Asthma- Symptoms, Types and Treatment

Definition

Asthma is the chronic condition that causes inflammation, swell, produce extra mucus and narrowing in the airway of the lungs. People who have this chronic condition for a long time or recurrent is said to be asthmatic. This causes wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath. A cough often occurs early morning or at night time. Asthma cannot be cured but some treatments can reduce the symptoms and can be controlled. It affects people with all age groups and often occurs in children’s.

History

  • The term asthma comes from the Greek word aazein which means to exhale through an open mouth, to pant and sharp breath.
  • 460 BC- Hippocrates (460 BC) was the first to use the term Asthma as a panting and respiratory distress. Many physicians considered him that who was identified the relation between respiratory disease & the environment.
  • 327 BC- smoking the herb stramonium (which is an anticholinergic agent related to ipratropium and tiotropium which are currently used in inhalers today) was used to help relax the lungs.
  • 100 AD – Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a Greek physician, is credited with the first accurate description of asthma, as we know it today. He wrote symptoms include chest heaviness, difficulty in breathing and tiredness.
  • A Jewish physician & scholar by the name of Maimonides (1135-1204 AD) prescribed sleep, fluids, and chicken soup. He noted that his patient’s symptoms became worse during the wet months which proceeded to the person gasping for air and coughing until phlegm was expelled.

Epidemiology

The prevalence of asthma varies widely in different regions of the world due to distinct genetic, environmental and occupational risk factors. However, this disparity appears to be closing as the prevalence in high-income countries is reaching a plateau whereas the prevalence in low and middle-income countries continues to rise.

Worldwide, it is estimated that approximately 334 million people currently suffer from asthma, and 250,000 deaths are attributed to the disease each year. The prevalence of the disease is continuing to grow, and the overall prevalence is estimated to increase by 100 million by 2025.

Types

Child onset asthma: For some children’s the onset of asthma may begin during childhood. Due to genetic reason, the child may become sensitized to common allergens in the environment. The child is a topic- generally in the state of hypersensitivity due to environmental allergens. Allergens are the substances that act as a foreign body that triggers the immune to respond.

Adult-Onset Asthma: This term is used when a person develops asthma after reaching 20 years of age. Adult-onset asthma affects women more than men, and it is also much less common than child-onset asthma. It is also triggered by some allergic materials or an allergy. The cause of adult-onset asthma seems to be triggered by the exposure to the allergens called nonallergic adult-onset asthma. This type of non-allergic asthma is also called as intrinsic asthma. Exposure to chemicals, plastics, metals, certain medicines or wood dust can cause adult-onset asthma.

Exercise-Induced Asthma: After exercise, if you feel difficulty in breathing or wheezing, then you could be suffering from exercise-induced asthma.  Obviously, your level of fitness is also a factor – a person who is unfit and runs fast for ten minutes is going to be out of breath. However, if your coughing, wheezing or panting does not make sense, this could be an indication of exercise-induced asthma. Some exercise may cause the inflammation of airway tubes or bronchial and thus it results in asthma.

Cough-Induced Asthma: Cough-induced asthma is one of the most difficult asthmas to diagnose. The doctor has to eliminate other possibilities, such as chronic bronchitis, post nasal drip due to hay fever, or sinus disease. In this case, the coughing can occur alone, without other asthma-type symptoms being present. The coughing can happen at any time of day or night. If it happens at night it can disrupt sleep.

Nocturnal Asthma: It occurs only during night time from night to 8 am. It is due to the dust and pet dander or may be due to a sinus condition. The patient may have wheezing or short breath when lying down and may not notice these symptoms until awoken by them in the middle of the night – usually between 2 and 4 AM. Nighttime symptoms may also be a common problem in those with daytime asthma as well.

Steroid-Resistant Asthma (Severe Asthma): Some steroid therapy, the patient responds to regularly inhaled glucocorticoid (steroid) therapy, due to steroid resistance. By reducing airway inflammation and immune activation, glucocorticoids are used to treat asthma. However, patients with steroid-resistant asthma have higher levels of immune activation in their airways than do patients with steroid-sensitive (SS) asthma.

 

Risk factors

Some of the risk factors that may cause the risk of having asthma are as follows:

  • Being a smoker
  • Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing, and manufacturing
  • Having a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with asthma
  • Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Being overweight
  • Second-hand smoking
  • Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
  • Obesity is the greater risk of getting asthma

Causes

It’s not clear why people get asthma, but probably due to some allergic, genetic and environmental factors. Asthma triggers are different from person to person. Some of the causes of asthma are as follows:

  • Air pollution and smoke
  • Cold air
  • Emotions and stress
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Atopy
  • Gene
  • Allergies such as dust, mites, fungi, and cockroaches
  • Certain medication such as including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat

Early warning signs of asthma

  • Itchy, scratchy, or sore throat
  • Waking up at night
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Runny, stuffy or congested nose
  • Increased tiredness
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing
  • Thirst
  • Itchy, glassy or watery eyes
  • Rubbing nose a lot
  • Sneezing
  • Stomach ache
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Feeling restless
  • Change in face color – pale or flushed
  • Throat clearing

Symptoms of asthma in Children

  • Nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies
  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly
  • Frequent colds that settle in the chest

Effects of asthma

  • Stress, anxiety and depression.
  • pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • Lung collapse
  • Respiratory failure, where the levels of oxygen in the blood become dangerously low, or the levels of carbon dioxide become dangerously high
  • Status asthmaticus which do not respond to treatment).

Diagnosis of asthma

Physical exam and medical history:

Your doctor will investigate your symptoms and their cases. They will question you about the family history of asthma, medicines you consume, and your lifestyle. Also, ask about previous medical conditions like allergy and eczema that might increase your asthma. During such investigations by your doctor, you should inform about your work and home environment that may worsen your asthma.

Diagnostic tests

Lung function tests: The function of the lungs is tested for how much air that you breathe in and out. It also measures the rate at which you breathe out by using equipment called spirometer. Hence this test is also called a spirometry test.

  • Bronchoprovocation test: It is a test to measure how much sense the airways of your nose. With the help of spirometer function of the lungs is repeatedly measured during the physical activities or after you received a dose of cold air or a special drug called bronchodilator to breathe.
  • Peak air flow meter: the peak airflow flow meter is much sensitive device indicates the changes that occur in your airways. Before you notice signs and symptoms this device can help to avoid serious effects of asthma.

  • Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) Test: It is a test to measure the amount of nitric oxide present in your breathing air. FeNo is a non-invasive and quick test. The results of this test will help to identify the amount of inflammation in airways.

  • Provocation test: It is a form of a clinical trial whereby participants are exposed to either a substance or a molecule that is claimed to provoke a response. Methacholine is a known asthma trigger that, when inhaled, will cause mild constriction of your airways. If you react to the methacholine, you likely have asthma. This test may be used even if your initial lung function test is normal.
  • Imaging test: A chest X-ray and high-resolution CT scan are used to visualize the lungs and sinuses. This may reveal their structural abnormalities and inflammations.
  • Sputum eosinophil test: This test is used to visualize the eosinophils that may present in the saliva and mucus discharged from the nose and mouth during coughing. Eosinophils are present when symptoms develop and become visible when stained with a rose-colored dye (eosin).

Treatment and Medication

Treatment doesn’t have a cure for asthma since it is a lifelong disease. There is some requirement for the treatment of asthma.

  • Monitoring asthma symptoms daily is needed for rescue medication.
  • Avoid agents or substance that triggers asthma.
  • Consume medications daily to stop inflammation and chronic symptoms.
  • Instant drugs such as albuterol can be used.

Medications

In general, there are two types of asthma medications such as anti-inflammatory and bronchodilators.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: They reduce swelling and mucus production in the airways, making them less likely to react to triggers. Inhaled corticosteroids include beclomethasone (QVAR), budesonide (Pulmicort), fluticasone (Flovent), flunisolide (Aerobid, Aerospan), and ciclesonide (Alvesco) all of which are usually taken twice-a-day, and mometasone (Asmanex) and fluticasone furoate (Arnuity Ellipta), which may control asthma in some patients when taken just once-a-day.
  • Bronchodilators: It relieves the symptoms of asthma by temporarily relaxing the muscle bands that tighten around the airways. As a result, breathing improves for about four hours for the short-acting bronchodilators and for about 12 hours for the long-acting inhaled bronchodilators. Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators include the highly popular rescue inhaler albuterol.

Preventive measures

  • Use allergy-proof covers on pillows and mattresses.
  • Do not allow pets in bedrooms or on furniture.
  • Remove carpets and stuffed toys from bedrooms. The spur from them will act as allergens.
  • Avoid areas where people smoke also try to avoid smoking.
  • Avoid harsh cleaning products and chemicals.
  • Reduce your stress and enjoy doing the things in your daily life.
  • Pay attention to air quality in your environment.
  • Perform physical activity daily.
  • Understand the climatic conditions around you and act accordingly to rescue from asthma.

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62 comments

  1. hello here…. can’t find herpes zoster…

  2. I don’t believe that Asthma can not be cured. The complete statement should be that “Asthma cannot be cured with orthodox medicine” . These days many traditional medicines are curing this condition. Regular consumption of Grounded Ginger and Garlic and Thyme in the right doses can cure this condition.
    Many other solutions exist. Why is it that orthodox medicines have no solution to virtually all diseases, even common malaria.

  3. Some years back I used to have malaria attack every other month until someone told me that nothing cures malaria like Moringa leave. So I start taken one tea spoon of moringa power everyday spread on any of my food especially my last meal. Right now I can not remember the last time I suffered malaria attack.

  4. which medicine
    I take plz give
    prescription

  5. Byabagambi Asha

    I have not yet yet seen the doctor bt it’s like i have some of the signs of asthma n i hv a friend for him it’s worse n some times i fear to help him bse he scared.

  6. Opawole Olajide

    Is asthma a communicable disease ?

  7. There is patient suffering from ectopic right kidney feeling right lumber pain using neubrole forte for pain relief regularly kindly given me sugestion for that pateint

    • Please do diagnose on that patient to identify any kidney problems that he or she has. Later prefer treatment accordingly.

  8. pls send me treatment and cares

  9. Your Name Jacob Chimalilo

    thanks very much for this great information and knowledge you are impacting in us .indeed only if we can all have this information .I believe we can have little number of cases and diseases. continue to educate us even on this very platform and media. I personally I have learn a lot of things which seems to be a threat to my health but since I have this information and access to get this information my life is free from fears and i believe I shall save one life out there through this information

  10. ashma is a serious condition which requires one to consult doctors

  11. Taniariolei Letelemaana

    I am one of the lot who have asthma… right now, I rarely have attacks because I always control my asthma by breath in hard and breath out hard… to me, it works. the point is, you dont need medicine for it, unless of course it is severe… but during its acute phases, we cn still do something about it without using medications

  12. Aisagbonrioba Stella

    First I want to thank you so much for the information. I have been asthmatic since childhood and am 34 years old now even my 13 years old daughter also have it now which making me so worried. but my the I have now is that. is possible for one person to have all 5 types of asthma? cos according to the way u explain it, I always have the symptoms in all

  13. Aisagbonrioba Stella

    Please this for the person who spoke about ginger garlic and tym. how do I use it please

  14. Abebiyi Goksin.. Please prescribe some simple ways to prevent it rather than the Orthodox one… please I think u’ll help me

  15. sinus arrhythmia, shortness of breath can be linked to asthma.

  16. Dr.D.B.GOSWAMI- M.B.B.S.

    any research is going on for the Athama, please inform me latest research. my daughter is the sufferer.thanks.

    • Understanding Role Receptor Involved in Lung Inflammation Plays in Asthma.
      Studying Genes Important in Controlling Immune Response in Allergic Asthma.

  17. pls I have use all drug they prescribed to me but it not they said there is solution s about it Since I was in childhood that have asthma but now I am 19 years now pls what can I do about it?

  18. pls tell some medicine for asthama

    you.website very nice

  19. Everybody who are the victims of Asthma should take a Montilucast tablet with an anti-histamin. If it seems very severe than you should take a Doxofylin 200mg tablet with these tablets. It is a up to date treatment of Asthma. Try it.

  20. thanks this was helpful. so what first aid can I offer instantly when someone has an attack and we dont have inhailer.

    • Sit the person upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
      If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, assist in using it.
      If the person doesn’t have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit. Do not borrow someone else’s. The medicine in it may be different than the needed rescue medicine. Also, using someone else’s inhaler has a slight risk of passing on an infection.

  21. Can snoring in children and fast breath be a symptoms of asthma?

  22. Betty Jean Clark

    very interesting

  23. Your Name Omar Maqadin

    iam in Somalia town Kismaanyo state jubaland Somalia. my about a disease athema chronic 15 yrs and always I feeling to time night sleeping so I gough very strong I only use air bufly one time after that iam I relax and my athema is begin to prochites so Wat can I do that

  24. I am not sure whether my wife has completely been cured of Asthma but she is not having an asthma attack since a man, who self-practices in a village, gave him an injection of particular medicine, Ceflin in 2003.

  25. I think Ceflin can cure asthma but not sure

  26. Your Ngoka Helen

    my child have adenoid and cough almost every day, his breathing sometimes causes his stomach to go up and down fast, could it be asthma? thank you.

  27. well….. asthma has no scientifically proven cure but one can have the disease for so many years and will be noticed by no one if its not triggered.
    so my point is apart from nocturnal asthma which happened at night, one should realise that once he or she is away from his or her allergic substance, attack is far away.

    try and identity your allergy and follow that which is given and be safe

    I’m also a steroid resistant asthmatic patient.

  28. Idris Ibrahim Bashar

    very useful app and much informative.

  29. Maria Socorro Rivera, MPS

    very enlightening. i think i have cough induced asthma and Gerd related

  30. help m I don’t know wether it’s asthma or not this triggers in the season only I’ll b breathing as if I don’t have enough air n sometimes I’ll b coughing

  31. m 89 yrs old n m on warfarin. was told that Ensure milk powder is not recommended. pls advise.

  32. Zakari Abdul Gafaru ame

    very educative and interesting.
    But is there any secrete herbs that can take out asthma?

  33. inhaler is changing my voice what is the solution?

  34. please which of the medicine is preferable

  35. very exciting to hear reasoning from cause to effect

  36. Is there a way to get rid of mucus in these pipes?

  37. I have a 2 year old grand son and he has a deep cough hes had since he was born. when hes well he rarely coughs. but when he has a cold it’s a horrible bronchitis like cough. I suspect hes a magic. what can I do for him

  38. the topic is very impressive a lay man can watch and prevent asthma after reading the topic very well thanks for teaching us

  39. Your NameEmilia Halweendo

    hi , what kind of food that i need eat ? i have asthima.

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