Asthma is one of the most common non-communicable diseases that can affect people in their different stages in life, yet it can be avoided and treated. Asthma and how it can be treated is very essential to all asthmatic patients.
- Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes airway hyperresponsiveness, mucosal edema, and mucus production. Asthma causes the muscles in the airways to tighten and the lining of the airway becomes swollen and inflamed, producing sticky mucous. These changes cause the airways to become narrow, making it difficult to breathe. This may lead to wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.
Causes of asthma
The exact cause of asthma is still unknown but experts are of the view that asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Here are some o factors that influence the development of asthma.
- Allergy : Allergy is the strongest predisposing factor for asthma. This happens when airborne substances like insect waste, mold spores, pollen pet dander, wood dust , chemical can triggers the asthma.
- Family history of Asthma: Asthma tends to run in families. It can be inherit from parents. Studies show that over half of children who are diagnosed with asthma have a family history of asthma. A person’s risk of developing asthma is higher if he/she has a parent and a sibling with asthma.
- Excessive Exercise: Too much exercise can also trigger asthma. This may occur if the patient is exercising in cold environment where the air is dry.
- Some medicines: Certain medications can trigger asthma.
- Cigarette smoke : When a person inhales tobacco smoke, irritating substances settle in the moist lining of the airways. These substances can cause an attack in a person who has asthma.
- Respiratory infections : Respiratory infections can also trigger asthma. These infections affect your lungs, nose, sinuses, and throat. They can cause a runny nose, cough, fever, or sore throat. Common respiratory infections include: common cold, Flu, Pneumonia, Sinusitis, Bronchitis and others.
The signs and symptoms of asthma
Though the triggers and causes for asthma symptoms vary for different people, here are some common symptoms of asthma.
- Most common symptoms of asthma are cough with or without mucus production, dyspnea, and wheezing.
- Chest tightness and pains
- Asthma attacks frequently occur at night or in the early morning.
- An asthma exacerbation is frequently preceded by increasing symptoms over days, but it may begin abruptly.
- Expiration requires effort and becomes prolonged.
- As exacerbation progresses, central cyanosis secondary to severe hypoxia may occur.
- Additional symptoms, such as diaeresis, tachycardia, and a widened pulse pressure, may occur.
- Exercise-induced asthma: maximal symptoms during exercise, absence of nocturnal symptoms, and sometimes only a description of a “choking” sensation during exercise.
- A severe, continuous reaction, status asthmatics, may occur. It is life-threatening.
- Eczema, rashes, and temporary edema are allergic reactions that may be noted with asthma.
Treatment of Asthma
Asthma and how it can treated has a great deal of diverse ways.
- Medication: Long-term asthma medications should be used on a daily basis to control the asthma symptoms and prevent an asthma attack. These long-term medications include Inhaled corticosteroids Leukotriene modifier, Theophylline and others.
- Avoidance of allergens: Allergens, either seasonal or perennial, can be prevented through avoiding contact with them whenever possible.
- Use your air conditioner. Air conditioning reduces the amount of airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that finds its way indoors. Air conditioning also lowers indoor humidity and can reduce your exposure to dust mites. If you don’t have air conditioning, try to keep your windows closed during pollen season. No
- Clean regularly Cleaning of your home at least once a week is very important to asthma patients. Also wash your bedding regularly.
- Cover your nose and mouth when the weather is cold.