What is Asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition involving narrowing of air tubes of the lungs resulting in difficulty in breathing and is often accompanied by increased secretion.
According to the recent statistics, 339 million people in the world are affected by Asthma(2023) and this number is increasing by 50% every decade.
Types of asthma:
Asthma can be basically categorised into two types namely intrinsic and extrinsic.
The intrinsic type is perennial , and emergency cases commonly occur. It can be caused due to any sort of viral infection or side effect of a drug or any other stimulus.
The extrinsic type of asthma is episodic, seen more in children, does not appear always and has less probability of emergency cases. It is caused basically due to external factors such as dust or pollens.
Asthma attack is an emergency condition and if not treated properly, the patient can probably die. Nearly 4.61 lakh people all over the world die of asthma each year.
Trigger factors of asthma:
There are various factors that can trigger Asthma or an asthmatic attack which includes smoking, pollution, dust, dust mites, pollen, allergies, infections of mainly upper respiratory tract, drugs, heavy exercise involving shortness of breath, exposure to cold air, psychogenic causes, etc.
Symptoms of asthma:
The three major characteristic features of asthma include
dyspnea : breathing difficulty;
and wheezing : high pitched whistle sound made by breathing.
Treatment of asthma
There there is no definite treatment or one treatment for asthma. It depends upon patient to patient. Apart from lifestyle changes and protecting from trigger factors, the treatment involves the medicines that help in dilatation or widening of air tubes which were previously narrow and were causing difficulty in breathing. Bronchodilators are type of drugs that prove to be efficient in providing relief to the patient. Glucocorticoids in the inhaler form are also considered as a very potent form of treatment.
Prevention of asthma:
There are three prevention steps for asthma. The first one being: avoid the triggers such as certain chemicals, smells and exposure to stimulus; the second one includes keeping away from allergens and taking the allergy shots time to time to protect the triggers; and lastly the third step includes taking preventive medicines prescribed by your doctor.
Asthma is a common respiratory disease affecting a huge population in the world, caused by a few trigger factors, it can also be genetic and is not completely recoverable but patient’s life can be improved through lifestyle changes and medicines. Since deaths from asthma are common, hence it is necessary to create awareness about it.
Special Report By Dr. Pramiti Rastogi