your lungs which may help increase lung capacity and cut down on severe asthma symptoms. Your doctor or an occupational therapist can help you learn these breathing exercises for asthma.
Drink Coffee: – A chemical in caffeine acts similarly to the asthma drug theophylline. It opens up airways and may ease symptoms of asthma for up to four hours.
Essential oils: – Inhaling eucalyptus essential oil may ease breathing difficulties brought on by asthma.
Asthma is a chronic (or lifelong) disease that can be serious even life-threatening. There is no cure for asthma but with proper management and with a good lifestyle, you can live a normal and healthy life. Normally, Asthma triggered at the time of weather change so you need to take care of ourselves on those days and avoid those things which irritate you or you have allergy because precaution is better than cure in Asthma.