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Asthma – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

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 Asthma – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Asthma causes breathing difficulties and results from your airways narrowing and swelling. It also leads to the production of mucus in your airway and causes wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. It can be very mild and need little or no medical treatment. However, it can also be severe and life-threatening.

Pathophysiology of asthma consists of three key abnormalities: bronchoconstriction, airway inflammation, and mucous impaction.

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks. You might also have symptoms only at certain times such as when exercising.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing when exhaling,
  • Difficulty while sleeping
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks

Types of Asthma

According to the best pulmonologist in Hyderabad, there are different types of asthma. Check out the details of the asthma types:-

1. Allergic Asthma

This is the most common type, affecting around 60% of people. Around 8 in 10 people with allergic asthma will also have another allergic condition, such as eczema, allergic rhinitis, or a food allergy. Certain allergens in the environment can trigger allergic asthma. Some common allergens include pollen, foods such as milk, eggs, and certain nuts, dust mites, cockroaches, and cockroach feces, irritants in the air, such as tobacco smoke and automobile and chemical fumes and heavily fragranced products, such as perfumes

It is important for people with allergic asthma to seek treatment from a specialist, as this can help them manage their condition. They should also take any prescribed medication as a specialist directs.

2. Non-Allergic Asthma

Nonallergic asthma does not require an allergen to trigger an attack. It is less common than allergic asthma, accounting for around 10–33% of all asthma cases. It is more likely to appear in adulthood and affects more females than males. Experts believe that nonallergic asthma develops due to genetic and environmental factors. For example, symptoms may occur when a person has exposure to cold, humidity, stress, exercise, pollution, irritants in the air, such as smoke and respiratory infections, such as a cold, flu, or sinus infection

People with symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing should seek help from an asthma specialist. To manage their symptoms, they should also take any prescribed medication as a specialist directs.

3. Seasonal Asthma

In this type of asthma problem, symptoms flare up in certain conditions or at particular times of the year. For example, a person with seasonal asthma may notice that symptoms are worse, or only present, during:-

  • Hay fever season, when pollen levels are at their highest
  • Cold or hot weather, thunderstorms, and sudden changes in temperature
  • Days when air pollution is worse, such as still, cold days
  • Winter months, when there are more cold and flu viruses around

In many ways, seasonal asthma is similar to allergic asthma. In fact, people may use both terms to describe bronchial asthma attacks that occur during the pollen season.

The following tips may be effective for bronchial asthma treatment:-

  • Pay attention to local weather reports on air quality and pollen levels
  • Wear a scarf over the mouth and nose in cold weather, to warm up air as it passes into the lungs.
  • Keep medication on hand for quick relief from symptoms.

4. Occupational Asthma

People with occupational asthma may find that their symptoms are worse while working, or that they improve with time off work. About 15% of asthma cases in the U.S. may be due to job-related exposure. Some people may have an asthma attack within 24 hours of exposure.

Patients affected with occupational asthma should seek treatment from a doctor or healthcare provider. This will help them identify what is causing their symptoms, avoid further exposure, and ease their symptoms.

5. Exercise-Induced Asthma

It occurs when symptoms flare up during or immediately after exercise or another form of strenuous activity. This may happen around 5 – 20 minutes after the exercise. Although it is common to experience shortness of breath after exercise, this type of asthma may also cause coughing, wheezing, and chest pain, ranging from mild to severe.

Some of the factors may also worsen complications of asthma of exercise-induced asthma. For example, chlorinated pools, exposure to polluted air, cold dry air and warm, humid air.

Asthma medications can often treat the symptoms effectively. However, it is important for people to see a doctor if their symptoms are not responding to regular medication.

Crucial tips to reduce the risk of an asthma attack during or after exercise:-

  • Use an inhaler before exercise and keep it close to hand when exercising.
  • Avoid exercising with a viral infection.
  • Warm up before exercise, to help loosen the airways.
  • Cool down after exercise, to help breathing slow gradually.
  • Wear a scarf over the nose and mouth when exercising outdoors.
  • Avoid exercises that result in labored or heavy breathing.

Causes Of Bronchial Asthma

Causes Of Asthma

Asthma can be caused probably due to a combination of environmental and inherited (genetic) factors. Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma.

Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

  • Airborne allergens
  • Respiratory infections
  • Physical activity
  • Cold air
  • Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke

Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can also trigger asthma

Asthma Risk Factors

A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. They include:-

  • Having a blood relative with asthma, such as a parent or sibling
  • Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis
  • Being overweight
  • Being a smoker
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing

Asthma Diagnosis

Diagnosing asthma typically involves your doctor getting to know about your personal and medical history, a physical exam and a pulmonary function test.  The doctor may run additional tests at the Pulmonology Hospital in Hyderabad to help determine the type of asthma you have and to determine the severity of it. The type of asthma and its severity will help the doctor come up with an appropriate treatment plan for you.

In exceptional cases, your doctor may also use a breath test called a fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) test. It helps to assess the level of inflammation in your lungs if it is difficult to determine whether you have asthma based on the results of other tests. In the case of children, doctors may diagnose asthma based on symptoms, a family history, and a physical exam.

Prevention

As per lungs specialist doctor in Hyderabad, there is no one way to prevent asthma. But, you and your doctor can design a step-by-step plan for living with your condition and preventing asthma attacks.

Asthma is an ongoing medical condition that needs regular monitoring and treatment. Taking control of your treatment can make you feel more in control of your life. You must get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia. Staying current with vaccinations can prevent flu and pneumonia from triggering asthma flare-ups.

It is important to identify and avoid asthma triggers. Monitor your breathing. You may learn to recognize warning signs of an impending attack, such as slight coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath.

Take your medication as prescribed. Don’t change your medications without first talking to your doctor, even if your asthma seems to be improving. Additionally, pay attention to increasing quick-relief inhaler use. You must reach out to your doctor about adjusting your treatment.

 

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