Breathe in and breathe out. Isn't it one of the simplest things to do in life? But when you see your loved ones, especially your children, wheezing, it can really make you anxious and stressed. One of the most traumatizing diseases that can leave one struggling for something as basic as oxygen is asthma or bronchospasm. Due to a number of environmental changes, there are now various elements that can trigger asthma attacks.
Asthma, or bronchospasm, is a growing disease affecting the young and old alike. In fact, most people who are living with the disease can manage their lung condition. Of course, there are bouts of asthma attacks that could make them highly uncomfortable and have them gasping for breath, but by understanding the medications for and management of asthma through a doctor, one can manage the episodes and live a normal life. When the asthma bout settles, the person is as fit to do any normal activity as any other person. Activities involving physical exertion may also be done by asthmatic individuals but should first be checked with and cleared by their physician.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory disease that affects the airways and causes bronchial spasms of the lungs, causing breathing difficulties. When these airways get inflamed due to an external infection, asthma, or bronchospasm, is triggered.
Although asthma is a leading disease among adults, most people acquire it at an early age. Excessive pollution in the environment, lack of the immunity gained from eating nutritious foods, and being raised in a protected and sterile environment are the reasons to which its prevalence among children is attributed. Asthma is generally caused by a trigger that reacts with a compromised immune system. Any respiratory trigger can lead to a fierce asthma attack. A particular cause that is associated with the growing cases of asthma is the excessive greenhouse gases that are producing large amounts of pollen, leading to allergy-related asthma cases.
Symptoms Associated with Asthma
The most significant symptom of asthma is wheezing. Wheezing is characterized by a harsh squeaking sound as one inhales or exhales. Symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath are also commonly observed in the case of an asthma attack.
Why are only a few people prone to asthma?
There are no definite findings that indicate why some people are susceptible to asthma attacks while others are not. There are several factors that can put one at risk of suffering from asthmatic symptoms, with heredity being one of the most common. Also, people who are overweight, obese, or leading a sedentary lifestyle are more susceptible to asthma.
Causes of Asthma
- Allergic triggers - The most common cause of asthma is triggers that are usually airborne. When these allergy triggers are inhaled, they react with the immune system and generate antibodies, which in turn react with the body, causing an inflammation of the lungs.
- Hereditary and genetic factors - Asthma is largely a hereditary medical condition. The allergy can be transmitted in the genes and influences the body’s capacity to produce antibodies. However, for asthma to be triggered, the person will have to come in contact with the trigger or triggers that generate the action that can cause asthma.
- Smoking - This is one of the primary causes of asthma. Smoking includes both primary and secondary forms of inhaling smoke. As well, inhaling harmful gases or tobacco for a prolonged period can lead to asthma attacks.
Facts About Asthma, or Bronchospasm, That You Should Be Aware Of
There are more than 20 million Americans suffering from asthma. For those suffering from this disease, it is more than a medical condition. Asthma, for a lot of people, may seem like a psychological disorder. Here are some facts about asthma to help you understand it better:
- Even if someone was not born with asthma, he or she could still acquire it later in life if exposed to certain environmental triggers such as harmful gases emitted from vehicles and factories that cause air pollution. Most people believe pets and allergies from other children can cause asthma. This speculation is not quite true. On the contrary, pets can expose children to more germs, thereby helping their little bodies build immunity against harmful microorganisms. Unless your child is actually allergic to pets like cats and dogs, the chances of your child acquiring asthma from them is dim.
- Children with skin diseases like eczema are more prone to developing asthma at a later stage. Doctors confirm the relationship between skin diseases like eczema and lung diseases such as asthma. In most cases, eczema settles down by the age of five years. However, it eventually leads to allergies triggered by food or various environmental factors. If you see these symptoms cropping up, it is best to speak with your doctor and get the necessary immunization to prevent the triggering of allergies.
- Asthma does not settle with age. It is a myth that asthma will settle on its own as the child grows older. About 95% of children with asthma symptoms in their childhood grow up to be asthmatic adults. Of course, the frequency and intensity of the effects of triggers may get better or worse depending on the development of one's immune system.
- Asthma is not a life-threatening disease: A recent study indicated that people with mild symptoms of asthma can live as long as those with no symptoms at all. The reason is that asthma, though a distressing disease, can be easily managed by following precautions and getting good medical care.
- There is a difference between being asthmatic and chronically asthmatic: Not all asthma attacks are bad, and just because one has asthma does not mean it will get serious. According to studies, only about 10% of asthmatics suffer from chronic asthma. Hence, if one cares for his or her condition well, the chances of the disease getting worse can significantly be reduced.
- Most deaths due to asthma are caused by lack of oxygen: This is an important fact to remember, since the first thing that should be made available to a person suffering from severe asthma symptoms is oxygen. Most people believe that a severe asthma attack could lead to a heart attack. However, this condition can be prevented by a timely administration of oxygen to the patient, thereby decreasing the pressure on the heart. If a person is suffering from a severe or chronic asthma attack, he or she must be rushed to a hospital emergency room to prevent an asthma death.
- Albuterol does not cure asthma; it only helps in its management: Albuterol is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for asthma management. However, it should be noted that albuterol cannot cure asthma. Albuterol is a bronchodilator that helps in opening up the narrowed airways in case of an asthma attack. It relaxes the passages and facilitates breathing.
- Mild asthma can also get aggravated in no time: Mild asthma can be aggravated by and become a chronic asthma attack with certain triggers. Cold air, strenuous activity, and exposure to irritants such as chemicals or cleaners can immediately trigger an asthma attack that could worsen in no time.
It is important to know that asthma has no cure. However, medical sciences have developed a number of ways to manage and prevent asthma attacks. Although it should not be a cause for worry or concern, the condition should not be taken lightly and medical follow-ups are essential to keep the disease under control.