Details Descriptions About :: asthma

Asthma causes symptoms treatment 

Description of Asthma

DefinitionAccording to dictionary definition  Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the air passage of the lungs (bronchi) obstructing the airflow and making breathing difficult.Asthma affects both adults and children. According to WHO, there are about 15 to 20 million people with asthma in India. It is a common long-term disease in children and approximately 10% to 15% children between 5 and 11 years are estimated to have asthma.  Causes and Risk FactorsAccording to dictionary definition  Asthma usually results from an allergic reaction or due to other forms of hypersensitivity. Agents that may trigger an asthma attack include allergic reactions to:1. Pollens2. Tobacco smoke3. Smoke from burning wood, leaves, or grass4. Dust mites5. Cockroach residue6. Dander or pet €™s fur7. Molds8. Viral and bacterial infections9. Chemical fumes10. Cold air11. Exercise
Some medicines may also trigger an asthma attack. Examples include:1. Beta-blockers2. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors3. Aspirin4. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)  Signs and SymptomsAccording to dictionary definition  Symptoms of asthma include:1. Wheezing — a whistling sound that occurs during breathing.2. Breathlessness even with regular or moderate activity.3. Chest tightness — a squeezing or crushing sensation in the chest.4. Coughing that often worsens at night and early morning hours leading to difficulty in sleeping.A cough may be the only symptom in elderly. A cough may be accompanied with phlegm (sputum).
Asthma may be more severe and difficult to control in people aged 55 years or more. Conditions that may worsen asthma include:1. Being overweight2. SmokingHaving someone in the family with asthma increases the risk of getting the disease.  InvestigationsAccording to dictionary definition  Diagnosis of asthma is based on the pattern of symptoms, medical history, family history, clinical examination, and tests. The doctor will ask about the history related to symptoms of asthma and when and how often they occur.The tests and investigations for asthma include:1. Spirometry: This test estimates how much air you can breathe in and breathe out.2. Allergy test: To find out which allergen is possibly causing asthma.3. Peak flow: A peak flow meter is a device that measures how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual peak flow reading indicates that asthma may be getting worse.4. Chest x-ray: Scan of your lungs can identify whether a foreign object or any other disease is causing your symptoms related to asthma.5. A blood test for IgE (immunoglobulin E) level to assess the severity of asthma. However, it does not help make a diagnosis of asthma.  TreatmentAccording to dictionary definition  There is no specific cure for asthma. The goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms and control the disease. The treatment is provided on the basis of severity of asthma whether intermittent, mild, moderate, or severe.Avoiding exposure to triggers that may cause an asthma attack is one of the best strategies to control asthma.Treatment for asthma includes the use of bronchodilators. These are medicines that relax the muscles in the bronchi and allow the airways to open up so that air can flow through them. Bronchodilators are two kinds, quick-relief, and long acting. Bronchodilators are usually taken using an inhaler for relief.
Quick-relief bronchodilators are prescribed to quickly relieve asthma symptoms that may flare-up. Examples include:1. Short-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists (SABAs) such as salbutamol2. Anticholinergic medicines, such as ipratropium and aclidinium
Long-term medications are prescribed to prevent further exacerbation over long-term. These include:1. Corticosteroids2. Long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists (LABAs), such as salmeterol and formoterol3. Leukotriene receptor antagonists4. TheophyllineMedicines need to be altered depending on the frequency of patient €™s symptoms. Maintain a diary of your asthma episodes and potential triggers to help manage it over the years. Discuss this with the doctor to help manage asthma.  Complications and When Should You See a DoctorAccording to dictionary definition  If not treated completely, asthma attacks may increase in severity. Complications include:1. Difficulty sleeping due to a persistent cough2. Decreased lung function3. Severe shortness of breath that may require use of ventilator for breathingIn severe cases, asthma may be life-threatening.
Consult a doctor if you have:1. Recurrent cough2. Severe shortness of breath3. Severe pain in the chest4. Bluish face or lips5. Rapid pulse6. Sweating7. Decreased consciousness, confusion, or drowsiness8. Regular allergic reactions to environmental triggers  Prognosis and PreventionAccording to dictionary definition  Asthma attacks reduce in frequency and severity with proper medication and minimum exposure to allergens that trigger asthma attacks.Pollen levels are higher in early mornings and late evening, especially during the spring season. Follow these tips to prevent asthma attacks due to pollens.1. Stay indoors during high pollen time (early morning and late evening)2. Take a bath if you have been outdoors. Also, wash the clothes you wore while you were outside.3. Dry clothes indoors to avoid pollens on them.4. Use air conditioners during pollen season.
If your allergy is caused due to pet dander, cockroach, mice, smoke, mold, or other environmental allergens, following these tips may help reduce asthma attacks:1. Do not smoke. Do not let others smoke around you.2. Keep pets out of the house, especially the bedroom.3. Use air conditioners with a filter.4. Fix any tap or pipe leakages in the house.5. Maintain humidity inside the house at less than 50%.6. Wash the pets once a week.7. Wash the bedding once a week.8. Remove carpets and clean the area regularly.9. Do not let food left overs be present openly in the kitchen, sinks, or any other part of the house. Keep them in closed containers.10. Keep the house clean and remove trash such as old newspapers and cardboard boxes, regularly.  ReferencesAccording to dictionary definition  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn how to control asthma. Updated January 27, 2017. Accessed June 21, 2017.Koul PA, Patel D. Indian guidelines for asthma: Adherence is the key. Lung India?: Official Organ of Indian Chest Society. 2015;32(Suppl 1):S1-S2. PMCID: PMC4405918Lugogo N, Que LG, Gilstrap DL, Kraft M. Asthma: Clinical diagnosis and management. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel’s Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders. 2016:chap 42.Nowak RM, GF Tokarski. Asthma. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 63.World Health Organization. Bronchial asthma. The scale of the problem. Accessed June 21, 2017.  



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