Asthma is an inflammatory disease affecting the airways that carry air to and from the lungs. People who suffer from this chronic condition (long-lasting or recurrent) are said to be asthmatic.
As inflammation causes the airways to become narrower, less air can pass through them, both to and from the lungs.
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.(National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2014).
The inside walls of an asthmatic’s airways are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
If people with asthma are exposed to a substance to which they are sensitive or a situation that changes their regular breathing patterns, the symptoms can become more severe.
Types of Asthma include:
- Allergic (caused by exposure to an allergen)
- Non-allergic (caused by stress, exercise, illnesses like a cold or the flu, or exposure to extreme weather, irritants in the air or some medications).
- Outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees and weeds
- Indoor allergy(aspirin) and food additives
- Irritants in the air, such as smoke, chemical fumes and strong odors
- Colds, the flu or other illnesses
- Exercise (although people with asthma can benefit from some exercise)
- Weather conditions, such as cold air or extremely dry, wet or windy weather
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound in your chest when you breathe, especially when exhaling)
Asthmatics usually experience these symptoms most frequently during the night and the early morning
It is important to identify asthma triggers and take steps to avoid them.Some asthma triggers may include:
Prevention of symptoms is the best strategy. Although there is no cure for asthma, effective treatments are available. Asthma can be best managed by seeing an allergist.
People with asthma can manage the condition well; live a healthy and productive life by avoiding triggers and following their allergists’ instructions. If left unmanaged or misdiagnosed, asthma can be fatal.
Article Credit: eDokita-Team
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- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology © 2014http://acaai.org/asthma
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