Asthma, also known as “bronchial asthma,” is an incurable, chronic disease of the lungs and airways that makes breathing difficult. Asthma causes inflammation, swelling and subsequent narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs when we breathe. Extra mucus is produced and muscles of the trachea start to tighten. Asthma can appear or disappear at different times in life. It is more common in children than adults.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of asthma, often called an “asthma attack,” include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. If it is severe, asthma can result in an inability to breathe properly and talk.
You might begin noticing asthma symptoms when:
– Exposed to allergens like dust, pollen, mold, or animal fur
– Exposed to irritants like cold air, viruses, pollution and smoke
Asthma attacks can range from moderate to severe and can last anywhere from a few moments to a few days. Left untreated, they can be fatal.
How is asthma treated?
Asthma can be treated but not cured. Getting treatment for asthma and addressing attacks immediately is very important, in order to lead a normal life. Asthma treatments are divided into long-term and short-term relief options, usually prescribed together, in order to reduce overall symptoms as well as address attacks immediately.
Asthma medications can save your life and make daily life livable. There are two basic types of drugs used in asthma treatments:
– Anti-inflammatory drugs: These are usually steroids which are inhaled. These medications treat emergency attacks, stopping them from becoming more serious by immediately reducing swelling and mucus production in the airways. These are more preventative.
– Bronchodilators: These quick-acting medicines relieve asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscles that tighten around air passageways, allowing air to move more freely. These are used to address attacks.
Practical daily behaviors that will help treat and prevent asthma include:
– Avoiding irritants and allergens both outdoors and at home
– Carry your prescription inhaler around at all times and know how to use it properly
– Use a vaporizer at home
– Do not smoke
– Get a flu shot in the autumn
* If you are having an asthma attack that is not alleviated by medicine, seek emergency medical care, head to the emergency room or call 911.
Do you have questions about allergies? Can you recommend treatments that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below…