All about Asthma
Asthma is a prolonged breathing disease in which the airways that acts like the vehicles of air in our body is hindered. It is a medium of transferring the air to and from the lungs. One’s lungs and airways can easily get swollen when they are continuously exposed to the things like pollens, dust, smoke etc. But occasionally these substances can result in an immediate journey to the sick bay and make you more ill.
The ultimate cure is not available, but with the help of management methods, a person diagnosed with asthma can live a full and energetic life.
Signs of Asthma
Not all the people have the same type of asthma symptoms and it varies greatly.
Signs and symptoms shown by asthma patient includes:
- Common coughing curses, which can multiply during the night time.
- A prolonged cough
- Feeling less energetic while working
- Rapid breathing
- chest tightness or chest aching
- Retractions and seesaw motions in the chest while breathing normally as well.
- Shortness of breath or may also be loss of breath
- Tightened neck and also the chest muscles
- Feeling lethargic or very tired.
Causes of asthma
Asthma is a chronic disease disturbing the air passages of your lungs. But as we all know that there is no particular cause of asthma. However, some experts believe that a combination of genetic and the environmental factors can origin the condition or at least make a person sensitive to asthma triggers.
Other factors of asthma in people can include:
- Our family history determines the asthma occurrence in the next future generations of yours.
- Juvenile viral infections especially in the respiratory system.
- Showing hyper sensitivity to the allergens by the body.
- Bad hygiene practices
If you are diagnosed with the asthma, usually the coating present in your airways is inflamed or bit swollen. And, this inflammation makes the air channels present in your body very sensitive to all the nuisances and triggers and lead to asthma attacks in your body. Inflammation can also shrill the air passages and thus makes the air difficult for air to pass through the airways. As a result, you will find it tough to breathe in and out.
When your airways present in the respiratory system comes in contact with certain asthma triggers, the response of your body is that the muscles surrounding the airways gets tighten up. This may further causes the air passages to become thinner and thus contributes to the slight tightness and pain in your chest. It may feel like somebody has intentionally tightened a cord around it. Moreover, mucus deposition in the airways also increases the problem by further narrowing the airways. Therefore it creates more breathing problems and difficulties.
Trigger is defined as something that is aimed to increase the symptoms of disease in people who are genetically or externally exposed to such type of illness (here we are talking about the asthma) or that can cause the other signs of asthma to appear in a person who is previously prone to that disease. The triggers that can lead to the inflammation and airway constriction can differ from people to people. Thus, When your air passages comes into contact with one of numerous asthma triggers, the result is that it looks inflamed, constricted, and get filled with lubricant. The coating inside the airways may also bulge up and causing the airway to become further narrower.
Some of the Asthma triggers are included in the following list:
- Dust mites, the tiny bugs present in almost every house is responsible for triggering the asthma attacks.
- Not only the Cockroaches but their droppings as well can trigger an asthma attack.
- Fireplaces as smoke is emitted in this case
- Hair or dander of animals especially of the pets. Furry pets are cute but it is one of the reason that leads to an asthma attack. If you have a problematic asthma attacks that arises all because of these furry pets, don’t go nearer to them. Other family members can adopt the pets but it should be taken care that it is beyond the reach of asthma patient’s bedroom.
- Respiratory infection of any form like common cold, flu, pneumonia, sinus infections etc.
- Smoke coming out from using the tobacco is unhealthy for everyone and particularly for the asthma patient. Also if you are exposed to “Secondhand smoke” that is smoke produced by a smoker and inhaled in by some other person, it can trigger an asthma attack as well.
- Inhaling and exhaling in mold can activate an asthma attack as well. Getting rid of all the mold in your home should be on the priority list to aid you in asthma attacks. The main reason for the growth of mold in your house is humidity that is the amount of moisture in the air.
- Frequent changes in weather especially cold air is problematic for asthma patients
- Frequent hormonal misbalances inside your body as it leads to create the internal disturbances in bodily functions.
- Strong emotions which are triggered by stress and anxieties. It can make the individual to feel shortness in breath.
- Doing vigorous exercise and physical activities can may lead to wheezing, coughing, also a tight chest.
- Allergens to certain food items such as eggs, nuts, milk and many more.
- Eating the food products having the sulfites and food preservatives on regular basis
- Indigestion or acid refluxes in our body. There is one special disease related to this trigger that is Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is a form of disease in which stomach acid come back into your throat.
- Certain medications also contains allergic substances, for example beta blockers, aspirin (Bayer), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may also be the probable cause of asthma.
- Outdoor air pollution is also the key reason that can trigger an asthma attack. This pollution level is escalated by growing factories, cars, and other sources of pollution. Air quality index must also be checked by an asthma patient as it is high in nitric oxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide gases. chemicals and scents
Certain factors are also responsible for making you ill with this disease. These factors are discussed below:
- if any of your blood relative such as your parents or brother or sister is already suffering from the asthma
- Having diagnosed with certain allergic condition and reaction, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- If you are overweight or weight is non proportional to your height
- Being addicted to the practice of smoking. This habit makes your respiratory system weak and feeble.
- If you are exposed to secondhand smoke, then also it can lead to develop asthma in your body.
- Exposure to higher levels of pollution and also the fumes.
- Certain occupational triggers, for example if you are a farmer then chemicals used in farming, if you are working in manufacturing sector then certain raw materials and manufacturing processes etc.
After reading so many factors and causes related to asthma, it is very difficult to really know why and which factors triggers the asthma of some people and not of the others. It requires continuous monitoring of life style of that person. Allergies are often connected with asthma, but it is not essential that all the people with allergies will surely have asthma.
As per the findings of World Health Organization (WHO), asthma is said to affect around 235 million people worldwide. Such a big number of asthma patients have been identified and coined by this worldwide active health organization. It is prevalent in both developed and developing nations but it was found by WHO that most of the asthma-related deaths (nearly 80% of deaths) is still occurring in developing countries. This is sad but we all need to fight it together. The reason for such a drastic number is that in developing countries, there is lack of awareness and facilities for good treatment. Also, people do not get enough information and facts related to the causes and symptoms of such diseases.
Prevention of above mentioned causes and factors
The asthma patient should always live in a dust free and safe environment as any of the factors present in the nearby surroundings can lead ultimately the asthma patient to its grave.
Following are some preventive measures:
- To prevent the asthma attacks caused by dust mites, you should always utilize the mattress covers and pillowcase covers, so that a barrier can be made between the dust mites and yourself. Also, try to remove the animal clutter from your bedroom before going to the bed if you own a pet. Also, Wash your bedding at least weekly to remove the dust and dirt from it.
- If you are prone to asthma and you smoke as well. Quit smoking immediately if you want to live for more years in future. Also you should take care if some other people are smoking nearer to you whether it is your home or in your car, or wherever you are there.
- In general the cockroaches leads to troubles for everyone. So, get your houses cleared of cockroaches as soon as possible by removing their favorite spots from the home that is water and food sources. Cockroaches are always found in great numbers wherever food is eaten as its crumbs are left behind at that place. That’s why clean your house after every 2 to 3 days using a vacuum cleaner or sweep the areas regularly that might fascinate the cockroaches.
- Listen to the air quality forecasts coming on radio, television, and the Internet before going out or to plan your outside activities.
- Take your pets for baths every week and keep them outside the reach of asthma patient as much as you can. If you are the master of a furry pet, vacuum it often to make it clean and allergy-free. Also don’t forget to mop your hard floor surfaces like wood or tiles.
- Modern technologies like air conditioner or dehumidifier can help you in controlling the level of the humidity at your home. You can also purchase a small tool named as hygrometer from the market to keep a check on humidity levels and keep them low that is not more than 50%. Humidity levels do not remain constant and changes during the entire day, so checking the humidity levels is not a single task in a day but you need to check it often. Any water leakages should be fixed immediately as it will hinder the growth of mold behind the walls and under floors.
Asthma can be easily identified with a physical exam or tests that is aimed to measure the degree of lung function. There are two lung function tests that are used by the physician to sense the asthma are:-
- A peak flow test that works with a meter. This meter tends to measure the breathing process and its results are followed and checked over a selected amount of diagnosis time. Asthma may be assumed if your peak flow readings are low but it should be cross checked by physician as well.
- A spirometry test that is also intended to measure your breathing, but contrarily. This test helps the physician to know whether you have some trouble in breathing air out or not. For performing this test you have to breathe in profoundly and then recording the speed and amount of air you can breathe out at that time.
Blood testing is one more way that helps in determining the food allergies. For other allergies, skin testing is beneficial. This is done by piercing the skin and after some time observing how the skin reacts.
Asthma is said to be dangerous only when it is triggered again and again by your careless attitude, hygiene practices and management. One should always remember that it is our attitude and management only that will decide our illness. If you are positive and always take prevention to manage the disease better, you will always succeed in controlling your disease. This is the only way that will help you in controlling the asthma and not asthma controlling your life.