Millions of people worldwide suffer from asthma, a chronic lung disease. It causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Several factors can trigger asthma, including allergens, exercise, stress, infections, and changes in the weather. A person's asthma can range from mild to severe, and it can affect their quality of life and daily activities. Our blog post discusses asthma's causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Despite the fact that asthma does not have a clear cause, it is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Asthma is a condition some people inherit from their parents, while others may develop due to exposure to certain triggers in later life. Some of these triggers include:
Dust mites, animal dander, pollen, mold, cockroaches, and food are all allergens.
Airborne irritants include tobacco smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and strong odors.
When the air is cold or dry, physical activity can tighten the airways and produce more mucus.
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by emotions such as stress, anxiety, anger, or laughter.
Colds, flu, and sinusitis are viral or bacterial infections of the respiratory tract that can cause inflammation and mucus production.
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by changes in temperature, humidity, or air pressure.
Aspirin, beta-blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause or worsen asthma symptoms.
Asthma may also be influenced by obesity, hormonal changes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or dietary deficiencies.
The symptoms of asthma vary from person to person and from time to time. They may be mild or severe, frequent or occasional.
The coughing is usually worse at night or in the morning. It may be dry or mucus-producing.
When breathing out, wheezing occurs as a result of narrowed airways.
During exertion or at rest, shortness of breath is a feeling of not being able to get enough air.
A feeling of pressure or pain in the chest may be accompanied by a fast heartbeat.
Sleep disturbances are caused by coughing or breathing problems.
Other symptoms may include fatigue, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, or itchy eyes.
Asthma is diagnosed by a doctor by asking about the patient's medical history and performing a physical examination. The physician will also conduct some tests to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of asthma.
During spirometry, the amount of air one can breathe in and out and the speed at which one can exhale is measured. It is used to assess whether the airways are obstructed or reversible.
An asthma peak flow meter measures how fast one can exhale, helping to monitor asthma control and detect worsening symptoms.
A skin prick test or blood test can identify specific allergens that trigger asthma symptoms.
A chest X-ray shows the condition of the lungs and chest. It helps to rule out other lung diseases, which may cause similar symptoms.
This test examines the mucus coughed up from the lungs for signs of infection or inflammation.
With proper treatment, asthma can be controlled rather than cured. Two types of medications are used for asthma treatment: they prevent and relieve symptoms, improve lung function and quality of life, and reduce the risk of complications and death.
Asthma controller medications include inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), long-acting beta2-agonists (LABA), leukotriene modifiers (LTM), theophylline (TPH), and biologics (BIO).
Acute asthma treatments such as short-acting beta2-agonists (SABA), anticholinergics (AC), and oral corticosteroids (OCS) are used to relieve asthma symptoms and open up the airways.
Asthma medications are prescribed in accordance with the severity and frequency of symptoms, as well as the response to treatment. Asthma medication is usually delivered through inhalers or nebulizers, which allow the drugs to reach the lungs directly and minimize side effects. Other asthma treatments include:
Asthma action plan: A written plan that describes how to manage asthma on a daily basis, what to do in case of an asthma attack, and how to seek medical attention as needed.
In asthma education, patients learn about asthma and how to cope with it. It improves self-care skills, adherence to treatment, and communication with doctors.
It helps to reduce exposure to allergens, irritants, and other asthma triggers by identifying and avoiding factors that worsen asthma symptoms.
Asthma control and overall health can be improved with lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.
Asthma can't be completely prevented, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing or worsening asthma. These steps include:
Infants who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to develop asthma or allergies later in life.
Asthma exacerbations may be prevented or reduced with vaccination against common respiratory infections, such as influenza and pneumococcus.
Air pollution control: Using air filters, avoiding smoking, and limiting traffic exposure can reduce the risk of asthma or its complications.
Asthma attacks may be prevented or reduced by treating underlying allergies with antihistamines, nasal sprays, or immunotherapy.
It is important to seek medical attention promptly for any signs and symptoms of asthma in order to prevent further damage to the lungs and improve the chances of a successful treatment.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from asthma, a serious lung disease caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Various factors can trigger asthma, including allergens, exercise, stress, infections, and weather change. Asthma can range from mild to severe, affecting quality of life and daily activities. It can be diagnosed by your doctor based on a physical examination, medical history, and certain tests. In addition to preventing and reliving asthma symptoms, medications can improve lung function and quality of life, and reduce complications and death risks. The management of asthma can also include education, trigger avoidance, and lifestyle changes. Although asthma cannot be completely prevented, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk of developing or worsening asthma. Asthma is a chronic condition that requires ongoing medical care and monitoring. Asthmatics can lead normal and active lives with proper treatment and control.