The asthma is one of the health problems (disease) which affect people for a long term (chronic). Because it effect to the patient for a long time, the people should know every things about asthma and if I have the asthma or know someone has the asthma (like your kids or someone close).
This knowledge is very important to deal with asthma and know more about how to treat asthma attack and control it. In this report, we will talk about asthma by answering these questions:
- What is the asthma?
- What are symptoms of asthma?
- How do you know you have asthma or someone has it?
- How is Asthma Diagnosed?
- What are causes of asthma?
- What are the treatments for asthma?
The Asthma is a chronic (long term) and inflammatory (swelling) disease of the airways in lungs. This swelling causes the airways thick, sticky secretions (mucus) and the muscles in and around the airways to get very tight. This swelling, mucus, and tight muscles can make the airways narrower than normal and it becomes very hard for the patient to get air into and out of the lungs by the airways.
What happens during asthma attack? The following happened in asthma:
- The muscles around the airways tighten, making the airways smaller.
- The lining of the airways becomes swollen.
- Thick mucus forms, blocking small airways.
Symptoms And Signs Of Asthma Attack
Symptoms are usually worse at night and in the early morning or in response to exercise or cold air. The most common symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, wheezing (squeaking sound), chest tightness, and cough. Sputum may be produced from the lung by coughing but is often hard to bring up.
When you do have asthma symptoms, you may hear wheezing as air tries to move through your narrowed airways, chest pressure (asthma chest pain), you may breathe so fast that you may have a hard time talking (you can discovered that someone has asthma attack through the patient’s speech difficulty and cough, especially in kids). If you think that you are having a severe asthma attack, you should immediately go to emergency care or call 911, or if you like to answer this question “Do I have asthma” and you have some asthma symptoms; go and see your doctor to make sure about this.
If you think you may have asthma (or you have some of asthma symptoms like your kid), tell your doctor about all of your symptoms (symptoms mentioned above). The doctor will start examine you to make sure that these symptoms of asthma. Diagnosis includes: medical and family histories for the patient, physical exam, breathing test and other tested.
In medical and family histories, your doctor will ask you about your family history of asthma and allergies (if any of your family members have an asthma, allergies, rhinitis, eczema and nasal polyps), when the symptoms seem (during certain times of the year, in certain places, in early in the morning or at night), who the symptoms seem(continuous or intermittent and onset and duration), and symptoms that you have: like a runny nose, sinus infections, and sleep apnea … etc.
The history may include home characteristics (e.g. carpets, pets, mold), smoking, workplace or school characteristics, educational level, employment, social support, factors that may contribute to non adherence of asthma medications, pregnancy and menses (for women), thyroid disease, drugs (e.g. aspirin, beta blockers) and illicit drug use.
In physical exam, your doctor starts looking for wheezing, a runny nose or swollen, nasal passages, cough, cough at night, shortness of breath, chest tightness, sputum production, and allergic skin conditions (such as eczema). Keep in mind that you still have asthma even if you don’t have these signs on the day that your doctor examines you. So he ask from you to have a breathing test (tests that measure breathing and how well the lungs are functioning).
In breathing test (called a pulmonary function test or spirometry test), your doctor check how your lungs are working by this test. This test measures how much air you can breathe in and out and how quickly your breathe out. This test can find if there another condition with the same symptoms as asthma, such as reflux disease, vocal cord dysfunction, or sleep apnea.
Your doctor may ask other tests to make sure you have asthma. The tests that he can be requested: first, a blood tests for allergies or to find problems in your immune system ( if any these problems). And the second, a chest x-ray and ECG (EKG or electrocardiogram), these tests it helps to find out if there a foreign object or other disease may be causing same symptoms as asthma.
If you have asthma, it is important to know the asthma triggers; to avoid the asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to another. Some people react to only a few while others react to many. Delayed asthma attack may occur depending on the type of triggers (there are many triggers) and how sensitive the person.
The most common asthma triggers include:
- Allergies and airborne substances (dust mites, smoke, particles of cockroach waste, pollens, molds, and pet dander and rodents)
- Respiratory infections (common cold, influenza, sore throats, sinus infections and pneumonia)
- Irritants and pollutants in air (smoke from cigarettes, smoke, wood fires, charcoal grills)
- Chemicals and strong fumes or vapors (paint, gasoline, perfumes and scented soaps)
- Weather (dry wind, cold air and sudden changes in weather)
- Feeling and expressing strong emotions (anger, fear, excitement, laughter, yelling and crying)
- Some medicines (aspirin, beta blockers, ibuprofen and naproxen)
- Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
- Physical activity, obesity and stress.
Causes of Asthma
Above we have seen things that occur asthma to the patient and we called it an triggers. But that isn’t mean every person is exposed to these triggers caused to him asthma, of course not. They vary from person to another, it depends on the sensitivity of this trigger. And certainly there is a genetic factor makes people sensitivity of the triggers of other people. If one parent has asthma; this increases the chances of children to have asthma.
Asthma Attack Treatment
In the asthma we manage or control the disease and relieve its symptoms, we don’t ask how to treat asthma, because there is no treatment (cure) for asthma.
Make a good plan with the doctor to control the asthma. The most effective treatment for asthma is get away from the triggers and no exposure to them, and you can use some medications. The medications are selected based on the severity of illness and the frequency of symptoms, and they are classified into fast-acting and long-acting categories.
Bronchodilators are good for short-term (less than two attacks a week) relief of symptoms, in this case no other medication is needed. If you have more than two attacks a week, low-dose inhaled corticosteroids or an oral leukotriene antagonist. For those who have daily attacks, a higher dose of inhaled corticosteroids is used and oral corticosteroids are added in some cases.
You can see the 5 strategies for asthma attack treatment.
We hope this report is useful. We discussed in this report about asthma, what are the causes, symptoms of the asthma and how to treat it. We have said that there are a lot of symptoms: the most important is wheezing and difficulty in breathing, but the causes or triggers: the most important is substances in the air and the cold, and we talked that there is no cure for asthma, but we can control it; stay away from asthma triggers and taking some medications.