Asthma is a chronic illness related to the airway in the lungs which makes you difficult to breathe occasionally. Asthma can affect all ages of people and habitually initiate in childhood, though it can be developed for the first time in adults also.
Presently, there is not curable for asthma, yet there is a common treatment that can help to keep the symptoms under control. Thus, if you can manage your asthma symptoms effectively, it does not have a big impact on your life.
Symptoms of asthma
There are many symptoms of asthma including:
- Wheezing sound when breathing (whistling sound)
- You may have felt like a band is tightening around it (tight chest)
Sometimes, those symptoms get temporarily worse and known as asthma attacks.
Causes of asthma
The exact cause is unknown. However, people diagnosed with asthma have inflamed and sensitive airways. It becomes narrow and clogged with sticky mucus in response to certain triggers.
The common triggers in asthma including:
- Colds or flu
- Allergies to pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers
- Smoke, fumes, and pollution
- Medicine (anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin
- Emotions such as stress or laughter
- Weather (unpredictable climate change, cold air, wind, thunderstorms, heat, and humidity)
- Mold or damp
Once you know your triggers, attempt to prevent those triggers and it may help you keep your symptoms under control.
Diagnosis of asthma
The general physician will be diagnosed with you from your symptoms and other tests, yet if they are uncertain about your conditions, they will refer you to a specialist. Your general physician may you ask following questions:
- What are the symptoms do you have?
- When will your symptoms happen?
- How often do your symptoms appear?
- Do you or your family members have any conditions such as eczema or allergies?
Tests for asthma
Your general or specialist doctor may suggest doing some tests to clarity whether you have asthma.
- FeNo test: they will ask breath into a machine that measures the level of nitric oxide in your breath, as it indicates a sign of inflammation in the lung.
- Spirometry: they will ask you to blow your breath into a machine that measures the speed of your breath (how fast you can breathe) and how much air you can hold in your lungs.
- Peak flow test: they will ask you to blow into a handheld device that measures how fast you can breathe out. It may be done several times over a few weeks to see whether it changes over time.
Anyways, these tests cannot be easy in your children, so children may be given an asthma inhaler to see whether it helps reduce some of their symptoms. They will do these tests when they are old enough.
Treatments of asthma
- Reliever inhalers
Reliever inhalers use to treat your symptoms when it appears. The inhaler relieves your symptoms within a few minutes.
However, reliever inhalers have a few side effects and sometimes they can cause shaking or tachycardiac (rapid heartbeat) for a few minutes after they are used.
- Preventer inhalers
If you require to use a reliever inhaler frequently, you may need a preventer inhaler. You can use a preventer inhaler daily to decrease the inflammation and sensitivity of your airways. It is essential to use even your symptoms do not appear.
Sometimes, preventer inhalers have some side effects including:
- A fungal infection of the mouth or throat (oral thrush)
- A horse voices
- A sore throat
Even though you can help to avoid these side effects by using a spacer, that is a hallow plastic tube you attach to your inhaler. After using an inhaler, you have to rinse your mouth or cleaning your teeth.
Combination of inhalers
If reliever and preventer inhaler does not control your asthma, your physician may need to suggest you combine both inhalers.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs)
- Steroid tablets
A bronchial thermoplasty may be accessible as a treatment for severe asthma. This procedure works well and no serious concerns about its safety. Furthermore, you need to have general anesthetic during a bronchial thermoplastic, as it needs to pass a thin, flexible tube down to your throat and into your lung.
Living with asthma
- Use your inhaler correctly
- Use your preventer inhaler or tablets every day
- Check before taking other medicines
- Do not smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Healthy eating
- Get vaccination
NHS. (2018, February 19). Retrieved from Overview: Asthma: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/