Asthma

Asthma Disease

Asthma is a disease affecting the respiratory system. It is a chronic disease, which means it requires lifelong medical support. It affects various parts of the lungs and causes several difficulties in breathing, such as coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. Asthma causes deformities in the airways of the lungs, i.e., the bronchioles. The bronchioles are pathways in our lungs which enable airflow. When you contract the disease, asthma causes your airways to inflate, which causes difficulty in breathing. Asthma disease occurs in several ways. We’ll go on to understand asthma information such as the types of asthma, the asthma causes, asthma symptoms and so on. 


Asthma Symptoms

The following are some of the symptoms of asthma disease. These asthma symptoms are crucial information for both patients as well as doctors for correct evaluation of the condition. 


A List of Asthma Symptoms is as Follows:

  • Continuous coughing

  • Pressure on the chest and sternum

  • Difficulty in breathing/rapid breathing

  • Wheezing

  • Problems in talking

  • Discoloured face

  • Signs of fainting

  • Blue lips and nails

All these symptoms point towards some breathing unease, which in most cases is the asthma disease.


Asthma Causes 

Asthma causes a topic of profound speculation. Till date, researches haven't come up with a specific purpose or any list of reasons for asthma. However, some activities and environmental factors point towards the onset of a breathing problem. These triggers are as follows:

  • Infections in the airways which occurs due to common cold or flu. These infections lead the bronchioles to inflammation, and they become full of mucus.

  • Dust and other particles blocking the airways in the lungs.

  • Pollutions/ exhaust from vehicles/ pollen.

  • Certain types of medication.

  • Sinusitis.

  • Harmful activities such as smoking and problems such as untreated allergies.

These can be seen as asthma causes as they often trigger the onset of the disease. 


Asthma Diagnosis 

Doctors can easily detect asthma. The list of techniques employed are as follows:

  • Spirometry: It is a test of how hard one can blow. An instrument called a spirometer measures the intensity of the air blown. 

  • Exhaled Nitric Oxide: A hand-held machine measures the concentration of nitric oxide in the air that patients exhale. Higher levels are an indication of inflammation.

  • Challenge Tests: In these tests, patients inhale two types of chemical in the form of powders or aerosols. These chemicals are mannitol and methacholine. The chemical narrows the pathways in the lungs only if it is suffering from asthma. Decreased lung activity during these tests points at a case of asthma.

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There are other tests held as well, which include, chest x-rays and overall examination of breathing. Some tests can point out the types of asthma. We will learn these types next.


Types of Asthma 

The various types of asthma are as follows:

  • Allergic asthma

  • Asthma of the bronchioles

  • Nocturnal asthma

  • Asthma induced by exercise

  • Steroid-resistant asthma, and

  • Occupational asthma

These are the common types of asthma, and they have specific treatments.


Asthma Treatment 

Asthma doesn’t have any permanent solution or cure. However, medication helps in controlling the symptoms. Inhalers, nebulizer and corticosteroids are some quick-fix medicines and equipment for breathing problems.


Solved Examples 

  1. What is asthma disease? 

Ans: Asthma is a disease of the respiratory tract. It is chronic and requires proper diagnosis. It affects the air pathways of the lungs, known as bronchioles and causes swelling in them. This swelling leads to difficulties in breathing, accompanied by a lot of other symptoms.

  1. Is asthma of only one type?

Ans: No, just like a lot of other diseases, asthma has its own variations. It occurs in six different types ranging from allergic asthma to steroid-resistant asthma. Medical journals keep track of more recently discovered fluctuations and cures. 


Fun Facts 

  • Asthma primarily affects children. However, interestingly in America, about 9% of the populations suffer from asthma. Of these, about 6% are children, while the rest are all adults. 

  • The global average statistics say that asthma prevalence in children is 9.4%, compared to 7.7% in adults. Similarly, it is more expressed in the female population.

  • Weather conditions are often responsible for worsening asthma symptoms. Extremely dry and even extremely wet weather can trigger asthma attacks.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Symptoms of Asthma Disease?

Ans: Asthma has several symptoms, and we need to keep these in mind for proper diagnosis. Some signs are more suggestive than others, and patients should note the severity of these symptoms when they get checked for asthma. So, the critical asthma symptoms to keep in mind are, as follows:

  • Wheezing: Asthma patients get hit by bouts of wheezing that can be uncomfortable.

  • Pressure on the chest: The chest can feel heavy for a patient with breathing difficulties.

  • Rapid breathing: The patient starts to breathe heavier and faster once they experience a shortage of oxygen.

  • Breathing problems

  • Coughing continuously

  • Blueness in the lips and nails

  • Trouble talking

  • Pale, discoloured face

2. What are Asthma Causes and Treatments?

Ans: Asthma does not quite have a particular cause. The reason for asthma attacks is still unknown. However, several environmental factors, as well as everyday practices, can trigger asthma in people. The key to avoiding asthma is to keep such triggers under control. Another handy tip is to practice breathing exercises consistently. So, listed below are some of the commonly known triggers of asthma:

  • Common cold: Having the flu can lead you to contract asthma if not fully cured.

  • Dust: Several people have dust allergies, and when left unattended, this can lead to severe breathing problems such as asthma.

  • Pollution/ Vehicular exhaust/Pollen

  • Medication

  • Smoking

Now that you know the symptoms, we are listing the treatments and asthma solution below:

  • Spirometry (involving exhaled nitric acid)

  • Challenge tests