|One of the most common questions about asthma is — what are the signs of asthma and how can it be treated? Asthma is a chronic lung disease, which is caused due to the inflammation of the air tubes. Swelling in the airways restricts airflow in and out of the lungs and therefore makes it hard to breathe. People suffering from asthma pant and wheeze because they cannot get sufficient air into their lungs. People of all ages can be at risk of asthma, however, it is more prevalent in children. Among young children, it is more common in boys than girls, but in the adult stage, girls are more susceptible to the disease.
Asthma can be divided into two broad categories: allergic and non-allergic. In allergic asthma, some allergens such as pollen, dust mites or pet dander triggers an attack. The body immune system becomes active, but causes inflammation. It is the most common form of asthma. On the other hand, non allergic asthma is not associated with the immune system, rather it is triggered by anxiety, stress, cold air, and smoking, to name only a few.
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma
Most of the people do not recognize asthma for a long period of time. However, when they get severe shortness of breath that lasts for some minutes to days then only asthma is detected. Some of the most common symptoms include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing, and cough lasting more than a week, etc. Coughing mostly occurs at night or after exercise. Early detection is always better because timely treatment can reverse asthma symptoms.
Diagnosis of Asthma
It is very difficult to diagnose asthma at the first place because many other health conditions mimic asthma. It is therefore important not to restrict diagnosis based on symptoms alone. Doctors obtain a careful history of the symptoms, triggers and other medical conditions. In addition, physical examination and breathing tests are also done to confirm the diagnosis of asthma.
Risk factors of asthma
There are some factors which may increase the risk of developing asthma in individuals. Some of these risk factors include allergies, being exposed to passive smoking, family history of asthma, respiratory infections, obesity, and gender, among others. Childhood asthma, triggers can be all kinds of things that can trigger allergies such as dust, pollen, cockroach waste, air pollutants, and change in weather conditions, besides others.
Prevention of lung disease
Though there is no cure for asthma as a lung disease, but it can be prevented considerably. Some of the preventions, which can be taken to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks are as follows:
Avoid allergens: One of the most potent causes of lung disease is an allergy. It is therefore important to avoid allergens such as dust mites. This can be done by using special mattress and clean pillow covers. In addition, dust in the house also triggers asthma. Keep the house clean and always wear a mask while cleaning the house.
Physical exercise: Many people think that exercise can trigger asthma, which is a misconception. Exercise gives strength to the lungs and also helps in maintaining a toned body shape. However, it is always advised to consult a doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
Keep an eye on breathing: Watch the signs of an oncoming asthma attack such as wheezing. One can detect a slight difference in breathing by using a machine called a peak flow meter. If there is any breathing difference shown in the meter, take medications immediately and avoid asthmatic attack.
Treat asthmatic attack: Early treatment of the asthma attack can reduce the severity in future. And therefore, less medicines will be required for the same.
Treatment of Lung Disease
Some of the primary goals of treatment include the avoidance of asthma attacks, reduction of inflammation and prevention of lung damage, besides others. In order to prevent asthma, individuals need to avoid allergic triggers and take medicines as prescribed by a doctor. Changing lifestyle can also reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Quit smoking, reduce weight and monitor symptoms. Certain medications have also been prescribed for asthma. However, there are two main purposes of medications: the first purpose is to stop asthma attack and provide immediate relief and the second is to stop the inflammation.
Nutrition and supplements
There is no specific diet for people suffering from a lung disease. However, people who have allergic asthma may have food allergies too. If an individual with asthma has a food allergy, he or she can immediately consult a doctor. On the other hand, there are many fruits, and vegetables, which are very effective in reducing asthma-related symptoms. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables that are rich in high anti-oxidants can help keep asthma under control. In addition, food supplements such as magnesium, potassium, fish oil, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 are some very effective in controlling this lung disease.