Asthma: Facts you must know
Breathing is such an inherent reflex that difficulties in inhaling and exhaling is not something one would ponder about. Unfortunately, it is a struggle that many experience. Asthma is a chronic disease that affects airways in lungs. An individual can develop asthma at any age, an asthma attack could occur at any place – home, school, work.
An asthma attack occurs when the tubes that take air into the lungs swell up causing breathing difficulty. This reaction is caused when the airway comes in contact with an asthma trigger (an allergen) that causes it to swell up. Depending on the kind of trigger, there are two types of asthma – extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic asthma is an immune response to an external allergen such as pollen, pets, dust mites, food. Intrinsic asthma is caused due to inhaling certain chemical agents such as tobacco smoke, vehicular smoke, paint vapours.
Weather conditions such as extremely dry, wet or windy weather, chest infection, stress, and even laughter could worsen an asthma condition. Asthma is often inherited, children with asthmatic parents are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma. Obesity is also a factor that leads to asthma – higher the obesity, higher are the chances of developing asthma. It is important to be aware of these factors so that you can adopt measures to combat them.
During asthma attacks, patients experience wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, or tightness and pain in the chest. These symptoms may be displayed by an asthmatic person instantly or even after a prolonged period of time of being contacted by the allergen. There are mainly two types of reactions – a delayed hypersensitive response, wherein the person experiences symptoms after a long period of time and an instant hypersensitive response, wherein the person immediately shows symptoms to the allergen.
The most effective method to treat asthma is to use inhaled medication. There are two kinds of medication available – relievers and preventers. Relievers are most likely to be used in cases of emergency, as they are quick acting agents. They are inhaled and help the surrounding muscle relax, allowing the person to breath normally again. These relieve symptoms rapidly and are taken on a need basis. Preventers are steroid-based medicines that help asthmatics by reducing the sensitivity of their airways to allergens. Preventers are inhaled directly into the lungs, thereby allowing very little of the steroid into the body itself. These are taken daily to achieve and maintain control of asthma symptoms.
In addition to prescribed medication, you could also adopt a few preventive measures which will help alleviate the asthma suffering. Keep track of triggers that aggravate your asthma condition and avoid them to the extent possible. If experiencing an asthma attack, be prompt in taking action to stop the attack, do not prolong taking necessary measures. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain optimum weight to minimize the risk of developing asthma. These simple measures could result in remarkable improvement in your asthmatic condition.
Asthma can and should be controlled and one doesn’t need to compromise on daily activities on account of asthma. One must live life as normally as a non-asthmatic person, attending to work, school or home. The responsibility of controlling your asthma is largely yours. It is a lifetime condition which may be suppressed by medication but never really cured. There is always a chance of an asthma attack. It is important to work with a doctor from a reputed diagnostic service center like Apollo Diagnostics – take medication as prescribed, undergo recommended diagnostic tests and make routine visits.