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Friday, March 13

Facts on Asthma

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by inflamed, swollen and narrowed airways, making breathing difficult. Although no cure has been found for asthma, it can be controlled.

If you are asthmatic, you have sensitive airways that react to certain factors such as stress, infection (flu, common colds), dust, mites, feathers, cigarette smoke, and changes in the weather. These can trigger the swelling and the narrowing of your airways.

What causes Asthma?

No one really knows exactly what causes asthma. In asthma, the irritation of your ultra sensitive airways results to the three changes:

  • cells in your air passages produce excessively thick and sticky mucus that tends to clog your airways
  • your air passages swell or become inflamed
  • the muscles in your airways constrict and tighten

These changes cause your air passages to narrow or constrict, causing difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.

What do you do in case of asthma attack?

  • take only asthma medications prescribed by your doctor
  • do not take cough medicines
  • if your attack is caused by a bacterial infection, take the appropriate antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
  • if your symptoms persist, or you are experiencing a moderate attack or a severe one, get emergency help right away.

What to do to minimize or prevent an asthma attack?

  • take controllers (as prescribed by physician)
  • know the signs and symptoms of an incoming acute asthma attack
  • know what trigger your asthma attack
  • avoid triggers

What are the sign and symptoms of an incoming acute asthma attack?

  • coughing a lot during exercise or even during rest after exercising
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing when breathing
  • tightening of the chest

What triggers an asthmatic attack?

There are numerous causes that "trigger" your asthma attack. However, these can be divided into three major groups:

Allergens - the largest group includes common "triggers" like pollen, molds, mildew, cockroaches, feathers, and dust mites.

Irritants - this group are found in common household items such as acrosol sprays, cleaning products, and perfumes. Tobacco smoke, air pollution and industrial chemicals also belong to this group.

Physical Conditions - this group includes exercise, weather changes and emotional stress. It also includes viral infections like common cold and flu.

How do you know you are having an asthma attack?

Asthma attacks may start suddenly, or may take days to develop. Attacks range from mild, moderate to severe.

Mild-to-moderate attacks - are more common. There is a feeling of tightness in your chest and you may start coughing and spitting out mucus or phlegm. You may also feel restless or irritable and have difficulty sleeping. You oftentimes make a whistling or wheezing sound when you are breathing air in and out, which may be due to narrowed air tubes.

Several Attacks - during severe attacks you may become breathless and may have difficulty talking. Your neck muscles become tight as you breathe. Your lips and fingernails may have a grayish and bluish color. Your breathing becomes more forceful, usually accompanied by the upward movements of your chest.

Source: Department of Health

5 comments:

Life in Minglanilla said...

I have asthma, almost 4 time in a week. Lucky my rotacap is effective that just one shot and i am safe.

During the first time i experience asthma, i still do not know that disease for i am athletic. It almost kill me for i am having difficulty breathing the whole night.

Now I know it is Asthma and my first medicine is exercise. If i did not exercise, i will have asthma attack in the coming days.

Life in Minglanilla said...

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http://minglanillacebu.blogspot.com

julie said...

Asthma is our worst enemy and I really hope Julian will outgrow this dreaded condition :(

Heart of Rachel said...

Sadly, I found out last year that I have mild asthma. They say it's harder to deal with asthma developed during adult years.

Sunshine said...

thanks for this article.
i've had a couple of mild attacks the past month and i was in a quandary as i can't remember what my inhaler was. i also couldn't remember my maintenance meds (i stopped when the attacks stopped). i was tempted to self-medicate but i resisted the idea and just went to the village clinic to use the nebulizer.
anyway, i guess i should return to my pulmo and ask for maintenance meds.
hopefully, my son did not inherit my asthma.