Asthma is a health condition in which your airwaves (bronchial tubes) get inflamed. As a result, they become narrow, leading to breathing problems. If the inflammation is serious, your airwaves become very sensitive to anything irritative, meaning that in case of any, you have asthmatic attack. Your asthmatic attack may not be necessarily the same as in another. All depends on the degree of bronchial inflammation and irritative factors. For this reason, asthma is classified in different categories:
- Brittle asthma – This is a type of asthma that occurs recurrently and is severe. It does not respond to treatment easily.
- Asthma attack – This is a serious type of asthma that is however not recurrent. You can have it after several months.
- Status asthmaticus – Although rare, status asthmaticus is the most serious type of asthma attack. It does not respond to standard treatment methods and can be fatal.
The different classes of asthma present almost the same symptoms. Such include:
- Wheezing – You will produce a wheezing sound as you breathe because of the narrow airwave.
- Shortness of breath – Due to the narrowing of your airwaves, you have short breathe, which forces you to breathe quickly.
- Chest tightness – Because of reduced breathing, your chest is bound to restrict and become tight.
- Coughing – By instinct, your body’s immune system will push you to cough, mistaking the narrow airwave and shortness of breathe to be an invasion.
You can go for several days, weeks or even months without any asthma attack so long as you are not exposed to trigger factors. Apart from asthmatic attacks, asthma has been found to be the foundation of some health conditions. Most of those who have been diagnosed with asthma proceed to develop gastro-esophageal reflux disease, which occurs because of increased pressure to the lings. Most of those asthmatic also proceed to develop sleep disorders.
Asthma is caused by varied factors that relate both to the environment and to heredity. These factors determine the severity of the condition and treatment options. Asthma attacks mostly occur at night, in the mornings and in the evenings (cold). Causative factors include:
- Allergy – Being allergic to many allergens is a major cause of asthma. You are at a risk of developing asthma if you easily suffer from hay fever and eczema.
- Smoking – Smoking is a major risk factor in the development of asthma. In particular, smoking in pregnancy and after delivery has been associated with several asthmatic symptoms that proceed to develop into full-blown asthma.
- Air pollution – Living in an area where the surrounding air is heavily polluted easily causes asthma, especially in children.
- Infections – Recurrent viral infections not only trigger asthma but also have been noted to be a cause of asthma.
- Stress – Psychological stress has been scientifically established to modulate the body’s immune system, in effect increasing causing airwave obstruction and inflammation, leading to asthma.
- Medications – Children who start using antibiotics early in life proceed to develop asthma because antibiotics have the effect of altering the gut flora and the body’s immune system in general.
- Heredity – You can inherit asthma from any or both of your parents in case any or both of them are asthmatic. Scientifically, over 100 genes have been identified to be closely associated with asthma.
- Activity induced asthma – You can contract asthma from sports activities. In particular, cycling, long-distance running and mountain biking has been noted to cause brittle type of asthma.
Although there are no standard asthma diagnostic devices, various treatment methods are available. Depending on the cause, a change in lifestyle can go a long way in alleviating the condition. Various immediate and long-term medications are also available. Immediate and fast acting medications such as salbutamol, ipratropium bromide are prescribed to relieve severe asthma attacks. Varied inhaler medicine formulations are prescribed for long-term management of the condition. Such include Glucocorticoids and beta-adrenoceptor agonists. Because these medications have side effects, the best treatment for asthma is prevention.