An Easy Guide to Understanding Asthma

An Easy Guide to Understanding Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways or bronchial tubes in the lungs that carry air inside and out of the lungs. It causes inflammation and narrowing of these airways.

As a result, the air passages in the lungs become narrow, and the muscles get tightened around the small airways, restricting air supply.

This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing, or a whistling sound when you breathe out or are short of breath.

Causes and Triggers

Breathing issues are caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Certain conditions and environments may trigger asthmatic symptoms or make them worse. 

Some of the possible causes and triggers include:

  • Respiratory infections like sinusitis, colds, pneumonia, and flu.
  • Allergens such as pollen, mould, animal dander, and dust mites.
  • Irritants in the air such as chemical fumes, strong odours (perfumes, cleaning solutions), and smoke.
  • Exercises or increased body movements which may make breathing more difficult.
  • Changes in weather such as extremes in temperatures or humidity.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise your risk of developing asthma or make asthma symptoms worse are:

  • Family history and genes: Having a parent who has asthma, particularly the mother, raises the risk of the child developing it.
  • Ethnicity: Your ethnicity can also put you at a higher risk of getting asthma. For example, African-American people or Puerto Rican descent people are more vulnerable to asthma.
  • Smoke: Exposure to smoke in the womb or during early childhood.
  • Occupational Hazards: Occupations related to chemical irritants or industrial dust also raise the risk of developing asthma, termed occupational asthma.
  • People with other medical conditions like lung infections, allergies, and obesity.
  • Exposure to poor air quality due to pollution or allergens.

Signs and Symptoms

People with asthma may experience symptoms such as:

  • Coughing, especially during the night or early in the morning
  • Wheezing or whistling sound when you breathe and exhale
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble while sleeping, caused by breathing issues
  • Chest tightness or pain and pressure in the chest

However, not every person with asthma experiences the same symptoms in the same way.
The frequency of asthmatic signs and symptoms depends on how severe or intense the asthma is and whether you are exposed to allergens or not.
For instance, some people may experience symptoms every day while others may experience them rarely.
Moreover, when asthma is well under control; a person may show fewer symptoms.
However, when the symptoms exacerbate, it can lead to an asthma attack. Also, uncontrolled asthma for a prolonged time can damage the airways in the lungs.

Diagnosis

A pulmonologist (specialist in allergy and immunology) will begin with a physical examination and inquiry about your symptoms and medical history. 

The following tests can be performed to determine whether you are asthmatic or not:

  • Spirometry Tests measure how fast and how fast you blow out air.
  • Bronchoprovocation Tests measure how your airways react to specific exposures. During this test, you will inhale different concentrations of allergens or medicines that may
    tighten the muscles in your airways.
  • Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) Tests measure how fast you can blow air out using maximum effort. This test can be done during spirometry or by breathing into a separate device such as a tube. 
  • Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) Test measures levels of nitric oxide in your breath when you breathe out. High levels of nitric oxide may mean that your lungs are inflamed.
  • Allergy skin or blood Tests can tell your doctor which allergens cause a reaction in your immune system.

Treatment

Asthma cannot be cured but various treatments can ease your symptoms. Inhaled medications can control the infection and facilitate asthmatic people to enjoy a normal life.
Two main types of inhalers include:

  • Bronchodilators such as salbutamol open the air passages and relieve asthmatic symptoms.
  • Steroids such as beclomethasone reduce inflammation in the air passages improving asthma
    symptoms.

Prevention

The following strategies can help in preventing asthma from getting worse or causing asthma attacks:

  • Asthma action plan: Asthma is an ongoing condition that needs regular monitoring and treatment. Follow the asthma action plan with medications for managing an asthma attack as laid out by your doctor. 
  • Get Inoculated: Getting the jab for influenza and pneumonia will prevent these conditions from triggering an asthma attack.
  • Avoid triggers: Identify your triggers that have exacerbated asthma attacks in the past and steer clear of them.
  • Monitor breathing:Monitor your breathing regularly with a home peak flow meter because your lung functioning may decrease before your being aware of the symptoms.
  • Respond to alerts quickly: Stop any activity that may have triggered the attack and take your medication as instructed.
  • Take prescribed medications:Follow your doctor’s instructions on taking your asthma medications. Do not change your medications without consulting your doctor. 
  • Take notice of inhaler use: Talk to your doctor if you notice that you are using a quick-relief inhaler more often.
  • Taking preventive medication: Your doctor may prescribe medication for you to take daily. This medication may be used in addition to the one you use in case of an emergency. 
  • Reduce tobacco exposure:Reducing your exposure to tobacco smoke is crucial for both primary prevention of asthma and disease management.

Many effective treatments can help reduce asthma symptoms. If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, consult a doctor by connecting to our specialists. Seek medical assistance right
away if you experience severe symptoms. 
To make sure you are getting the best treatment for your Asthma we have curated list of the best pulmonologists at Yashoda Hospital and Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad.

Dr. Neerav Tyagi is the best pulmonologist in Ghaziabad with an experience of more than 29 years. He has expertise in tuberculosis, asthma, bronchiectasis, and pneumonia.

He completed his MBBS. as a gold medallist from King George’s Medical College and M.D. from King George’s Medical University, Lucknow. He is the pioneer of bronchoscopy in Ghaziabad.

Dr. Brijesh Prajapat has abundant experience, having worked for more than 10 years with various organisations including PGIMS, Rohtak. 

Yashoda Hospital

Yashoda Hospital

Yashoda Hospital is one of the best super specialty hospitals in Ghaziabad, Noida & Delhi NCR. Yashoda Hospital aims at providing the best healthcare services across the country and not just in Delhi NCR, Ghaziabad & Noida. Being a super speciality hospital, Yashoda Hospital has a number of dedicated specialities under one roof- gastroenterology, general surgery, obstetrics & gynaecology, cardiology, pulmonology & internal medicine, orthopedics, urology and many more.

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