I lost a very dear friend of mine to Asthma in January and since then I've taken a personal interest in what Asthma is all about. We don't have Asthma in my family, thank God, but I know there alot of people out there with that ailment. So I went digging to find out more about the disease and methods through which one can manage and live with it for a long time.
This is what I found out:
What is Asthma
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your breathing. What happens is that your airways become inflamed and irritated in reaction to some kind of substance or situation. Your airways are the tubes that carry air and oxygen into and out of your body.
What Happens With Asthma
When you have asthma, your airways tend to be red and swollen and are easily irritated in response to triggers, such as pollen and cigarette smoke. Then, the airways' inside walls become even more swollen and the muscles tight. That means that the passages get narrower, and less air flows through to your lung tissue. A sticky substance called mucus is also produced in larger than normal amounts, which clogs your airways even more, making it hard to breathe.
Common asthma symptoms are the wheezing sound made as the air squeezes through the narrowed airways, along with coughing, shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Symptoms can come and go with asthma, and their intensity can vary.
Types of Asthma
Asthma is often connected with allergies, but it can also be related to non-allergic causes, such as chemicals and other irritating substances. Exercise can also bring on asthma symptoms in some people.
Asthma Risk Factors
Asthma is a very common disease and is becoming more common all the time. One of the highest risk factors for asthma is having a family history of asthma, especially the allergic kind. Asthma can affect people at any age, but half of the people with asthma develop it during childhood, usually before age 10.
Asthma affects people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. However, African-Americans are more likely to have severe asthma attacks and to die from asthma.
Top three Asthma triggers
Allergens is the medical term for inhaled substances that cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, and cockroach allergens. Sometimes you need repeated exposure over a long period before you start to have asthma symptoms in response to an allergen.
Irritants are substances that do not cause an allergic reaction, but that do irritate the airways, causing asthma symptoms. Examples of irritants are smoke, chemical fumes, perfume, strong odors from paint or cooking, and air pollution.
3) Other Triggers
This is a miscellaneous category of triggers, and can include a number of different substances or situations that may set off asthma symptoms. Other triggers include emotional stress, cold air, medicines such as aspirin or beta-blockers, sulfites in food or wine, and respiratory infections. In some people, even hard laughing or crying can trigger asthma symptoms.
Medicine Is Not the Only Alternative
By far the best treatment advice is to take charge of your asthma by learning all you can about it and by making changes in your home or lifestyle that can have a significant effect on the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms. What this means is to decrease your amount of contact with the things that set off, or trigger, asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. There are many things you can do, from removing the family pet from the bedroom to staying indoors on windy, hot days to keeping the home as clean and dust-free as possible.
There are 2 main categories of asthma medicines:
Quick-relief, or rescue, medicines. You take these when you begin to notice asthma symptoms to relieve them and keep them from getting worse.
Controller, or preventive, medicines. You take these to prevent asthma symptoms from starting in the first place, or at least to keep them at a low level.
Both types of asthma medication play an important role in keeping you healthy. If you do not have both types in your current asthma treatment plan, you may want to talk with your doctor. You might also want to think about consulting an asthma specialist.
Quick-relief medicines are usually bronchodilators, also called beta-agonists. This kind of medicine acts quickly on the muscles of the airways to relax them. As your airways open up, your asthma symptoms should ease. Here are some examples of quick-relief medicines:
Take your quick-relief medicine as soon as you start to notice asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or cough. Don't wait until they become severe.
Controller medicines come in a number of different varieties:
. Inhaled corticosteroids
. Leukotriene modifiers
. Long-acting beta agonists
. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
. Combination medicines
. Long-acting bronchodilators
I hope this goes a long way in helping those of you out there who have Asthma. May God be with you all.