Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness defined primarily by airway obstruction, which response spontaneously and with treatment.
Inflammation, as a result of over-reactive airways, is the main culprit of the said obstruction.
During an asthma attack, the airways become inflamed and swollen, which makes the respiratory tract extraordinarily sensitive to irritants.
The airway becomes constricted because of the cumulative effects of the swollen passages and increases mucus production.
What Happens During An Asthma Attack?
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An asthma attack begins with an exposure to a trigger. When this happens, the smooth muscles surrounding the air passages start to swell and constrict.
Inflammation in the respiratory tract worsens, causing the further narrowing of the air passages. Oxygen levels in the blood and tissues drop.
When suffering from Asthma person should sit with an elbow in the knees, and may even prefer sitting than lying down.
Types Of Asthma
There are different types of Asthma depending on the triggers and age of onset.
This type of Asthma starts during childhood days. It happens when a child is exposed to common allergies, and become sensitized to these.
Genetics plays a huge role in this.
Among the most common cause of asthma in children are less exercise, infections, allergy, drugs, weather, chemicals, pets, and emotions.
This refers to Asthma that develops when a person is already more than 20 years of age. It is more common among women.
This Asthma is triggered by exposure to certain allergic materials or by the presence of other allergies.
It is less common as compared to Child-onset.
Coughing, wheezing or feeling out of breath during or after exercise is an indication of exercise-induced asthma.
However, if the coughing and breathing difficulties are worse than usual or not in proportion with the intensity of exercise, then it could be Asthma.
This type of asthma occurs commonly in people living in cold regions.
This is one of the most difficult types of asthma to diagnose. The symptoms overlap with those of cough.
It takes a lot more time to diagnose this type of asthma.
5. Occupational Asthma
It is triggered by exposure to chemicals, and substance in the workplace is classified as occupational asthma. Common triggers include gases, vapors, dust, smoke, and chemicals.
This type often manifests when a person starts a new job and ends when leaving that particular job.
Several factors are involved in increasing the risk of developing asthma conditions:
Presence of Allergic Conditions: Atopy is the major risk factor of asthma. However, in developing countries, not all patients with the history of atopy become asthmatic. The impact of environmental factors is also one of the reasons.
Genetic: The severity of asthma is genetically determined
Diet: Deficiency in Vitamin D may trigger asthma. Foods containing benzoates and sulphite, foods containing yeast, some dairy products, and nuts may also trigger asthma. Try to have high protein foods.
Smoking: Smoking asthmatics have more severe conditions and are hospitalized more frequently.
Obesity: It is an independent risk factor of Asthma, particularly in women.
Causes Of Asthma
Asthma symptoms are triggered after exposure to allergies and other triggers.
Allergens activate inflammatory cells in the body, which results in a cascade of steps leading to bronchoconstriction.
Smoke, such as from tobacco and burning leaves and wood.
Increased level of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone are associated with asthma attacks.
Stress induces an asthma attack.
The respiratory virus is associated with the development of asthma in infancy.
Several patients have claimed that they experienced an asthma attack after consuming a certain type of food. So a proper healthy diet is required for asthma patients.
Exercise is a common trigger of asthma in children, as it indirectly activates inflammatory cells.
Cold air is also a cause of an asthma attack.
Some women have severe asthma attack before their menses. So hormonal factor can also be a cause for anasthma attack.
Asthma patients typically present with wheezing and coughing. Symptoms generally range from mild respiratory difficulties to severe respiratory distress.
During an Asthma attack, symptoms include:
Pain or tightness felt over the chest area
Shortness of breath
Difficulty in sleeping because of cough, or shortness of breath
Night cough, since asthma is worse at night
Exposure to dry and cold air
Asthma symptoms can worsen rapidly, over the course of a few minutes to hours. It is important to provide treatment and relief measure as soon as asthma starts.
Diagnosis Of Asthma
The following tests are usually requested, an individual presents with the symptoms of asthma:
Pulmonary function tests
Blood Gas analysis
Other hematologic tests
Useful Tips For Asthmatics Under Medication
Record prescriptions and medicines, and save all information about them
Check the label of medicines before taking them
Check the expiry date of each medicine
Do not share your prescription to other patients
Inform your physician once symptoms occur after taking in medicine.
Natural Remedies Of Asthma
Following are the natural remedies of asthma, which serve as good as medicinal treatments.
They are full of nutrients that help in promoting better respiratory health. These nutrients help in draining mucus and in improving breathing.
Caffeine helps in controlling symptoms during an asthma attack. The warmth of coffee works in relaxing and clearing the respiratory tract.
Stronger coffee tends to provide better results.
This is one of the oldest natural treatments for asthma. The ingredients present in honey helps in reducing symptoms.
Some people experience relief just by inhaling honey.
Most people suffering from asthma have low Vitamin C levels in the body.
Increasing Vitamin C intake, as well as antioxidant intake, helps in decreasing the severity of asthma symptoms.
Other sources high in Vitamin C are strawberry, blueberry, and papaya.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are among the healthiest fats that should be included in the diet. They have a good intake to treat asthma symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally obtained from cold-water fishes like salmon.
It is known to promote relaxation of the smooth muscles within the airways. It can be taken naturally from certain foods like green leafy vegetables.
Herbs To Relieve Asthma Symptoms
Herbs are just as effective as asthma medication and certain foods in relieving and treating symptoms.
This is one of the most popular, commonly used natural remedies for a wide range of illness. Ginger can also help in the treatment of asthma.
Garlic can treat several ailments, including asthma. It is one of the herbs with a very long history of medicinal use.
They are rich in compounds that act as anti-inflammatory agents in the body. These compounds reduce the constriction within the airways that occur during an asthma attack.
4. Mustard Oil
It can help in reducing the symptoms during an asthma attack. It clears the airways and helps in restoring the normal respiration pattern.
It is a top anti-inflammatory food that can help in alleviating asthma symptoms.
Turmeric is also available in supplement form, such as capsules.
How to Prevent Asthma?
Prevention is the key to successful asthma management. By identifying the triggers and avoiding them, it is definitely possible to live a symptom-free life.
Air conditioners can help in preventing pollen and dust from getting inside the home.
Do not smoke. Also, avoid areas frequented by smokers to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
Avoid huddling in front of a wood-burning stove
If asthma is triggered by cold, dry air try to cover the mouth and nose.
Use dustproof covers on mattresses, pillows.
Humidifiers may be necessary inside the home when living in dry climates
Maintaining a healthy weight
A healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet
Drink lots of water
Avoid processed foods
Avoid foods that contain chemicals
Include antioxidants in your daily routine
Eat organic fruits and vegetables
Keep your house clean
Monitor lung function regularly
The condition may often prevent sufferers from living a full life because of the precautions they have to take.
But, with a proper management plan and with the right preventive measures, as well as a healthy diet plan, you can enjoy your life to the fullest.