Blog written by: Sourav Pattanayak (M Pharm, MBA)
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects people all of ages and disturbs lung functioning. Breathing becomes more difficult due to inflammation and muscular stiffness surrounding the airways. Symptoms commonly include wheezing, chest discomfort, coughing, and shortness of breath which could change in severity over a time span. Since it is a chronic disorder, continual medical attention is necessary.
How can asthma be classified based on the severity of symptoms?
There are several types of asthma, depending on the underlying symptoms. Asthma is categorized by doctors as follows:
Mild, moderate or persistent- Medical experts determine the severity of your asthma depending on how frequently you have symptoms. A person with asthma may experience symptoms either regularly or on rare occasions. If the person has chronic asthma, the symptoms come on rather regularly (persistent). There might be anything from minor to major symptoms.
What do you mean by allergic and non-allergic asthma?
Allergies in certain people might trigger an asthma attack, which is termed allergic asthma. A few examples of allergens are moulds, dust, and pollens.
In non-allergic asthma, the flare-ups can be brought on by external sources. Exercise, stress, sickness, and the environment might trigger a flare.
Can asthma affect anyone?
Yes, asthma may affect anybody.
Anyone can get asthma at any age. However, asthma more commonly occurs in allergic conditions such as when you are exposed to allergic pollutants such as exposure to smoke, fumes, chemicals, dust, etc.
According to data, asthma is more likely to affect females than males. Also, asthma affects black individuals more frequently than it does other ethnic groupings.
What frequently causes asthma attacks?
If you come in contact with something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you might have an asthma attack. It is simpler to avoid asthma attacks if you are aware of your asthma triggers.
If you are aware of your asthma triggers, preventing asthma episodes is easier. Attacks might start for different people at different times, maybe even hours or days later.
The most common triggering factors for asthma include-
- Air pollution- Several external triggers might cause an asthma attack in different people. The causes of air pollution include industrial pollutants, car exhaust, pollen dust, wildfire, cigarette smoke, and other elements, which can worsen one's asthma.
- Dust mites- Despite not being visible, these insects are present within our homes. A dust mite can cause allergy and may trigger an asthma attack.
- Tobacco smoke- You run an increased chance of acquiring asthma if you smoke or someone else does it in your home.
- Mould- Mould may grow in humid environments, which can be dangerous for people with asthma. An attack might occur even if you are not allergic to mould.
- Strong chemicals or smells- Some people may experience attacks as a result of smelling strong fragrances or chemicals.
- Pets- Your asthma episodes can be brought on by your pets. Breathing in pet dander, which is composed of dry skin flakes, might irritate your airways if you have an allergy to it.
- Genetic factors- An inherited susceptibility may be the cause of asthma's propensity to run in families. If one or both parents have asthma, a child is more likely to have it.
- Occupational exposure- Some occupational exposure shows asthma attacks due to the specific substance in the industry, such as chemicals, dust, raw-material, and other inorganic and organic substance.
- Obesity- Asthma has been linked to obesity as a risk factor. Although the fundamental causes of the two disorders are not completely known, persistent low-grade inflammation and mechanical factors that impact the airways may have a role.
- Stress and emotional factors- Stress and strong emotions, albeit not the primary cause, can in some people cause asthma symptoms to flare up or exacerbate already present symptoms.
How can medical professionals identify asthma?
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. Spirometry might be requested by your doctor. This test measures the airflow through your lungs and is used to diagnose your condition and evaluate your progress following therapy. Your doctor could advise that you get a chest X-ray, blood test, or skin test.
What choices are there for treating asthma?
There are various ways to manage your asthma. Your doctor could suggest using medication to treat your symptoms.
- Bronchodilators- Bronchodilators are the agents which relax the smooth muscle in the airways. They help to keep the airways open for easy breathing.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs- These drugs reduce inflammation and lessen airway mucus production. These drugs clear the airways of mucus. These drugs reduce mucus and oedema in the airways.
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