The word “Asthma” is an ancient Greek word which means short breath. As you can clearly understand from the meaning.
That asthma is a chronic lung disorder disease that is characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. A small percentage of people may develop Tuberculosis after asthma or vice-versa
Which vary in severity and frequency from person to person and make breathing difficult and can leave you gasping for air.
What causes it in your body?
When the breathing tubes of the lungs become chronically inflamed, they can become sensitive to inhaled environmental allergens and irritants that can trigger asthma.
These environmental triggers include pollen, pollution, and tobacco smoke. Moreover, exercise can also be a trigger for some people.
WHATS IN IT FOR ME?
- DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASTHMA
- DIAGNOSIS OF ASTHMA
- MEDICATIONS/TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASTHMA
You are more likely to be a target if you have a family history or members of your family had asthma because it is usually observed more commonly among the people under the age group of 40.
These attacks are a medical emergency and need medical attention immediately.
Asthma in children.
- Frequent coughing
- Less energy while playing
- pausing to catch a breath
- shallow breathing
- chest tightness
- Whistling sound when breathing in or out
- Seesaw motions in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- loss of breath
- Tightened neck and chest muscles
- Weakness or tiredness
It triggered during any exercise or any physical activity and symptoms of such attacks may last anywhere between 10-15 minutes.
The term bronchoconstriction used in the name means tightening or narrowing of the tubes in your body that work as a passage for air to move in and out of your lungs.
Fine particles that are present in the air you breathe such as dust, pollen, and other such elements may cause attacks because these elements also work as a trigger.
You can observe nonallergic attacks because of the extreme weather such as temperature and other factors such as you having a cold.
This is usually seen in people who tend to work in conditions where there are a lot of fine particles such as chemicals and other things in the air.
If you are an adult between the age group of 35 years to 50 you need to be careful as this is more commonly observed in this age group of adults.
And it is a severe problem and it occurs because of a large number of white blood cells in your body.
You will see your symptoms get worse during the night time if you have this type.
If you have this type of asthma problem you will have symptoms when you take aspirin, along with a runny nose, sneezing, sinus pressure, and a cough
This type of has only one symptom that is visible that is chronic coughing.
DIAGNOSIS OF ASTHMA
The doctor will perform a physical exam by looking at your throat, nose, upper airways, and check your skin for symptoms like hives.
They check your breathing with a stethoscope to listen if you make a whistling sound or not. Doctors will ask you about any other changes, symptoms, or any other health issues.
If the person has a medical history of people suffering from asthma in his/her family, then it may be a genetic disease for that person or maybe he/she has extracted the disease from other environmental factors.
So the doctor will ask questions regarding any other health problems, allergies, symptoms, work you do for a living, etc.
Measuring lung function
Lung function test is generally done before and after taking a medication named bronchodilator, that is used to open your airways hand help you in normal breathing, and if by using this medication your breathing improves, then it may be possible that you have ASTHMA.
The doctor may recommend you to go for a lung function test to check how much air moves in and out while you breathe, basically checking how well your lung is working.
Following are the few tests:
It is a simple breathing test that is done to check how much air you exhale or blow out and how fast, after a deep breath.
A peak flow meter is a small and very simple to use a device that helps you to measure how hard your lungs can exhale or breathe out.
However, it is less accurate as compared to spirometry, but is of great help to check your lungs at home if you find any kind of symptoms in your body that may be suspicious.
Exhaled nitric oxide test
This test is used to measure the amount of nitric oxide having in your breath. Here you need to breathe through a tube that is connected to A machine that measures it.
Nitric oxide is present in everyone’s breathing but depending on the level present in the breath it is used to judge if you are a patient or not. A higher amount of nitric oxide will mean you have inflamed airways.
It is done when your symptoms and spirometry tests don’t clearly show that you have this disease or not.
Methacholine is also a trigger. It will cause mild constriction of airways when inhaled and if you react to this constriction or methacholine, then it may be possible that you have asthma.
Doctors perform this chest x-ray to confirm that the symptoms you have shown up are because of asthma or any other cause that is responsible for your breathing problem.
If you have sinuses then it will become harder to control and treat this problem. So your doctor may recommend getting a CT scan done to check on your sinuses.
You will be given certain antibiotics which will help prevent symptoms, for 10-12 days if it is found that you have sinuses.
Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma
Here the doctor examines your airway obstruction by making you perform certain vigorous physical activities like running on a treadmill or making you to breath cold air and then check your breathing before and after doing the activities.
MEDICATIONS/TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA
Medications can be recommended to you based on certain factors like your age, attack triggers, symptoms, etc. You need to take them as prescribed without skipping to prevent and control the disease.
Medications may include allergy medicines (in case you are allergic to something) or not bronchodilator, to quickly open swollen airways that are hindering in your normal flow of breathing.
Long-term medications help to prevent or reduce inflammation in your airways that eventually leads to symptoms.
Long term medications should be taken daily for the best result. These long term Medications will keep your symptoms attack under control by reducing inflammation in your airways and from having an attack.
Following are few commonly used long term medications:
They are one of the most effective Medications. Inhaled corticosteroids are used to prevent swelling and also are beneficial in reducing mucus in your lungs.
They are also known as inflammatory drugs. Some of them are budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler, Handcart), flunisolide (Aerospan HFA), fluticasone furoate (Arnuity Ellipta), ciclesonide (Alvesco, Omnaris, Zetonna), 1beclomethasone (Qnasl, Qvar), mometasone (Asmanex), etc.
They have a relatively low risk of side effects and thus can be used for long term basis for maximum benefit.
Leukotriene modifiers are available as pills and liquids. They help to ease symptoms for approximately 24 hours. Some of them are – zafirlukast, montelukast, zileuton, etc.
These medications relieve your swelling and smoothen the muscles around your airways.
Combination inhalers contain long-acting beta-agonist along with a corticosteroid which is an easy way to take both of them at one time.
It comes in the form of an inhaler and is a non-steroid medication. When your airways come in contact with a trigger, then Cromolyn helps in preventing your airways from swelling.
It comes in many forms like tablets, solutions, syrup, capsules, or simple can be taken by mouth. It eases your breathing by relaxing the muscles that narrow your airways.
They are used for short term synonym relief often during an attack. Some of its types are :
is quick relievers to ease symptoms. They can be taken by using a nebulizer or a handheld inhaler.
also acts within minutes to comfort you during an attack and is generally used for chronic bronchitis.
Oral and intravenous corticosteroid
It is used to comfort you from airway inflammation that is caused by severe breathing problems but has the capability to cause serious side effects if used for a longer-term.
is required to be taken if your asthma is badly triggered due to some allergies. They include Allergy shots and omalizumab.
is used in case of severe asthma that doesn’t improve by using the above methods. But they are not widely available.
In conclusion, asthma is the most common chronic disease, so it is very important to know about it. Moreover knowing about something is always good as you understand it more. Here I have shared what it means, its causes, symptoms, medication, treatment, causes, and more.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Lungs are affecting majorly.
Asthma attack includes symptoms like coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. It blocks the path through which air is carried to your lungs.
Asthma triggers cause an attack.
Yes, it is a chronic disease.
Asthma triggers are those things which may cause an attack some of the triggers are:
exposure to allergic substances such as grass, weed, tree other such factors. Other common triggers might be due to smoke dust gases present in the air around.
Even intense physical activity may also lead to an attack.
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