Non-Profit Trusted Source of Non-Commercial Health Information
The Original Voice of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, Preventative, and Regenerative Medicine
logo logo
Autoimmune Glossary Inflammation Respiratory

Everything you need to know about Asthma

1 year, 9 months ago

14153  0
Posted on Feb 24, 2022, 3 p.m.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs that causes breathing difficulties, wheezing, shortness of breath, and may even trigger coughing. It is a condition that affects the airways to the lungs, making them narrow and swollen and producing excessive mucus. In some cases, the symptoms are mild, and asthma is a minor inconvenience for a patient. But for some people, asthma may be a debilitating condition that makes it difficult for them to go about their day-to-day activities.

Although there might be a concern about whether you can grow out of asthma, doctors advise regular visits to track your signs and symptoms which helps in monitoring your treatment.

Types of Asthma {SOURCE}

Allergic Asthma – Allergens in the air trigger allergic asthma. Common allergens include pet dander, food, mold, pollen, and dust. Those who suffer from hay fever or seasonal allergies may also have allergic asthma.

Non-Allergic Asthma - Non-allergic asthma is when the condition is triggered by allergens other than irritants in the air. It could be triggered by cigarette smoke, air pollution, household cleaning products, perfumes, cold weather, humidity, or respiratory infections, among other allergens. Research estimates suggest that between 10% to 33% of all people with asthma have non-allergic asthma. Non-allergic asthma is also deemed more severe than other types of the disease.

Cough-Variant Asthma – The main symptom is a dry cough in cough-variant asthma. This type of asthma is more common among children. In the beginning, it is usual for those with cough-variant asthma to try and treat it like a common cough. However, if neglected – you may develop other symptoms.

Occupational Asthma – Some jobs expose workers to substances or allergens that lead to occupational asthma. Examples of such substances are cleaning products, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, wood dust, insects, paint, etc. Occupational asthma may trigger symptoms from day one or take years to develop.

Nocturnal Asthma – Nocturnal asthma is a condition wherein asthma symptoms aggravate at night, and remain milder during the day. Nocturnal asthma may be triggered by the body’s natural sleep cycle. Other triggers include heartburn, pet dander, and dust mites.

Exercise-induced Bronchoconstriction – Exercise-induced asthma occurs when your bronchial tubes or airways narrow during exercise. Rapid breathing during exercise can dehydrate the bronchial tubes and constrict them. Typically, the symptoms of EIB worsen during heavy exercise and clear up within thirty minutes.

Aspirin-induced Asthma – Aspirin-induced asthma or aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is an allergic reaction to aspirin or any other NSAID such as naproxen or ibuprofen. A prominent symptom for AIA is nasal polyps (a painless benign growth on the lining of the nose or sinuses).

Obese Asthma – A recently identified condition wherein airways constriction happens for a different reason. It could be caused by genetic reasons and other unique circumstances in obesity.

Viral Induced Asthma – A severe viral infection in the respiratory system such as flu or COVID-19 triggers viral-induced asthma or worsens existing asthma in patients.

What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?

Symptoms of Asthma may vary from person to person depending on the type of asthma you have. Some people experience their symptoms only when they encounter a triggering factor such as allergens or exercise. Others may experience symptoms all the time. Some of the common symptoms of asthma are –

  •   Shortness of breath
  •   Pain or tightness in the chest
  •   Wheezing when exhaling – a common symptom among children
  •   Trouble sleeping, due to shortness of breath or coughing
  •   Coughing or wheezing attacks worsened by the respiratory virus such as cold or flu

What Are the Causes of Asthma and Common Asthma Attack Triggers?

Asthma is common among children, but many people don’t develop asthma until they are adults. However, no cause for asthma has been identified yet. Researchers believe it may develop due to the following reasons –

  •   Genetics – If one of your parents or siblings has asthma, you may get it too.
  •   Viral Infections in Childhood – Severe viral infections like the respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) at a young age may cause asthma in children.
  •   Hygiene Hypothesis – When babies are not exposed to enough bacteria in their early months and years, their immune systems may be weak. They may not gain enough strength to fight off asthma and other allergic conditions.

There are some common triggers for asthma such as –

  • Health conditions, especially the history of respiratory infections
  • Irritants or pollutants in the air
  • Exercise
  • Allergens like pollen, pet dander, etc.
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Intense emotions
  • Reaction to medicines like NSAIDs, including aspirin
  • Pests

Asthma Treatment Options

To know the best medication option to treat your asthma, discuss your symptoms with a doctor or certified medical professional. You can easily book an online consultation from the comfort of your home and get the best medication based on the type of asthma you have, your age, and your triggers – if you have identified any. Here are the categories of treatments usually recommended for asthma –

  •   Quick-relief medications
  •   Long-term control medications
  •   A combination of long-term control medications with quick-relief medicines
  •   Biologics – administered through injection or infusion for severe asthma attacks

All asthma treatments begin by identifying the triggers, monitoring the symptoms, and finding reliable medication to prevent flare-ups.

If you think you have asthma or any other respiratory issues, monitor your symptoms, understand their frequency, and try to identify your triggers. Getting an accurate asthma diagnosis is a time-taking process. The diagnostic process determines the treatment most suitable for you. Work with your doctor to define the factors that may have influenced the onset.

Author Bio: Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.

Content may be edited for style and length.

Materials provided by:

WorldHealth Videos