Nov 10, 2017 in Medicine

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the bronchioles of the lungs and is caused by severe long-term inflammation of the lungs’ air-ways, making them vulnerable to internal and external triggers. Inflammation of the air-ways makes them swollen with mucus. The bronchi spasm, contracts the air-ways making it very hard for the patient to exhale. Obstruction of exhalation leads to an asthma attack. Medical professionals categorize Asthma as a Chronic Obstructive Chronic Disease (COPD) because it obstructs the breathing process. Other diseases in the same category include emphysema and bronchitis.The exact cause of asthma neither documented nor is it well known. Scientists are still working on the hypothesis that asthma could be genetic or hereditary in nature. It has been established that the environment a person resided in determines the chances of having an asthma attack. An asthmatic attack resembles allergic reactions. Allergic reactions occur when the immunity system of the body encounters an “intruder”. The white blood cells aggressively fight off the invader through different reactions. Mucus is produced as a result of the trigger reactions of the body’s immune system.

Triggers are unique to every person and they differ from one individual to another. The most common factors that stimulate asthmatic attacks include; exposure to smoke; inhalation of irritating substances such as perfumes and other chemicals; inhalation of allergens such as dust; respiratory infections such as bronchitis or common cold; cold weather; stress; physical exercise; sudden excitement; menstruation; and the gastroesophagael reflux disease. Eczema, hay fever and genetic history have been identified as risk factors that make an individual susceptible to an asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms are not easy to identify since an attack takes place systematically and gradually. Attacks may happen suddenly or they may take a number of days Patients normally experience warning signs before an asthma attack commences. The signs include moodiness, trouble with sleep, sporadic coughs, headaches, sneezing and a running nose. The most frequent symptoms of an attack include lack of breath, wheezing, tightness of the chest, difficulty of speech and coughing. Symptoms may occur during daytime or at night. Wheezing is the most reported symptom in asthmatic attacks. It’s a hissing or whistling sound that is mostly heard when the person is breathing. Wheezing may be a symptom of another respiratory disease and is not common to all asthma patients. It’s always advisable to treat the symptoms before they degenerate into a full-blown attack. Patients may sometimes experience severe symptoms which are indicative of distress in the respiratory system.Severe symptoms range from cyanosis, retractions, hunched walking, difficulties in concentration and flaring of the nose.

Currently asthmatic symptoms have been categorized into four groups to aid in care of asthmatic patients. Mild intermittent attacks occur less than two times a week and night-time symptoms manifest less than twice a month. The attacks do not last for long and are usually not severe. Mild Persistent attacks occur more than two times a week and more than two times at night within a month but do not occur on a daily basis.The attacks maybe severe and may disrupt the patient’s day to day activities. Moderate persistent attacks occur daily and symptoms manifest at night severally within a week. The attacks are chronic and last for several days. They require use of daily medication and alteration of the daily schedule of activities. Severe persistent attacks occur frequently on daily basis and during the night. The attacks are chronic and require the patient to stop engaging in routine daily activities. The severity of attacks is not constant and can change at any time.

Cases of asthma have increased dramatically in the modern times. This is because our immune systems have become weaker as compared to those of the past generations. Allergens such as mold and dust play a role in infection because most of the time is spent indoors. Air pollution is also considerably higher which increases the danger of blockage of the air-ways. Asthma patients are encouraged to use the medicine device carefully and properly for effective management of the disease (Wong, 2009). It is also important for them to avoid contracting viral, infections, colds and flu since they act as risk factors and predispose the patient into suffering from an attack. Patients should ensure they get vaccinated against influenza regularly. Regular exercise is also recommended so as to rejuvenate the immune system. Asthma medication must always be adjusted according to the change in severity of the attacks which maybe positive or negative.

Asthma medications are classified into rescue medications and preventor medications. These two types of medication always work in conjunction with each other and are always prescribed together. The preventer medication should be taken daily even when the patient is not experiencing any symptoms as it prevents swelling, redness and mucus. The rescue medication should always be kept close as it comes in handy during an asthmatic attack, or before participating in exercise activities.

Patients sometimes disregard the preventor medication and rely only on the rescue medication. This is dangerous as rescue medication cannot achieve proper control of the disease in the long run. Preventor medications decongest the air-ways by removing mucus and reducing the swelling caused by inflammation. Patients who suffer from allergies should always be aware of their allergies, keep off from things that make them allergic, take prescribed medications to curb the allergies, and understand the steps to be taken in case of an asthma attack.

Allergy causing substances are known as allergens and they can be injected, inhaled or swallowed. Allergies range from being mild to being acute. Allergens often obstruct the air ways by causing inflammation. Asthmatic patients tend to be affected by allergens immediately or after sometime. Immediate reaction to allergens is characterized by shortness of breath and wheezing. Taking preventor medication regularly helps in mitigating such a scenario. Allergy shots are sometimes used by doctors to develop resistance to allergens.

Asthma is a life-long disease that does not have a permanent cure. Any time the patient is exposed to a trigger factor, he or she can suffer from an attack. Asthma is associated with diseases such as glaucoma, heart disease and arthritis. These diseases are characterized by inflammation and production of mucus which may serve as trigger factors for an asthma attack. Whilst asthma isn’t curable, it is controllable. Effective control is achievable if treatment starts immediately after an early diagnosis. Proper treatment ensures that asthmatic people suffer from less chronic and fewer attacks. Lack of proper treatment may however lead to the death of the patient.

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