Asthma is a chronic condition which makes the airways in the lungs get bloated and inflamed and produce extra mucus. This makes the breathing extremely hard, triggers coughing, wheezing, and also shortness of breath.
The muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes in the lungs becomes tight, thick mucus is produced is also produced which contributes to the narrowing of the as well making the lungs sensitive. For some asthma patients, it may be just a minor nuisance to them, while to some it will be a big problem that disturbs their daily activities and also life threatening.
Asthma is generally an incurable disease, but the symptoms can be managed. Symptoms changes over time it is paramount that you track the symptoms and signs, and then work with your doctor on adjusting the medications as needed.
Causes of Asthma
It is not clear yet what the main cause of asthma is, but it is mostly a combination of different factors which include environmental and genetic. There are two types of asthma, allergic and non-allergic, allergic caused by an exposure to an allergen, while non-allergic asthma is caused by stress, illness like cold or flu, exercise, irritants in the weather, exposure to extreme weather conditions and even some medications.
Exposure to these signs and symptoms that brings allergies can trigger signs and symptoms of this respiratory illness. Asthma triggers differ in people and they may include
- Respiratory infections, like common cold or the flu.
- Intense physical activity, this is called exercise induced asthma.
- Air pollutants and irritants like smoke.
- Intense emotions like crying, laughter and stress, they can block airflow and interference with normal breathing patterns.
- Airborne substances such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and particles from cockroach wastes.
- Sulfites that are as additives in some foods and beverages.
- Scented products like perfumes and body spray, smoke from tobacco.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), this is a condition where acids in the stomach go back up into the throat.
- Having blood relatives especially parents who are asthmatic patients can increase your chances of getting asthma.
- Being overweight can also increase your chances of developing cancer.
- Being a smoker, exposure to secondhand fumes and exposure to air pollutants such as exhaust fumes will also increase your chances of developing this illness.
- Occupational triggers like chemicals used in manufacturing companies, farms and hairdressing shops can also increase your chances of developing asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma
Symptoms of asthma differ from person to person. Some affected patients have their attacks frequently, while others have infrequent attacks that happen just once in a while, maybe exercise induced.
Signs and symptoms of asthma include
- Tightness and pain in the chest
- Having trouble sleeping which is caused by shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing.
- Wheezing and coughing attacks that are caused by respiratory viruses such as the flu or common cold.
- Breathing is impaired, as it is either short or quick or noisy.
Ways to manage asthma and prevent asthmatic attacks
The best way to manage respiratory illnesses is to prevent the symptoms. An asthmatic patient should know the situations that trigger their asthmatic attacks and try as much as possible to avoid such situations. While there is no possible cure for asthma, an asthmatic patient can still live a productive and fulfilling life by following some simple procedures in managing their asthma and also preventing asthmatic attacks. The steps include
- Get vaccinated for pneumonia and influenza: Taking your flu and pneumonia vaccines can help you prevent these respiratory infections from initiating your asthmatic flare-ups.
- Monitor your breathing patterns: Learning to recognize the danger signs of an imminent attack is very important, signs such as coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
- Take your prescribed medication: When you start taking a medication and your condition starts to improve, it is wise to continue in that path, don’t change the prescription without consulting your doctors first. Always take the right medication and the prescribed dosage.
- Identify attacks and treat them early: If you are about to have an asthmatic attack and you identify it early, it is less likely the attack will be severe. The medication also istant monitoring and treatment, that’s why it is paramount you have a coordinated treatment plan that will make you feel in control of the condition.
Treatment and care for Asthma
It is known that asthma has no cure for now, but there are various treatments that can keep the complications at its barest minimum, these treatments include
- Steroids and Anti Inflammatory drugs: these anti inflammatory drugs, inhaled steroids precisely, are very effective in treating asthma, they work by reducing mucus production and swelling in the airways.
- Inhalers: Asthma inhalers are the best and most effective method of delivering treatment to the lungs of an infected person. There are different types of inhalers and they have different techniques for their operation.
- Asthma Nebulizer: For people like kids or old people who have difficulties using inhalers, they have the option of using the nebulizer. This machine has a mouthpiece and a mask and it changes the medication from liquid to mist so it can be easily breathe in into the lungs.
- Bronchodilators: They help to reduce the symptoms by relaxing muscles that makes the airways tight. This helps the airways to open up and become free. There are two different types of bronchodilators, short acting and long acting bronchodilators. Short acting bronchodilator inhalers are effective in reducing wheezing, coughs and chest tightness related to asthmatic attacks. It is also used before an exercise for people who have exercise induced asthma. Long acting bronchodilators are used together with inhaled steroids or corticosteroids for the control of asthmatic symptoms.
So if you’re diagnosed with asthma you can do a lot to manage your asthmatic symptoms, you can either go for short term medications that provide quick relief from attacks or long term treatments that control the illness in general. Make sure you manage your illness by keeping of situations that will trigger an attack. With good asthma management a patient can live a productive and happy life.