What is asthma?
Asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases that cause breathing problems in the world. It is caused by inflamed airways in the lungs. Due to this inflammation patients have a hard time breathing. It is a long-term disease that usually appears in childhood and lasts throughout life. Patients suffering from this chronic disease can face difficulties socializing, going out, and even talking, which makes them susceptible to loneliness and depression at times.
The cause of this health condition varies from patient to patient. Genetics and the environment play a vital role. Environmental factors such as air pollution and allergies can elevate the symptoms or trigger a severe asthma attack that can be lethal if not treated within time. There are around 4 million asthma patients all over the world and every year around 400,000 people die due to asthma.
What are symptoms of a asthma?
Common symptoms of asthma that are listed below are notice but a complete diagnosis can only be performed by a doctor.
- Excessive coughing
- Tight chest
- Pain in chest
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma attack is a sudden increase in the swelling of the airways and the production of excessive thick mucus that makes asthma symptoms worse. An asthma attack can be triggered by many different environmental factors and it can make even doing the simplest things impossible. Apart from the symptoms listed above patients usually experience weakness, excessive sweating, blue lips, or fingernails, some patients might suffer from a mild panic attack or anxiety due to their worsening condition.
Patients suffering from an asthma attack need to get emergency treatment. The first thing they will need is their medication. If medication is not available or it doesn’t relieve the symptoms, than patients will need emergency medical attention. The best option is to call 911 fort help. If not treated patients will be unable to breathe and the amount of oxygen in their blood will keep on dropping which can cause unconsciousness and even death if left untreated.
What are the common triggers for an asthma attack?
Some of the common things that trigger an asthma attack are listed below:
- Allergens or allergic reactions
- Allergies to foods such as milk, peanuts, milk, soy, fish, shrimp, and others
- Exercise or hard work that puts stress on lungs
- Certain foods or ingredients present in them
- Sinusitis, flu, cold or other infections
- Changing weather
- Pollen, mold, fertilizers, pesticides and plant matter
- Smoke from cooking or other sources
- Chemicals and gases in the air
- Certain medications for some people
- Stress, anxiety, and depression can cause an asthma attack
These are only some common triggers for asthma attacks. There are many other triggers that can only be discovered by proper evaluation by a doctor.
How is asthma treated?
Asthma has a long-term treatment plan that can take weeks, months, and even years in some cases. Yet patients who are suffering from an asthma attack need quick treatment to relieve the symptoms. Usually, asthma doctors tell about the quick and short term treatments to the patients so they can be used when required, while the long-term treatment continues. It is always a good idea to have the emergency contact of a doctor or hospital available at hand for asthma emergencies.
The first go-to treatment for an asthma attack is an inhaler. These inhalers are common and can be purchased from almost all pharmacies. It is always a good idea to keep multiple inhalers around. This will come in handy during an asthma attack. These inhalers contain medications that are to be inhaled and once inhaled they decrease the inflammation, loosen the muscles, clear the mucus in the airways and help patients breathe normally.
While the long term treatment is usually provided with the help of medications that help the body to avoid a trigger of an asthma attack. In other words, these medications decrease the body’s sensitivity to asthma triggers. These medications can be taken through an inhaler or a nebulizer whatever suits the patients.
Asthma should never be treated with self-medication and patients should consult an asthma specialist as soon as the first symptoms appear.