Asthma

Introduction

Did you know that 1 in 11 kids has asthma and 1 in 12 adults has it? 9 asthmatic people die every day, so it is very important to know how to control your asthma. Read on to find out more facts about this disease and how to maintain your health if you have asthma.

10 Facts about Asthma

  • In a test from 2010, researchers discovered that 1 in 11 kids have asthma, and 1 in 12 adults has it.
  • Asthma is a long-term non-communicable chronic disease that causes chronic asthma attacks, which are when the sides of the airways swell up, making less room for air. Mucus created by the bodies blocks the airways even more, and these attacks trigger coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.
  • There are 2 types of medicines for asthma: quick-relief and long-relief. Quick relief medicines help during an attack, and long relief medicines help reduce the amount of these attacks. The long relief medicines won’t help in quick relief situations, though. There are 2 ways to take these medicines: pills, and breathing in medicine, such as an inhaler.
  • There are many things that can trigger asthma attacks, known as “asthma triggers”. Some of them are tobacco smoke, even secondhand smoke, dust mites, air pollution from cars, factories, etc., furry pets, and infections such as influenza and the cold. Triggers can be different for varieties of people suffering asthma, but these are the common ones. Asthma can also be triggered by humidity and temperature changes, stress, and exercise.
  • 9 people die from asthma per day. More people die from asthma at night than during the day because of the cooling of the airways, increased exposure to triggers, and the reclined sleeping position.
  • Some people are more likely to have asthma than others. Boys are more likely than girls, while women are more likely to have it than men. Black children are 2x more likely than whites. Smokers and obese people are at a higher risk of this disease.
  • About 80% of people who have/had asthma in their youth got it from allergies. Usually inhaling an allergen leads to “biochemical and tissue changes” that lead to airway inflammation, bronchoconstriction (muscle tissues in walls of bronchi spasm, and the cells lining the airways swell and mucus goes into the airways, which causes the bronchi to be narrowed), and wheezing. Other people may get it from genetics, but the exact cause of asthma is still unknown.
  • Some symptoms of asthma are wheezing, breath shortness, coughing, rapid breathing, and pain and tightness in the chest. Babies could have issues when trying to be fed, like grunting when they’re sucking on something or eating. Becoming irritated and easily getting tired are a couple other symptoms of asthma.

  • When someone is suspected to be asthmatic, the complete diagnosis involves a spirometry test. Whoever it is must be at least 5 years old, or it may not work correctly. The way it works is a person inhales, then exhales into the tube which is attached to a machine measuring airflow, then they inhale again while their mouth is on the tube. That inhalation brings in a bronchodilator, a drug that increases the capacity of someone’s airways. After that, the patient will do the same thing and if the results are better, it is usually a sign that they could get rid of asthma in the future. The doctor determines if they have asthma or not by comparing their results to the normal for their age and race.

  • There are different types of asthma, including exercise-induced asthma and nighttime asthma. Exercise-induced asthma is where people only experience asthmatic symptoms during exercise, usually 5 to 20 minutes after beginning. To treat this people can use a bronchodilating inhaler before exercising. Another type is cough-variant asthma, where coughing is the most dominant symptom. This type of asthma is usually under-treated, and the triggers are usually respiratory infections and exercise. Occupational asthma is when people only experience asthmatic symptoms at work, usually if they are an animal breeder, farmer, hairdresser, painter, or woodworker. Nighttime asthma is when the chances of having attacks are higher during sleeping because asthma is “powerfully influenced by the sleep-wake cycle”. Nocturnal asthma makes sleeping very hard, and that’s why a symptom of asthma is being easily tired.

5 things an asthmatic person can do to maintain and improve their health

  • If you are a person who smokes, quit because it is an asthma trigger. If you are a person who doesn’t smoke avoid people who do smoke because primary and secondhand smoke are both triggers. If you smoke and don’t have asthma, you should stop anyway because it isn’t good for your body.

  • Identify your triggers and avoid them when you know you are having issues with your asthma.

  • Take quick-relief asthma medicine if you are having an attack.

  • Take long-relief asthma medicine regularly to reduce the amount of attacks.

  • Go to the doctor if you are unable to participate in regular physical activities, you miss school because of asthma, symptoms don’t improve after 15 minutes of initial medication, or if you have fatigue and weakness, fevers, chills, nasal congestion (a stuffy nose), or headaches.

Who is at risk for asthma?

Asthma is very common, so just about anyone can get it. People who are more at risk than others are boys, women, and people in more developed countries.

Symptoms of Asthma

  • Coughing

  • Wheezing

  • Breath shortness

  • Rapid Breathing

  • Chest tightness and pain

  • **Symptoms don’t last too long. This is a chronic disease, so the symptoms usually do come back, but there are mainly just attacks that aren’t too frequent.

Can asthma be cured?

Not yet. Scientists do not know the cause for asthma yet, so when they find that they will be closer to a cure.

What is the future of asthma?

Scientists have no clue how to cure asthma, but research is being done to create medicines that help people with asthma. Research is also being done to find breathing exercises that may help people with asthma.