Asthma is known to be a long-term disease of the lungs that causes airways to inflame and narrow, making breathing difficult. It can trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when a person breathes out, and shortness of breath. While asthma can’t be cured, many asthma treatments can ease the symptoms since the doctor will work with the patient to make an asthma action plan that outlines the treatment and medications.
What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma?
Asthma has extra sticky secretions inside the tubes, marked by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. In fact, those asthmatic individuals have symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus.
There are three major signs of asthma:
- Airway blockage. When a person breathes, the bands of muscle around the airways are typically relaxed, and the air moves freely. Compared to an asthmatic person, the muscles tighten, making it harder for air to pass through.
- Inflammation. The condition causes red, swollen bronchial tubes in the lungs. This inflammation can damage the lungs. In managing asthma in the long run, treatment is key.
- Airway irritability. Asthmatic people have sensitive airways that overreact and become narrow when they encounter slight triggers.
Moreover, these problems may cause the following symptoms below, including:
- Coughing (especially at night or in the morning)
- Wheezing, a whistling sound when breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness, pain, or pressure in the chest
- Trouble sleeping because of breathing problems
What Causes An Asthma?
While more studies continue to explore what causes asthma, below are the factors that play an important role in the development of asthma:
- Family history. Those with asthmatic parents tend to have a child that can be 3 to 6 times more likely to develop asthma than someone who doesn’t.
- Allergies. If one of their parents has allergies, there are some people who are more likely to develop allergies than others. Certain allergic conditions are allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or atopic dermatitis (eczema), are linked to people who get asthma.
- Occupational exposures. Exposure to some elements in the workplace can cause asthma symptoms when having asthma. Exposure to certain dust (industrial or wood dust), chemical fumes and vapors, and molds can cause asthma to develop in some people for the first time.
- Viral respiratory infections. Problems in the respiratory during infancy and childhood can cause wheezing. In fact, some children who experience viral respiratory infections go on to develop chronic asthma.
- Smoking. Cigarette smoke irritates the airways and causes a high risk of asthma. As a matter of fact, those whose mothers smoked during pregnancy or those exposed to secondhand smoke will also be more likely to have asthma.
- Air Pollution. Exposure to the main component of smog (ozone) raises the risk for asthma. Additionally, those who grew up or lived in urban areas have a higher risk for asthma.
- Obesity. Children and adults overweight or obese are at a greater risk of asthma. Although the reasons are unclear, some experts point to low-grade inflammation in the body that occurs with extra weight. Moreover, those obese patients often use more medications, suffer worse symptoms, and are less able to control their asthma than patients in a healthy weight range.
While these factors increase a person’s risk for developing the disease, additional factors, such as poverty and lack of health insurance, contribute to more asthma symptoms, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations.
What Are The Treatments For Asthma?
The treatment for asthma serves two main purposes: long-term control and short-term symptom relief. Here are some of the asthma drugs a doctor could include in the asthma action plan:
Inhalers. Being the most common treatment, inhalers are portable devices that deliver a premeasured dose of asthma medicine into the lungs. An individual can hold the J-shaped pumps to the mouth and press down on the canister. Simultaneously, the pump sends out a mist or powder to inhale.
In addition, some inhalers contain corticosteroids that control swelling and irritation in the airways, and these inhalers are for daily or seasonal use. On the other hand, other inhalers containing fast-acting drugs (such as bronchodilators, beta2-agonists, or anticholinergics) can open the airways quickly if a person has an asthma flare-up. Also, some inhalers may contain a combination of medicines to control the precise reactions.
Nebulizers. They are freestanding devices that turn liquid medicine into a mist for the asthmatic person to breathe. Correspondingly, the drugs used in nebulizers reduce swelling and irritation in the airways.
Oral medicines. These can be included in the long-term action plan. The oral asthma drugs include leukotriene modulators that reduce inflammation, and theophylline, which has mostly been replaced with safer, more effective medications which open the airways. Both are taken in pill form, and oral corticosteroid pills are sometimes prescribed.
Biologics. One or twice a month, an asthmatic person may have an injection of biological medication. Another term for these is immunomodulators since they reduce certain white blood cells or the sensitivity to allergens in the environment. However, they are only used for certain types of severe asthma.
What Are The Home Remedies?
Medication will probably be vital to controlling asthma, but below are some natural remedies that can aid:
- Avoid asthma triggers.
- To ease symptoms, do breathing exercises so less medication is needed.
- Regular exercise.
- Stay at a healthy weight as possible.
- Monitor conditions that can trigger symptoms, such as GERD.
- Some people use complementary treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, biofeedback, or supplements like vitamin C. It is recommended to talk to a doctor before trying any of these.
How To Prevent An Asthma Attack?
The action plan will include different ways to control asthma and prevent attacks. These might include:
- Know the triggers, and stay away from them.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions on taking the asthma medications. Let them know when using a quick-relief inhaler becomes more often.
- Keep track of the condition and learn the signs that it might be getting worse. A peak flow meter can help.
- Know what to do if asthma gets worse.
- Talk to a doctor about vaccines to lower the chances of certain conditions.
The Bottom Line
Asthma is a serious condition that causes the airways to narrow because of swelling, tightening or increased mucus. Cache Valley ENT provides Asthma Treatments for both children and adults. Furthermore, they will discuss all options to control asthma while minimizing side effects and long-term problems.