Is Asthma a Disease?
It is an inflammatory condition of the airways to the lungs. It causes difficulty in breathing and suffocation.
According to the centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 25 million Americans have asthma.
1 child out of every 12 American children has asthma. American children have the most common chronic condition.
Now, first, understand what happens when you breathe.
What is the main cause of Asthma?
An intense allergic response is the main cause of asthma. This leads to constriction and blockage of the respiratory passage.
This allergic response can be due to various allergens like:-
● dust particle
● cold temperature
● chemicals in air
When you takes air through nose Or mouth, it goes down into the throat and into your airways and finally reach your lungs. Further a lot of smaller air passages are present in our lungs , these passages helps to deliver oxygen into your bloodstream.
Symptoms of asthma appear when the epithelial lining of these airways swell and the muscles around the airways gradually tighten. Also, these airways get filled with mucus thus reducing the amount of oxygen that can diffuse in the bloodstream through these small airways.
Symptoms of Asthma
● Squealing Or Whistling sound made when you breathe.
● Tightness in the chest
● Shortness of breath
● Difficulty taking
● Anxiousness Or panic
There are different types of asthma which we classify on the basis of the above symptoms.
What are the 3 Types of ASTHMA ?
On broad terms , asthma is classified in 3 categories:-
Allergic asthma (extrinsic asthma)
This type of asthma occurs due to allergens. Allergens which cause this asthma include -:
● Pet dander from animals like cat and dogs
It is seasonal asthma because it often goes hand-in-hand with seasonal allergies.
Nonallergic asthma (intrinsic asthma)
Irritants in the air not related to allergies trigger this type of asthma.
These irritants might include:-
● Cigarette smoke
● Cold air
● Air fresheners
● Air pollution
● Burning wood
● Household cleaning products
This type of asthma occurs because of some bad substance which they face at their workplace
These substances are :-
● Gases and fumes
● Industrial chemicals
● Animal proteins
● Rubber latex
These irritants can exist in a wide range of industries including
There are many other different types of asthma as well :-
Bronchial asthma is the most common type of asthma. It affects the bronchi in the lungs. Also, there are two more additional forms of asthma include childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma. In adult-onset asthma, symptoms don’t appear until at least age 20.
Some more other types of non specific asthma:-
● Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)
● Asprin-induced asthma
● Nocturnal asthma
● Cough-variant asthma(CVA)
Now , lets discuss these types of asthma in detail-
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)
Patients of EIB cannot do exercise or physical activity. Within 10-15 minutes they get affected by this asthma. Up to 90 percent of people with asthma also experience EIB, but everyone with EIB will have other types of asthma.
It is also called aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). It is a severe type of asthma. It is triggered by taking aspirin or another NSAID such as naproxen or ibuprofen. Symptoms appear within minutes or hours. Patients also face nasal polyps.
About 9 percent of people with asthma have AIA. It usually develops between the ages of 20 and 50.
Symptoms of this type of asthma worsen at night.
Triggers that are thought to bring on symptoms at night include:
● Pet dander
● Dust mites
The body’s natural sleep cycle may also trigger nocturnal asthma.
CVA doesn’t have classic asthma symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath. It is characterized by a persistent, dry cough.
If it is not treated then CVA can lead to full-blown asthma flares that include the other more common symptoms
Diagnosis of Asthma
There is no test that will determine that you are suffering from asthma.The doctor confirms asthma on the basis of symptoms.
Symptoms which help in diagnosis are-:
Health history – If Any of your family members have breathing disorders , then there will be a very high risk that you are going to suffer from asthma. Alert your doctor about this genetic connection.
Physical exam– Your doctor will listen to your breathing with a stethoscope. You may also be given a skin test to look for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives or eczema.
Breathing test – Pulmonary function tests(PFTs) measures airflow into and out of your lungs. For the most common test, spirometry, you blow into a device that measures the speed of the air.
Note:- The spirometry test is not performed in children who are under 5 years of age because it’s difficult to get an accurate reading.
Instead, doctor may prescribe asthma medications to your child and wait to see if symptoms improve, if they do, your child likely has asthma.
For adults, your doctor may prescribe a Bronchodilator or other asthma medication if test results indicate asthma.
Classification of Asthma
The national asthma education and prevention program (NAEPP) classifies the condition based on its severity before treatment.
Asthma classification include:-
● Intermittent – Most people have this type of asthma, which does not interfere with daily activities. Symptoms are mild, lasting fewer than two days per week or two nights per month.
● Mild persistent– The symptoms occur more than twice a week – but not daily- and up to four nights per month.
● Moderate persistent – The symptoms appear daily and at least one night every week. They may limit some daily activities.
● Severe persistent – Symptoms appear several times every day and most nights. Daily activities are extremely limited.
Causes of Asthma
● Genetics – You are more likely to develop asthma if your parent or siblings have asthma.
● History of viral infections – If any people have a severe history of viral infections in
childhood be more likely to develop the condition.
● Hygiene hypothesis – If babies aren’t exposed to enough bacteria in their early months
and years, their immune system doesn’t become strong enough to fight with asthma.
Treatment of Asthma
Treatment for asthma falls into three primary categories:-
● Breathing exercises
● Quick-acting treatments
● Long-term asthma control medications
Your doctor will recommend one treatment or combination of treatments based on:-
● The type of asthma you have
● Your age
● Your triggers