Everything You Need to Know About the Asthma

Everything you need to know about Asthma
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Asthma attacks people of all age groups, but it often starts in childhood.

Asthma is a state of an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. It is a Greek word which means ‘short breath’.

It is a respiratory condition where the airways swell up, fill up with extra mucus and inflammation, making it difficult to breathe. It is can also be an allergic reaction or another hypersensitivity.

Asthma can interfere with daily activities, Or it can be minor. In some cases, it may be life-threatening.

Asthma is a long term disease. Your doctor may call it a chronic respiratory disease. Asthma can also make it hard for you to talk or stay active. Doctors also call this “bronchial asthma”.

Asthma is a very serious and dangerous disease, around 25 million Americans suffer from it and around 6 million of them are children.

With proper treatment for asthma, you can live a better life. Without any treatment, you will have to suffer a lot, which will affect your life and ability to work.

 

Classification of Asthma

Asthma is classified into four different parts according to their severity:

  • Mild intermittent asthma
  • Mild persistent asthma
  • Moderate persistent asthma
  • Severe persistent asthma

 

Types of Asthma

If diagnosed with asthma, you should know which type of asthma you have. You will feel better if you know what exactly you suffer from, what you can do to cure it and make yourself feel good.

There are several types of asthma:

Allergic Asthma

Allergens trigger Allergic or (atopic) asthma. Which include:

  1. Animals like dogs and cats.
  2. Pollen
  3. Dust
  4. Food
  5. Mold

A lot of people with allergic asthma have hay fever, eczema or food allergies. Allergic asthma goes hand in hand with seasonal allergies.

Seasonal Asthma

Some people have asthma which only flares up in different seasons of the year, like when it’s cold during winter or hot during summer.

Occupational asthma

The environment of your work may trigger occupational asthma. It includes:

  1. Dust
  2. Dyes
  3. Gases and fumes
  4. Industrial chemicals
  5. Animal proteins
  6. Rubber latex

These irritants are present in factories and industries including woodworking, farming, textiles and others.

Non-allergic Asthma

Irritants in the air which are not related to allergies trigger this type of asthma. It includes:

  1. Burning wood and cigarette smoke
  2. Cold air
  3. Air pollution
  4. Viral illnesses
  5. Air fresheners
  6. Household cleaning products
  7. Perfumes

Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)

This is the type of asthma which occurs after a few minutes of working out or exercising.

Doctors also call it exercise-induced asthma (EIA).

Up to 90% of asthma patients have EIB.

Nocturnal asthma

This type of asthma gets worse during night time. The natural sleep cycle of a person can also trigger nocturnal asthma.

Cough-variant asthma (CVA)

In this, the person has a persistent dry cough, and coughing is severe.

Eosinophilic asthma

This type of asthma usually affects old people, of 30-50 in age.

Adult-onset asthma

Asthma can affect you at any age, though it is more common in people under the age of 40. Around 8.3% of the adult population in the US has this asthma.

Asthma in children

Asthma affects around 1.1 million children in the UK. Asthma diagnosed in childhood improves or disappears as you grow old. Doctors also call it childhood asthma. It can also return in later life if it is severe.

 

Symptoms of Asthma

Symptoms of asthma are different in everyone.

Here are a few symptoms of asthma:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness of chest
  • Coughing, generally at night or when you exercise.
  • Whistling sound when breathing

Few more signs to know that your asthma is worsening:

  • Asthma signs that are more frequent 
  • Increasing difficulty breathing
  • The need to use the quick-relief inhaler frequently

It is not necessary that you experience only these symptoms as everyone has different symptoms to asthma. If you think you are having any problems and you think it’s asthma you should consult your doctor.

 

Causes of Asthma

This breathing conditions can occur due to a lot of factors such as:

  • Genetics

If your parents and your grandparents have asthma, you may have it too.

  • History of infections

Any history of any other viral infections in a person can develop the condition of asthma.

  • Hygiene hypothesis

When a child is young, he does not come into contact with a lot of bacteria, so their immune system is not strong enough to fight asthma.

  • Early allergen exposure

Frequently contacting allergens may increase the risk of developing asthma.

Asthma triggers

  • Illness

Respiratory illness, like pneumonia and flu, can trigger asthma.

  • Exercise

Excessive exercises can trigger asthma and can make breathing more difficult.

  • Irritants in the air

Irritants in the air like smoke and dust can also trigger asthma.

  • Allergens

Dust and pollens are a few examples of allergens that can trigger asthma.

  • Weather conditions

Weather conditions like high humidity or high temperature can trigger asthma.

  • Emotions

Hysterical shouting, laughing, or crying can trigger asthma.

 

Asthma Treatment

Treatment of asthma can be in three different categories. They include breathing exercises, first aid treatment and medications for asthma control.

Consult your doctor to know what you should do. They will tell you what is right for you according to the frequency of your asthma attacks and your age.

Breathing Exercises

Your doctor will help you learn some breathing exercises which are helpful to you and your conditions of asthma.

Breathing exercises help in breathing more air into and out of your lungs. This will improve your lung capacity and cut down several asthma symptoms.

First aid treatment

You can use these at the time of an asthma attack. They will help you breathe again, and provide you with quick relief.

  1. Rescue inhalers and nebulizers help you take medicines which go deep to the lung.
  2. Bronchodilators help you relax muscles in your lungs.
  3. Anti-inflammatories focus on inflammation in the lungs, which prevent breathing.

If somebody you know has a respiratory illness, guide them to sit upright and assist them in using their rescue inhaler or nebulizer. Two to 6 puffs of medication should help ease their symptoms.

If symptoms persist for over 20 minutes, and the second round of medication doesn’t help, seek medical attention.

Long term asthma control medication

You should take daily medications to prevent symptoms of asthma. Several types of medicine treat asthma. You need to consult your doctor for your dosage.

 

Home remedies to treat asthma

While proper medical treatment for asthma is necessary, you can also take a few healing measures at home for mild asthma:

Here are a few remedies for mild asthma:

  • Coffee or caffeinated tea

A chemical in caffeine is similar to the drug of asthma theophylline. It eases symptoms of asthma for at least four hours.

  • Essential oils

Inhaling eucalyptus essential oil, lavender and basil essential oils helps in breathing caused by asthma.

For some individuals, essential oils make asthma worst. The strong smell can trigger your asthma. Please consult your doctor in this case.

  • Mustard oil

Massage this oil into the skin to help open airways. It is different from mustard essential oil which is a medicinal oil.

 

What to do if you have an asthma attack?

The best way to handle asthma is to prepare yourself. Your allergist can create an asthma action plan, which may include specific steps to stop and manage asthma.

If an attack occurs, stay calm and use the medications your allergist has prescribed. Typically, you can administer these medications with an inhaler.

Seek medical attention if the coughing or shortness of breath persists or seems to urge worse.

Individuals with asthma should work with their doctors to figure out the most effective treatment for them.

 

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