What is asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways to the lungs. It is a chronic, or long-term condition that intermittently inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs. Paitnet experiences difficulty breathing and can make some physical activities difficult to perfome.
Asthma affects people of all ages and it often starts during childhood. Asthma causes periods of wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe. It may happen rarely or every day.When symptoms worsen, it is called an asthma attack, exacerbation, or flare-up. Uncontrolled asthma can damage the lungs.
Asthma attacks are episodes that occur when symptoms get much worse. Asthma attacks can happen suddenly and may be life-threatening. People who have severe asthma experience asthma attacks frequently. There are certain things that can set off asthma symptoms, these are known as triggers. Some of theses triggers include: Smoking, stress, polluted places, Perfumes, Flowers, animal fur , certain Food items ( chocolates, ice-cream), Cold and flu.
Several tests may be done to help determine if asthma is likely to be the cause of symptoms. These tests include:
• Pulmonary function tests
• Spirometry with bronchodilator (BD) test
• Peak expiratory flow (PEF)
Patient may need to undergo following tests to rule out other conditions if symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath with dizziness, light-headedness, or tingling in your hands or feet
• A cough without other breathing issues
• Chest pain
• Coughing up mucus
• Difficult and noisy breathing during exercise
To rule out other medical conditions include following tests are done:
• CHest X-ray to rule out lung infections, such as tuberculosis, or a foreign substance, such as an object that was inhaled by accident.
• SLeep Study to rule out Sleep Apnea.
• Endoscopy to rule out gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). These tests may include endoscopy
• Electrocardiogram (EKG) to rule out heart failure or arrhythmia while in emergency care.
Treatment of Asthma:
Treatment for asthma are divided into three primary categories:
• Breathing Exercises: Pulmonologist or an occupational therapist helps the patient to learn breathing exercises for asthma. These exercises can help to get more air into and out of the lungs. This eventually help increase lung capacity and cut down on severe asthma symptoms.
• Rescue or First Aid Treatment: Resue medications are used in the event of an asthma attack. They provide quick relief from the symptoms. Rescue inhaler and nebulizers, adre used with medications that needs to be inhaled deep into the lungs. Medications such as, Bronchodilator, they work to relax the tightened muscles in the lungs. Anti-inflamatories which target lung inflammation which prevent breathing. If symptoms persist for more than 20 minutes even after giving second round of medication, seek medical attention
• Long-term asthma control medications: Long-term asthma control madication should be taken on daily basis. to prevent symptoms. Dosage of these medication is adjusted timely based on patient’s asthma symptoms.
Right treatment or combination of treatments is determined based on the type of asthma, age, and trigger factors.
The goal of asthma management is to achieve control with an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan may include monitoring, avoiding triggers, and using medicines.