Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways that carry air to the lungs are inflamed, narrowed and produce extra mucus. Symptoms of asthma vary from person to person. A person may have infrequent asthma attacks or may have only for a certain time such as when exercising or symptoms for all the time. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and short of breath.
Inflamed airways are very sensitive, and they tend to react to things in the environment such as substances are inhaled. When the airways react, they start swelling and narrow even more, and it also produces extra mucus, all of which make it harder for air to flow to the lungs. The muscles around the airways also tighten which further restricts air flow.
Basically, there are two types of Asthma:
- Allergic: this type of asthma is triggered by exposure to an allergen such as molds or pet danger.
- Non-Allergic: this type of Asthma is brought on by factors such as stress, illness, exercise, extreme weather, irritants in the air and certain medications.
For some people, Asthma is a minor nuisance but for others, it can be a major problem that interferes daily activities and it may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled because asthma often changes over time. It is important for asthma patients that they should work with their doctor to track the signs and symptoms and according to that they can adjust their treatment as needed.
When the airways react to asthma triggers, people can experience what’s called an asthma flare-up or asthma attack. Symptoms of asthma vary from person to person. A person may have infrequent asthma attacks or may have only for a certain time such as when exercising or symptoms for all the time.
Some of the common asthma signs and symptoms that include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, trouble in sleeping that is caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. A wheezing sound when exhaling, coughing and wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus like a cold or the flu.
If you have frequent coughing or wheezing that last more than a few days or any signs and symptoms of asthma, then you must see to your doctor. Treating asthma early may prevent long term lung damage and it also help you to keep the condition from worsening over time.
The underlying cause of asthma is not known, but it’s thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with asthma may sometimes have genetic risk factors that make them more susceptible to the disease, and may have certain environmental factors, such as exposure to allergens or certain viral infections in infancy, which may increase the risk of developing the disease.
Common asthma triggers include tobacco smoke, dust mites, air pollution, pollen, mold, respiratory infections, physical activity, cold air and allergic reactions to some foods.
Most of the people have asthma from childhood and most often it starts developing before age 5. Asthma can appear in children when they start making a wheezing or whistling sound, breathing, coughing, rapid or labored breathing, complaints of chest pain and feeling weak or tired.
The children with asthma will grow as they get older. This may happen because as people grow up, their lungs become larger and more open and also people experience hormones changes that may also affect asthma risk. On the other hand, people who develop asthma as an adult tend to have the condition of life.
There are two types of medications to treat asthma that include quick-relief medications and long-term medications.
Quick-relief medications provide relief from acute asthma symptoms. A common quick-relief medication is inhaled short-acting medications beta2-agonists, which help to relax muscles around the airways, allowing more air to flow through them. People with asthma should have a quick-relief inhaler with them at all times to case they need it.
Long-term medications should be taken daily which helps you to prevent asthma symptoms from starting in the first place. This long-term medication is inhaled corticosteroids, which can reduce airway inflammation and make airways less sensitive. Other long-term medications include omalizumab, a shot given one or two times a month to prevent the body from reacting to asthma triggers, and inhaled long-acting beta2-agonists, which help open airways.
Patients who are taking long-term medications, they should meet with their doctor frequently to assess how well the medications are working, or if the dose needs to be adjusted because severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening.