Asthma: How to deal with it

Asthma: How to deal with it
Highlights

At present 25% of the Indian population suffers from allergies and 5% of those people suffer from allergies that lead to asthma.

Asthma cannot be cured –but can be controlled by medication

At present 25% of the Indian population suffers from allergies and 5% of those people suffer from allergies that lead to asthma. Although the exact percentage of people suffering from the disease is unknown, it is estimated that by the year 2025 an additional 100 million people will be asthmatic world over. World Asthma Day is a big event celebrated all over the world by the people to increase the awareness among public worldwide about the precautions and preventions of the asthma. This event is annually organized on international level by the GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma) in order to increase the asthma awareness all around the world. It is celebrated on annual basis at 1st Tuesday of the May month. World Asthma Day celebration was first started celebrating in the year 1998 by the GINA in more than 35 countries after it’s first “World Asthma Meeting” in the Barcelona, Spain.

World Asthma Day is celebrated in the month of May every year that’s why May is known as the Asthma Awareness Month when the “National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP)” is organized to encourages the people to take care of their asthma. Asthma is not generally considered by doctors to be a serious illness in most people who have it, mainly due to the mildness of symptoms and the range of very effective medicines that control these symptoms and stop asthma worsening. Asthma does, however, have an effect on quality of life because attacks can be unpleasant and distressing and can restrict activity. Whilst most sufferers learn to live with and manage their condition, for some it can be disabling. In exceptional cases, asthma can be life-threatening, particularly if it is not treated adequately or promptly. For some of these, an attack is so severe that it results in death .It is a common myth that a person cannot die because of asthma that is not true. According to the WHO of the 300 million people who suffer from asthma 25,000 of them died due to the disorder in 2005. Asthma attacks come and go, with wide variation in the symptoms at different times. Many people with asthma have problems only occasionally but others struggle with it every day. Modern medicines control and relieve symptoms and so attacks may only last a few hours or minutes, but without treatment this may go on for several days. Some children grow out of asthma and some people are only affected at different times of the year. However, the period of time during which people may have asthma attacks can last for many years or throughout life

Asthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchioles). Asthma is caused by chronic (ongoing, long-term) inflammation of these passages. This makes the breathing passages, or airways, of the person with asthma highly sensitive to various "triggers."Sometimes asthma is run in families.
When the inflammation is "triggered" by any number of external and internal factors, the passages swell and fill with mucus.
Muscles within the breathing passages contract (bronchospasm), causing even further narrowing of the airways.
This narrowing makes it difficult for air to be breathed out (exhaled) from the lungs.
This resistance to exhaling leads to the typical symptoms of an asthma attack.
Common triggers of asthma attacks are:
exposure to tobacco or wood smoke,
breathing polluted air,
inhaling other respiratory irritants such as perfumes or cleaning products,
exposure to airway irritants at the workplace,
breathing in allergy-causing substances (allergens) such as molds, dust, or animal dander,
an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, flu, sinusitis, or bronchitis,
exposure to cold, dry weather,
emotional excitement or stress,
physical exertion or exercise,
reflux of stomach acid known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD,
sulfites, an additive to some foods and wine.
Symptoms may occur during the day or at night. If they happen at night, they may disturb ones sleep.Wheezing is the most common symptom of an asthma attack. The other symptoms that signal an attack are breathlessness, chest tightness, coughing, and difficulty speaking. Because asthma causes resistance, or obstruction, to exhaled air, it is called an obstructive lung disease. The medical term for such lung conditions is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. COPD is actually a group of diseases that includes not only asthma but also chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The two most common triggers of asthma in children are colds and allergens. Diagnosing the precise cause of asthma is sometimes difficult because two or more causes may be present in one child. The most important part of managing asthma in children is to be very knowledgeable about how and when asthma causes problems and how to use medications. An allergist has specialized training and experience to determine if a child has asthma, what is causing it and develop a treatment plan.
Asthma is not so much "treated" as it is "controlled". As a chronic, long-term disease, there is no cure. However, there are tools and medicines to help one control asthma. Some of the medicines usually prescribed for asthma are:
Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the airways (breathing tubes). When the airways are more open, it is easier to breathe.
Anti-Inflammatory: Anti-Inflammatory medicines help by reducing the swelling and mucus production inside the airways. When that inflammation is reduced, it is easier to breathe. These medicines are also called corticosteroids or steroids. Most often, these are inhaled medications and it is important to rinse out ones mouth with water immediately after using them to avoid getting a yeast infection in your throat called thrush.
Combination Medicines: There are a few medicines that combine inhaled bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.
Antibiotics: People with asthma can have flare-ups that may be caused by bacterial or viral infections. In that case generally an antibiotic is prescribed by doctors.
Vaccinations: With asthma, people are at greater risk for serious complications from influenza (flu) and pneumonia. To protect one against the flu one should be immunized every year. The seasonal flu virus changes slightly every year and that is why it is important to get vaccinated every season.
Only a small percentage of people with asthma have food allergies or intolerances that trigger asthma attacks. It is important to remember that no foods either cause or prevent asthma. Like anyone else, people with asthma should eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh and unprocessed foods. If one is concerned about diet, consult with doctor. The right kind of diagnosis, treatment etc. makes the difference between suffering with an allergic disease and feeling better. By visiting an allergist, one can expect an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan that works and educational information to help one manage asthma.
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