What is asthma?
Asthma is a common lung disease. It affects millions of people worldwide. If you or someone you know suffers from this respiratory infection, it is vital to understand the symptoms. It may help manage your condition in the best way. Moreover, with proper asthma treatment, most people can live normal and healthy lives. This disease is a chronic condition that affects the lungs. The common symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. In addition, many things can trigger an asthma attack. Such factors include exercise, allergies, or viral infections. Nevertheless, you can control your condition with medication and lifestyle changes.
Is there a cure?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treat this respiratory infection. Therefore, it is crucial to work with a doctor to develop a plan that works best for you. Some people may only need medication when they have an asthma attack. On the other hand, others may require daily medication to keep their symptoms under control. In addition, you can make many lifestyle changes to help with asthma treatment. They include avoiding cigarette smoke, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma is an inherited (genetic) disease. It occurs when the air passes become inflamed. People who suffer from this condition can experience one or more of the following symptoms-
- Wheezing or whistling sound when breathing, often after a cold or flu
- Tight feeling and sometimes wheezing in the chest
- Relentless coughing, particularly at hours of darkness and early morning
- Difficulty breathing, especially during exercise
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is significant to see a doctor right away. You can control this condition with medication. Moreover, if caught early, you can prevent serious health problems. An absence of proper treatment can lead to permanent lung damage.
Not everyone with such a respiratory infection experience these symptoms. However, they are the most frequent ones. If you also notice these signs and symptoms, consult your doctor for a diagnosis. He or she may help identify your problem. Consequently, you may receive proper asthma treatment.
What causes asthma?
The cause of this respiratory infection is not fully understood. However, researchers believe that it may be a result of a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Some possible triggers of asthma include-
- Cigarette smoke
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Mold spores
Asthma may also be hereditary. It means it can pass on from parents to their children. If one parent has this lung disease, their children are also at risk of developing this condition. However, if both parents have asthma, the risk for children increases even more.
There is no cure for asthma. However, treatments can help control the symptoms. Some of these approaches include-
- Allergy shots
Using asthma treatment on time can put off the risk of an attack. Therefore, make sure you follow your treatment plan.
What is an asthma attack?
Asthma attacks come with symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms typically come on suddenly. However, during the worst part of the episode, breathing becomes difficult or impossible.
If you have this lung disease, you know that these episodes can be very frightening. Fortunately, this does not happen often. Most people can avoid attacks by managing their condition. In addition, most cases of the severe condition are related to missed medication doses or incorrect dosage.
What should you do during an asthma attack?
If you are experiencing an asthma attack, you should take your asthma treatment and follow your doctor’s instructions. Furthermore, you can consider the following guidelines-
- Sit upright and do not lie down. It will help you breathe easier.
- Breathe through a paper bag or use an inhaler if you have one. It will assist you to take in more oxygen.
- Stay calm and relaxed. Anxiety can aggravate your condition.
- Drink ample fluids to help release mucus.
- Avoid exercise, smoke, and allergens if possible. They can worsen your symptoms.
An asthma attack can be frightening. However, do not worry. You can get through it by following your doctor’s instructions. In addition to the tips above, take your asthma treatment and follow your doctor’s directions. Try to stay calm when your symptoms go out of control. Anxiety can make your condition even more critical.
What are the types of asthma?
Asthma is a lung disease. It causes airways in the lung to be irritated and swollen. In some people, it can become severe enough. This condition makes them deprived of the activities they can do. Nevertheless, there are three different types of asthma-
- Allergic Asthma
It takes place when a person’s immune system reacts excessively to an allergen. These irritants may include pollen or animal dander. This reaction starts in the nose and spreads to the lungs.
- Exercise-Induced Asthma
It occurs when muscles around the airways tighten during exercise. Such a situation reduces the amount of air, which should get into the lungs. People who have this type of asthma may not experience symptoms until they begin exercising. However, they may still need to use their asthma treatment on time. It may help prevent their symptoms.
- Bronchospasmatic Asthma
This type of asthma is the most common. It occurs when the airways in the lungs become narrowed and produce excess mucus. It can take place because of a range of reasons, such as disclosure to pollutants or a viral disease.
What are the treatments for this respiratory infection?
Asthma is a persistent seditious illness of the airways. It most commonly manifests as reversible airflow obstruction. However, some individuals suffer from airflow collapse. This condition is called severe acute asthma. In other cases, they suffer from irreversible airflow obstruction. This condition is called severe refractory asthma. Nevertheless, you can manage your symptoms by avoiding triggers and reducing the inflammation in the airway. Medications can help relieve your symptoms by relaxing the airway muscles, opening the airways, and reducing inflammation.
What are the types of asthma medications?
There are three main types of drugs used for asthma treatment-
- Leukotriene modifiers
Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the small airways in the lungs and open up these airways. They make breathing easier. In addition, you can use these medications as soon as asthma symptoms start. You can also use them between the episodes. The most frequent bronchodilator is albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin).
Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the airways. They are taken as an inhaler, tablets, liquids, or injections. Moreover, you can also use them every day to help with your asthma treatment. Some people also use it only when needed to treat an attack. In addition, the most common corticosteroid is prednisone.
Leukotriene modifiers reduce the effects of substances in the body that cause inflammation. They are available in the form of an inhaler, tablet, liquid, or injection. You can use Leukotriene modifiers every day to help keep asthma under control. However, some people use them only when needed to treat an attack. The most familiar leukotriene modifier is montelukast (Singulair).
Your doctor may recommend one or more drugs together, for example, a bronchodilator and corticosteroid. Frequently, he or she may prescribe an additional medicine to prevent further attacks after regular use of two or more asthma drugs.
Many different drugs are available for the treatment of asthma. However, it is vital to work with a doctor to find the best drug or drug combination for each individual. Some people may need to use more than one type of drug to control their asthma. On the other hand, some people use a combination of medications to manage their condition.
What are the effective lifestyles for asthma treatment?
Lifestyle modification plays a vital part in managing the symptoms of asthma. Some of the effective and essential ones are as follows-
- Avoid known triggers
Keeping a diary may help you to identify what your triggers are. After knowing what evokes your symptoms, you can stay away from them as much as possible. Triggers can vary from person to person. Therefore, it is essential for anyone with asthma to try to find out what triggers affect them the most. For this, you can take the help of your healthcare provider.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma. It may have connections with having higher levels of inflammation in the lungs. Secondly, extra fat tissue demands more oxygen. This condition can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing after exercise, especially in people who already have asthma. It is another reason why obesity is thought to be a risk factor for asthma.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise is good for overall health. Moreover, doctors recommend physical workouts for everyone. It can help with asthma treatment. However, if you are new to exercise or you have a more severe form of a respiratory infection, it is vital to consult your doctor before starting a new routine. Initiate gradually and progressively add to the intensity and time of the exercise. However, you must make sure that your condition is under effective control before starting a new program of physical activity. You should avoid doing strenuous activity in cold air when pollen levels are high.
- Avoid passive smoke exposure
If you are exposed to passive tobacco smoke, you are more likely to have increased asthma symptoms and reduced lung function. Therefore, avoid passive smoke as much as possible to prevent the worsening of your condition.
- Consider taking long-term control medication
If you have regular symptoms, your doctor may recommend using a medication daily. In addition, if your airflow is reduced to the point where you might need treatment in an emergency, use a once-daily tablet for asthma treatment. This drug is called controller medication. Moreover, you may need to use this medication even if you do not have symptoms most of the time.
- Avoid exposure to dust mites, pollen, and animal fur
In some people, allergy to dust mites, pollen, and animal fur, can trigger an asthma attack. If you think this applies to you, taking steps to avoid contact with them is likely to reduce your risk of an attack.
How can you prevent asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory lung disease. Drugs, which doctors prescribe suppress inflammation and treat asthma attacks. They include-
- Short-acting beta-agonists for quick relief of symptoms
- Inhaled corticosteroids to prevent airway swelling and chronic inflammation associated with asthma
Asthma is two conditions in one, involving both allergies to environmental triggers and airway inflammation. Therefore, it can be difficult to prevent. However, some general steps can help reduce your risk of developing an asthma attack.
- Avoid triggers
The most vital step in asthma treatment is avoiding exposure to allergens and other asthma triggers. If you know what your triggers are, take steps to avoid them.
- Manage your allergies
If you have allergies, managing them can help prevent worsening your condition. Nevertheless, allergy medications such as antihistamines and nasal sprays can help control symptoms.
- Keep your environment clean
Dust mites are a common asthma trigger. Therefore, keeping your environment clean can help prevent an attack. Vacuuming carpets and washing bedding at high temperatures can reduce the number of dust mites in your home. Moreover, washing stuffed animals regularly may also lower the risk of asthma attacks. It is particularly significant to remove houseplants that are common allergens from bedrooms and other rooms where you spend a lot of time.
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise reduces the risk of asthma attacks. It is especially helpful among children and teenagers who are at greater risk for developing the disease. Regular exercises can help with asthma treatment.
- Avoid smoking
Smoking can trigger asthma symptoms in people who have allergies or asthma triggers related to smoke, including secondhand smoke exposure. Therefore, quit smoking if you have a habit of using tobacco.
- Get regular checkups
Regular checkups with your doctor can help you stay on top of your condition and catch any problems early.
- Use a preventive medication if needed
If you have asthma, your doctor may prescribe a preventive medication to help reduce the risk of attacks. Medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids, can help reduce your risk of asthma attacks and chronic inflammation in the airways.