Asthma is a long-lasting condition, which affects approximately 26 million people in the US.
In this disorder person's airways (breathing passages) become unusually sensitive to certain environmental factors, drugs or physical activity. Exposure to potential triggers leads to inflammation and swelling of the airways lining, contraction of the muscles within the bronchial tubes and excessive production of thick fluid, called mucus.
As a result, the airways become extremely narrow. So it appears really difficult to exhale air from the lungs.
It's not clear enough, why does asthma occurs in some people, but not in others. It's probably about genetic changes, which makes the airways more sensible to certain pollutants and other triggers.
It was also found that having frequent respiratory infections in childhood, or being exposed to allergens in this period of life, can raise risks of asthma.
Studies show that some health conditions, like acid reflux, obesity and atopic dermatitis have a link with increased chances of getting asthma.
Even though asthma is often switched on by allergens, like pollen, pet dander, mold, smoke and dust mites, it's completely possible to have other triggers. Nonallergic asthma may happen after stress, exercises and staying in cold environment. It's not uncommon for some medications, such as aspirin (or other painkillers) and non-selective beta-blockers to cause asthma onset.
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Symptoms may vary in different people. The most common signs include:
#2. Tightness and pressure in the chest
#3. Wheezing and whistling, when you try to exhale
Medical professional have their own classification of the asthma that depends on the severity of symptoms, their duration and frequency. Current guidelines distinguish patients with mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate and severe persistent asthmas.
If left unmanaged, this disorder may interfere with sleep, become more severe and even lead to death.
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Unfortunately, it's impossible to get rid of asthma. But the good news is that we have ability to alleviate annoying symptoms and keep you as attack-free for a long time.
First of all, it's very important to recognize your triggers and avoid them. Use air conditioner, clean your home regularly, keep optimal humidity and reduce pet fur.
Almost all people with diagnosed asthma use special medications, which can be consumed orally or through inhalator.
Short-acting drugs (beta-agonists and anticholinergics) should be taken, when the first symptoms become apparent. This helps reduce shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain immediately and prevent progressing of the attack.
If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, your doctor may recommend taking these quick-working bronchodilators before intense physical activity.
Long-term control medicines are prescribed to decrease inflammation and keep asthma under the control on the daily basis. The most popular of them include oral or inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta-agonists, combination medicines and immunomodulators.
Healthcare specialist might prescribe you more or less of these medications, depending on the severity of asthma, its sensitivity to treatment and your concomitant diseases.
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