What Is Bronchial Asthma?
Bronchial asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in the world. It is a hyperactive response to a variety of stimuli, leading to a variable degree of airway obstruction. Most frequently called an "asthma attack," bronchial asthma causes periods of frightening fits of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
What Is Bronchial Asthma?
Have you ever wondered what the term “bronchial asthma” really means? Basically, when someone talks about bronchial asthma, they are actually talking about asthma, or what we call chronic inflammatory disease. It is an inflammatory disease of the airways that is known to cause attacks which are periodic. The bronchial tubes, or the airways, are known to allow air to come inside and go out of the lungs. The asthma attacks can include a wheezing sound, tightness or pain in the chest, inability to breathe or shortness of breath, and constant coughing. As per one of the surveys that was conducted in America alone, there are more than 25 million people, which also includes around 7 million children who are below 18 years of age, who suffer from asthma today.
When an individual is suffering from asthma, the airways tend to become inflamed, and when the symptoms are triggered, these airways become even more swollen. Also, the muscles that are present around the airways start to tighten up, thereby making it difficult for the air to move in and out of the lungs and causing various symptoms as mentioned above.
Asthma is known to have no cure once it has been diagnosed. But there can be a proper treatment plan put in place to help the individual manage the condition so that it has little to no impact on their quality of life. You can also reach out to an allergist who is good at diagnosing asthma and also preparing a treatment plan for it. It can help to bring the condition under control, and the individual can also take part in normal, day-to-day activities which otherwise would not have been possible.
For most people who suffer from asthma, the timing of the symptoms is known to be very closely related to the physical activity they carry out, whereas in those individuals who are healthy, the symptoms of asthma can develop only while they are exercising or carrying out any physical activity. This type of asthma is known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB. Asthma basically should not keep you away from exercising since exercise or carrying out a daily routine of physical activity is equally important for the health of the body. However, in such cases, you can have a word with your doctor and come up with certain management plans to keep the symptoms under control while you are exercising.
Those individuals who have a family history of asthma or any kind of allergies tend to be at a higher risk of developing asthma as well, even though they may be healthy. It has also been seen that many individuals who suffer from asthma deal with other allergies as well, hence, it is usually called allergic asthma.
There is another type of asthma known as childhood asthma which is known to cause an impact on millions of children and their families as well. It has been seen that a majority of children who developed asthma did so before the age of five.
As per the experts who work on asthma-related issues, the symptoms concerning asthma and the method of treatment that would work best for you and your child would be different than what would be recommended for another person; The same treatment does not work for everyone. One of the most common symptoms of asthma is a wheezing sound. It is basically a whistling or scratchy sound that occurs when you try to breathe. A few of the other symptoms an individual suffering from asthma would experience are:
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- A sudden shortness of breath
- Chronic instances of coughing
- The individual may have trouble while sleeping due to the constant coughing or wheezing noise
The symptoms of asthma are also known as asthma attacks or asthma flare ups, and these are known to be mostly triggered due to any allergies or the individual being exposed to any of these allergens, which can include dust mites, mold, pollen, or pet dander. There are certain other non-allergic causes that can trigger an instance of asthma as well, and they include being exposed to pollution, sudden changes in the weather, exposure to smoke, or the cold air. There have been cases in certain individuals wherein the symptoms of asthma become worse when they are exercising or when they suffer from the cold. It can also occur when an individual is highly stressed or tense about something.
Children who suffer from asthma may also show the same symptoms as those in adults, such as a wheezing noise, coughing, or shortness of breath, whereas in certain individuals, they may only experience the symptom of a chronic cough. If the child experiences any of the below mentioned symptoms, be sure to visit a doctor, whether it be an allergist or an immunologist:
- Constant case of coughing, which can worsen due to a viral form of infection. This is known to happen when the child is sleeping or can be caused due to exercising or exposure to cold air.
- A wheezing sound or whistling noise, which occurs when the child tries to breathe out.
- There is a sudden feeling of shortness of breath, or rapid breathing can also occur. This is known to be mostly associated with the carrying out of any physical activity or exercise.
- Pain or tightness in the chest, which they can express as the chest hurting.
- Tiredness or feeling fatigued
- Trying to avoid any kind of social activity or playing sports
- Having trouble while sleeping due to a constant case of coughing or inability to breathe
- In the case of infants, they may experience trouble while feeding or produce a grunting noise during feeding sessions.
The doctor or an allergist can diagnose asthma by first checking the medical history of the individual. They can also carry out a breathing test to measure how well the lungs are working. One such test is known as spirometry. In this test, the doctor would ask you to take long, deep breaths and blow the air into a sensor in order to measure the amount of air that the lungs can hold, as well as check for the speed of air one can inhale or exhale. This test is helpful in diagnosing the severity of asthma and also is known to measure how well the treatment is working for the individual. Most individuals who suffer from asthma are also known to have an allergy towards certain substances, hence, the doctor would also carry out allergy testing. Here, it is important to get the underlying allergy trigger identified and treated so as to reduce or completely avoid the symptoms of asthma.
Asthma has no cure currently, but there are medications and treatment plans which can help to control the symptoms in an effective manner so that there is no disruption in the individual’s quality of life. Taking timely medications and avoiding any kind of triggers which can lead to asthma is the key take away here. There are certain controller medications which should be taken on a daily basis, and these include certain inhalant corticosteroids, mometasone, and budesonide. There are also combination inhalers available which are helpful in clearing the airways. There are certain quick relief medications or rescue medications as well which can help to open the airways and provide relief from symptoms caused due to asthma. Managing symptoms is very important, or else it can lead to complications such as respiratory infections like pneumonia and influenza.