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ASTHMA

Asthma is a chronic disease that occurs in your lungs. It affects your airways making it difficult for you to breathe. If you have asthma, your bronchial tube narrows and swells. This can make your breathing difficult. The muscle around the airway tightens causing symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness of chest.

Asthma can be prevented by taking medicines and by avoiding things which can trigger the attack. According to WHO, there are about 235 million people around the world with asthma.

ASTHMA TRIGGERS

The following are common triggers that can cause asthma:

  • Allergies
  • Weather
  • Respiratory infections such as common colds
  • Air pollutions like smoke and wood fires
  • Exercise
  • Airborne substance such as dust, pollen, cockroach waste
  • Medicines like beta blockers. Ibuprofen and aspirin
  • Food additives

WHAT IS AN ASTHMA ATTACK?

An Asthma attack is when you have worse asthma symptoms. This is caused by the tightening of the muscles in your airways. During your asthma attack, the airway lining swells and produces more mucus. You can prevent asthma by knowing the warning signs and the triggers that causes an attack.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

The following are the symptoms of asthma:

  • Severe wheezing
  • Unstoppable coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Breathlessness
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Tightened neck
  • Trouble talking
  • Pale
  • Blue lips and fingernails

RISK FACTORS

Asthma can happen to anyone. The factors below can increase your chances of developing asthma. These are:

  • If you have sibling with asthma
  • Being a smoker
  • Being overweight
  • Genetic traits
  • If you have allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis
  • Exposure to pollutions and exhaust fumes
  • A pregnant woman
  • An obese person

COMPLICATIONS

Asthma can lead to a number of serious problems. Complications may include:

  • Infection of the lungs
  • Respiratory failure
  • An asthma attack that doesn’t responds to treatment
  • Absence from school or work
  • Inability to exercise
  • Learning problems among children
  • Stress
  • Repeated visit to the hospitals

DIAGNOSIS

Doctors may conduct several tests to rule out other possible conditions such as:

  • Physical exam about the signs and symptoms
  • Conducting a test to measure lung function such as peak low and spirometry.

Other test includes:

  • Allergy testing
  • Imaging tests
  • Nitric oxide tests
  • Methacholine challenge
  • Provocative testing for exercise

TREATMENT

The treatment for asthma is based on the following goals:

  1. Relief the symptoms
  2. Prevent future attacks from happening

Your doctor may prescribe one of the medications below:

If your asthma is triggered by an allergy:

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

Asthma is not preventable but there preventive measures that you can take so your asthma won’t get worse.

  • Avoid areas where there is smoke.
  • Avoid using cleaning products and chemicals.
  • Do not allow pets to stay in your bedroom.
  • Avoid stress and learn to manage your emotion.
  • Keep your asthma medicine always ready.