Asthma: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments
Published on: 30-Aug-2022
10 min read
Updated on : 02-Nov-2023
Asthma: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments
Do you know that asthma is the most prevalent chronic illness in children and is a noncommunicable disease (NCD) that affects both children and adults? The symptoms of asthma, which can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest, are caused by inflammation, which narrows down the tiny airbags in the lungs.
Data from WHO (World Health Organisation) says that about 262 million people had asthma in 2019, contributing to approximately 4,55,000 fatalities around the globe. However, some inhaled medications can control asthma and allow people to lead active lives.
Table Of Contents
1. What Is Asthma?
2. Asthma And Its Symptoms
3. Asthma And Its Causes
4. Asthma And Its Treatments
5. Dietitian's Recommendation
6. The Final Say
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition in which a person's airways become inflamed, get narrowed and swollen and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe and causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
An asthma attack can be a minor irritation. However, sometimes it can be a severe problem affecting day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, we cannot cure asthma, but we can control its symptoms.
Asthma And Its Symptoms
In terms of frequency and severity, asthma may vary from person to person. While some people may not experience asthma symptoms very often, they may occur more frequently for others.
These signs could be:
- Coughing, especially in the early morning and at night
- Chest discomfort or stiffness
- Breathing difficulty
- Wheezing (a coarse whistling sound when you breathe)
Asthma And Its Causes
The root cause of asthma is unknown, but certain factors contribute to the disease; some of them are:
- External Variables
- Respiratory Infections
Some individuals experience an asthma attack or its symptom flare-up in particular situations, such as
- Exercise-induced asthma- This could be intensified in cold and dry weather during your workout session.
- Occupational asthma- It is basically by workplace irritants like chemical fumes, gases, or dust cause.
- Allergic asthma- Airborne pollutants such as pollen, mould spores, insect faeces, pet skin and dried saliva droplets (pet dander).
What Triggers Asthma Attacks?
An asthma attack is brought on when a person is exposed to triggers. While some people may experience an episode right away, others may not experience one for hours or even days. A few typical triggers are
- Air pollution consists of smoke, manufacturing emissions, and vehicle exhaust.
- A dust mite allergy may trigger an asthma attack.
- An attack may result from aerobic exertion.
- People allergic to mould spores may experience an asthma attack.
- Mice and cockroaches can bring on asthma episodes.
- Pets can trigger asthma in the form of pet danders, particularly by their hair fall.
- Smoking increases your risk of developing asthma.
- Strong chemicals and their smells may worsen the symptoms.
- Any specific workplace exposures.
- Illnesses like cold and flu.
- Prescription medications, especially inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Heat, wind, cold or any form of sudden changes in the weather.
Asthma And Its Treatments
Unfortunately, asthma has no known remedy for now. Nevertheless, many drugs can help with disease management. In addition, your doctor could develop a personal action plan for you to lead an everyday, active life. It includes:
1. Short-term Symptom Relief Medications
Few medicines help prevent or reduce asthma attack symptoms. Firstly, your doctor might ask you to carry an inhaler, which allows you to overcome breathlessness. Secondly, you might need to take various tablets and medicines if your asthma is severe.
2. Techniques For Avoiding Triggers
You might need to stay away from people who smoke, as tobacco smoke causes asthma. Additionally, you can stay away from carpets and rugs, particularly in bedrooms. At the same time, vacuum each week using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
Asthma patients do not have any particular diet. But still, you can modify a few elements in your diet, make a note and avoid consuming them. Here are some tips which can help you manage asthma.
- Make changes to your diet, as diet plays an essential role in curing asthma and its severity.
- Add a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet because asthma affects your immunity. So always go for Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene-rich foods to improve and reduce inflammation.
- Using honey is also a good option and can be a soothing agent. You can take it in regular tea or use it with tulsi leaves for better results.
- Garlic and ginger can help reduce inflammation, thus reducing asthma symptoms. Therefore, ginger and garlic in curries, such as chutney or tadka in dal, can relieve asthma.
- Ensure some physical activity, yoga, and practising mindfulness every day. Some yoga practices can help you open your throat and chest, such as; the bridge, camel, cat, cobra, and cow positions.
- Theophylline is a bronchodilator drug that opens the airways. Caffeine (Coffee or Tea) is similar to theophylline. It can be a good home remedy to help you with your asthmatic symptoms.
- Dietitian Malvika Singh
The Final Say
Asthma is a condition in which the lungs are affected, making breathing difficult in adults and children.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. Though, there are different medications available to manage asthma. The most common treatments are bronchodilators, which can be short-term to treat an asthma attack or long-term for managing symptoms over time.
Lifestyle changes may also help in reducing asthma. It can include dietary changes, exercise, stress management and meditation.
1. Does asthma lead to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)?
Usually, asthma does not lead to COPD. Still, if the lungs are damaged due to poor control, a person's continued exposure to nuisances like tobacco and smoke can lead to COPD.
2. Is asthma life-threatening?
Yes, asthma is life-threatening if not treated well. However, when treated correctly, including diet modification and medical support, people can live with asthma and lead an active life.
3. Will asthma ever go away permanently?
Asthma can go away, although this happens more often when asthma starts in childhood than in adulthood. When asthma goes away, sometimes that is because it was not there in the first place.
4. Which asthma is worst?
People with occupational asthma may find their symptoms aggravating at the work location.
5. Why is Asthma worse in the morning?
The exact cause of asthma attacks during sleep is unknown. An explanation is increased allergen exposure, airway cooling, reclining position, and hormone releases that have a circadian rhythm. However, even sleeping may alter bronchial function.
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