Do you experience difficulty calming down and resuming normal breathing? Due to the peculiar reaction of your lungs, you are concerned that this noncommunicable disease has set in. This condition is referred to as asthma or bronchial asthma.

What is Asthma?

It is a condition characterized by difficulty breathing and a whistling sound with each inhalation and exhalation. A persistent cough contributes to the development of asthma, a chronic lung disease.

Notably, asthma is not a disease; instead, it is an inflammatory response which is generated as a result of tightening of muscles around the air passages. People affected by asthma feel difficulty breathing due to constriction of the air walls. If asthma worsens, it may lead to an asthma attack. There may be numerous causes of asthma, including environmental changes like the presence of pollen and dust areas, etc. However, genetics is the leading cause of asthma, and it significantly contributes to the familial transfer of this disease, especially among Asians and other nations with a high ratio of family marriages.

Fig 1: Asthma – Swallowing of lungs

Asthma is generally considered to be a rare allergic disease; however, it can be a life-threatening asthma attack if left untreated or could not be treated timely. May 2023 news reports of WHO identified asthma as a chronic illness that affected approximately two hundred and sixty-two million people in 2019 and was responsible for 455,000 deaths worldwide. Asthma can affect people of all ages and genders.

To get rid of asthma attacks, monitor their symptoms, control them by adopting some preventive measures in your life, or take an inhaler. Proper planning could lead to its proper cure. 

In this article, we will give you tips & tricks to get rid of this disease.

Could Asthma leads to Asthma attacks?

When you feel uncomfortable breathing, it leads to coughing or wheezing, a condition known as asthma. If asthma remains long-term, it is called an asthma attack. 

During normal breathing, the muscles around the airway remain relaxed, and air moves in or out easily. As a result, breathing becomes smooth and easy. But if a person suffers from an asthma attack, the muscles around the airway become tightened, and airway passage narrows; ultimately, the fresh air cannot move freely. The lining of the airways sometimes results in swallowing, resulting in less air passage from the lungs. The asthmatic patient’s body produces more mucus, which blocks the airways and leads to an asthma attack. 

These conditions lead to tightening of the airway, from which a sound can be heard when air passes out—known as wheezing. One could refer to this condition as a flare-up if it is not managed with medication or treatment. 

What are the symptoms of Asthma?

Not every person exhibits the same immune system; asthma symptoms also vary from person to person. Some people experience asthma attacks during specific conditions, such as exercise; others may have signs of it all the time. Some asthma signs include difficulty breathing, chest pain or tightness, and coughing, which become more severe during the flu. Affected people also experienced trouble sleeping.

Fig 2: Symptoms of Asthma

Here, a question arises: What are the main causes of lungs performing inappropriately and leading to abnormal breathing?

Which causes asthma?

Determining the exact cause of asthma can be challenging, but there are several potential risk factors, including heredity. A person is more likely to develop asthma if one of their parents or siblings already has the disease; similarly, someone with hay fever or another allergic reaction is more likely to develop asthma. This disease would undoubtedly affect obese individuals, whether they are adults or children.  Environmental allergens or irritants such as smoke, smog, air pollution, and viral respiratory infections can cause asthma at peak levels. 

Since each person with this chronic illness is affected differently, there are several categories into which we will classify this inflammation.

Classification of Asthma

Based on causes and symptoms, asthma could be divided into various types, such as:

  1. Intermittent asthma is a condition in which asthma symptoms do not always remain; they come and go. The affected patient feels normal between asthma flares.
  2. Persistent asthma is a condition in which the patient experiences symptoms that are mild, moderate, or severe all the time. 
  3. Allergic Asthma: Some people are allergic to mold, pollen, dust, and other allergens, and as a result, they are affected by asthma easily. 
  4. Non–allergic: some individuals experience asthma symptoms when exposed to outside factors such as exercise, stress, illness, and weather. 

Childhood asthma is when asthma symptoms appear before age 5 in infants.

The type of asthma that starts after age 18 is known as adult-onset asthma.

How asthma is treated?

A 100% cure for asthma is typically impossible, but many treatments are available.

  • The inhaler is the basic treatment of asthma and directly medicates your affected lungs. Using an inhaler enables people to enjoy an everyday routine and active life. Inhalers are bronchodilators such as salbutamol, which open the air passage and relieve symptoms; these may be steroids such as beclometasone, which reduce the inflammation of the lungs and lower the risk of asthma attacks. The use of an inhaler depends on symptoms and the type of asthmatic patient. 
  • A spacer device is usually used to take the aerosol inhaler, especially by children. This device has a mask and a plastic container; the mask has a hole in the container side from which the inhaler easily reaches the lungs. 

Just like all other diseases, asthma’s best treatment is awareness. People or families should be trained enough to manage their symptoms at home. An individual suffering from asthma may occasionally require emergency care; if not, this illness could lead to death. 

Could asthma be prevented?

By taking some precautions, asthma-affected people may be cured of this disease. The first is to follow the asthma action plan, as it’s an ongoing condition that needs regular monitoring and treatment. The second is to get vaccinated against pneumonia, influenza, and other similar causes, avoiding allergic asthma. The third precaution is to find out which factors trigger your asthma attacks and stay away from those factors, such as pollen, cold air, and dust areas. Understand the warning signs of slight coughing and shortness of breath with a peak flow meter, which tells you how hard you can breathe. See your doctor if you find that all the above techniques are not treating your asthma.

Final thoughts

Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by difficulty breathing and inflammation of the airways, leading to symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Asthma attacks can be triggered by various factors, including genetics, allergens, and environmental irritants. Proper management of asthma involves using inhalers, following an asthma action plan, and identifying and avoiding triggers. While asthma may not have a definitive cure, with the right treatment and preventive measures, individuals can lead a healthy and active life while effectively managing their symptoms and reducing the risk of severe asthma attacks. Early detection, awareness, and proactive measures are key to living well with asthma.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How to help Asthma?

Here are five ways you can do to control asthma:

  • Be aware of the symptoms of asthma
  • Avoid the trigger point of asthma
  • Know your inhalers
  • Use a spacer
  • Take back control

Can I treat asthma by myself?

Several home remedies, which you can follow to take control of asthma at home. These treatment plans include stress reduction exercises, regular breathing, etc.

Can I control asthma without an inhaler?

Yes, you can do it. Sit upright, breathe deeply, stay calm, control the trigger points, and take a hot caffeine beverage. 

About the author

Dr. Madilyn Adams is a PhD in molecular medicine from Harvard University and has been working as a medical blogger for seven years.


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