What is Asthma?
Asthma is a long-term chronic disease of the lungs that inflames and narrows the airways. To better understand asthma, let’s understand how airways work. Airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. Asthmatic people have inflated airways which makes them very sensitive and swollen. Your airways may react strongly to certain inhaled substances. When the airways react, it could result in tightening of muscles around them, increased swelling or producing more mucus. All of these cause the airways to narrow further and trigger asthma symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Asthma?
Symptoms of asthma greatly vary from person to person and attack to attack. Some common asthma symptoms include:
- Feeling weak or tired while exercising
- Feeling fatigued, irritable, moody,
- Sneezing, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion
- Chest pain, pressure or tightness
- Shortness of breath or losing breath easily
- Coughing, especially at night
- Trouble sleeping
What Causes Asthma?
The causes of asthma or ‘triggers’ vary for each individual. However, some common causes of asthma are:
- Allergens such as pet dander, spores, dust mites and mould
- Pollen allergy
- Tobacco smoke
- Weather; cold air, humidity, temperature changes
- Certain medications
- Infections such as colds, flu, sinusitis
- Irritants such as air pollution, strong odours perfumes or cleaning products
- Exercise-induced asthma
- Strong emotions such as laughter or crying, stress, anxiety
How is Asthma Diagnosed ?
The first step in diagnosing asthma is understanding your medical and family history. Your doctor will also have a detailed discussion to identify possible asthma triggers. A physical examination will then be conducted to look for signs of asthma.
A diagnostic test called spirometry or lung function test may also be prescribed. A lung function test measures the amount of air you can breathe in and out and how fast you can blow air out.
How is Asthma Treated ?
Asthma is a long-term respiratory disease and cannot be cured. Asthma treatment focuses on controlling the disease. Two types of medicines are used in the treatment of asthma - quick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines help control asthma symptoms that suddenly flare up. Long-term control medication is used to help reduce airway inflammation and prevent symptoms of asthma.
Asthma medication may be inhaled, injectable or oral such as steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs and can be administered using an inhaler or even a nebuliser. Depending on the severity and frequency of your asthma attacks, treatment is provided.
How can Asthma be prevented?
Although asthma cannot be completely prevented, there are few measures you can take to manage it better such as: follow your asthma treatment plan, get vaccinations for pneumonia and influenza, monitor your breathing, get allergy shots, identify and avoid asthma triggers.
We, at Apollo Clinic, understand the discomfort caused by asthma. We strongly recommend that you get a lung function test regularly. Early detection of asthma will go a long way in better management of the disease. At Apollo Clinic, we have all the necessary infrastructure, amenities, technology and expertise to make sure that your asthma treatment is as smooth as possible.