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Home > Asthma

Living Well With Asthma

What is Asthma?

ASTHMA (pronounced as az'ma) is a chronic disease of the lungs in which the airways of people are extra sensitive to the things they're allergic to (called allergens) and to other irritating things in the air (called irritants). These allergens or other irritants trigger a reaction in the airways or bronchial tubes leading to swelling of the inner lining of the airways (become inflamed) and narrowing. The muscles around these tubes then go into a contraction or spasm causing further narrowing of the airways. When the lining of the airways is inflamed, it produces more mucus. The excess mucus clogs the airways (seefigure).

This whole process makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. This is called an "asthma attack." In children, the most common triggers are viral illnesses such as those that cause the common cold.

You may be having asthma if you have following symptoms

  • Cough
  • Excess production of sputum that you feel moves while coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath especially during physical activity including playing
  • Wheezing

Asthma symptoms are often worse in the morning and late at night. The episodes of asthmatic attacks are known to occur frequently during change of seasons but some patients with severe disease have symptoms all the year round. In between asthmatic episodes symptoms have been known to disappear or improve but that does not mean the asthma has gone away. Asthma can be present in a silent manner.

What are asthma triggers?

SYMPTOMS can be brought on by a variety of triggers such as:

  1. Allergens (pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mites)
  2. Irritants such as tobacco smoke, strong odors
  3. Respiratory infections
  4. Weather changes
  5. Viral or sinus infections
  6. Exercise
  7. Stress
  8. Reflux disease (Stomach acid flowing back up the esophagus or food pipe)
  9. Medications Foods
  10. Emotional anxiety

Every person has their own triggers. If you have asthma you can minimize your symptoms by avoiding the factors that trigger your symptoms, and by working with your physician to develop an effective management and treatment plan.

ASTHMA can be different types depending on the case of the trigger's of asthma .Identifying a cause or causes may help you to take preventive steps in avoiding asthma attacks.

Allergic Asthma: Caused by airway inflammation when exposed to allergens.

Exercised-induced asthma - Airways narrow when triggered by vigorous physical or sports activity.

Cough-variant asthma -A chronic, persistent cough without shortness of breath.

Occupational asthma - Related to working in a particular occupational environment. Symptoms are more severe while at work during the exposure.
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