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Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by the inflammation of the air passages that carry air in and out of the lungs, affecting the sensitivity of the nerve endings in the airways.
As a result, the tubes are easily irritated and react often to allergens. They become narrow and swollen and start producing extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
For some people, asthma can be a minor nuisance, but for others, it can ...
The word Asthma originates from a Greek word meaning “shortness of breath” though it can be tracked back in medical writings to the ancient times of the Egyptians, Hebrews, and Indians.
At first, asthma was an umbrella term that included various respiratory deficiencies. This perception of asthma changed in the latter part of the 19th century, when Dr. Henry Hyde Salter’s publication, “On Asthma and its Treatment,” gained recognition.
Asthma is a single disease with many root causes. Some of the leading causes of asthma include:
- Bronchospasm:Bronchospasm occurs when the smooth muscles wrapped around the airways spasm, causing them to become constricted and narrow. This can obstruct a person’s airway and lead to asthma symptoms.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): occurs when the stomach acids that go back up into the esophagus damage the lining of the throat and the airways to the lungs.
There are many factors that can increase the risk and worsen the effects of an asthma attack.
Below is a list of the ones most often at play.
- Common cold or flu: When people with asthma have a cold or flu, their airways become more inflamed and produce more mucus, leaving little room for the air to reach the lungs. This may cause their asthma symptoms to worsen and puts them at risk of having a potentially ...
Asthma symptoms might vary from one person to another. Some might have infrequent asthma attacks that can happen only at certain times, like during exercise, for example. Others might have symptoms all the time.
The most common classic asthma symptoms include:
- A whistling or wheezing sound: this can occur when someone exhales, which is a typical sign of asthma in children
- Shortness of breath: this might come sometimes as a severe attack, causing an increasing difficulty in breathing
To diagnose asthma, the doctor needs to first take the patient’s medical history. By asking the patient questions, the doctor can check if the patient has asthma symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, or chest tightness.
After obtaining the medical history, the doctor will proceed with a physical examination that might include:
- FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) test: this test measures the amount of nitric oxide in the patient’s breath. The amount of nitric oxide in the breath indicates ...
The best way to deal with asthma is to prevent it by avoiding all the triggers.
However, when asthma occurs, it is always accompanied by inflammation. That’s why some natural solutions work on controlling or fighting inflammation. Other solutions work on strengthening the immune system to fight and control asthma symptoms.
Effective asthma treatment requires frequently tracking symptoms and measuring how well the lungs work.
According to conventional medicine, there are two main types of medications used to treat asthma:
- Long-term control medications: these preventive medications treat the inflammation in the airways that leads to asthma symptoms. The most common medications used to keep asthma under control are inhaled corticosteroids.
- Quick-relief inhalers: these inhalers contain a fast-acting medication such as albuterol. They are used as needed to ...