General Health

What Is Asthma? A Quick Guide To Symptoms And Treatment

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that has no cure and relies on proper management as treatment.

Experts believe there are many reasons that help in developing a breathing problem.

Treatment from a medical specialist will help keep the symptoms from spiraling out of control.

November 17th, 2020
3 mins read

When it comes to respiratory illnesses, chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) are those related to the lungs or other parts of the airways. Some of the more common types are pulmonary hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, occupational lung disease, and asthma. Respiratory illnesses can cause an unimaginable level of discomfort to those who are afflicted.

It is possible to develop CRDs like asthma disease during the early years of childhood. For this reason, it is imperative that you understand all you can about this chronic condition. Here’s all you need to know about asthma.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that has no cure and relies on proper management as treatment. It is an inflammatory disease, which makes breathing very difficult thereby limiting the affected in many ways. For some, even the smallest amounts of physical activity can be extremely challenging.

An asthma attack occurs when the lining of the airways swell up and the muscles surrounding them tighten, effectively getting narrow. This makes it very difficult for air to pass through and can be life-threatening.

What are its causes?

Experts believe there are many reasons that help in developing a breathing problem. Genetics plays a major role in determining whether or not someone may develop the problem. The causes vary based on the different types of asthma, and each type is further differentiated by either onset or activity. Here is a breakdown of these.

Adult-onset asthma

Asthma develops during adulthood and is more likely to present with persistent symptoms. Stress, smoking, obesity, hormones, and other respiratory illnesses can trigger attacks.

Cough-variant asthma (CVA)

It is characterised by a persistent cough, which can devolve into more common symptoms if left untreated.

Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)

Occurs within minutes of exercise or physical exertion. It is found that about 90% of asthmatics also have EIB.

Occupational asthma

This type is caused by the triggers present in a workplace and can be common in a range of industries. Common lines of occupation include farming, woodworking, textiles, and manufacturing.

Extrinsic asthma

Brought on by allergens and can be seasonal for some. Mold, pollen, dust, pet dander, and certain foods can be common triggers.

Nocturnal asthma

One in which symptoms worsen at night, normally due to dust mites, pet dander, and heartburn.

Intrinsic asthma

Brought on by irritants that aren’t allergens. Good examples include perfumes, cleaning products, cold air, pollution, viral illnesses, and cigarette smoke.

Aspirin-induced asthma (AIA)

It occurs as a response to aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Commonly considered as one of the more severe types of asthma.

What are its symptoms?

Given that asthma restricts air supply to the body, there are many common symptoms that are fairly easy to notice. They are as follows.

  • Wheezing
  • Squealing sound when breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty talking
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing, severe in some cases

If any of these symptoms worsen, it is advised to consult a doctor immediately.

How to treat it?

Asthma treatment is split into 3 categories. These are breathing exercises, long-term medications, and quick-relief treatments.

Breathing exercises

They help in increasing the amount of air you can inhale and exhale. It helps to keep severe symptoms at bay by improving your lung capacity.

Long-term medication

These are taken daily to keep symptoms under control but offer no relief during an attack. Common medications include long-acting bronchodilators, anticholinergics, biologic therapy drugs, and anti-inflammatories.

Quick-relief treatment

Bronchodilators, often as inhalers or nebulizers, offer relief within minutes. They relax the muscles that have tightened in the airways.

Asthma prevention

You can prevent asthma attacks by:

  • Steering clear of known allergens
  • Taking the recommended preventive medication
  • Paying special attention to triggers
  • Getting allergy shots regularly

Asthma can occur at any age, unlike COPD, even during infancy. Being aware of all the relevant factors can help you address the situation better. With such a respiratory condition, you can’t always prevent an attack. This is why it is recommended that you seek advice. Treatment from a medical specialist will help keep the symptoms from spiraling out of control. With the Bajaj Finserv Health app, this is easy to achieve as it grants you access to an entire suite of benefits when it comes to finding and leveraging healthcare.

Use this App to find the best respiratory and other specialists in your vicinity, book appointments online, and e-consult with doctors over video. Video consultations come in handy as doctors offer solutions without delays, while you stay comfortable at home. You can also maintain digital patient records and track health vitals, which can then be sent to specialists in an instant. This helps doctors react proactively to an attack and thus ensures that you get the required asthma treatment in time. To get access to these features and benefits, download the app for free on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store today!

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