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Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air.

Symptoms of asthma include

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing, especially early in the morning or at night
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Having these symptoms doesn't always mean that you have asthma. Your doctor will diagnose asthma based on lung function tests, your medical history, and a physical exam. You may also have allergy tests.

When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it's called an asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Asthma

The following features are indicative of Asthma:
  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath
It is possible that Asthma shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

Common Causes of Asthma

The following are the most common causes of Asthma:
  • exposure to tobacco smoke, dust mites
  • outdoor air pollution
  • cockroach allergen
  • breathing in too much smoke from burning wood or grass

Risk Factors for Asthma

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Asthma:
  • having a parent or sibling with asthma
  • having atopic dermatitis
  • being overweight
  • being a smoker
  • exposure to secondhand smoke
  • exposure to fumes
  • exposure to chemicals used in farming and hairdressing

Prevention of Asthma

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Asthma. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia
  • avoid outdoor allergens and irritants
  • monitor breathing regularly

Occurrence of Asthma

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Asthma cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Asthma can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Asthma can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Asthma

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Asthma:
  • Spirometry: To measure the forced expiratory volume in 1 second

Doctor for Diagnosis of Asthma

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Asthma:
  • Allergist

Complications of Asthma if untreated

Yes, Asthma causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Asthma is left untreated:
  • can be fatal
  • decreased ability to take part in physical activities
  • lack of sleep due to nighttime symptoms
  • permanent changes in the function of the lungs
  • persistent cough
  • trouble breathing

Procedures for Treatment of Asthma

The following procedures are used to treat Asthma:
  • Allergy shots: Reduces the immune system reaction to specific allergens
  • Bronchial thermoplasty: Reduces the smooth muscle inside the airways by heating up insides of the airways

Self-care for Asthma

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Asthma:
  • Use air conditioner: Reduces the amount of airborne pollens
  • Prevent mold spores: Keep mold spores from developing
  • Keep your home clean
  • Protection from cold weather: Cover the nose and mouth if it's cold out
  • Get regular exercise: Prevents from asthma attacks
  • Maintain healthy weight: Reduces the worsening asthma

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Asthma

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Asthma:
  • Breathing exercises: Improves the asthma symptoms
  • Herbal and natural remedies: Improves asthma symptoms

Patient Support for Treatment of Asthma

The following actions may help Asthma patients:
  • Pace yourself: Take breaks between the tasks and avoid activities that make the symptoms worse
  • Talk to others with your condition: Connect with people facing similar challenges
  • Child having asthma: Pay attention on the things your child can do

Time for Treatment of Asthma

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Asthma to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Asthma.

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